Yesterday someone with my garage remote was accused of stealing packages from the mailroom in my condo building in San Jose. To say I was shocked and horrified is to understate my feelings when I got the email from the property management company. The email was quite terse and, I thought, unnecessarily accusatory. Here is what it said:
Last night a fob and garage remote assigned to your unit was used to get into the building and steal packages.
Can you please fill out the attached entry form with all the garage remotes and fobs you have and anything missing will be deleted?
As I read it now, twenty-four hours later, it seems less accusatory than it did yesterday, but it does a poor job of implying that a stranger may have acquired a lost set of keys.
After I read that message, I got on the phone to the property management company to express my dismay and ask what I should do. I explained that I was in the process of preparing my condo unit for sale and that I was in Canada while this was happening. They asked me to send them a list of the numbers on all the fobs for my unit. They also asked if there was a lockbox in use, which there is not.
Then I contacted my former tenant and the person in charge of disposing of my furnishings. Both assured me that their access fobs and garage openers were accounted for.
The woman responsible for the furnishings was very upset about all this because she had been on the premises the previous evening. She had let herself in to the garage and then opened the front door to someone who had come to pick up an item of furniture.
After she had spoken with the on-site security guard, she asked me to authorize her to see any video the property management company had of the event in question, and so I did that. In reply I was told that only insurance policy holders or the police can see the videos. That struck me as unfair since they are not the ones being accused of theft, but what can you do?
Then, I got an email telling me that the fob and garage opener that were used at the same time as the package theft are going to be deactivated. Gah! So frustrating.
My guess was that, simultaneous to the disposal of the furniture, someone else was in the building and stole some packages. It’s a common error, the questionable-cause logical fallacy but, based on the little information I was given, it did not seem to have occurred to the property managers that this was a possibility and so I emailed to point this out.
That prompted a phone call from them in which it was explained to me that their video shows someone using a garage remote assigned to my unit to enter the mailroom. That person had garbage bags that they then filled with all the packages in the mailroom! At that point I gladly agreed to have that remote and one fob disabled.
When I asked the property managers to file a police report they explained that they could not do this because it was not their property that had been stolen. So, I asked if I could file a report based on the unauthorized use of my garage opener, and they said yes.
I tried to complete the online police report form, but it was inaccessible from outside the U.S. Consequently, I telephoned the San Jose Police and spent a long time listening to messages asking me to wait until someone was available to answer my call. Eventually I was able to get through and explain the situation. I emphasized that the use of the remote made no sense to me because it is not lost, but now it is their problem, not mine.
Now that there is a crime case number, the property management company can pass on the video to the police, and I will be very interested in how this plays out.