It was an episode of Man in A Suitcase that did it for me – the hero had to retrieve a document from a flat that a former girlfriend lived in, and to make sure she wasn’t implicated he made her lie on a couch, tied her wrists and ankles with twine, and covered her lips with white tape.
Simple, clean, and the blonde looked so cute lying there like that, that I wondered what would happen if I did that to a woman – would she enjoy it as much as the woman did on the television?
I’d already managed to get into a few houses in the neighbourhood, and have a look round, take a few small things, and the excitement in doing that was amazing, but to actually hold a woman captive like that…
Any road, the first time I did it was when I broke into a neighbourhood house, and when I went into the front room, I saw Mrs Norris asleep on the long grey couch they had. She was stretched along the length on her stomach, in her white top and pants, a wide black belt round her waist and black stripes down the legs, white sandals on her feet. She had her head on a pillow, resting on her hands, her short black hair styled into a bob.
I hadn’t woken her up when I came in, so I reached into my pocket and took out two lengths of twine that I had cut earlier that day. Mrs Norris was sleeping with her ankles crossed, so I wrapped one length of twine carefully around them and gently pulled it tight so that they were held together. She didn’t even move, so I kept going until they were secured.
I then slowly, carefully, took her hands out from under the pillow and crossed her wrists behind her back, using the second length of twine to secure her wrists together in the same way as her ankles. She wriggled her nose – and her bottom – but still not wake up, so I left her there and went to see what I could find in her bedroom.
And guess what? When I came back, she was still asleep, so I left her there and went home. It was round the dinner table that night that Mom said Mrs Norris had been tied up and robbed, and she had no idea how the intruder got in or did it…
When I went to college, a little bit of robbery was a useful way of supplementing my income, and it also meant I got to meet new and interesting people. I’d developed a little burglary kit by then, but I still preferred to decide, if I needed to secure someone, what there was to hand to do it with.
So one Friday evening, I was walking to the back door of a nice house on the outskirts of town. I’d just seen Mom and Pops leave in a car, so I figured it would be empty. Get in, get stuff, and get out. Simple, right?
Yeah, well, I’d forgotten to factor in the Senior high school daughter – because when I walked into the front room, she was sitting there, wearing a pink Angora sweater and a knee length skirt, her blonde hair in rollers, staring at me as I stood there with a scarf covering my face.
She was about to scream, but I shook my head and told her, calmly, I wasn’t going to hurt her, I just wanted her Mom’s jewels. I also said I’d have to stop her raising the alarm, and that was when I saw the ball of white wool in a knitting basket. She was at on a long turquoise upholstered couch, with pink pillows on each corner, so I told her to put the cushions at one side, lie with her head on the pillows, and then put her hands together in prayer.
She watched as I wound the wool round and between her wrists, making sure they were secured together, and then I played the wool out and used it to secure her ankles together as well. She actually complimented me on making sure it didn’t hurt, and wriggled round – which, with that tight wool sweater on, was giving me some ideas, I can tell you…
Anyway, I also knew I had to stop her from calling out to raise the alarm, so I picked up a rag from the basket, rolled it up, and put it in her mouth, telling her not to spit it out as the edges stuck out from between her lips. She nodded in agreement, and just lay there while I had a look round.
Mind you, it wasn’t just when I visited homes uninvited that I had the chance to keep someone on a couch. I shared a psychology class with a girl called Amy – nice girl. Came from Houston, and always up for a laugh. So we were sitting in her sorority room one night, when she said she had heard about come of the robberies in the area, and said she would be able to get out of any way someone tied her to the couch.
Well, I smiled, and said she didn’t have the courage to try that out. You know – red rag to a bull. She looked at me through her tortoiseshell glasses, and laughed as she lay back on the grey couch, and said “show me.”
I asked her if she had any ropes in the room, and she pointed to her wardrobe, saying she kept some skipping ropes in there. As I watched her, she lay down, adjusting the skirt of her tartan dress so her modesty was protected, and told me to ‘do my worst’.
I found three ropes, and told her to cross her wrists, using the first rope to tie her wrists together, and then taking them over her head and tying the ends to the foot of the couch. I then crossed and tied her ankles together in the same way, and secured them to the foot at the far end of the couch, and then used the third rope to tie her legs together below her knees.
As she wriggled round, she had to admit I had managed to make sure she stayed on the couch – and then she looked at me, and asked what I was going to do about it. I smiled, knelt down, took her glasses off and folded the legs before I placed them on the coffee table, and then gently kissed her lips. She was surprised at first, but then she smiled, and said I could kiss her again…
Once I had left college, and went to work for a newspaper, I moved my visits up a little, mainly using my days off or any evenings off to have some fun. So it was the first Christmas in my new home town, and two days before the big day I walked to a small house on the edge of the town.
A young couple lived there, and I happened to know the husband was working. I also was wearing what you could call classic burglar wear – a dark sweater and pants, gloves, and shoes. I also had a kit with me, including some ropes and other things – let’s just say I had become more prepared.
So when I slipped into the house, I wasn’t surprised to see the lady of the house sitting on a low brown wooden couch with light brown cushions. She was wearing a green short sleeved dress, and hose, with shoulder length red-brown hair – and a look of fear on her face when she saw me, the only addition to my outfit a black balaclava.
I told her to be quiet, and to do exactly what I said, and she nodded as she sat with her knees drawn up to her chin. Putting the bag I was carrying down, I told her to lie face down, and put her hands behind her back. When she had done this, I took a length of soft white rope from my bag, crossed her wrists and tied them together, making sure I took the rope between her arms as well as around them to make sure they stayed together.
I kept talking to her the whole time, keeping her calm as I crossed and tied her ankles together as well, and then secured her legs together below her knees, before I bent her legs and pulled her ankles back, securing them to her wrists with a last length.
As she rolled onto her side and looked at me, I took a strip of brown Elastoplast from my bag, removed the backing paper, and then stuck it over her lips to keep her quiet. I had recently discovered just how good this was at keeping someone quiet, and she certainly wasn’t able to do more than mumble as I went round the room, taking some nice pieces of silver and putting them in my bag.
And that was really how I supplemented my income through those crazy days of the sixties – and I have to say, I found the extremes of how the women I often ran into in their homes reacted and behaved. So let me wrap this short tale up with a view from either extreme.
At one end, there was the Egyptian wife who was home when I broke in one day. She was a true beauty – olive tinted skin, with long black hair, and wearing a paisley print one-piece outfit, with sleeves that came over her elbows and knee length culottes.
So when she saw me in my mask and dark clothing, she stood for a moment with her head to one side, and asked if I was going to tie her up. I nodded and said I was, at which point she took me completely by surprise, and I remember what she said next to this day.
“Good – I’ll tell you what to do, and make sure it is tight.”
Well, that took me by surprise, but she said to look in a cupboard as she sat on a couch upholstered in purple, smiling as I took out a bag with ropes of various lengths, and some scarves.
Well, I am never going to refuse a request from a lady, so I started by taking her arms behind her back and crossing her wrists before tying them together, and then crossing and tying her ankles together as well. She complimented me on my knot tying, as I took another length of rope around her legs and secured them together below her knees, while she giggled lightly.
Twisting her legs around, she said I still needed to make sure she really could not move, so I took more rope from the bag and passed it around her body, pulling it tight under her chest so that her arms were forced to her sides, then at her direction I would the rope around her, above and below her chest, stretching the silk of her costume over it as I pulled tighter with each pass.
I then tied two smaller lengths between her arms and body over eat bands to tighten them, as she nodded her approval – and then I folded a small black scarf, as she opened her mouth and allowed me to put it inside.
I then folded a large gold and cream scarf into a band, tied a knot in the middle, and pulled the knot between her teeth as I tied the band round her head. I then made her lie on her stomach, pulled her ankles back and tied them to her chest ropes, and left her squirming there as I robbed the house. She seemed to enjoy the experience…
And then, we go to the other extreme.
This was in a city on the other side of the country, and I slipped into the kitchen to hear a woman singing quietly to someone. I walked to the side of the main room, and saw a woman in her early thirties sitting there, gently rocking a baby girl to sleep. She had her dark hair in rollers, and was wearing a pink and blur patterned slip dress, the skirt a short one. The baby was slowly going to sleep, but I could see tow empty bottles, and the strewn papers and clothes told me this young mother had not had much peace.
Eventually, she stood up and put the baby into a bassinette – and then turned round and saw me, a resigned look on her face as she said “great – my day is complete. My husband goes off on a day work meeting early with no notice, Sally takes an age to get to sleep – and now I’m been robbed. Just what I needed…”
Well, to be honest, I had some sympathy for her position, so I asked what she would do if I said I was going to tie her up. Sitting down, she said I might as well get on with it, and then go…
So when I asked if she would want a cup of coffee, she stared at me for a moment – and then I explained that perhaps, given what I could see, her husband needed to be taught a lesson about caring for his wife and daughter.
Well, that piqued her interest, so she asked how I would do that. Smiling, I put my bag down and opened it, then took out a roll of white tape as I said I would start by securing her legs – and then I would make the coffee.
So she watched as I taped her ankles together, they her legs above and below her knees, as she milled and said I was a surprise to her. Well, I like to surprise people, as I left her there while I returned the kitchen and made a fresh pot of coffee, then brought two cups in.
And so, instead of searching for her jewels, we sat and shared a coffee and a chat about babies, the future, and other things as she twisted her legs around. Eventually, however, I had to make sure she really was secure, so I took her hands behind her back and taped her wrists together, then took the tape round her waist to keep them in place.
I then helped her to lie with her head on the arm of the couch, before I covered her lips with the white tape – and left her baby sleeping by her side. I then called the police, and left quietly, content I had done something nice.