Andy Rooney

A victim of theft

In recent months, I've been the victim of a series of unusual and disturbing thefts. Someone is following me.

A couple of weeks ago, I attended the Writers' Guild Annual dinner at a prestigious New York hotel. ("Prestigious" means expensive.) Margie wasn't feeling well and decided to stay home. Because I wanted to be able to keep in touch with her, I brought my cell phone.

After the event, featuring the great Mort Sahl as speaker, I went to my car, which I'd parked a few blocks from the hotel, and drove home. I did not use my cell phone.

The following morning, I looked to make sure I had the phone as I left the house. It was nowhere to be found. I looked in all my pockets, the dresser drawers and hall table. I decided I must have locked it in the glove compartment of the car. I went to the car, unlocked the glove compartment-no telephone.

At this point, I realized what must have happened. When I checked my coat in the hotel, I deliberately left the phone in the pocket. I was scheduled to speak and did not want the cell phone bulging in my tuxedo pocket. I bulge in enough places without it.

When I retrieved my coat, I thought the person in the checkroom acted a little suspicious. He spoke little English-which always seems suspicious to me. He never looked me in the eye, either. Aha! It struck me like lightning. Obviously, he had gone through my coat pockets and taken my cell phone. He was making extra money by searching through the pockets of checked coats for valuables. I'd call the hotel and ask if they'd had any reports of thefts in their coatroom.

Before I had a chance to call the hotel, I got back in my car to drive to the office. I felt some object under the brake pedal. Reaching down, I found my cell phone on the floor of the car where I'd dropped it.

A week later, I parked my car on 85th Street in New York City. Six hours later, I went to get it. The car was gone! I walked the whole block and there was no doubt about it. My car was not where I'd parked it.

I had a car stolen eight years ago and now I had the same sinking feeling. The insurance company would probably cancel my coverage or double the premium. So much trouble, so much paperwork. Dealing with the police would be a pain.

As I started walking back to the office, deep in pained thought about what to do, I walked down 84th Street. Eureka! There was my car. The thief must have taken it from 85th Street, gone for a joy ride, and then returned it to 84th Street.

Over the years, I've been the victim of countless thefts like these. I leave valuables, like a wristwatch, on my desk in the office at night and, in the morning, the watch is gone -- obviously the work of the cleaning people…or, wait a minute. There's the watch on the table across the room.

People take my keys all the time. I don't know why they keep stealing my keys and putting them somewhere else. The keys are no good to the thieves because they don't know which doors they unlock. They take them anyway.

Someone has even stolen food from our refrigerator. There have often been things I know are in there but when I look, they're gone. This kind of petty thievery has had a constant, negative effect on the quality of my life, and if anyone has information leading to the arrest and conviction of the people who've been stealing from me, please let me know.