I came home from work today as usual - the end of the work week, thinking about plans for this weekend. I entered the house with the day's mail in one hand, and my backpack in the other, said hello to the cat waiting just inside, and proceeded into my kitchen. The mail had just been placed onto my kitchen table when I noticed something odd. There was definitely something different, and it only took me a few seconds to realize that I was the victim of a crime: breaking and entering.
My kitchen table is right next to a pair of windows, and while the windows were locked, they were also open a couple of inches. My windows have tabs you can extend on the inside that will prevent them from being opened any more than those few inches, and there is a screen on the outside to keep insects out. I stepped outside to inspect the screen, and found clear evidence of forced entry.
I also noted that the screen was folded towards the interior of the house. Something went through the screen, from outside to inside. Did it exit the same way?
Inside the house, the evidence mounted. On my kitchen table is a fruit bowl, with an apple and two bananas. Tempting fare, it appears, because one of the bananas was showing obvious signs of tampering.
This is where the trail went cold. I poked around the house a bit, looking for more evidence, but found none. The cat was his typical dopey self, following me about as if he was waiting for me to settle down into some pose suitable for him to use as a bed. Or maybe, now that I think about it, he was gloating. To us humans, dopey cats look the same as gloating cats, so I will never really know.
With the thought that the perpetrator might still be lurking somewhere, I set about to clean things up. Fast forward about an hour, and Tammy has arrived. She is on the couch in front of the TV, and I am in the kitchen, when I hear her say (with a slightly worried tone) "Um...Todd? The cat just looked under the TV stand in a weird way."
I crouched down and looked under the TV stand...it is dark under there...gads, look at the cat hair...need to vacuum...whoa, something moved! I had found my critter criminal - an Eastern Gray Squirrel. Tammy and I quickly put a plan in action: remove one cat, add two large pieces of fabric, mix in one wide open front door, and then let the hunt begin. Just a bit of coaxing later, the criminal bolted from under the TV stand, running away from my large piece of fabric, veering right to avoid Tammy's large piece of fabric, skidding across the tile in front of the door, and leaping to freedom.
Here is a photo, hastily taken after the successful hunt, to give you an idea of the setup. Tammy seems to be enjoying herself.