How safe is your garage? Break-ins on the rise

They crept in sometime after midnight, uninvited guests who showed up and left without anyone knowing about it, although my mother-in-law remembers that when she let her dog out around 3 a.m., it took longer than usual for him to come back to the back door. She didn't think anything of it at that time, but the dog kept looking at the garage.

Yesterday morning, in a tiny rural community in southeastern Indiana, my mother-in-law and brother-in-law's family (they live next door to each other) awakened to find their detached garages broken into. The cars were untouched, but numerous things were missing, like a flashlight and other expensive tools, a teenager's dirt bike and copper wiring.

"Copper wiring is very popular among thieves," I told my mother-in-law. "You know, it's nothing personal. With the way the economy is, people are getting more desperate." I started to try to explain to my mother-in-law that she could now consider herself part of this widespread socio-economic trend, and then realized that she really wasn't in the mood for hearing that.