Now there is a tiny bit of background story here. First I'll start with the more recent background: This weekend we had a garage sale as part of the county wide garage sale. Towards the end of the first day Mrs. X came by and filled a big bag full of stuff she wanted. It wasn't the kind of stuff that people "need..." They were all frivolous little things like a silky scarf that had belonged to my grandmother, some beautiful lotions we'd gotten for her before she passed away this summer, stuff like that.
While she was shopping she kept talking loudly, across the driveway, about how she'd forgotten her purse and money at home (kind of a big thing when you're out shopping!) and how she'd give me the money later at Church. I didn't say anything when she said that and she finally got the message and brought the entire bag over and said she'd bring the money back later and pick it up. I have to say, I felt relieved. I didn't feel comfortable selling things that belonged to other people (much of which was my late grandmother's, and we were selling off the things no one wanted to divide the money between her heirs...) on credit, to someone who I was fairly certain would never pay us back...
Which brings me to the second part of the back story: Mrs. X used to watch our house when we went out of town. "Watching our house" really just means feeding my parents' horses twice a day... a job that does not require coming into the house. The last time she watched the house though, she acted a little bit odd. She demanded the house keys from my mom, saying she just wanted to make sure the cats were alright and that she'd change the litter boxes (we were going out of town for a couple of nights and they have access to food, water and three different litter boxes...). When we got home the litter boxes most definitely had not been touched, but there was quite a bit of evidence that someone had been making our home, their home... And later some people in the house noticed that some belongings have now been "misplaced."
We'd all like to believe that they really have been "misplaced." However, after yesterday, I am less certain.
A normal person would come up to the front door and knock if they wanted something from the owner. Instead, as my mom put her shoes on to go outside, she heard Mrs. X rummaging through the stuff out in the garage (and the inside of the garage was never part of the garage sale... everything was out on the driveway, where we are still working at putting stuff into boxes to go to their various destinations). When my mom walked out she quickly picked up a bag, clutched it against her chest, and said "I'm here for my stuff" and tried to leave.
My mom knew that she had not paid. I had actually just told my mom the price that I'd given her for the bag of stuff and had added that if she'd wanted a beautiful set of blue glasses that my husband had put in the sale, I would sell them to her for a very, very low amount (I'd told her that amount at the sale... and was only selling them to her for that amount because I know her and because she went on and on about loving them...). Instead my mom saw that she'd shoved the glasses into the bag on top of all the other stuff and was trying to leave without paying for anything.
When my mom stopped her she tried to give her a lower amount, and then finally a little more and when my mom insisted on the price we'd agreed to she said that she would "give it to the kids at Church" and put the stuff in her car and left.
My mom is a very sweet, quiet person. She came back in the house really upset.
And very quickly, pregnancy hormones surging, I was very upset as well. I was upset because I felt like she had taken advantage of that fact that my mom is so sweet and quiet. And I was upset because it was pretty clear that she was going to take everything and leave and hope we didn't notice. To top of the entire thing, I have to say that I was annoyed that she kept playing the, "we go to Church together" card when she'd driven miles out of the way, and snuck into our home to steal.
Like my mother, I am usually very shy. So she was shocked when I grabbed the keys to her car, asked her to watch Sadie, and drove down to the local meeting hall, where Mrs. X spends most of her time with a glass of wine in her hand. She was just walking out with another hall member and her teenage daughter (another surge of annoyance that she'd brought her teen daughter with her to our house to steal).
I was surprised at how calm I sounded when I got out of the car. I said, in my sweetest voice, that I was really very sorry but that I couldn't give her my husband's belongings on credit. And then I reached into my pocket, because she'd given my mom an $1.50 extra for the glasses... and the $1.50 I'd shoved into my pocket to return to her was gone... As much as I didn't want to give her the glasses, because she had just tried to sneak into the garage and steal them, I didn't want to owe her a penny. So I finally followed the first thought that popped into my head and gave her one of the glasses back and said she could buy the others any time she wanted to (and the glasses even individually marked down were more than $1.50...)... I won't be holding my breath for that to happen, because I don't believe that she ever had any intention of paying for them...
And I went home, feeling kind of brave... and kind of stupid.
I spent the rest of the afternoon troubled... and now, after giving my rather long winded explanation of what happened, will ask for advice.
If you caught someone in your home, with the clear intention of stealing, and you knew that this person had very recently been given the keys to your parish because they had volunteered to "help out," would you say something to your pastor?
I tend to be over scrupulous about "gossip" (would privately warning our pastor fall under that category?) and tend to examine and over examine everything that I say (except apparently on my blog...). At the same time, I would feel very, very guilty if things suddenly start disappearing from our parish (wine, for example) and I, knowing what I know, had refrained from saying anything...