Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How I Caught a Robber OR Moral Turpitude and Tomato Thievery

On a fateful Monday morning in November, I was in my home office preparing for the day ahead, when movement outside the window caught my eye. There was a fellow walking between my house and the vacant house next door. And since that house is for sale I went to the window to spy who my potential neighbor might be. But the grungy guy that I beheld didn't seem a potential suitor for the house; not only that, he had one of my still-green tomatoes in hand. The audacity!

I then went to a window at the front of the house to see what sort of car this fellow drove. None. There was no car in driveway next door. Curiouser and curiouser. My suspicions aroused, I went through the door to the garage, where the garage-door was already up. The grungy fellow in jeans and a plain, white t-shirt was standing at the end of my driveway, peering in, as if to scope the place out. So I stepped back in the house for a moment.

When I came back out, he was walking out from between my house and my other neighbor's house; he then proceeded up the street, walking through people's yards. I decided then that this was odd enough that I ought to call the police, but I didn't want to alarm Anna yet, so I had to be nonchalant in my retrieval of my phone and handgun. Having then gotten those things, I went back outside.

Upon getting the Fultondale Police dispatcher on the phone, I described what and whom I had seen. The dispatcher assured me that she would notify a patrol car, all the while acting like I was completely wasting her time; and how dare I be so brazen! While I was on the phone, the grungy fellow comes running back down the street, and then ducks between my house and the vacant house. Ten minutes later, I still hadn't seen a car. But Anna and I had to take my car to the shop. So off we went.

On the ride home, after dropping off the car, I described to Anna what I had seen. She was alarmed. When we got home, I made Anna wait will I inspected the house. It was fine. I then went out back to check out my house and the vacant house. I then discovered that the glass back door of the vacant house had been smashed. So I called the Fultondale Police for the second time, and described what I had seen. No more impressed than the first go-round, the dispatcher assured me that she would sent a car. Some ten to fifteen minutes later, a patrol car does in fact arrive.

After finishing his cigarette, he went around to the back of the house. A second car arrived, and the officer joined the first around back. Several minutes later, I heard a loud thud, just as a third car arrived. I informed that officer that I had made the call; he asked me to describe the suspect. I did, and he replied, "Is that the same guy as they have in there now?" "He's in there?!" I asked incredulously and unnecessarily. Moments later they brought him out in cuffs and hauled him off.

I expected that I should be lauded as some sort of neighborhood hero. I was not. I did later learn that the reason grungy fellow was running back down the street (while I was on the phone with the Police the first time) was that he had broken into a house up the block, and someone had been home. Learning that information caused me to be all-the-more irritated that it took the Police so long to arrive after the second call, when they had already been in the neighborhood an hour previously.

The story doesn't quite end there. A couple of days later, I was walking between my house and the vacant house, where I discovered a still-green tomato that had a bite taken out of it. I wish it were poisonous.

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