You can't rob a house

HOUSE ROBBED WHILE FAMILY AT MOVIE

Cordite, Va – The home of I. Will Fillemfullalead on Glock Circle in Cordite was robbed last night between the hours of 8pm and 11pm, while the family was away enjoying a movie at a local theater. The robbers took everything from the home, leaving the Fillemfullalead’s with very little. The Red Cross has offered their assistance.

“When we got home, we saw that our house had been robbed. They took everything, right down to to the kid’s handguns and reloading kit,” said Mrs. Fillemfullalead. “I hope the police catch them before we do, or there’ll never be a trial.”

Police spokesperson, Captain I. M. Overwait, says investigators have no leads at this time. He vows, though, that his department will catch the robbers.

Okay, how many times have you seen headlines similar to the ones above? Too many times if you ask me, because a house cannot be robbed. No way, no how. The definition of a robbery is this – To take something (property) from a person by force, violence, or threat.

From a PERSON. Not an inanimate object. From a PERSON. Not a building.

You cannot threaten a house or business. Nope, there has to be a person present to constitute a robbery. And he/she must have felt threatened and/or intimidated by the robber when the goods were taken. Otherwise, the Fillemfullalead’s home had been burglarized, and their property stolen.

Please, keep this in mind when writing your stories.

Many people have asked me to review books on this site, and I’ve resisted for a long time. Well, I finally caved in and agreed to start. Lo and behold, the first book that came my way featured both “the odor of cordite” and a house being robbed. Needless to say, I won’t be reviewing that one, not on a public blog, that is. I certainly wouldn’t want to “rob” the author of any sales by posting a bad review. Of course, the writing matched the level of research, so it’s best that I keep my thoughts to myself…this time.

Now, back to robbery…

A Texas teenager, Claudia Hidac, was shot to death during a botched robbery attempt at a local residence a few weeks ago. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that the girl was found face down at the back door after gunfire broke out during the attempted robbery.

Hidac, the apparent “brains” of the operation, had directed two male accomplices to the residence where at least five people were at home at the time of the incident. One of Hidac’s partners was armed.

One of the three robbers kicked in the back door, and that’s when the exchange of gunfire erupted. The two male accomplices fled the scene, leaving 17-year-old Hidac, dead from a shot to the head.

Both male accomplices have since been arrested.

In the case of Hidac, well, there was clearly a threat to the people inside the home. And force and violence were clearly present at the time of the robbery attempt.

No one was at home at the Fillemfullalead household, therefore, their home was burglarized.

Hopefully, I’ve made clear the difference between robbery and burglary.

What’s not clear is what was inside Claudia Hidac that drove her to commit such a crime.

Claudia Hidac – Facebook photo

  1. BrendaW.
    BrendaW. says:

    Wow. At least Claudia won’t try to harm anyone else. I hope the newspaper left the names of her accomplices for readers.

    I think if one’s home was burgled, it would still FEEL like a robbery.

    Ashley, great allusion.

  2. Pat Marinelli
    Pat Marinelli says:

    I got to the end of the third paragraph and had to go back and read the name again. ROFL. Fillemfullalead and Capt Overwait. Your priceless sense of humor will make sure that I never forget the difference between a robbery and burglary.

  3. Terry Odell
    Terry Odell says:

    Yay! Not only did I get it right (after research, of course), but I even had my cop character explain it to a non-cop character in the hopes that readers might learn something if they’re not up to speed with The Graveyard Shift.

  4. Tracy Nicol
    Tracy Nicol says:

    Ha, ha, I love your articles, Lee! I was always impressed that Paul McCartney knew the difference. In the song, She Came In Through The Bathroom Window, he sings, ” she could steal, but she could not rob”. Hardly anyone seems to get this one right!

    I had already read about the Claudia Hidac robbery. It just seems so stupid. She was a beautiful girl who didn’t seem to be hurting for money. And who robs a home in Texas rather than burglarizing it? Everyone in Texas has at least one gun at home!

  5. Sally Carpenter
    Sally Carpenter says:

    Another error is to refer to an “unamed suspect.” No such thing. A suspect is a person who has allegedly committed a crime. A person must be identified before they are accused and therefore would be named.

  6. Brenda Coxe
    Brenda Coxe says:

    I think most people know the difference (individuals), but it’s easier to say, “We’ve been robbed” than “We’ve been burglarized.” Of course, there is no excuse for media sources or authors. It reflects negatively on your credibility.

  7. Ashley McConnell
    Ashley McConnell says:

    So corporate persons are not really persons? (Womanfully refraining from making the obvious political joke.)

  8. Dave Swords
    Dave Swords says:

    FINALLY someone points out the difference.

    News reporters make this mistake constantly.