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On Monday July 12th (my birthday) I returned home to find my air conditioner partly out of the window. At first glance I thought that it had fallen out on it own, but it did seem to look like it was removed and poorly put back. Later, I found that my side door was unlocked, something I had confirmed as being locked just the day before.

Suspecting someone had entered my apartment that day with out my knowing I checked my living room security camera, sure enough, someone walked through my living room once, from my bedroom area to the kitchen area.

I did not act on this immediately as I did not find anything missing or otherwise disturbed at the time other than the air conditioner. On Wednesday July 14th, I placed some spare change in a coffee can type tin and heard a hollow thud; opening it I found that it was nearly empty. When last I looked (1 week earlier) it was half full and contained roughly 50 dollars in loose change.

From the available facts, we find that someone removed my air conditioner and entered my bedroom through the window and replaced it. While in my bedroom, the stole a large amount of loose change and walked through my house to the side door, along the way being quite visible to my living room security camera.

Who is this someone? A 'neighbor' in fact whose door is less than 100 feet from my own. Pictures of her passage through my living room are featured below.

Soon after discovering the missing money, I called my landlords to see if they had authorized anyone to enter my apartment on that day, confirming my suspicion that they hadn't I took a number of the pictures taken along with a CD of them to the police station to report the crime.

Later that evening I received a call to tell me that they had spoken with the 'suspect' (their word, not mine) and that she had confessed to the break-in and theft and would be charged with 3rd degree burglary and petty theft.

So now we wait for the wheels of justice to do their job. Here's hoping I can get the money back. More information will be added as it becomes available.

In case you are wondering, 3rd degree burglary (in South Dakota) pretty much boils down to entering a 'structure' without permission while it is not occupied. 2nd degree is doing the same but when it is occupied and 1st is what 2nd is plus having a weapon, doing so at night or where physical harm is threatened or carried out.

The following are all of the pictures taken by my camera on the 12th, I apologize for the quality but as jpegs they do not look the best, in their native BMP form they are much more clear.

UPDATE: July 20th, 2004

After speaking with the police yesterday I learned a few interesting tidbits.

First up, my burglar is scheduled for a normal pretrial hearing/arraignment on August 12th. From the sounds of it, she'll most likely be sent to a youth boot camp when convicted (I say when as there is basically zero chance of her getting off).

One other juicy tidbit, is that I am told that when initially asked about the break in, she denied all knowledge and only admitted it after being presented with the pictures. Further proof of what a slime ball she is! Do not trust her, do not let her near your home, who knows, she might have even broken into yours!

UPDATE: August 10th, 2004

First up, I was mistaken, 2nd degree burglary is the primary charge, not 3rd as I had previously said. The difference is whether the structure is occupied... not at the time of the burglary, but whether it's a place of dwelling. So 2nd is the charge when a home is broken into... and 3rd is the charge for places such as sheds and garages (unless you've got the mother in law out there).

During a short call with the State Attorney's office, I learned a few things. Our friend the accused (aka Kaila S (I'm being nice by not reviling her last name)) is scheduled to appear before the judge at 9am on Thursday August 12th where it is expected that she will be pleading not guilty not only to the charges related to my break in... but also several others!

From the sounds of it, she is also being charged with 2 other counts of 2nd degree burglary and 1 count of 4th degree burglary (breaking into a car).

A single count of 2nd degree burglary in South Dakota carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in the state pen, while the petty theft carries a max of 30 days in the county jail. In her case sadly (or happily in this case), she is not eligible to be sent to boot camp as she's already been there.

Through unofficial rumors, I've heard that she's had her run-ins with the law, I've since had it confirmed that she is what some would call "a repeat customer" when it comes to her and run-ins with the law.

Given all of the felony charges she's facing the timeline is expected to be something along the lines of...

  • August 12th: Plead not guilty and ask for attorney which will result in having preliminary hearing postponed to give her lawyer time to become familiar with case.
  • August 26th: Enter plea with lawyer present.
  • September 9th or 29th: Discovery hearing where it is argued if there is sufficient cause to go to trial (which there is more than enough of).

  • At this point she would be bound to circuit court... all in all, if it goes to trial, it may end in October or November... or, she can plead guilty on the 12th (very unlikely) or the 26th (slightly less unlikely) and throw herself at the mercy of the judge (who I hope has none). It's sounds like a little plea-bargaining is expected... I hope none occurs though; this woman is a repeat offender and needs to have the book thrown at her... hell, if the judge will let me, I'd be happy to help!

    UPDATE: August 11th, 2004

    My new friends at the State Attorney's office sent me a copy of the police report of my incident, it seems there is something I didn't know... the claimed reason for her break-in. To quote the reporting Officer's narrative:
    I asked her about the incident. At first she denied it, but I then explained to her the photos that were taken. Kaila then changed her story and said that she did go in the apartment and take about $15 worth of change out of the tin. When asked why she did it, she just told me that she didnít know. At one point she told me that she heard that Grant was in drugs, and that there was blood all over his walls, so she wanted to check it out.
    And again from her written statement:  
    I went into my neighbors house and took $15:00 dollars in change and went through the window. I was in the wrong. But my Land Lord told my mom that He thought that he did drugs and that there was Blood on the walls so I went into check. and that was when I took the money. I pushed the air conditioner in and left.

    The blatant violation of the privacy of my home wasn't bad enough... but libeling me in the official record of the event and making such claims to a police officer? I find that very insulting! Even the idea that decided to accuse me of illegal activity to justify her own sickens me.

    UPDATE: August 12th, 2004

    As expected, she plead not guilty this morning and asked for an attorney, now we wait to see what happens on the 26th during her next scheduled appearance.

    UPDATE: August 26th, 2004

    Once again things in this case are going as expected, while in court today she asked for a preliminary hearing (ie investigating if there is sufficient evidence to go to trial and giving her lawyer time to plea-bargain) which is scheduled for 10 am on September 23rd.

    UPDATE: September 26th, 2004

    Today while in court, the burglar at large waved her right to a preliminary hearing and with that, events are expected to proceed as follows:

    The original list of charges she has been answering for include my 2nd degree burglary and petty theft, along with 2 additional counts of 2nd degree burglary, 1 count of 4th, and 3 counts of petty theft from another event which I do not know any details of. On October 4th she is expected to plead guilty to my count of 2nd degree burglary and the other count of 4th as part of the plea bargain, and the remaining 6 charges will be dismissed.

    After she enters a guilty plea to both charges, the judge I am told will order a pre-sentence inquiry which is not unlike a background check where it is determined what kind of sentence would be best, during that time they will also be talking to me about my thoughts and feelings on the issue.

    Finally, on October 28th, the judge will sentence her. Should she be given jail time (state penitentiary style time), she will be leave from court that day to jail... thus it seems I may need to take the afternoon of October 28th off so that I can see justice served.

    1:30 PM on the 28th if you're wondering will be the fateful hour on the 28th.

    UPDATE: October 15th, 2004

    It seems I'm a bit behind in posting updates.

    As expected, on October 4th she plead guilty to my count of 2nd degree burglary and another count of 4th degree burglary related to another incident. Unfortunately, due to the vacation of the person who will write the pre sentence report, sentencing has been pushed back until November 1st at 1:30 PM. Given the felony conviction, she wont get to vote the next day... not that I think she's the sort to really care about such a thing.

    I've learned that as part of the sentence, the judge can decide where the sentence is to be carried out, in this case, either in county jail or the state penitentiary. It seems unlikely (unfortunately), that the judge will sentence her to any time at the pen because of her age, so the county jail in Brookings looks to be the most likely destination.

    Furthermore, it sounds like restitution may be a part of this sentence after all. The only loss/damage I ever noted was the stolen money, so during my recent talk with the individual conducting the pre sentence investigation, I gave him the number of $60 dollars which I arrived at through throwing a bunch of change into the tin in question to the level I thought it was at before.

    So again, we wait until November 1st, roughly three and a half months since this all began.

    UPDATE: November 1st, 2004

    Without further delays, I present... the sentence!

    On (my) count of 2nd degree burglary, she was sentenced to 4 years in the state penitentiary with 2 years stayed.

    On the other count of 4th degree burglary, she was sentenced to 2 years in the state penitentiary.

    In addition, reparations and court and attorney fees.

    Her case was #3 on the docket for the afternoon, and both before and after, the state's attorney did not have to say or do much, except for this case. He made light of her "significant history", including a large amount of unpaid restitutions related to that past and asked that she be sentenced to the penitentiary.

    He also said that he did not think that anything can be done short of a stiff sentence to keep her inline (my paraphrasing).

    Her defense attorney called her criminal history "unremarkable" and said something to the effect of that she wants to live in society as a law abiding adult. I couldn't help but smile at that comment because these events she had already plead guilty to were committed as an adult... so want and try as she might, she just doesn't seem to be able to pull it off.

    Next up, the Judge began with "Miss Scofield, you have been here again and again..." after a few more words, he proceeded with the sentence, which I noted above. He also said that the jail terms would be served concurrently (doh!). I have yet to find out how long until she may qualify for parole.

    I will have to verify it, but it sounds like the condition for the reduced sentence is her payment of the reparations, including my $60.

    Despite me bringing my camera, I fear I have no pictures to show. I didn't think it wise to snap a photo or two in the court room as she was handcuffed and put off to the side, nor as she was later lead out. Instead I decided to sit and listen to a few more cases, always interesting stuff sitting in a court room for a time.

    I later went to the Sheriffs office where she would be transported from to the pen, unfortunately I learned that my chances of getting to snap a pic or two on her way out were slim as there would be no bus and that she and the others would be loaded up in a vehicle inside and the most I'd be able to get would be her sitting in the vehicle as it drove away. Given the weather and the uncertainty of when she'd be leaving, I opted not to stay... I am forced to wonder what it would take to get a copy of the booking photo though, so we shall see.

    UPDATE: November 12st, 2004

    Even after she's been in the pen for over a week there is new news.

    While speaking with a neighbor this morning, I learned that he had seen my burglar leaving my house on several occasions, even once with his wife seeing it too. At the time, they thought that she knew me and it was ok.

    The reason I have a security camera in my living room is because I had a couple of DVD's go missing in the fall if you recall... I think it is now safe to assume that 'Miss Scofield' was responsible for that... and who knows what else.

    With this new information, I made a call to the State Attorney's office to see if an affidavit from my neighbor, contradicting her statement in the police report would help keep her away for longer... unfortunately, as she has already been sentenced, it would do nothing for that. Thankfully, it will be useful if/when I haul her into small claims court.

    When I saw her get sentenced to 2-4 years in the state pen, I was quite happy decided that small claims court was no longer as important as it had been because she would be removed from society for far longer than I had ever hoped (although now I do wish for far more). I've since decided to pursue a small claims judgment. Like the $60 in reparations I am now owed by her, I would not expect to collect anything from her, however I am now feeling it more and more important to drive the point home that her behavior is unacceptable and to encourage her not to continue it after her release.


    Note: I have removed most of the pictures showing no motion to save on bandwidth.

    The above pictures were all taken with my trusty MemoCam that some poor fool sold to a thrift store and that I bought back in December. Best 10 bucks I've ever spent!