It became pretty apparent pretty quickly to Brian Capps that someone had broken into his $400,000 Covington home while he was at work. But as he surveyed room after room, everything seemed to be in place: the 60-inch TV, the furniture, his golf clubs.
Puzzled, he stepped into the master bedroom, and something just didn't feel right. "Oh man, what is this?" he remembers exclaiming.
The carpet! Someone had made off with the 3-year-old thick beige one . . . and replaced it with "ugly," but brand-new, frieze carpeting.
He called the Newton County sheriff's dispatch: "I said 'I got a problem. Somebody's broken into my house and stole my carpet.' And before I could get the rest of it out, he started laughing and asking me if I was serious," Capps said.
Sheriff's Deputy Sammy Banks arrived within five minutes, and started laughing. It was the oddest call of his 28-year career. Other deputies radioed in to check with Banks about the carpet caper. They too started laughing.
Capps --- whose family was out of town that day --- had left his garage door slightly raised so his 90-pound black labrador Abby could come and go. ("Some watchdog, huh?" he joked.)
The intruders crawled under the garage door "Indiana Jones-style," then jimmied open the kitchen lock.
"They were pretty determined," Capps said.
While the deputy looked for other tell-tale signs of intrusion, Capps noticed the red blinking light on his answering machine.
"Brian, I think you got my carpet", the message said. Then he noticed the letter taped to the door of the laundry room.
We have made a mistake, it said. Please call. Next to it, the phone number of a Covington flooring company.
The company was supposed to install the new carpeting at a neighbor's house. She lives in a home with a similar sounding address in the same subdivision. And she had left instructions for the crew to come through her garage door and enter via the kitchen.
"We have a sense of humor about it, and we want to make it right," said Brian Burns with the company, Floors & More Inc. "I'm getting calls from my friends now, like 'You know, I'm going to be out of town until Monday and I'd like to come back to some new carpet."
The Capps' family tried to have the company reinstall the original. But it had been tossed, and the line itself discontinued.
That was two weeks ago. Capps plans on asking the company to replace the new carpet in the master bedroom and, for consistency's sake, in the other downstairs bedroom and closets.
"It's a funny story," said Capps, whose house has been on the market for two months, "but I don't think the new owners will go for the mix and match thing."