Car burglaries are an urban reality. Just last week, using the daily crime report that I receive via email, I could track a criminal’s movement from the evening before as he went from address to address taking things from cars. In the 10 years I have lived at my current address, my car has been burglarized at least three times.

While each occurrence felt like a personal invasion into my life, the “take” by these criminals has been paltry. One time they took a $20 pneumatic staple gun I had purchased at Harbor Freight. I can’t imagine that there is a huge market for cheap pneumatic staple guns and I doubt seriously that the criminal had an air compressor at his disposal. The next theft deeply blessed my soul – the burglar stole my outdated GPS. Earlier that same year, the GPS led me out to the end of Breakwater Drive and instructed me to turn left (left meant a drive into Lake Pontchartrain). Good riddance.

The most recent theft confused and amused me. Just a few months ago, as I got in my car to go to work, I noticed someone had been in my car. The glove compartment was open and my phone cord had been moved, but I couldn’t see anything missing. Our main line of defense has been two-fold: 1) lock our doors, and 2) don’t leave anything of value in our cars. If the first fails, the second greatly minimizes any risk, as it did in this case. But something was missing, I just didn’t notice it at first.

It took me a while, but I finally realized what was missing when I needed to dispose of a piece of trash a few days after the “break-in.” You guessed it – in his haste, the burglar snatched my trash bag filled with used Kleenexes, gum wrappers, and coffee cups. Justice served – swift and cold.

Just for fun, I thought of a few random lessons car burglars in New Orleans have helped me relearn:

1. Faulty assumptions cloud one’s ability to think clearly.

We often risk relationships, financial security, and our own health based on faulty assumptions. Our faulty assumptions generally stem from a faulty value system – I know that is the case for these car burglars. For me, a biblical value system provides the best opportunity for proper assumptions and clear thinking.

2. People “work” hard at avoiding hard work.

Work is meant to be a blessing to us. God has given us great physical and mental abilities which we should engage in work and in creative activities. Why are we always looking to short-cut the order God has given us?

3. Haste leads to mistakes.

As a writer and designer, most of my errors arise when I hurry. If something is important enough to do, we shouldn’t rush through it, but give it our full attention.

Photo by Ryan Graybill at

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