Who would steal from a baby? Sadly, lots of people

Staff writerMay 4, 2013 

Tim Nevarez saw his life taking a turn for the better last month, which often means trouble is looming.

He had been unemployed for close to a year, laid off when the landscaping company for which he worked went bankrupt. But now Nevarez and wife Debbie were expecting their first child together on April 29.

Debbie’s 15-year-old son, Jake, lived with them, and Nevarez had just gained custody of his 10-year-old son, T.J., after an expensive legal fight in California.

“A month ago, I got a landscaping job in Seattle, and we started saving money,” Tim Nevarez said. “When we had enough, we bought a car seat for the baby, a mattress for his crib and a nice stroller.” But then, a week before the baby was born, someone broke into the van parked in front of their South End Tacoma home. A video security system showed two men walking off with the stroller, car seat and that tiny mattress.

“The video didn’t show their faces, but it showed the dome light going on at 11:03 p.m., and them with their backs turned as they walked away,” Debbie said. “We’d just been out on the front porch, so I think they waited for us to go to bed.

“I was angry, but I was more shocked. Who would steal from a baby?”

Sadly, the Tacoma Police Department has learned, a lot of people.

“People will break into your vehicle for spare change they can see on your console, for a brown paper bag,” police spokeswoman Loretta Cool said. “A jacket will be enough if it’s cold outside — it doesn’t cost them anything to break your window.”

Nor is it the kind of crime that usually leads to an arrest.

“The chances of them being caught are rare,” Cool said. “The chances of them still having your stuff is astronomical. One incident could be thousands of dollars in losses for you, and it’s totally preventable.

“We tell people, ‘Walk around your car. If you see anything of value inside, you’re vulnerable.’”

Tim and Debbie Nevarez left their baby things visible, and someone stole them in less than two minutes.

“Our insurance didn’t cover it,” Debbie said. “If it had been the car stereo, that would have been covered.”

Her husband worried how they’d get the baby home from the hospital without a car seat – and how long it would take him to save enough to buy another, let alone the stroller. A friend at work loaned him a car seat.

Good thing, too. On Monday, precisely on schedule, Debbie delivered a son.

Tidus Antonio Nevarez fit perfectly in his borrowed car seat. And when he arrived home, he had a mattress in his crib, courtesy of a family friend.

“We’re getting by,” Debbie Nevarez said. “We’ll just have to save for a stroller. The main thing is, we’re all together as a family.”

It’s something of a nuclear family. When the two met four years ago, Debbie was driving a cab on the swing shift, and Tim was working nights at a 7-11. She had a son from a previous relationship and, similarly, Tim had a son from a marriage that ended in a sour divorce.

“Our 15-year-old came up with the name Tidus, and we liked it,” Tim said. “It’s pretty cool when one of your kids names another.”

Now at home, the baby is clearly the star of the family.

“Jake wasn’t sure it would be cool to hold him, but he has and now he talks to Tidus all the time,” Debbie said. “T.J. loves him. The dog ignores him. Tim’s getting upset because the baby is asleep most of the time when he’s home.”

Tim Nevarez works an hour’s drive from home, and usually is gone from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. He manages to squeeze in baby time, he said.

They have had things stolen before, Debbie said. After losing a car stereo, they put in security cameras. Once someone walked up to their front porch and stole a chair. Tidus, however, helped put life in perspective.

“Honestly, I could care less about the world,” Tim Nevarez said. “As angry as I was, I really don’t care right now. Everything else just faded away when I held my son.”

Larry LaRue: 253-597-8638 larry.larue@ thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/larue

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