Holly has asked me to be a guest blogger tonight. So sit back and enjoy as I regale you with a story of deception, intrigue, and mostly absurdity.
Yesterday we were robbed. But let’s start the story well before that happened so forget I already mentioned it. About 3 in the afternoon I received a call on my cell phone about our dog. Our neighbor, Brooke, found her roaming the streets and was calling to let me know. This happens once in a while when Madison finds a new way to get out, so I didn’t think much of it. Brooke put the dog in her backyard (with a much higher fence) and we would pick her up after work.
As it turns out I was going to be late getting home. Holly and I had driven separately. Although this doesn’t happen often, it did mean that she could still go home at 5. She returned Madison to our yard, ate dinner, and then went to work out around 7. She didn’t seem to notice anything out of sorts.
I finally came home from work around 8. When I got out of the car I was relieved to hear Madison’s collar jingling in the back yard. She often repeats her escapes several times before we figure out what needs to be fixed to keep her in. However I was surprised when she trotted over to the car to greet me. It turns out the gate was ajar. Now Madison is a talented pup, but lacking opposable thumbs I determined she probably required some outside help to get the latch open.
And that was when I noticed it…or rather the lack if it. My mower had been left out in the backyard to dry off a few day earlier and I had yet to pack it into our small storage shed. But the spot it had occupied was now empty as was the rest of the shed. A quick glance and I could see that the mower, string trimmer, chainsaw, and hedge trimmer were all missing.
I knew Holly had locked the gate less than an hour earlier. So that means someone had robbed us between then and now. We have always had a pretty interesting mix of folks who walk past our house. I figured someone had seen the equipment and decided to take a chance. Likely they were on foot. “Someone walking away with several pieces of yard equipment should be pretty easy to spot,” I thought. So Madison and I hopped in the car and went cruising around the neighborhood looking for our thief.
As it turns out, thieves are not very smart. I caught up to a gentleman sauntering down the road about a mile away. I was going to ask him if he had seen someone with a chainsaw and hedge trimmer but seeing that he had said items in his hand I deemed it unnecessary. I eased my car up next to him and rolled down the window. The conversation went something like this…
me: “I’ll make you a deal. You put that stuff in the back of my car and I won’t call the police.”
thief: “What stuff?”
me: “The tools in your hands. You just stole them from my house.”
(at this point Madison decides to growl – good job Madison)
thief: “I just bought these.”
me: “Right. OK, I am going to open up the back door now and you can give me those.”
(there is a shuffle as I get out of the car and Madison decides to get out too)
thief: “You can have them, but I just bought these from a crack dealer up on the corner.”
me: “Crack dealers sell crack, not lawn tools. Now where is the other stuff you took. My lawn mower and weed eater.”
thief: “Man, I don’t know. Someone else must have bought them.”
(I take the tools and put them in my car. I give the guy props for at least sticking to his improbable story)
me: “OK, I will call the cops and they can figure out where the stuff is then.”
At this point I dial 911 and start relaying the story to a dispatcher. The guy just stands there. He sticks around for about 2-3 minutes. He seems too stunned to figure out it would be a good time for him to run away. As I am giving a physical description of the guy to the police, something in his head clicks. He turns and starts walking away. And I do mean walking.
I imagine that if I was ever caught stealing and had the opportunity to get away I would high tail it as quickly as possible. By this guy had too much style for that. He actually jive walked away. I followed him for a bit but he turned a corner and I decided it was not wise to leave my car running in the middle of the street..especially with the dog sitting shotgun. I didn’t really care if my car disappeared (I hate it), but Holly would kill me if I lost Madison.
A few minutes later a cop car drives by. The officers don’t really make any eye contact with me though. They pull over about a block away and talk with an elderly couple. They drive around some and then disappear. Although the dispatcher told me to wait, I decided that a stir crazy dog and quickly darkening back street made a poor combination. So I drove home and called the police again to let them know where they could reach me.
When I got to the back door of the house there was a note from another neighbor taped up on the glass. It said she thought I might be missing some equipment and should give her a call. I did and we met outside at the fence. It turns out she saw the guy walking away from my house with the chainsaw and hedge trimmer…so much for his crack dealer story. But it gets better. She had pictures.
How cool is my neighbor, Donna. Her dog went crazy when the guy was stealing our stuff. When she got up to let him out she noticed a guy walking from our house with the equipment. Knowing I do all my own lawn work, she put 2 and 2 together and hopped in her car. Like a true detective she followed him for a few blocks and snapped a handful of pictures. In fact she had one of him looking right at her! It turns out that I pulled up to the thief just a few hundred yard from where she stopped following him.
When the police arrived I told them my story and gave them copies of the pictures Donna took. There was a little confusion at first because the cops had not been informed who I was or that I had been waiting on them earlier in my car. Once that was sorted out we all had a laugh as we filled out paperwork.
So here is what I believe happened. Sometime around 3 someone came and took my mower and string trimmer. They left the gate open (dumb), Madison escaped, and our neighbor picked her up. Holly came home and didn’t notice that the mower was missing. She fed Madison, put her in the backyard, and left to work out. Then our friendly thief came back. Bold move. I guess the crack money he made from the mower didn’t last long. Anyway, my neighbor was already tailing him when I returned home.
So I guess there are couple of lessons here. First, don’t get greedy if you decide to steal yard equipment. Second, Brittany spaniels make lousy guard dogs. And finally, we have the coolest neighbors ever! Enjoy the pictures of our thief below.