The Hill’s Christina Wilkie was the victim of a vehicle break-in last Thursday night on 15th and Chapin Streets, NW, in what police characterized as a smash-and-grab theft of her laptop, personal items, and reporting equipment from inside a locked car with an armed security system.
Wilkie’s Toyota (her Dad’s) was parked in a reserved residential spot under well-lit video surveillance at approximately 10:30 p.m. when thieves smashed the front window and took a bag stashed underneath the passenger seat.
The thieves also shaved off the car’s registration and inspection stickers from inside the windshield, ostensibly, she suspects, so they could paste them on another car.
The break-in occurred as Wilkie was on her way home from work, and stopped to pick up some paintings she had lent to a friend who was moving out.
Among the items taken from inside the car were the very things she uses in her day job: a laptop computer, still camera, FlipCam, credentials, cards, notebooks, keys, and other items the reporter carried daily. Luckily her ATM card and Blackberry were in her jacket pocket.
Police arrived on the scene quickly, but freezing rain erased any fingerprints and detectives have yet to contact Wilkie about what is on the security videotapes.
Wilkie said The Hill’s higher ups were great about giving her time to sort out the damage and providing back-up equipment; they even had serial numbers on hand for her stolen hardware, which will help detectives trace the items if they ever show up in a pawn shop.
Read more Wilkie crime victim advice and how she feels now after the jump…
Wilkie stressed, “Every news outlet has its own policies about equipment replacement, and you should know yours in case anything happens.”
Things Wilkie wishes she had done: “Designate a back-up computer beforehand, so as to not worry about how to file and post in the immediate aftermath of the break-in.” She said she also regrets not having taken time to set up RSS feeds; and saving her 100 most visited bookmarked websites.
Wilkie said she reported the theft to the House Periodical Press Gallery, and will need to fill out forms and get temporary credentials on her next trip to Capitol Hill.
The scribe says she’s okay now, but it has taken awhile.
“I was really shaken up after I found the car,” she said. “Thankfully a friend drove it to the Washington Hilton for me, where we put it in the garage overnight.
“I didn’t feel like myself for a few days, though.”
Scarier still: We were never more than 30 feet away from the car” Wilkie said, “So it’s scary to think that whoever broke in must have been watching us and waiting for the right moment.”