So, people have been asking about what happened to us recently. Here's the deal: me, Mark, my brother (Harrison) and my sister-in-law (Tiffany) were victims of an armed robbery. It was completely ridiculous. Like, I'm the person who has nightmares about people chasing me with guns - fairly often. And it happened to me. I can't even believe it.
It's a long story, but I will try to keep it short. We were heading to my friend's wedding in Colorado, and left very early in the morning, as we were going to be driving straight through to the rehearsal that night. We left around 3:30am, and stopped at an extremely well lit gas station to fix a headlight, check the oil, and top off the gas tank. Mark and Harrison got out of the car and popped the hood to get things going, and Tiffany and I were sitting in the back seat. A thug came up to Mark and pretty quickly started asking Mark for money. Mark told him he didn't have any money (which he didn't) and then the thug proceeded to say that he wanted everyone else's money. Mark told him we didn't have any money, either (which we didn't). So then the told Mark he wanted his wallet and things got serious. He had a gun in his right pocket, and he pulled the gun up to show it to Mark, so that Mark knew he was serious. Of course, Mark gave him his wallet.
While this was going on, Harrison, who had a gun on him (he has his concealed carry license), realized what was going down and shut the front door of the car, took the keys out of the ignition, and locked Tiffany and I in the back seat. Harrison went back by the trunk of the car and took his gun out of his sweatpants pockets so that the thug wouldn't see it. The thug had two other guys with him, and they were at their SUV, keeping watch on the other side of the pump. I saw the thug show Mark his gun and realized what was happening. Tiffany started hyperventilating. All I could muster was an "Oh. my. gosh." The thug mentioned something about going to an ATM to get money.
It was like I was living in my nightmare.
I just wanted it to be over, but it wasn't.
Thug came over to my window and told me to open the door. I shook my head no, because okay, DUH, I did NOT want to open the door. He then proceeded to show me his gun, told me he wasn't messing around, and so I opened the door. He used some choice words, and took my purse. I had my iPhone in my lap, as I had dialed 911, and he saw it and took it as well. He then reached in and got Tiffany's wallet from her. Next, he walked around to the back of the car and asked Harrison for his wallet, and Harrison told him he didn't have it. The thug told him he would "f him up" and so Harrison obviously gave the guy his wallet. (In case you're wondering, that's four wallets, a purse, and an iPhone. And out of that, they didn't get a single cash dollar, and only got one transaction off of one card.)
And then he left. And we were in complete shock. I mean, did that SERIOUSLY just happen? Were we really just robbed? Did we really almost get shot? I mean... is this real life? Hello?!
Harrison, being the smart person he is, had already dialed 911 and put his phone in his pocket during the whole ordeal, so as soon as the thieves left, Harrison just picked his phone up and was already on the phone with 911. As he talked to the police, we drove back to Harrison's house and started calling our banks to get all of our cards shut down.
The police showed up, took our reports and statements, and we took care of turning everything off. They only got one purchase made on my credit card, at a gas station close to the one we had just left.
After the police left, we kind of sat in stunned shock in the living room, scared, reeling, and waiting for the sun to come up. Once the sun came up we started calling our families, and making plans for what to do with the day. We had decided that going to the wedding wasn't really realistic. Harrison had one card from a different bank account that hadn't been taken, so we were able to go to breakfast. At breakfast, we started getting calls from our detective. They had already pulled surveillance footage and had questions about what happened. We probably got three calls before 10:00am.
After breakfast we went to the DMV and Mark and Harrison got driver's licenses so they could be legal. Tiffany and I looked a little rugged, as we HAD BEEN ROBBED, and had on no make-up etc. Certainly not driver's license material, so we opted to wait. After that we started making rounds at the banks and trying to fix everything. They had gotten one of my check books so we had to get a completely new bank account.
While we were at the bank, we got a call from an electronics store saying they had recovered my iPhone - the thugs had tried to sell it there, a guy got suspicious, guessed it was stolen, and spooked the thugs into leaving. Remarkable. We recovered my iPhone 5 within probably 9 hours of it being stolen.
After this whirl wind of activity, we went back to Harrison's house and rested a bit until our detective called Mark and asked if we could do a line-up. So, within 12 hours of the robbery, the four of us were at police headquarters for a photo line-up. I mean, it was like an episode of 24, or NCIS. INSANE.
After that, things slowed down a bit and we tried to relax a little and had a nice dinner together to decompress. Until the sun went down. Then things went crazy. And by things, I mean specifically, Tiffany and I. Panic attack mode started setting in. We knew those guys had our IDs and they live like a mile and half from the "scene of the crime." So, we freaked a bit. A lot. We ended up staying the night at my sister's house.
Since then, they have identified two of the four people involved (the girlfriend of one of the guys tried to sell my phone, so there were four people) and charged them. They have identified those two, but have not identified the drive or the gunman. Our detective is still actively working on our case and we are optimistically hoping for an arrest. Armed robbery is not exactly a misdemeanor.
The guys were gang members, and we realized how God really truly protected us in the midst of something very terrible. We all remained calm, God gave us discernment and quick thinking, and we were all preserved. Our detective told us that those guys shoot to kill and that they don't have a problem shooting anyone. At that point it sunk in about how truly truly protected we were. Had we not cooperated, or had it escalated at all, we could have easily been killed. The local news did a story on it, and Harrison was interviewed, to try to get pictures out of the gunman so he could be identified.
So, it's been about four weeks - almost exactly - eek! And I'm doing okay. I think I'm over the shock now and settling in to the reality and I'm really going to have to work through it better. I'm very afraid in parking lots and going to and from establishments if I'm by myself. I'm afraid to walk through our neighborhood at night. I am currently the world's worst at profiling people. I am pretty PTSD. I need to continually remind myself of God's protection.
You could certainly say we have had a rough few months. I am so ready for God to turn this around, to see what good he has for us, because I know he works all things together for the good according to his purpose. And I know that he has plan for me - for a hope and a future. And I know that he will finish the work that he started in me. In the meantime, I am waiting. I am licking my wounds, trying to grasp all the thoughts swirling in my head, and trying to give myself some grace. Some time to heal. Trying to come down from the initial shock of it all and readjust my expectations and my plans. I am hopeful that God is using this for something wonderful, that beauty will come from these ashes, and that he will redeem all of these crummy situations. And that I would find peace and purpose in the midst of it all.
So. That's it. We survived one of my worst nightmares without a single physical mark. God is our protector. I am thankful.