"BAUL ABIERTO, hasta el justo peca" my ex hubby used to say. He was a suspicious, very cautious Spaniard. That phrase translates to: "leave the treasure chest open, even an honest man will steal". Funny, the Spaniards have all kinds of modismos for stuff. He used to say 'Un lugar para todo, cada cosa en su lugar." A place for everything, everything in its place." And the ancient Mexican maid, Rosa, used to say "Donde hay orden, hay dinero" Where there's order, there's money." (by then I was living in USA again with four kids, very poor, house chaotic and she used to really look down her nose at me when she said it.") Put all three of them together and you will see the basic rules to keep your stuff! But there are refinements and they're effective ones, so let me give them to you.

Today, everybody knows someone who lost their stuff or was burgled. I hear horror stories from my astrology clients. One Silverlake (ghetto) Stewardess had every t.v. she ever bought, taken out via her bedroom window, every few months. She'd buy a new T.V. build the window stronger, she'd go flying off on her job, the thieves would come in and do it again. Definitely the same set of burglars. Must have had United schedules in their backpacks. My feeling was they had been watching her and lived nearby.

Another star client, a Masachusetts gadzillionaire's wife, thought she'd had her 20 karat diamond ring taken. The Mercedes had gone to the shop so often, she doesn't know if she left it in an ashtray or it had fallen under the rug and the Mercedes shop workers did it. Or she'd left it on the bedside and maybe the maid did it. Or somehow the cook did it. She said her butler wouldn't do such a thing and I believe her. But she wasn't so sure about the people at the gymnasium where she did yoga, with the ring conspicuously on her hand. Angst, right? but later she found it wrapped in tissue in her safety deposit box so I don't know why I include this story. I guess to tell you what many ways you COULD lose a ring if your brain weren't attached to your finger or your head weren't attached to your neck.

But not so lucky was the gorgeous movie star who had every camera she ever owned, disappearing... one after the other. She didn't handle the problem or the servants so guess what, later, all her jewelry disappeared out of her bedroom closet. She had no certainty who could have done it, thanks to the high turnover in staff. Worse, one enraged secretary took her email password with him when he was fired and he passed it to the boyfriend's ex wife's divorce lawyer who hacked into the account and read all the celeb's email and used the email to give her a hard time in a child custody family law court. HER DAMN EMAIL was read to the JUDGE! Mail WHERE SHE DISCUSSED hacking into the other side's email, (the ex wife,) and where she dissed THAT JUDGE! And the astrologer who was discussing it with her got subpoenaed to go to court as it's some kind of misdemeanor to want to hack into the ex wife's email and in her emails to me, she demands that I GO TO THE SERVER, tell them I was the wife and ask for my own password as I'd forgotten it. I didn't do it. I remember that day, I had a client and by the time I got back to her, she'd already done it herself, actually hacked in!. Anyway, her lawyers talked judge out of this saying Anita the Astrologer was like a religious counselor and my reportage was not allowed.

A few years later, she realized the bookkeeper had embezzled 20 million dollars by writing checks for things that sounded right, 'clothes, wine, hairdos,' but they went to names she didn't remember. The bookkeeper had been given to her by the bank, through which l0k a day of these bogus checks passed, were paid.

My friend the holistic doctor lost fifty thousand a year with his desk clerk who took payments from clients. Never let an employee handle payments. ANY cashier in any kind of business can clean the boss out.

One male guitarist whose love songs you've all heard, lost all his big, costly cashmere sweater collection to a little druggie teenaged pal of his daughter and my daughter. That same little ratfink brat kid Shauna stole my daughter Paloma's identity just before she went on the streets and got a string of busts as a hooker. My daughter got a traffic ticket, the policeman ran her name, he almost hauled poor little Paloma in for bench warrents except dear little Paloma didn't look anything like Shauna who'd now become a hooker. Paloma knew exactly who did it to her and was able to help the police hang the rap on the cashmere sweater thief who still is missing in the world.

The best way to keep trashy friends, or party guests or servants from stealing your stuff is the magical, three lock system: ONE LOCK ON CLOSET in your bedroom, ANOTHER lock on that same bedroom door, keeping that room and its art, antiques, jewels and clothing private.

The THIRD LOCK has nothing to do with your bedroom. That's the genius of this ...... It is off somewhere in the house, and it is the MAID's personal locked closet. All the stuff of yours that she finds in the house loose, goes in this closet ---until you get home and you daily ask "Margarita, what's in the closet today?" Or "did you see my cigarette case, my camera, my money, my checkbook? Test her regularly by leaving out big fat phony diamonds, etc.

So think it over. Where do you now keep your jewelry? Bureau drawer under the nighties? A locked jewel box that weighs a pound on top of your bureau, in plain sight Or maybe cagily, in a strong box in the bedroom closet? Or even cagier, under the bed? That last place (under the bed,) would be fine if the bedroom itself LOCKS and the windows lock. But a thief can break your bedroom window and will go under the bed, under the mattress for cash, into all the bureau drawers and into the closet and find all of your jewels, your cashmeres, furs and other goodies and take them and carry even a fairly large strong box right out the window as he flees.

So, in your bedroom, use the closet but your windows must be locked, sealed when you leave and your closet door must be locked when you're gone, with a dead bolt lock. No big deal, such a lock costs 10$ at HOME DEPOT with two keys. You can install it yourself with a Phillips screwdriver! BUT MAKE THAT LOCK like the PANIC ROOM. And if you're in EUROPE, all the bijoux go into a safety deposit box at BANK before your departure.

My next door neighbor had a fab jewel collection. She was approaching 90, slipped, broke hip, went into hospital for a few months, then old age home. Her kids couldn't sell the house so for three years that house was empty. I assumed the sons, in their 50's had taken the jewel collection as they came and went. Thieves popped sliding doors, took the entire collection. Neighbor saw the car, got license plate but car was from a junkyard, no owner.

The riff is, you come home, you want to hang up your clothing, you have the closet key with you in your purse, right on the car keys. You also will have a copy of your closet key hidden in your bedroom in something no one would ever go through or purloin. A slit in carpet maybe. A big, fake face cream jar. Or at your mother's house a mile away. And as your mother is forgetful, you will know where it is over there, not depend on HER.

I don't advise locking any back up keys in your car unless you lock the car by habit, the second you get out of it. Cars are often in home garages, doors open and your own servants and gardeners often go through them looking for anything that isn't nailed down. (CD's, tire gauges, coins in the upholstery, rings in ashtrays.) If they found a key, they'd have it copied and then put original back wherever you had it, and they'd wait until you were gone for a few hours or days, then at their leisure,  see what doors it worked on. They'd be back in Guatemala living off your diamond rings, before you knew a key of yours had been copied.

But still, you DO need a copy, in case you lose the main key but you cannot keep bedroom security keys anywhere in the car or the house OUTSIDE your bedroom as a maid soon knows every corner and every object in your house. In every drawer, too. And the linoleum guy whom you left alone lunch hour? He does too and he will be back when you're on vacation. Valet parking boys take your keys, make a copy while you're inside the cafe or store. Never use parking boys, ever. And your kids' friends might purloin their keys at school, come in at 2 am as kids are fearless. Always treat your keys as your first line of safety. Back up keys and place in safety deposit box if you have them, or keep them at Mom's house with no tags on them in case her maid is smart and criminal both.

Now, you have your first key, the main one. You come in from the street, you unlock your bedroom, go in, unlock the closet door and hang up your clothing, get your nightie, bathrobe, eat, watch t.v. Is the maid in the house? Then lock closet before you go to den with hubby to watch TV. As she can go in your room to turn down your sheets, hang up your clothes and pilfer two rings before you say "click on Fox Channel, there's a good movie, sweetheart."

Do not vary this closet locking habit if teenaged kids or servants are in the house. TEENAGERS will take your whole jewelry bag and pawn it for crack. You think NOT?

Maybe you go out for dinner? Then lock closet, and lock bedroom if the teen's home, if the maid's at home or even if she's not. Come home, you unlock it again. Don't tell me that turning a key is such a chore if it's going to save your valuables for your grandchildren to enjoy. In Spain, las amas de casa had a ring in their belt with a lot of keys on it. They walked around all day with this key ring hanging, clanking at their waist and in those days, keys were BIG. THE CHEST of gold coins was kept in a locked cellar. Once a year they spread the gold in the sun, someone sat there while it dried on both sides. I don't know why. I don't know if mold grows on gold but they did it. A pre-revolucion Dona told me so.

So really, compared to sunning your gold, you have it easy. You just have to turn a key occasionally. You leave bedroom, you can go down to dinner with your keys, like a Spanish Ama de casa. Because you and your friends can be in your living room area with the television or movies blaring for hours. That bedroom door is open, your TEENS and their weird pals are up going thru your jewelry box. So keep the room and closet locked. Your kids and their friends are upstairs and it's not safe to leave your bedroom door unlocked. So the idea is, that bedroom is locked full time.

Next morning, you're leaving, you seal that closet again AND YOU SEAL your windows and seal bedroom deadbolt with a key also. THE MAID cannot get in your room much less your closet. Nor can pool man, maid's friends, t.v. repair, the friends of the children, burgulars who enter thru windows, NOBODY.

My Dad, Old Albert, had his younger set of kids' pals (I have half brothers/sisters and I call them HALF as they're half my age--) well, their grungey flakey pals steal all of my Dad's personal checkbooks, pass the checks regularly at his own bank with his fake signature, walking off with thousands. When you've opened your home to a lotta creeps, given them refridgerator privileges, that's gotta hurt. So one more thing. ALL CHECK BOOKS are locked in your desk in your bedroom!

Yes, keep check books and all extra VISA cards locked up too. For my mind, the maid cannot get near your checkbooks. She does not come into your bedroom. You want that bedroom vacuumed, the bed made, you do it yourself. THAT is the price of keeping your checks, jewelry and a damn small price when you think how happy your kids are going to be to inherit the full set of the family jewels not just some stupid cufflinks that the maid tossed before returning to Guatemala.

When you travel and are gone for weeks, those windows are very fragile, and represent no home security at all. So bite the bullet, you have to install a home security system on bedroom windows, if there are no other windows covered or hire someone to live full time in your home or a lot of vicious Rotts in your yard full time.

Now, what about the things you have in your house, full set of SILVER forks, spoons, knives (dummy, worth THOUSANDS! Never put that in kitchen. It disappears a fork at a time. Ask my Dad! Keep that silver in a felt lined box in your bedroom closet!) but also keep CD's stereo, antique ashtrays, all valuable antique accessories, your gold cigarette box that you maybe leave on a coffee table, your cameras, tennis racquets safe in closets that lock. Or, have two shelves a yard wide, and stick so many CD's on them that you cannot take one out or add one.

NEVER leave these valuable things out in the house --not unless you're entertaining that day. Chinese ceramic candy boxes, small things, chatzkes disappear when you have plumbers, cableguys, maids, servants, secretaries cuz one can blame it on the other. Your private secretary will WAIT until the cable guy was there, to take anything they fancy. Or while you're having your party, your maid will lift a dozen silver spoons and say "I finished Mrs, I go now," and let you think your guests were pilfering silver.

NEXT. KEEP RECORDS. Have an INVENTORY of stuff that's out on tables, like ashtrays, silver tea pots. That inventory is shown to the maid. ANTIQUES, cigarette boxes. SHE sees the CHINA, the dozen silver forks, spoons. She is to stay at the damn party until it's over and then do a spoon count and let you know if anything is ever missing.

Next, when you travel, lock the ash trays, ceramic accessories, antiques in the maid's closet. And say, "MARIA you have the only key so I know that this stuff is safe." When you return from Paris, she might say 'My key disappeared,' so have a very smart place for Maria to keep her damn key. In the MEXICAN COOKBOOK in the drawer. Or in the stamp box in back of kitchen drawer. Show all this to MARIA so she can't claim the cable guy got it.

THE MAID's closet is an interesting concept. It is a closet somewhere in the house that has a deadbolt lock, cheap. l0$ at Home Depot. Spare keys are on your key ring and the maid's. BOTH. Say she's in the VALLEY that night, you've got the key.

Now if she's home and you're OUT, she finds your camera out, she has to put it in that closet and lock it. She finds your cigarette box, with gold, diamonds, your lighter, your rings and bracelets that you took off in the  powder room, SHE has to put the booty in that closet, the second she finds it. AND SHE WILL BE TESTED ON THIS. LEAVE crappy cameras around, leave bogus jewelry around. TEST her on this. No fair testing if you haven't told her, "Maria, whatever you find of mine that's out in the house, I expect you to lock in there. If I come home and the THING I left out is not in the closet, you get fired, your home gets searched." That tennis racquet, that money, that ten dollar bill in my wallet, or coin purse. My children leave a sweater, whatever it is, I expect to find it IN THE MAID's closet locked.

That way secretaries, tv repair, cable installers, cleaning crews, plumbers can't get it. Now, your lousy kid's sweater is not worth such a fuss but in the homes of the super rich, the stuff that floats around a home in an average day can be gold cigarette cases, laptop computers and much much more. I had a famed t.v. series star/celebrity's cook/maid as a client. She paid me with Gucci double cashmere sweaters, Iím talking reversable cardigans, and huge, antique chinese fruit bowls. Until I figured it out, that is.

NOW, that brings us to DVD machines, DVDs/VIDEO COLLECTION, and CD's with music on them. THESE are the most desirable and frequently stolen 'maid items.' DVD's, CD's and VIDEOS. Best way is to have as many as will fit on shelf, from one side to the other. Constantly show the maid that the fit is immaculate. Not one more could be added, nor one taken away. So she sees you would notice if one were missing. (!) ANY MORE videos come in, you keep them in your bedroom until you get ENOUGH VIDEOS to put on the next shelf tightly, from one side to the other. In the closet, an inventory. Hung on one side, every dress catalogued. On spice shelf, immaculate fit, side to side. Those spices are 8$ each! Best is maid has no entree into your closet, ever. But it's hard to keep servants out of the kitchen.

A KITCHEN HORROR. I had a poetess screenwriter client who kept her dead fatherís best star ruby ring or star sapphire, I canít recall the sugar jar in the kitchen JUST for a moment! When she cooked. Now, that's where she usually kept some spare change for delivery men. She would take this massive ruby off while she washed salad, cooked dinner and always put it on her hand after assembling the meal. One night she forgot to put it on. Her maid, her best friend for ten years, stole it. The maid denied it. No proving a thing, either. I used that maid too, and that maid stole anything not pinned down. I learned many of my best security secrets from watching that maid. Want to hear something funny? One day the MIGRA picked her up. She calls me, "Anita go to my car downtown. Go in back under the plastic behind back seat. Get the 5 thousand dollars and get a bank draft, send it to me in Guatemala. I charged her 25$ for my bother and did so. FIVE THOUSAND BUCKS. Now, how did a maid make that?

Once years before that, I had another maid. Her first day she cleaned out my jewelry. End of day's work, Ole Psychic here thinks, 'I'll check on this creep.'  I say 'go bring in dry clothes from the line in the back yard.' She does. I go through her purse, find all of my jewelry!

I know a guy, Brad the antiquarian vendor also attic cleaner. The two go together. I wrote up this sly career  and how it's done, as "BOOTY" He was romancing a sure thing kind of woman for the first time, they'd had a big dinner out. Now they're at his place. She somehow purloins his lighter automatically without thinking, as she's a smoker. Maybe she doesn't mean to but while she's in the lady's room, he decides he'll go into her purse, and get his lighter back. He finds a huge amount of anti-AIDS drugs. Cipro and flumax and other things. He cautiously questions her further as no way he's in a hurry to get to bed now. A lotta wine and talk later, he finds her ex had died of AIDS. She doesn't indicate she has the disease but why is she travelling with this AIDS drug stash? To remember him by? Brad is one hotshot who was SO happy not to have scored! He truly believes he missed dying by a hair! Or a cigarette lighter. BY GOING THRU HER PURSE! If she hadn't stole the lighter, she'd have been made love to and he'd be dead today!

I have two galpals who keep the biggest damn costume jewelry collection you ever saw in their house. MUSEUM quality and quantity. Gwen (the first,) keeps it in plain sight. Dianne in the large closet. No locks in either case. Witless mermaids. Gwen has huge parties, people wander her one-floor home, but hey, her pals are so upper crust. I don't think she ever had a problem. On the other hand, Dianne's grandaughter and her Russian maid's son who had visiting privileges both cleaned HER out of large amounts of great glitter on separate occasions.

Gwen is a big travel writer, and her best theft story was another kind of horror story. On the Orient Express train between Paris and Hungary, there was so much luggage that she gave her jewelry pouch to her best pal and said, you hold this, I'll carry the big luggage. The best pal forgot the pouch on the seat. Her mother's antique diamonds and pearls.....ouch! Lost forever on the Orient Express! 3 grand for the ticket so she could lose ten grand of bijoux. Some very rich person did not return them! Must have considered them utter baubles. American Trinkets.

ABOUT AIR TRAVEL. Consider anything you fly with doomed to be lost. EVERYBODY has lost their luggage and never got it returned by airline. Never put cameras or jewels or fabulous clothing in luggage. It takes lawyers and many letters to get the measly come-back money out of the airline, too. $1200 tops. Mostly they stiff people entirely if you don't hit them with lawyers' letters, so here's the deal. Wear polyester on your travels. If God meant us to travel with silk, wool, silver, gold, he wouldn't have invented drip dry. Speaking of God. Everywhere possessiveness IS, God isn't. So there's a tidal wave of energy helping to separate you from treasures and preventing you from leaving your treasures to your grandchildren. JUST KNOW THAT!

Young people who inherit bijoux are the worst keepers, best losers. Unless they have been practicing this kind of safety for years, they will lose everything you leave them. Scumbag friends who visit, party with them will rip 'em off. I've seen antique heirloom furniture disappear out of a house after a party. Just vaporized.

Your heirs will be travelling with valuable collections, right beside them in hand luggage, sleeping while other travelers on trains or buses are eyeing the collection. They wake and everything is gone with the passenger who got off the train or moved to another compartment. Then there's the big kiddie mistake: leaving rings on soap dishes in public bathrooms across America. TEACH KIDS. You wear a ring, I don't care what you do, it stays on finger. Unless it's icy cold and you're playing ball cuz then it'll slip off and be gone. So for that there's School lockers.

Teach kids. No Windows left open in summer. Always install bolt locks. No Cars left unlocked. ALTHOUGH, my daughter's 200$ Italian riding boots were visible thru hatchback. Some stylefreak destroyed the car to get to them. Wherever kids live expect to see PC's DVD's TV's going down the fire escape --a hemorrhage of alphabet soup out the window. And then there's EUROPE. You walk down the street in France or Italy and they are in your backpack. You set anything down in a cafe, laptop, backpack, purse, you are eating, your eyes are on your FORK, the treasure is there by your ankle. By dessert, it's NOT. Italy France are the worst. Leave anything in a car, it's gone, even if it didn't show. Or the car is gone. You must park cars inside fenced properties there. I have  an L.A. pal who lost a brand new MERCEDES on street outside his pal's home, in Italy. Never found! I lost my entire wardrobe, left it in a suitcase in a Ford Galaxie convertible in Mexico City. They slashed the convertible top. What I had pulled into my pal's home also was rifled. My Mexican Pals took what they wanted from my luggage. Next visit years later, I saw my stuff on their walls. (As I was moving to Mexico I brought graphics, framed, and irish linen curtains, copper cookware. They had taken some of all of it.) So my husband was right. BAUL ABIERTO, hasta el JUSTO PECA!

So lock up. Any more tips you have are welcome. My daughter in law the beautous teen, Aysha leaves a heavy car-cover on her car out at curb, as she feels showing that expensive sound system to the street passersby would be fatal. Kids will break through anything to get a sound system. Even a plastic cover, but the system is slightly less visible with that tailored tarp on the car. I'll let you know how long that stereo system is with us. You let me know your theft stories and theft prevention tips. I'll add them here. Thank you for listening. Your KIDS will thank you even more for listening. Your grand kids...ditto.

How To install a poor-man's security system:

1. Go to a second-hand store and buy a pair of used men's work boots,
size 14-16. (giganormous)

2. Put them on your front porch, along with a copy of Guns &Ammo

3. Place a few giant dog dishes next to the boots and magazine.

4. Leave a note on your door that reads:

"Hey Bubba, Big Jim, Duke, Slim, and I went for more ammunition. Back in an hour.
Don't mess with the pit bulls--they attacked the mailman this morning
and messed him up real bad. I don't think Killer took part in it, but
it was hard to tell from all the blood. Anyway, I locked all four of
'em in the house. Better wait outside. Cooter "

Failing that, leave the cheap wattage light bulbs on, radio blaring.

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Our POSTER is ANITA SANDS HERNANDEZ, Los Angeles Writer, Futurist and Astrologer. Catch up with her websites  TRUTHS GOV WILL HIDE & NEVER TELL YOU, also The  FUTURE, WHAT'S COMIN' AT YA! FRUGAL LIFE STYLE TIPS,  HOW TO SURVIVE the COMING GREAT DEPRESSION, and Secrets of Nature, HOLISTIC, AFFORDABLE HEALING. Also ARTISANRY FOR EXPORT, EARN EUROS....* Anita is at ). Get a 15$ natal horoscope "my money/future life" reading now + copy horoscope as a Gif file graphic! No smarter, more accurate career reading out there!