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Entries in Robbery (1)

Wednesday
Mar092011

March 4th pt.2 - One year since the robbery

This part two of why the date of March 4th has a lot of meaning to me, check out part one for the good connection, but this one is not such a great story.

Last year on March 4th, 2010, I woke up early to go into the studio and get a head start on the SFX edit I was doing on an animated series I was working on. It was due the next day and I wanted to make sure I had it done and would not be going late into the evening. When I got to my building I went up to the suite I shared with four other people, the set was one large common room with four offices attached to the main space. It was the office of one of the main clients I freelanced for (they used 3 of the offices) and I rented my space from them.

When I arrived at door to the suite I unlocked it and walked in to find the reception area was all dismantled, the computer monitor was on the couch and cables were strewn everywhere over the back of the desk. I had not been in the studio the afternoon before and I first assumed that the main company in the space was replacing the front desk computer and that they had given up.  They were not the most the most technically adept people and often left things for me to hook up for them so I was not too phased.  But as I walked in further I noticed another office was in chaos as well, amazingly I still did not tweak to what had happened until I got to the studio I was renting and found it completely ransacked and cleaned out.  Then a massive dose of panic and adrenaline kicked in as the full realization that we had all been robbed sank in.  All my gear was gone except CTR monitors and some cheap rack gear.  The furniture was left behind but cut cabling was hanging everywhere and my filing cabinet's contents had been emptied all over the room.  It was devastating. I truly did not even know where to start.

Since I was the first one into the office that morning, the first thing I did was call the business manager of the main company in the Suite.  She was still at home and went instantly from eating breakfast into damage control mode.  We got a plan on who needed to be called and who would call whom.  Since I was at the studio I got the assignment of calling the police and I immediately screwed it up by calling 911.  Apperently even though I was in emergency mode the police did consider it an emergency if there was no currently dangerous situation, thankfully they did not give me too much of a lecture and gave me the correct number to call.  Once I reached the proper police line they took my info and told me to sit tight until officers arrived.  I was told the officers would arrive within 8 hours, which seemed a bit ridiculous, but they arrived in less then half an hour.  The police asked me a million questions that seemed more designed to confuse me then find out information, I guess they were trying to figure out if I was lying and if it was an inside job.

At this point the panic had passed and the reality was sinking in.  My immediate problem was I had a deadline looming and no gear to get the work done on.  Luckily I had the hard drive with the Protools session and my SFX drive with me so they were not stolen.  So I needed a Protools  rig to work on ASAP.  My only option was to start working the phones and see if any of my audio pro friends had a edit suite available and luckily I hit the jackpot on my first call.  At least I was not going to lose work from missing a deadline.

As more people started showing up to the scene of the crime is was becoming obvious that it was an inside job.  One of the partners of the main tenant in the space had amassed a large gambling debt and the evidence was pointing to him being a part of the break-in.  The biggest "tell" was when he was asked where he was the night before and he told the officers a long winded story about meeting two girls at a hotel bar and getting drunk with them, then going up to their hotel room for a wild time.  Then next thing he knew he woke up hours later.  He claimed the girls must have drugged him.  Coincidentally this was the plot of the episode of CSI:New York that aired the evening before the robbery.  Here is part of the plot description from the CSI website for the episode that aired March 3rd, 2010:

"The two female victims turn out to have worked for a local drug dealer but decided they wanted out of the business. The girls randomly met up with the young man on the street and accompanied him to a local bar where the girls spiked his drinks with LSD in order to rob him later on that night in his hotel room"

Now this guy and I were never much more then work acquaintances but we were always friendly and got along well and the idea of this guy ripping us all off really made me question my ability to judge people.  I apparently had this guy all wrong.  I have purposely not seen this guy since the robbery and although I know he was the prime suspect I have never even inquired as to if the police were able to press charges or if he was eventully found guilty.  I prefer to simply try to put it all behind me and move on.  

In the end all my gear was replaced through insurance and I did not lose any work.  It turned out there were a lot of positives as a result of all this, in addition to the new gear, you get to figure out who has your back and who does not, and I realized that I am lucky enough to have a lot of people to turn to when the shit hits the fan.  

So with a year of perspective I would like to throw out a few shout outs of thanks to the whole crew at Spence-Thomas Audio Post as well as Michelle Berelowitz, all of whom without I would have been a dead duck in the water if they were not there to help me out in a time of need and stress.  Thanks again.