Know the Area/Situation is Risky? Google Map It!
So, as I stated in one of my old threads, my sister is going through a very messy divorce with, of all people, a felon. I was supposed to serve him the papers, but heeded the good advice of the people here and didn't do it. Since then he's been very bipolar with his communication, sometimes saying, "I love you so much, bla bla" while immediately following it up with, "If you could get your head out of your ass you'd see that I'm the only one who will ever love you." Nice guy, eh?
For a month now my sister has been moving out of their house. Before the papers were served (by someone else, of course), she was able to get everything together, and since he has been "traveling" (we really don't know) she's been able to get to the house and move stuff out in the meantime.
About two or three weeks ago my dad and I, along with one of her employees at work, went to the house and got some big stuff, like her piano, and some clothes and stuff. Unfortunately she, despite being 10 years older, has the maturity and insight of someone half MY age, and she didn't take all of her stuff while she had three men and a truck there. So she's been going back when he wasn't there and getting more of her stuff (and her stuff only). Since then he's said some threatening things, doing the same bipolar talk, and saying he took her off the lease, which he can't do without her signature (and, for that matter, wouldn't be advantageous in a divorce proceeding). Did I already mention he's a conman felon who is a pathological liar?
In order to get everything -- and I mean EVERYTHING -- out of the house, she recruits me to help her since I'm the only one with an SUV that would carry her outrageously ginormous jewelry cabinet. I told her only today would work, and to meet me at noon. And I confirmed he was "out of town" before committing to this.
I got there at 11:59a. I noticed while going up the driveway that the snow hadn't been bothered, so it was extremely likely he hadn't been back there in at least three or four days, since it snowed. I backed up to the garage and sat. The neighbor, who we were told the soon-to-be-ex-husband told him that she was now off the lease, came out his front door a little bit with his dog on the leash, and I tried to look relatively conspicuous just by playing with my cell phone. I then got a text from my sister, with a call immediately afterward, saying she was an hour away. I should have known, as she has the responsibility level of a.. well.. I don't even know who is that irresponsible. So I called my mom to crab a little, and she suggested I go to the nearby bookstore since I was in the area. Great idea!
So while I'm perusing some great books at the outlet mall, I get a call from my sister. "He said the cops are on the way." OK, so I know the neighbor called him. I said, "What do you want me to do, then?" And she said, "Go home, I guess." To which I responded, "No. We're getting the stuff and getting out. For one thing, he's a liar, and he's just trying to control you. He thinks he can intimidate you by saying the cops are coming. He didn't call the cops. And for another thing, even if the cops came, that is still your house. He's lying to you about the lease, and that address is still on your driver's license. Meet me here, and we'll go together and just get the stuff." An hour later, we met up and were on our way.
I got up the driveway quickly, not even noticing that the neighbor's truck was now gone (as my sister later noted). This is a one-lane driveway of, oh, maybe 100 yards, and is shared with the very neighbor who called the idiot. She parked her car a little up the driveway, which was good enough, I thought, since it's snowy and I didn't want it getting stuck. I wanted to get in-and-out very quickly, and she confirmed there were only three things I needed to get: the jewelry box and two end tables. Of course that wasn't it, and there were also a basket of more baskets, some pictures, clothes, some boxes, a blanket, and some other misc items which were obviously hers.
She then decided she wanted to move her car up some so she didn't have to walk as far to load her car. Bad idea, I thought, but she moved it up so that it didn't block the driveway for me, any longer, but in the meantime did set off her car alarm and turned on the radio loudly, surely drawing attention to us. Yes, idiotic.
We get everything loaded up, and as I'm walking back to my SUV from the house to leave, I notice the red truck oddly backing out of his small driveway. By oddly I mean that he was backing out in the opposite direction than if he was leaving since the driveway was one-way and so was the street off of which the driveway jutted. I then realized what he might be doing: blocking us in.
I get in my SUV quickly and get down the driveway pretty quickly. He then backs up oddly again, and speeds up to get up the driveway to try to block me from getting out where the driveway bottlenecks with a treeline. I then make the quick decision to swerve over into a nearby neighbor's driveway which, from what I remembered from when I came there before and it wasn't snowy, was very close to my sister's driveway, and start going down the road.
Of course now my immediate thought is, "I wonder how my sister is going to get out." She, unbeknownst to me, had gotten a little stuck in the snow, just as I expected, and had to rock the car back and forth a bit (forward-reverse-forward-reverse, etc), and got free. She too barely made it out before the rather large truck closed the bottleneck. She, moronically, flipped him off as she left. Fortunately, he didn't pursue.
As an aside, she then calls me and says, "That was awesome! I almost got stuck, but then got out and flipped him off! Do you want a soda? I'm stopping off to get one." And I said, "No, you're not. We're going to mom and dad's house to drop off your stuff. If he's anywhere near here, he'll be looking for us, so let's go drop your stuff off quickly." Not to mention if he had called the cops, I wasn't interested in being felony stopped for suspicion of burglary or any other crime even though no crime had been committed.
We made it back fine, dropped off everything, and I took pictures of everything so we could show what exactly had been taken. Of course she immediately received 10+ angry text messages containing all sorts of words that would be censored here, including one that said, "I have the license plate if anything of mine is missing." And, later, "The locks have been changed. (Yeah, right.) If you come in my house again it will be a felony. (He should know.)" among other baseless, empty threats. Considering he has a gun illegally in the house (since he's a felon), it's in his best interest not to talk to LE as much as possible.
Anyway, we're finally making it to the point of this thread: if you're going into a situation where you know it might be risky, Google map the property. The only reason I knew about the neighbor's driveway being so close is because I had been there once before just a couple weeks ago. If I didn't, he would have trapped me in, and forced me to call 911, along with any other reaction to any actions he might have taken. If you think you might need an escape route, map one out, and familiarize yourself with a few different routes. Unfortunately I didn't have any such options in today's situation (especially since neither Google Maps, nor Yahoo Maps, had the updated property picture with the house), but it only highlighted the fact that if I ever have to do anything like that again, I need to be familiar with the property and multiple ways out.
Safe traveling, everyone.