20 Years Later, Marv Looks Back At His ‘Home Alone’ Burglary

Wednesday, December 21 by
This photo was suggested by Marv's publicist.  

“The antidote to hubris, to overweening pride, is irony…”

- Ralph Ellison

One might think that two fully-grown, lifelong criminals would have no problem addressing and dispatching an eight-year-old sheltered suburban boy in order to loot his house and take what they wish. One would be wrong.

When Harry and I, Marv, went on our robbery spree in December of 1990, it was our inability to know our enemy that was instrumental in our downfall. We were brash, dismissive, and foolish. We have served our debt to society, but the blows to our egos, the shame of falling prey to a tiny blonde boy in a sweater, will haunt us to our graves. Also, I told the story once in prison and got raped because of it.

Never again. Never again with the rapings. Never again with the nails. Never again fooled by cardboard cutouts on model train tracks. As we live and breathe, never again will we suffer the indignities of those cold winter days two decades ago. Hardly a moment passes that I don’t revisit our strategy, our enemy. Where did we err? Was Harry the right man for the job? Was our unbelievable stupidity a factor in our defeat?

I have thought and thought. For so long, I had only questions, but later in life, the answers have come as I’ve made peace with my decisions.

I sincerely believe that our folly and capture resulted from an unfortunate blend of overthinking and underthinking. That may not be clear, so let me elaborate. I believe that we initially underthought many things, namely, the fact that the house was full of people rather than cardboard cutouts mechanically moving to rag music. See below. Ultimately, I feel we overthought our entrance. We should have smashed a big window, overpowered the boy, then perhaps stabbed him with a knife or simply broken his neck. Harry told me he learned how to do that in Vietnam.

The Initial Ruse

When we went back to the house after Harry cased it, we returned only to find the silhouettes of many people moving, and loud music playing. As though a party was taking place. All evidence pointed to the parents being out of town. The entire family was scurrying in preparation two nights before.

In hindsight, we should have more closely examined those silhouettes. They appeared to be moving laterally on the floor, but lacking other movements that people normally exhibit while walking or dancing. If an examination of a motionless silhouette gliding effortlessly along the floor proved inconclusive, perhaps we should have looked in through another window. In hindsight, this was the first of many big errors on our part.

The Paint Cans

If there’s one thing I regret, it’s allowing myself to be hit in the face with so many paint cans. It’s embarrassing, frankly. I mean, the manner in which those cans swung should have afforded me plenty of time to strafe left or right on the staircase, or at least deflect them with an arm. Instead, I just froze and screamed, somehow allowing the can to send my body, parallel to the ground, flying down the staircase. I play it over and over in my mind, and I’m just glad I wasn’t more seriously hurt.

Angels with Filthy Souls