Abbotsford laundry-burglar caught mid-cycle in neighbour's home
If an intruder had been caught doing one Abbotsford family's own laundry, things might have turned out differently. In the end, however, the truth came out in the wash after a 37-year old man was caught cleaning his clothes in a neighbour's house earlier this week.
Police are blaming alcohol and lookalike cookie-cutter houses for a bizarre case of trespass-by-laundry, in which a family in Abbotsford's Clearbrook neighbourhood stumbled upon an inebriated stranger using their laundry room early Monday morning – using their soap and machine.
The man had recently moved into the neighbourhood and was intoxicated, police told the Vancouver Observer. Why anyone getting drunk first thing in the morning would decide to start a wash cycle is one question raised for the police in this case, said spokesperson Const. Ian MacDonald – not to mention that he seems to have unknowingly carried his load of dirty laundry outside and into his neighbour's home.
“This one's a bit unusual,” MacDonald told VO. “I don't know many people drinking that early in the morning and then feel inclined to do their laundry.
“I've been joking that if he'd broken in and did their laundry instead of his, they'd have him come every Monday.”
While it is unclear how many loads the man had already managed to purloin, he fled the scene when confronted by the homeowners, despite insisting their house was, in fact, his – abandoning his wash cycle in the process.
The laundry machine's owners called the police around 9 a.m. Monday. When officers arrived, they found the offending neighbour embarrassed and confused by the incident.
“Both sides asserted it was actually their house,” MacDonald said. “Until the light bulb went on for the man, and he realized it wasn't his house.
“He left – he'd actually left his laundry behind. We reunited him with the laundry and ... reacquainted him with the differences between his address (and theirs).”
The Vancouver Observer questioned whether might be simply a tall tale to cover the lack of his own laundry machine – but police said they didn't settle for his side of the story until they inspected both houses and noticed that they were confusingly similar.
“Again in fairness to him, we didn't just take him at his word,” MacDonald said. “We actually looked at it and we will concede that. There were almost identical layouts of the houses.”
MacDonald said the man emphasized that he had not broken into the house, but simply wanted to do his wash.
The case comes within days of an even more bizarre case in the U.S. -- that case even more like the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
Yesterday, five members of a fraternity at Eastern Kentucky University in Lexington, Kentucky returned from their holidays to discover that burglars had not only broken into their home, but slept in their beds for at least a few days – eating most of the food in their fridge, leaving fast food wrappers, and taking their laundry soap as well as most of their valuables.
"That's what I'm mad about," Darryl Hearn, one of the fraternity members, told Lex18 news. "Knowing somebody went through your house, it's kind of scary.
"I definitely washed my sheets, that's for sure."
In several other incidents in recent years, doing the wash has featured prominently.
Last June, Eugene Weir of Marion County, Florida insisted he was homeless and not a burglar after he was caught doing his laundry and making himself a steak supper in an area farmhouse.
He'd even poured himself a drink as he waited for his clothes to finish being cleaned, police said, when the homeowners returned. He was arrested on burglary charges.
In 2009, David Strickland of Golden, Colorado busted an intruder in his house one evening as he returned from work. In fact, the 24-year old trespasser had made himself fully at home -- even doing his laundry, showering and stocking the fridge with new food. Strickland caught the man wandering around the house in Strickland's own boxer shorts. The intruder calmly insisted the house was his own -- until the homeowner produced a gun.
Similarly, in 2006 an Albany, New York resident found an intruder in her house - who had made himself so comfortable he was waiting for a pizza delivery and had put a load of clothes in the wash. Larcellus Angelo Scott, 23, was arrested after the homeowner Denise Bealessio phoned police.