Neighborhood Excitement…Or, The Day I Almost Ruined a Stake Out

It all started on Tuesday evening. My family came over for dinner, and my mom parked her car in the street in front of our house instead of in the driveway. (I think she figured that with Scott on his way home from work and my brother on his way over as well, it would make sure that Scott could still get to the garage.)

When my brother and his lovely wife and daughter arrived, I went to the front door to greet them and noticed that there was a strange SUV parked behind my parents’ car. I didn’t recognize the car, for one thing, and the driveways of all of our immediate neighbors were clear so it made sense that a guest of theirs would have parked in the driveway. A guest of theirs would also have been likely to get out of the car, and the driver of this vehicle remained behind the wheel. We all agreed that was strange, but the next time we looked out the window it was gone.

The next morning, Scott opened the garage door to leave for work and then immediately stepped back inside. “Megan, there’s another SUV parked in that exact same spot.” I looked through the peephole in our front door and, sure enough, there was a different SUV parked where the one the day before had been. This time, there were two men inside, but the one in the passenger seat looked similar to the one I’d seen in the other car.

“That’s creepy,” I declared. “I was going to run LilRunr to school today, but now I’m not.”

After the whole “wake and dress and feed the toddler, then pack all of his things in a bag and take both bag and toddler to daycare” routine, or…an hour later, I returned to find the SUV still parked in front of our house. With its passengers STILL inside. I am officially freaked out, so I did what any reasonable person would do — I tweeted about it. Everyone on my Twitter feed agreed that it was weird. One suggested that someone I knew had recently applied for a government job — lol — and another recommended that I call the police. When I peeked out the window a half hour later (what? I’m nosy!), I saw one of the fellas train a pair of binoculars on a house down the street.

Ok, that’s it. Binoculars pushes the creep factor beyond ignorable limits. Time to call the cops.

I call the local police and am put through to a dispatcher. I explain the situation, am told that someone will be heading my way to check it out, and then am abruptly put on hold.

“Ma’am?” the dispatcher says.

“Yes, I’m here.”

“Ma’am, there are officers in your area at this time.”

“Oh…” Those are cops? Oh. Well, now I feel a little silly…but also concerned. “Is there…um…” How in the world do I phrase this? “Is there any activity in the area?” I mean there has to be, right, or else there wouldn’t be police conducting nearly constant surveillance. 

 “It’s nothing that you need to be concerned about, ma’am.”

REALLY???? “Oh, ok. Um…sorry.”

“Have a nice day, ma’am.”

The next time I peeked outside, the SUV was gone. And that, I thought to myself, is that…until lunch time rolled around and I walked into the kitchen. The windows on the side of the house were telling a totally different story…10 police officers were gathered in front of a house down the street. I saw the SUV from earlier, two police cars, two other vehicles, and a man wearing army fatigues. Everyone is sort of just milling around, but most alarming to me is the van in the driveway (presumably the homeowners’) with all of its doors open and a small child in the backseat. WHAT…IN THE…HECK?

They are there for the rest of the afternoon. I do the nosy neighbor thing periodically, and at various points see two ladies retrieve a car seat from another of the homeowners’ vehicles, a man leave the garage carrying some strange-looking tools that I decided were used to open safes, because the next items to leave the garage are guns…lots of guns. Way too many guns for a house that I pass on a nearly daily basis, driving or running or taking my boy for a walk.

By the time the afternoon draws to a close and I’m leaving to go pick up LilRunr from daycare, the news trucks are pulling into the neighborhood. Later that evening, we learn that the entire operation is part of a drug bust that is the result of four years of investigating and a Federal indictment.

Well.

This is alarming and unexpected. I don’t know the family who lives in that house. I wouldn’t even recognize them if I saw them. However, I feel simply terrible for the children of the man arrested. Their world has been turned upside down and they’ve done absolutely nothing to deserve it. Other than that, my sense of personal security has taken a blow, but said sense of security was likely unfounded and naive considering the large urban area that I call home.

And I thought my biggest problem was the annoying dogs next door or the pre-teens who think throwing rocks at rabbits in my backyard is funny. No longer.

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