Maybe it is the depth of the recession, but out here in these parts the criminals are becoming more brazen, or so it seems.
In our little hardware store we have suffered a couple of "grab and dash" robberies recently.
One guy waltzed in the front door of the store, calmly loaded up four $100 power drills and
bolted to a waiting getaway car, idling just outside.
Apparently, the thieves were unconcerned that their license plate was plainly visible during their escape.
And in reality, they probably have no fear that the police will even bother to track them down. These days, police departments across the country are more concerned with telling citizens what they won't do unless we raise taxes, than bothering with petty thieves.
Yesterday, a young woman stopped me in the store to ask where our shower heads were located. Because she was wearing leopard skin print velour short-shorts and bedroom slippers, my initial impression was that she was a hooker/druggie.
Admit it, sometimes stereotypes are just true.
I walked her to the display and went back to what I was doing. Later I saw a coworker helping her load a $100 air mattress into a cart, along with two shower heads. We are nothing if not helpful.
The cart proved helpful for her to transport her loot to the front, where she gathered the items and walked right out of the door, fully expecting to make a quick getaway in a car waiting nearby. Her boyfriend/pimp/co-conspirator at the wheel.
Call me old fashioned, but whatever happened to the idea that a fellow did the stickups and his gal was the getaway driver? I'm not saying women can't be class A thieves, I'm just a chivalrous type.
Our store has a clear policy that we neither attempt to detain nor pursue criminals. As our owners say, nothing in the store is worth dying over. Well said.
What the villains hadn't counted on in this master criminal endeavor, was Ned, our paint guy/crime-fighter, bursting out the door behind her, hellbent on revenge. To Ned recovery of the merchandise was only half the battle. He wished to give her the right to remain silent. Store policy be damned.
The getaway driver, apparently deciding there was no upside in trying to rescue his damsel in distress, sped off, leaving her to make her escape on foot.
Our thief was about 75 pounds overweight and because Ned is the same and old to boot, the chase slowed to a walk after about 50 yards. Both hunter and prey huffing and puffing, separated by about 25 feet, neither able to alter the gap.
I watched Ned turn the corner of the shopping center and out of sight. By now someone had called 9-1-1.
A moment later Ned radioed that he was pursuing her down the alley and asked that I go to the west end of the alley and head her off. I wasn't particularly interested in apprehension myself, but Joe the garden guy headed that way and I figured I would go see what happened. Joe and I took up station at the west end of the alley and sure enough she headed our way, with Ned still 25 feet behind.
Spying me and Joe, she finally figured out this wasn't going to work out and she laid the loot down. The getaway car pulled up to the alley behind us and she took off intending to get in before her companion lost his nerve again and left her in the lurch.
Poor Ned, had almost overtaken her, but the promise of escape gave her renewed energy and she took off at a slow jog, leaving the nearly exhausted Ned screaming at Joe and me to "grab her".
"I'm not grabbing her, Ned", I yelled back.
"Me either," added Joe.
"Damnit guys, help me out here!"
So, Ned resumed his chase as best he could.
The driver seeing that getting his sweetie into the car without Ned overtaking her was dicey, drove off again, but not before I got his plate number. He made a u-turn and took off, stopping at the curb about two blocks up the street.
Ned ran out of gas again and stopped chasing, relegated now to shouting threats at her.
Then just when all hope was lost, a truck stopped to ask Ned what was up. Ned jumped into the passenger seat and the chase was on again. By now our gal had reached the safety of the getaway car and the slow speed chase morphed into genuine hot pursuit.
Joe and I went back to work.
Eventually, Ned came back triumphantly shouting that he had gotten their plate number. He was disappointed to learn that we had it the whole time and had already given it to the police.
We got a refresher on the store's policy concerning pursuing criminals and three hours later the cops showed up to take a report.
It was fun while it lasted, though.
In tribute to Ned and his gallant efforts, this Bill Withers classic.
Things in this blog represented to be fact, may or may not actually be true. The writer is frequently wrong, sometimes just full of it, but always judgmental and cranky