Pocket change at what price

Published 11:34 pm Friday, January 23, 2009

In nearly 30 years, I thought I had experienced most things life has to offer.

I was wrong. Thursday, I experienced my first burglary.

The Times office was broken into sometime between 11 p.m. Wednesday and 8 a.m. Thursday, and despite the destruction of a glass door and an innocent bystanding Pepsi machine, the office escaped largely unscathed.

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In my experience, most newspapers see the largest amount of theft via their newspaper stands. Thieves, for whatever reason, think these small metal boxes hold both newspapers and untold riches.

They’re wrong. The destruction of a newspaper stand costs, on average, $250 to fix or replace. Those riches locked away inside? It’s usually less than two dollars.

What’s actually inside the office is even less.

Newspapers are like any other business. We deposit what money we take in daily in the bank. The newspaper office, much like those newspaper stands, has very little cash on hand at any given time.

I’m not sure what, exactly, the Times burglar was looking for, but I doubt he or she found it.

With damages that exceed more than a thousand dollars, the fruits of that labor netted less than five dollars in change.

The vast majority of that was in loose change the employees here keep in our desk drawers for use in the Pepsi machine, which is currently on life support, thanks to our visitor who tried — unsuccessfully I might add — to take what money was inside. Ironically, the machine was serviced only a few days ago, and it’s not likely there was more than a dollar or two to be had.

I realize it’s not practical to expect that the person who invaded our privacy is reading this, but in the event that word of mouth is able to spread, I’ll tell you exactly what was taken Thursday morning.

It was a handful of pocket change we use to buy our children, including my own, drinks when they come to visit us after day care and after school.

What was taken were things easily replaced, but it’s the principle behind the loss. What was, I assume, an attempt to rob some “faceless business” actually turned into the mugging of several small children; taking candy from a baby, so to speak.

As I spent much of the day Thursday sweeping glass off of the floor, I seriously doubt it was worth the effort.

Note: Jason Cannon is publisher of the Demopolis Times