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Ransacked Room

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And they never have the courtesy to clean up, afterwards.

"Ransacking hotel rooms is probably safe."

You've got the MacGuffin and the Big Bad knows it. So is he going to send his Mooks after you?

Why not try to search your room first?

This is always intended to be while the character is out — or, at least, asleep. Sometimes, it succeeds in that, and the search is carried out.

There's two methods. Sneaky, and rushed.

  • The sneaky way, the character only discovers the search when he returns and finds it subtly changed — maybe he was sneaky as well and planted threads or hairs on doors and such. The sneaky way often combines with planting bugs.
  • The rushed way involves tipping over all furniture, cutting open mattresses, smashing windows, and dumping everything on the floor. Seriously, if the whatever is something small, the mess would be harder to find it in than anything else. Mooks that resort to the obviously ransacked technique may want him to know it's happened, may be Too Dumb to Live, or may resort to it because it's quicker.
    • Sometimes the mess is intentionally created to stop investigators from finding out what's been taken, or to intimidate the target by blatantly invading and messing up his personal space.
    • A common subversion is for an investigator to assume the place was ransacked — and then the owner (or someone who knew them, if they're dead) says that, no, they're just a slob.

It is very, very, very rare indeed for them to find what they are looking for.

On the other hand, the character can be in the room (by day) or wake up (by night) — or return unexpectedly and surprise the searcher. Drama, and often violence, ensues. However, the searcher can, very likely, escape. Easily. On the other hand, Room Disservice sometimes comes into play, if the search is not obvious yet, and the searcher's position is not obviously comprising.

By the way, the word "ransack" (rarely used in any other context) is from the Old Norse rann "house" and saka "search".

Compare Faking and Entering.


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  • Subverted in an advert for Yellow Pages: a man comes home and sees a neighbour telling him that she saw his front door ajar and, after seeing how messy his front room is, assumed that he's been burgled. We see in a flashback that he's not been burgled and he was responsible for the mess; his door was ajar simply because he didn't bother closing the door when he left.

    Anime & Manga 
  • An early episode of Case Closed has a case where a hotel room is ransacked where a famous author was murdered. The police think it was a robbery gone wrong due to the place being ransacked and the victim's money is missing It was shown at the beginning of the episode that the man who shot him was his best friend/roommate and he ransacked the room earlier while the author was in the bath to stage the scene of a robbery gone wrong.
  • Happens to Chiaki at the very beginning of Darker than Black. They weren't actually trying to find anything, though; it was just to send a message.
  • Taken to extremes with Light in Death Note. He hides the titular Artifact of Death in a false bottom in his drawer rigged to incinerate the Death Note if it isn't opened properly. He also pulls the handle of his door upwards after leaving, along with putting a small slip of paper in the door, because he knows that if his mother, father, or sister were to enter the room, they'd trip the paper-defence, but not notice the paper. When he finds the paper still in the door, but the handle moved, he knows that his room has been searched by pros. He's also got the pencil lead on the hinge that breaks when the door is opened (the pros didn't find that).
  • In Dengeki Daisy, Teru comes back to find her home, where she currently lives alone after the deaths of her parents and older brother, completely ransacked by people looking into her connection to the mysterious hacker Daisy. She immediately runs to find Kurosaki and tearfully tell him what happened, after which she starts staying at his apartment while her home is searched by the police and subsequently moved out of.

    Comic Books 
  • In Lori Lovecraft: Into the Past, Allen arrives at Lori's apartment to find two mooks from the Cabal ransacking the place in search of the Necronomicon. They are about to start roughing Allen up when they are scared off by an approaching police car.
  • There was a MAD satire once, which showed a picture of a room before being searched by the Queensland police, and then again after. It was very neat before, totally trashed afterwards. It was a puzzle: 'How many differences can you spot between this pictures?'. The correct answer, of course, was 'none'.
  • The Powerpuff Girls story "Bless This Mess" (DC issue #27) has the girls confined to their room until they clean it up. Everytime they do, it mysteriously becomes messy again. It's the work of their foe Him, but not for any MacGuffin. He's simply yanking the girls' collective chain without them knowing it.
  • Robin (1993): Tim Drake's room is ransacked by his own father after the football coach can't remember Tim trying out for football. Tim sort of implied he tried out and failed to excuse a bruise by saying he'd stayed late at school because of tryouts, although given Tim's interests photography of the event would've been a more reasonable conclusion. He tore the entire room apart, had his wife try to hack Tim's computer, and started taking apart the walls before finding the Robin suit.
  • Tintin's flat is ransacked in The Secret Of The Unicorn after his MacGuffin is stolen. He doesn't discover the Plot Coupon which was formerly hidden inside it until afterwards — it had rolled under a chest, where the vandals failed to find it.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • 22 Bullets: When Tony Zacchia's mooks search lawyer Martin Beaudinard's office, they do a very thorough job: pulling all the law books off the shelves, breaking all the furniture, cutting open the cushions, and even slicing the artwork on the walls and smashing the frames.
  • Back to the Future Part II: In 1985-A, Doc and Marty take shelter at Doc's home in this timeline, which has been ransacked after his counterpart was put into a mental institution.
  • Part of the Humiliation Conga in The Big Lebowski. The Dude gets brought against his will to a house party at a pornographer's house, given a spiked drink, blacks out spectacularly, wakes up in a cop car, gets beaten up by the police chief of Malibu, kicked out a cab on the way home, and when he finally gets home, finds that the place has been ransacked by the evil Nihilists.
  • In Call Me Bwana, Matt goes to his hotel room in Africa to find it ransacked by Soviet spies.
  • Alluded to in Casablanca. Rick tells Captain Renault his men were so thorough in searching for the letters of transit that the staff just barely got the mess cleaned up in time to open that night.
  • In Dumb and Dumber, the two villains consider trashing Harry and Lloyd's place to send them a message, but decide that (based on what the place already looks like) such a message would get lost. They settle for killing Petey the parakeet instead.
  • In The Game (1997), Nicholas returns to his house to find it's been ransacked. Luckily, the pistol he hid in a hollowed-out book is still there, but it was a trick set up to make him think they didn't find the gun. They did find the gun and replaced the bullets with blanks.
  • In Gotcha, both the CIA and the KGB ransack Jonathan Moore's apartment. They don't find the film spool he smuggled out of East Berlin because he kept it in one of his pockets the entire time.
  • In Guns, Girls and Gambling, John Smith and The Girl Next Door arrive at Asian Elvis's apartment and find the door kicked in and the apartment trashed by those searching for the mask.
  • In Henry & Verlin, retired prostitute Mabel finds her home ransacked by people who suspect her of abusing Verlin.
  • Happens twice in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
    • Before Indy leaves the United States, Henry's house was ransacked by Nazi agents.
    • After Indy reaches Venice both his and Dr. Schneider's rooms are turned upside down. It turns out that Dr. Schneider's room being ransacked was Invoked, as she was a Nazi spy and the ransacking was staged.
  • In The Last King of Scotland, Nicholas Garrigan comes home to find his entire house (provided to him personally by Idi Amin) ransacked and his UK passport replaced with a Ugandan one.
  • James Bond in The Living Daylights walks in on Kara Milovy trying to tidy her room, which was thoroughly ransacked by the KGB.
  • MacGyver TV-movies:
    • Subverted in the TV-movie Mac Gyver Lost Treasure Of Atlantis. When MacGyver and co. enter Prof. Atticus's study, they think that this has happened. Then Atticus notes that it has always looked like that.
    • Played straight in the subsequent film Mac Gyver Trail To Doomsday when MacGyver and Natalia find the door to her apartment busted open, and the whole place ransacked.
  • In Mystery Road, Jay arrives at Mary's house to find the door kicked in and the house ransacked, with no indication of what the searchers where looking time. later he visits Julie's now empty house to find the same situation. However, this time Jay knows what they were after and is able to locate its hiding spot.
  • The Name of the Rose: The herbalist discovers the book that's the motive for the various murders in a medieval monastery. He goes to tell William of Baskerville, who tells him to lock himself in his room and let no-one in until he arrives (Baskerville is held up in a theological conference). On returning to his apothecary, he shocked to find the place ransacked. He bolts the door and quickly goes to check the book is still there. It is lying on the floor under a table. The herbalist is relieved, until he sees a hooded figure step out from behind a curtain and walk toward him...
  • Outrageous Fortune plays this straight, then spoofs it. First, the two women go to Shelley Long's apartment while it's being ransacked. After a daring escape, they head to Bette Midler's apartment to find it a complete mess as well. Long panics and tries to run, but Midler grabs her and says "No, this is normal."
  • Prairie Fever: After Olivia discovers that Monte has been in the hotel, she races back to her room and discovers the room has been ransacked and the carpetbag full of money is gone.
  • The "trash the place" technique was used on Joan's apartment at the beginning of Romancing the Stone. The shock of the event on Joan was magnified because she didn't even know that she had the map yet, let alone that there were people who were looking for it.
  • The horror-parody Saturday The Fourteenth makes a Running Gag out of inverting this trope. Having moved into a Haunted House, family members keep finding that their messes — dirty dishes, undone laundry, sloppy bedrooms — have been mysteriously cleaned and tidied, by monstrous forces competing over a missing book. Eventually, when the numerous resident monsters are shown looting the kitchen by night, one of them is dressed in an apron, rubber gloves, and a vintage 50s-housewife headscarf, and keeps unintelligibly scolding the others for the mess they're making.
  • Sherlock Holmes:
    • In Dressed to Kill, Holmes and Watson return to their rooms in Baker Street only to discover they have been ransacked by the gang searching for the music box.
    • In The Sign of Four: Sherlock Holmes' Greatest Case, Thaddeus Sholto arrives home to find the house servant Bound and Gagged, and the library ransacked: books thrown off shelves, furniture broken, chairs slashed, etc. Presumably the rest of the house is in a similar state but the library is he only room shown.
  • In The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe, a team of government agents are following a man pegged as a super-agent whistleblower by an interdepartmental rival — they sneak through his apartment while he's out, photographing all his personal effects and planting bugs. The man, however, is an innocent regular guy randomly picked as a decoy, and his day-to-day activities are feverishly scrutinized by the agents.
  • The Terror of the Tongs: When he is called to his ship following the murder of his first officer, Sale discovers that his cabin has been ransacked. When he returns home, he finds his house has also been ransacked and his daughter murdered.

  • A grim subversion in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Winston Smith starts to keep a diary and wants to find some unobtrusive way to tell if anyone has been snooping in it. Instead of sticking a hair across the pages, he puts a grain of dust he can easily identify on one corner of the cover. He sees it there every time he takes out the diary and figures no one's been into it, but during his detention in the Ministry of Love, he becomes convinced that they found and read the diary, replacing the grain to cover their tracks. It's never established one way or the other, though.
  • Able Team
    • In Justice by Fire an Intrepid Reporter finds his apartment ransacked, but the photo negatives they were looking for are still where he hid them. However the men who did it are waiting outside to kidnap him, but fortunately he borrowed a shotgun from a neighbor before entering the apartment.
    • Carl Lyons goes to his apartment and finds the tell-tales he left outside the door (in this case the paper circles from a holepunch) have not only been moved but have disappeared completely. Fortunately, the intruder turns out to be an Old Flame Ready for Lovemaking, who removed them just to troll him.
  • In The Boy from Aleppo Who Painted the War, Adam's family comes home from vacation to find that the front room has been trashed by soldiers, with all the furniture broken and thrown around.
  • A variant in A Brother's Price. Jerin does this in his own quarters, searching for clues to the identity of his predecessor's adulterous lover. He finds more than he bargained for, namely, evidence that predecessor Kiefer had not only been cheating on his wives, but had murdered his father-in-law with poison.
  • James Bond's hotel room in Casino Royale is ransacked by men working for Le Chiffre looking for a cheque. They don't find it because he's hidden it behind the room number — on the outside of the door.
  • In The Code of the Woosters, Jeeves and Bertie search Stiffy Byng's room because Bertie reads a detective novel containing the trope that the top of the cupboard is "every woman's favourite hiding-place." They find themselves treed by an Aberdeen Terrier.
    "Are you afraid of a tiny little dog, Jeeves?"
    He corrected me respectfully, giving it as his opinion that the undersigned was not a tiny little dog, but well above the average in muscular development. In particular, he drew my attention to the animal's teeth.''
  • The rushed version shows up between scenes with Han's room in The Courtship of Princess Leia, although it hardly matters that it's obvious since he skipped town with Leia already.
  • In The Creeping Shadow, thieves ransack Lucy Carlyle's one-room apartment, leaving a terrible mess. They get what they came for, the skull in the jar, but don't realize its true value as a Type 3 ghost, a ghost that has the ability to actually talk with a sufficiently sensitive psychic. They just want powerful sources to use to create a gateway to the other side.
  • The Dead Can Wait by Robert Ryan. Dr. Watson goes to the house of Sherlock Holmes after hearing he's been detained under the Defense of the Realm Act. The MI5 agent with him thinks the place has been ransacked, only for Watson to say that Holmes has actually tidied up a little.
  • Played with in Hard-boiled Wonderland. Two men deliberately break into the main character's apartment when he's there to both intimidate him and search/ransack the room.
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: Harry's dorm room is ransacked in the rushed manner. Only after putting everything back Harry realizes what's missing: Riddle's Diary. This is a particularly tense moment, since it seems related to the whole Heir of Slytherin debacle, but only a Gryffindor could have done it. It was Ginny Weasley, who saw Harry had the diary and was terrified he'd find out all of her secrets.
  • How to Fly with Broken Wings: When TJ is arrested for participating in gang riots, police turn his front room upside down looking for stolen goods. His mother says, 'I will never get them back how they were.' Willem remembers where everything went and helps her tidy the room.
  • An inversion occurs in Hung Out by Margret Weis. One of the main characters is a telekinetic with trouble controlling her powers. She realizes that her room has been searched because everything is neat and orderly instead of haphazardly strewn everywhere.
  • Subverted in Rob Grant's Incompetence. Harry intentionally keeps his apartment messy, but takes photographs before he leaves, reasoning that any fool can ransack a tidy room and replace it as it was, but it takes a professional to ransack a messy room without being noticed.
  • In J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, the Nazg├╗l absolutely tear apart the rooms that Frodo and his friends are using at the inn in Bree, planning to kill them and take the One Ring. Alerted to trouble by Strider, the hobbits take shelter in his room and leave dummies of themselves in their beds.
  • The Mermaid Chronicles: In Secrets of the Deep, Dylan gives Cordelia a magic pearl and tells her to keep it safe from the selachii. She hides it in her room. But a few weeks later she comes home to find that her room has been destroyed - her chair, pillow, and mattress have been slashed, the contents of her closet and drawers are strewn all over the floor, and her keepsake box is smashed open. Her father, who doesn't know about the pearl, is baffled that someone would do all that and not steal anything.
  • In Stephanie Burgis's A Most Improper Magick, burglars break into their home while their stepmother and the girls are away, and leave it ransacked, but take nothing.. Kat deduces they were after their mother's Spell Book.
  • In Dorothy Gilman's Mrs. Pollifax On Safari, Mrs. Pollifax packs her case with great care and always in the same way. Because of this, she can pick up the subtle shifts that proved someone had searched it and repacked it, very neatly. (Note that tradecraft makes James Bond and Travis McGee carefully arrange things to alert them if they've been searched—Emily Pollifax is just a neat elderly lady. But that's the point.)
  • In one Nick Carter Killmaster novel, the title character actually breaks the fourth wall concerning a search, telling people how James Bond ruined the "hair on the doorjam" technique, that he now used a new one, and that we were crazy if we thought he was going to reveal it in a lousy 95 cent paperback.
  • Parker does this to Brock's apartment in The Sour Lemon Score; emptying every drawer, cutting open every pillow and cushion, and breaking open every stick of furniture where something could be concealed. Brock is shocked that someone could be destructive, and regards the apartment as having been raped.
  • Emil Karpo (a Russian cop) in Stuart A. Kaminsky's Porfiry Rostnikov mysteries did that once—as well as the usual thread, he put a single hair of his across a doorway or something, which let him know the KGB had searched his room.
  • Sanctuary: Araminta, a talented artist, finds that her studio has been ransacked, with paint squeezed out of tubes, tubs of brushes and pencils turned upside down, pastels broken and ground into the carpet, and the messages "YOU WILL BE KEPT AS PRISONER," "YOU WILL DIE AS WE HAVE DIED," "WE WILL ALL FADE AND GO," and "GET OUT. YOU DON'T BELONG HERE" written on the canvases. Araminta is horrified, not only because of the threats but also because her trauma makes her an intensely private person who rarely even lets Morgan into the studio, and because she can't afford to buy new paints and canvases.
  • The Shadow Over Innsmouth has the character managing to escape a room ransack. Of course, rather than his mattress, they were planning on cutting open him...
  • In Too Bright to See, Bug wakes up from a dream to find that the ghost that's been haunting him has completely trashed his room - the drawers completely pulled out, clothes flung around the room, the bookshelf upended, and the lamp lying on its side.
  • Dan Abnett's Warhammer 40,000 Gaunt's Ghosts novels:
    • In First & Only, Zoran comes to Gaunt because he is aware something is happening: he surprised a man searching his room.
    • In Ghostmaker, Gaunt is startled awake and catches Inquisitor Lilith in his room. She assures him that she would not have done it if she had known he was there.
  • In one of the opening scenes of the X-Wing Series novel Starfighters of Adumar, Wedge mentions that his room has been subjected to a very thorough example of the subtle type. He isn't sure why until General Cracken, head of New Republic Intelligence, comes to brief him; he then (correctly) surmises that Cracken's agents were searching for listening devices.
  • In Andre Norton's The Zero Stone, Jern returned to find his father murdered in a room like this.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The first episode of 2 Broke Girls subverts this when Caroline first sees Max's messy apartment.
    Caroline:Oh my God, we've been robbed.
    Max:No, this is how it always looks.
    Caroline:Oh my God, totally cute.
  • On Burn Notice, CSS agent Jason Bly has Michael's apartment searched. It's a subversion in that Michael is there at the time. Also, Bly doesn't expect to find anything; he's just doing it to mess with Michael.
  • In Community episode "Cooperative Calligraphy", Jeff ends up doing this to the study room in search of Annie's pen.
  • Has popped up a few times in all the CSI series. One prominent one was when Mac from CSI: NY went to what he thought was his girlfriend's room on the CSI half of the two-part, two-show crossover. It was really someone impersonating her after she was kidnapped back in New York, and the room was torn apart by someone working for the guys her boyfriend owed money to.
  • Estate of Panic, similar to the above, but with adult contestants ransacking a haunted mansion filled with booby traps and unpleasant animals to find cash.
  • Finders Keepers featured teams of children tearing through rooms of an on-stage house to find hidden objects for money and prizes.
  • On The Flight Attendant, Miranda Croft ransacks Cassie's apartment and is troubled when she finds among other things multiple passports, convinced that Cassie is much more than just a simple flight attendant.
  • In Grange Hill, a group of pupils rebelling against school uniform end up ransacking the secretary's office, when they hold a sit-in protest there.
  • Harrow: At the end of "Quam Innocentum Damnari" ("An Innocent Man Is Punished"), Fern arrives back at James' house after being hassled by Mila's men to warn him that Mila is coming for him. However, when she gets there, she finds the front door open, the lounge room trashed, blood on the floor and James gone.
  • On Heroes, Mohinder comes home and surprises a Company agent searching (and bugging) his apartment. The agent claims to be an exterminator, and protests "this man pulled a gun on me" to a neighbor witnessing the ensuing fight. Of course, the gun holster exposed under the agent's jacket makes this lie rather obvious. Though it turns out the neighbor was also a Company agent which suggests that previous bugging was staged.
  • House: House comes home to his apartment trashed and fears a burglar, only for his nemesis Detective Tritter to appear with a search warrant and a massive number of confiscated painkillers. He says he almost didn't bother coming but figured House would be too vain to bother getting rid of them when he came under scrutiny of trafficking.
  • The Magician: In "The Magician - Pilot," Blake visits Francine's apartment in search of Mary Rose. He finds the apartment ransacked and Francine beaten up on the floor. Francine's dazed words send him to a houseboat, only to find the bad guys have beaten him to it, with the houseboat ransacked and Mary Rose missing.
  • In M*A*S*H, Frank departs from the operating room and discovers a note in his jacket pocket from Margaret. He reads it cheerfully then tears it up. This shocks Margaret, who has kept every note Frank sent her. While Margaret is assisting Hawkeye with a problem patient, Frank ransacks Margaret's tent looking for all the notes from him she kept. Notably it starts as the subtle type, but by the time Margaret gets back to her tent the next morning, the place has been turned upside down and Frank is asleep in the middle of it.
  • Subverted in The Mentalist, while Jane's room wasn't exactly ransacked and the bad guys did find what they needed Jane's information regarding Red John and left without a trace. He notices however when a toothpick he purposely left in the door earlier fell out of place. He also points out that a completely ransacked room suggests the thief did not find what they were looking for, since at best that would mean they found it in the last possible place it could be (extremely unlikely), or more likely not at all.
  • Midsomer Murders, in "Harvest of Souls", the veterinary surgery is broken into and ransacked, with all of the controlled drugs being stolen.
  • Motive: Detective Lucas describes this once as 'ruffling' the objects of the house, to which Angie makes fun of him for.
  • Murder, She Wrote: In "Bite the Big Apple," Jessica returns to her new apartment to find that it has been thoroughly ransacked.
  • Outrageous Fortune. Happens several times through the series.
    • Van & Munter stealing the "smoking gun" for Jethro. Rushed, made to look like a normal robbery so it doesn't get back to Jethro.
    • Loretta stealing the money lenders cash from Draska. Rushed, had to steal the money before Draska sobered up.
    • The Horsemen raiding the West house. They couldn't find the drug money so they stole every object in the house.
  • The 1993 Australian spy series Secrets showed how this is done in real life, with the Government Agency of Fiction always taking Polaroids of the room beforehand so everything could be replaced exactly where it was after the search.
  • In the pilot of Something is Out There, Jack Breslin goes back to his apartment where he left Ta'Ra and finds the alien monster has not only searched the place but ripped huge holes in the walls. After the requisite Cat Scare involving Jack's pet parrot, it turns out Jack's girlfriend has taken Ta'Ra out shopping before all this happened.
  • Star Trek: Picard: In "The Impossible Box", Picard and Hugh find Soji's room like this; it's a variation where the person who owns the room is doing the ransacking, as she keeps scanning all her personal items and discovers they're all the same age.
  • Vera: In "Vital Signs", Aiden goes to the flat of a suspect who had not turned up to work that day, but finds the flat empty and ransacked.
  • The X-Files ("One Breath"). Mulder is informed by his mysterious informer Mr X that the men responsible for Scully's kidnapping and subsequent coma will be coming to search his room tonight, giving Mulder an opportunity to kill them in 'self-defense'. Instead Scully's sister turns up and shames Mulder into going to the hospital instead. When he returns Mulder finds his apartment trashed and breaks down in tears, thinking he's missed his chance for revenge. But Scully wakes from her coma the next day, making the need for revenge moot.

    Video Games 
  • ANNO: Mutationem: After encountering a couple of thugs who were looking for her brother, Ann heads to Ryan's apartment to check on him. Upon arriving, she finds the room with most of the stuff tossed around with her only clue being a video ROM. Then, she gets ambushed and the ROM is stolen, leading to roofhopping across Noctis City.
  • The beginning of Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis - Sophia's office has been searched, with items thrown everywhere. However, they missed her necklace, which was the only thing of value she kept in there, besides the Orichalcum bead. To be fair, they only look like small copper balls that glitter like fire, and contain enough energy to rearrange your DNA.
    • The same thing happens in the prequel, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, where the villains ransack Jones' father's home in search for the Grail diary. Fortunately it was mailed to Indy beforehand.
  • L.A. Noire has several cases where the crime scene or the victim's home has mysteriously been ransacked.
  • Yeesha's bedroom after you revisit Tomahna in Myst IV: Revelation, in which Achenar had been searching for her Linking Book to Serenia, which you faintly see him use just as you get back to Tomahna.
  • In The Mystery of the Druids, Halligan hides a magic amulet in a vent in his cabin when on a sea voyage. Obviously, the instant he does this he returns to find his place ransacked by the villains looking for it.
  • Persona:
  • The rushed way is played out in Act 2 of Snatcher. After receiving a message about Katrina, Gillian heads to her house to find the door unlocked and the house in shambles from Snatcher activity.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1989), the Foot Clan do this to the Turtles' apartment when they kidnap Splinter.
  • In the second case of Touch Detective, Mackenzie finds Penelope's room ransacked when trying to find clues about her disappearance. However, Mackenzie later finds out Chloe was the one who broke in through the window since the front door was locked.

    Western Animation 
  • Bob's Burgers: In "Judge Bot Day", by the time Gene and Louise arrive home, Linda had already made a mess looking through Tina's room for her friends fiction. Bob later finds all three making an even bigger mess, and shows them up by accidentally finding it within a minute of entering the room.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: In "Another Mystery", Star arrives at Buff Frog's home and finds everything in disarray, leading her to believe that something bad happened. Subverted when Buff Frog explains that nothing happened, it's just the result of having ten tadpoles running around the house.
  • In The Venture Brothers, Billy Quizboy and Pete White come home to find their trailer has been trashed. Billy is actually very excited, thinking it means their super-science startup is finally important enough to have enemies. But it's only their friend Dr. Venture looking for a shrink ray he had sold to them earlier.
    Billy: It's industrial espionage! You've come to steal our great ideas. You've been foiled. We have none.

    Real Life 
  • In The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Malcolm mentions a time during his younger (and wilder) days, when he came home to find his apartment ransacked. He immediately grabbed a few clothes and left for a friend's home, because he knew that it was most likely done by the Police, who would have planted drugs in the room, and would likely already be on their way back with a search warrant to "find" it.


Video Example(s):


Someone must want it badly

Before Indy leaves the United States, Henry's house was ransacked by Nazi agents in the search for the grail diary.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / RansackedRoom

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