Residents across the nation have turned to a new type of home security: surprise parties. As with many inventions, the creation of Surprise Party Theft Deterrent was accidental. John and Linda Sandford of Marietta, Georgia hosted a family birthday party for their four year old daughter. That night, an intruder broke into their home.
“I thought I heard someone,” Sandford said when interviewed, “and when I went downstairs to investigate, there was a man standing in our living room! The bizarre thing was, he saw all the party decorations that were left up from my daughter’s birthday party and he thought they were for him! He forgot all about stealing our stuff.”
The Sandfords proceeded to wake up their children and defrost leftover birthday cake.
“It turned into one big, happy event,” Sandford said, “we decided to leave the decorations up in case it happens again.”
Initially, police were skeptical of this rather unorthodox home security system.
“Honestly? I thought they were all a bunch of nut jobs,” Lieutenant David Jefferson of the Los Angeles Police Department said, “but then I heard it started working. Don’t get me wrong – I still recommend a traditional home security system over this surprise party thing.”
Surprise Party Theft Deterrent can also be a rewarding experience. The Sanfords formed a relationship with their home invader and have since invited him to family dinners and holiday gatherings. Aside from a missing laptop and some “misplaced” silver, their home intruder is like a member of their family.
“Sure, we don’t leave him alone near the checkbook .. or let him borrow the car … but he’s like family to us!” Sandford states.
One criticism of Surprise Party Theft Deterrents is the possibility of the home intruder being armed with a deadly weapon – and using this weapon if startled by the surprise party.
“I’d be lying if I said the thought didn’t cross my mind every time I crouched behind the sofa, waiting to jump up and yell, ‘Surprise!'” Peter Anderson of Mesa, Arizona confessed, “but it’s a chance I’m willing to take.”
“Especially when you see the look of astonishment on their face,” Esther Anderson chimed in, “why, after a rash of break-ins in our neighborhood, one intruder started to cry when he climbed through our den window and was welcomed with noisemakers and Peter and I yelling, ‘Surprise!’ He said no one had ever thrown him a surprise party before.”
While the expense of maintaining traditional home security systems can be what drives some people to use surprise parties as theft deterrents, others do so for different reasons.
“Personally, I find home security systems a bit … alarming with their obnoxious sirens. It could easily disrupt an individuals inner chi.” said Destiny Light of Woodstock, New York.
Surprise parties were the perfect solution for Light – even though crime is rare in her neighborhood.
“Never the less, it is simply delightful to have my kitchen decorated for a birthday party every day, said Light.
There are some downsides with Surprise Party Theft Deterrent. Having your house decorated for a birthday party year round can be a hassle. It’s also confusing for children.
“Every morning when my son woke up, he kept thinking it was his birthday,” Heather Burns of Grand Rapids, Michigan said, “and when it finally was his birthday, well, the birthday decorations didn’t excite him anymore.”
Sagging crepe paper and deflating balloons can not only be a nuisance, but also an additional expense. But not nearly as much as the monthly fees charged by home security services.
Reactions of home intruders to this new form of theft deterrent vary.
“At first, I be like, ‘whats that?” Larry Johnson of Southtown, Illinois said when interviewed in the Greater Illinois Detention Center, “they all be going, “Surprise and sh-t! I there to rob a house, ya’ll. If I wanted a party, I’d go to a party! So I say, “Gimme that flat-screen! Gimme that Macbook!”
“The old lady? She starts bawling. She starts saying, “He was supposed to like the party.” What do I look like? A four year old? Like I say, If I wanted a party, I’d go to a party. I there to get stuff!”
Andrew Anderson had a different response.
“I loved it! When I pried open that screen, and climbed through that window, and there was a party waiting for me? And not the police? I’d have to be crazy not to like that family.”
Party City stocks have soared since the introduction of Surprise Party Theft Deterrents.
The Underground Writer Reporting