What’s with the guy who sneaks into the house and steals small, worthless items? Doesn’t he have anything better to do?

thiefYesterday I couldn’t find the three bratwurst I’d stored in the freezer for a quick weekday dinner. I took every single bag of veggies, chicken breast, ice cube tray, and ice cream container out and rummaged thoroughly. No brats. The mysterious petty thief must have returned.  We began getting visits from this specter when my son in elementary school galumphed through the house demanding, “Where’s my ruler?” and “I can’t find my quarter. Who took it?” I’d tell him a very clever thief who specialized in sneaking into our house entered during the wee hours of the morning to take his belongings. Inevitably one us would find the missing item, and we realized the thief had re-entered to return my son’s things.

Since that time, the sneaky thief has become a regular visitor. Who else could be to blame for the dozen of pairs of my reading glasses that have gone missing? He must have one pierced earlobe, for half of a set of earrings disappears periodically. He even follows me to restaurants and snatches my scarf at least once a season. Then his coup de grace: at my mother’s apartment, my sister, brother, mother and myself fell victim to his craving for keys, for all of our sets had vanished.

I refuse to believe we’re misplacing items or are careless, although my husband uses each incident to deliver a mini-lecture on the importance of consistency. “Always put the article in the same place when you’re done with it. Then you’ll never lose it.” One study claims the average person misplaces up to nine items a day, and one-third of respondents in a poll said they spend an average of 15 minutes each day searching for items.

My husband doesn’t understand our family’s at the mercy of an unscrupulous offender. We’re lucky the villain hasn’t turned his sights on more valuable belongings, say dollar bills or cell phones.  He did enough damage with the bratwurst. I comfort myself that he probably was hungrier than anyone in the house. Needed the food more. Wasn’t just trying to drive me crazy.