MUSCATINE — After being the victim of a home robbery, one Muscatine woman is hoping to get her story out, not only to seek justice for herself but also to encourage others to be more aware of such crimes.
Denise Darting’s home in the 700 block of West 8th Street was broken into Thursday while she was at work. The robber kicked in her back door, went into her basement and shut off the power in her home, disabling her security system.
When she got home, Darting's back door wouldn’t open. She got into the house through another entrance, and realized something was wrong.
“When I went inside my kitchen, I saw pieces of wood on the floor and that’s when I realized that someone had kicked down my door," she said.
The thief took items that could be easily resold, like unique jewelry, wedding rings that belonged to her and her late husband, Rocky Darting; the first ring Rocky gave her; her parents’ wedding rings; her mother’s jewelry box, a jar with about $50 in coins, and a ceramic pig her late husband had since childhood.
“Most of the things they took had a story behind them, and that’s really what hurts the most," she said.
The wedding rings were the most painful loss, she said.
Eight years ago, her home was broken into, and a computer and some small items were taken. This was more personal, and a bigger emotional loss, she said.
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Darting thinks the main reason why her home has been targeted twice is because of her secluded backyard, making it hard for neighbors to see what’s happening in it.
“Ever since my husband died, this house has been like my security blanket, and I feel like it’s been invaded.” Despite everything, she was very thankful that her Maltese dog Max was left unharmed, though he was a bit traumatized by it.
However, to add insult to injury, Darting said the thief also stole her bag of chocolate from the freezer. “And you know, you don’t mess with a woman’s chocolate.”
While Darting already filed a police report and plans on getting a new door and security system, she advertised a reward of $500 on social media — not just for the return of the stolen items but for information that could lead to the arrest and conviction of the thief. When asked what motivated her to do this, Darting said that she did it out of both anger from what happened and out of a motivation to do something. “I know I may never see the jewelry again, but if it could lead to someone being caught and convicted, then I’ll be happy.”
Shortly after the reward was posted, Darting was surprised when people stepped forward to add to the reward. Two people have pledged another $100 to the reward while others are collecting money in the hopes of encouraging someone to come forward with information. Darting said that she was surprised by this, but thought it was wonderful to see.
“I think unfortunately nowadays, a lot people are pretty blasé about home robberies, assuming it’s just something that ‘just happens’ and you just have to live with it,” Darting said, “And it’s got to stop because it’s happening too much and is getting worse. I’m really hoping the police department works on this.”
Darting hopes her story encourages others to look after their neighbors. “With things like this, people have just got to keep an eye out for each other.”
If anyone has any information they are encouraged to call the Muscatine Police at 563-263-9922.