An elderly woman leaves her rural Sunnyside home for a few hours to visit the Sunnyside Senior Center only to return and find the place that should be her sanctuary from the outside world has been rifled through and all her personal belonging have been tossed everywhere.
That is the scenario of a burglary this past Tuesday for one local resident, who wished to remain anonymous for personal safety reasons.
The 89-year-old victim immediately called the Yakima County Sheriff's Office and reported the crime. She had to stay with relatives that evening as deputies processed the mess that was her home.
"This is just one of many burglaries that have occurred lately," the victim's son shared.
He said the family considers themselves lucky because they have been told of burglars causing more severe damage in other homes.
"This is primarily malicious," said the victim's son.
He and his mother visited the bank just yesterday (Wednesday) and were told about another burglary in which the suspects urinated on personal belongings left behind. "They took a knife to the mattresses and shredded furniture," he shared.
The impact on his mother, although her belongings hadn't been destroyed, is a sense of being violated.
"It's a deep sense of violation," she shared.
Her family members are taking time out of their daily routines to help her clean up the remnants of her personal belongings.
"We know they took the satellite box," the victim's son said of what was stolen.
The television was removed from its stand and left in the driveway, but the family has to go through the items inside the home. They must clean-up the disaster to discover if anything else is missing...items of value that are smaller than the obvious electronics.
"It helps to know we're not the only ones having to experience this," the son shared.
He said, "The crime of burglary is so widespread, it's scary."
What has the greatest impact, the pair shared, is the maliciousness of this particular situation.
"It has a greater impact than if they had stolen something...it's animalistic," the victim's son said with indignation.
He is also fearful the burglars may return to the home once the family has cleaned up the mess left behind. "I fear they will wait until they think the insurance company has replaced any missing items," he explained.
The family is also impacted because they now fear for their mother's safety and well-being.
The victim, a cheerful woman, was asked how she was keeping her sense of humor. Her response, "There's no use in doing it any other way."
The son interjected, "I'm the one who feels vigilante about the situation."
What the pair want the community to know is there is a face attached to the victims of such a crime. Although it may not be a violent crime, such as a shooting, there is still an impact that reaches deeper than the eye can see.
The family wanted those in the community to know the police reports don't give a clear picture of the devastation.
They also urge residents to watch out for their neighbors and report any suspicious activity in the community.
"You just don't think much about it until it happens to you," the victim's son shared.