There are a lot of negative news reports out lately about police officers, so I want to share my positive–and very awesome might I add– experience with the police.
If you don’t talk to me on the real, you don’t know that I just got a brand new phone after an Uber driver tried to make off with my last one. (Long story: left the phone in a ride and the driver wouldn’t give it back until I let him know I used my super-powers–mad librarian skills–and had enough of his personal information and bad credit history to make a very nice report to the Denver police about him. Unfortunately, it took 5 days and I already bought a new phone.) So, anyway, new phone :D.
I returned to work after several long distance trips (October 25-30th in Denver, the 31st back at work, then the November 1-5th in Salt Lake City). I stopped off at Starbucks to pick up a mobile order and set my phone down on the counter to add my typical 6 billion (well, that number is only accurate according to my co-workers) Equals to my coffee. I left Starbucks, went to work and realized: “I don’t have my phone. Crap.” I ring it through Google, and don’t hear it anywhere around my desk. I ring it and don’t hear it in my car. Crap. I must have left it at Starbucks! I drive back to Starbucks and the phone isn’t on the counter where the Equal is. I ask the attendants and no one has turned in a phone, there’s not even one in lost in found. Crap. Someone stole my brand new phone! I just set that thing up! It’s barely a week and a half old!
I drive back to work and do a Google Find My Phone. Google gives me an address in a neighborhood close to where I live. My immediate thoughts: “Thief! Stop thief!” So, I call the police from my office phone and introduce myself as a city librarian and then say: “My phone was stolen from Starbucks and Find My Phone says it’s at [top secret location].” Dispatch sounds excited, “Yeah? That’s the address for real? Okay, how long will it take you to get there? We’ll send officers out now to meet you.”
I say: “You want me to go there? O-okay. I can get there in about 10-15 minutes.” I tell him what car I’ll be in, tell my co-workers I’m off to wrangle a phone-thief, print out an old fashioned Google Map, and I’m on my way! (Dude, how did we EVER used to get anywhere reading printed Google Maps in our laps while driving. I had to **gasp** pay attention, because if I missed a turn, nothing would recalculate for me!) I get to the neighborhood, looks just like the picture, and parallel park between two cars and a power line (because I’m Queen of Parallel. And, well, since I have no phone to entertain me, I do my eyebrows until the police officers show up. :D.
Maybe about 5 minutes later, a cruiser comes down the road and I wave. I get out, the police officer confirms my identity, and then he has me do Find My Phone on his car computer. The computer says that the phone is right down the street between this address and that. So, then he says: “Let’s ring it!” And what the unsuspecting don’t know is that while he’s in his cruiser, in plain sight, two other officers have pulled up in cruisers parked to the side and are out on foot creeping around the vicinity listening for the phone to ring. (Google can make your phone ring as loud as it can for 5 minutes, regardless of if you’ve turned the ringer off.) But we start to notice something, every time we ring the phone, the phone says: “Device has stopped ringing” after about 15 seconds. Which means someone is actively turning the ringer off, meaning that we’re not just going to find the phone laying in the bushes somewhere, a person has it in their hand. A gleam comes into the police officer’s eyes. They’re about to rope some live cattle! Yeehaw!
The officer tells me to wait where I am and he proceeds to drive down the middle of the street, flashing his lights and ringing the phone. Most people’s eyes would be drawn to the police car in the middle of the street with the flashing lights, which is why I think he did it, as the other officers patrolled mostly unnoticed. I watch these police officers knocking on doors, going around to back entrances to apartments and houses, jumping fences and checking cars like they’re looking for a kidnapped baby. I start to think: “My God, what if somebody starts shooting? It’d be over a cell phone! Maybe I should call it off. I can get yet another phone…”
The officer that had stayed in plain sight gets out of his car and jumps a fence. I’m too far back to really see, but are they chasing someone? I don’t know. An elderly neighbor on a scooter keeps coming out, driving his little vehicle in circles, trying to see what’s going on. Dogs are coming to windows, yanking on curtains and barking. It’s a real scene. I want to start playing “Bad Boys,” but yeah, I don’t have a phone, so I can’t add a soundtrack.
A few minutes later, one of the officers (a female) strolls up to me with a pocket notebook and a pencil. I think: Oh man, they’re giving up. I’m going to have to file a traditional police report. Do I have time today to stop by Verizon to get yet another new phone or worse, activate the insurance. Insurance will send me a new phone for free, but I have to wait for them to mail it to me. I haven’t had a landline in years, so I’d be dark for at least a week. How annoying…
But then my thoughts are broken by her words: “We got him and your your phone. Do you want to press charges?”
Excuse me, you what? They got him and my phone??? I was truly expecting never to see that phone again. I take a moment to process the information, then ask, “So…uh… how’s the guy acting? Like is he acting like he was out to steal the phone or is he acting like he wanted to return it, but was confused?”
Lady Officer: “We asked him where he found the phone. He said, at Starbucks. We asked him, Well, why did you bring it home? Why didn’t you give it to a store attendant? He said, uuuhh….”
So, I think about it, hard. If the guy’s got to steal cell phones (and is obviously not very bright, because of the way the police were able to catch him), he must be struggling in many different ways. It doesn’t excuse thievery, but what would I really get out of pressing charges? The guy would probably have to pay some kind of fine he can’t afford, I’d have to do a bunch of paperwork, the police would have to do paperwork. What a pain. So, you know what, I have my phone back. No harm done. He took it off a counter where stupid me left it, he didn’t lift it out of my purse. (If he had taken out of my purse or off my person, then you bet I would have pressed charges, because that means he touched me at some point. Do not touch me.) So, anyway, I chose not to press charges, I really just want the phone back.
Lady Officer: **nods, smiles** Okay, I’ll tell him.
As I stand thinking: “Dude, these cowboy cops really wrangled that guy and got my phone back!” the police officers are talking to the phone thief. The male officer, the first one I interacted with, brings me my phone and his card.
Male Officer: “Get in touch with me if you have any questions or change your mind. The guy’s saying that he was planning to take your phone to a phone store now. We’re going to go talk to him about what would have happened had you chose to press charges.”
Me: **Blinks and thinks: Yeeeeeah…suuuure…. Keep digging, dude (about the phone store story the thief was telling now), but I’m still not gonna press charges.**
I thank the police officer and get into my car. As I drive away, I look in my rear view mirror and see a young guy, head in his heads, sitting in the driver’s seat of a car, feet on the concrete. (Amazing thing I didn’t note, the police officers had patrolled the area earlier. When we arrived on the scene, one of the first things they pointed out was that the car at the end of the block–the one the guy is now sitting in–hadn’t been there earlier, meaning it had just gotten there within the hour. I think they already knew the thief would be the driver of that car.)
I think the whole incident maybe took 30 minutes and then I was back at work, waving my phone around like, “Haha! Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do…” Just about everyone at my job has heard my “cowboy” story now, but for the co-workers I missed, I’ll catch ’em. Or they can read this!
Thinking back, a lot of people say I should have pressed charges on the guy. The police did all that roping and riding and they didn’t get to hogtie anybody. Well, I still just don’t think anyone would have gotten anything out of it. Somebody said that he guy would probably just steal again, but I’m not so sure. From what I saw in my rear view mirror, the guy looked scared to death. I mean, image you have this innocent cell phone (that’s not yours by the way) and it rings in your hand. You’re probably thinking: “Oh, it’s just the owner calling. They probably think they lost the phone in the cushions of their couch. Hehehe—” Wrong sucker! It’s the police calling the phone and they’re right outside the door listening for the ring! Muhahahahaha! I really doubt that guy will be taking anymore cell phones. He’ll probably pick one up and twitch, looking over his shoulder for po-po cowboys :D.
When I get some free time later on that afternoon, I go to a local bakery and pick up some cute little cakes and decorative tarts (not donuts! I don’t want to insult anybody!) and deliver them to the police station with a note for the officers. I only know one by name, but I ask for the names of his associates so that I can write a letter to the police chief (who is very nice, by the way, he bought me and my co-worker coffee one day and left it on our desks) and to the city manager on their behalves. I think they should get some kind of recognition, because wow!
Members in the community that hear my story all stare and shake their heads, like wow. It is really nice to know that the police have our backs like that! It really was amazing.
Moral of this story is: My cell phone is either in my hand because I’m actively using it, or it lives in its special purse pouch, unless it’s at home or charging.
Other moral (for others): Don’t mess with my stuff! ;). I won’t let it go. In the words of Antoine Dodson (Home Invaders):
“They’re hanging out at Starbucks, snatching your cellphones up.
Trying to steal em’, so you need to hide your keys, hide your phone,
hide your purse, hide your cards,
and hide your coffee, ’cause they’re stealing everything out here.
You don’t need to come to confess. [I’m] looking for you.
[I’m] gon’ find you. [I’m] gon’ find you.
So, you can run and tell that, run and tell that
Run and tell that, homeboy
Home, home, homeboy.”
Lol, okay and on another note, one that actually has to do with writing, I have finished Book II, The Third Gambit. I sent it off to the publisher a few weeks ago with my fingers crossed. We’ll see how it goes!
Take care all, and make sure your phone has some kind of tracking system on it. If it doesn’t have one, look into getting one installed.