Just when I was gonna write a post about what it’s like to ride a bike to the grocery store and load-up (since the truck is still DOA at the shop), like it was twenty-five years ago all over again… Not!
So I get back home and I’m fixin’ stuff, eggs in the egg-cooker for my wife’s breakfast – and decide I need to go grab the cell-phone that I left in the backpack down in the garage. I head out the door to go downstairs – and surprise a robber on the landing.
People use our pathways as a shortcut through the middle of the block and not always for innocent purposes.
I’m standing there in t-shirt, shorts, and flip-flops – and pull up to a full stop.
A young guy was facing hunched away, toward my neighbor’s door, and had what I immediately recognized as an Amazon dot-com box in his left hand, held down at his side. I think I must have given him quite a start. The scene looked and felt so wrong.
I said inanely, “Is there anything I can help you with?” I figured him for a kid somewhere between 18 and 20, now I think maybe younger.
He said, “No I got it covered” – or something like that. He turned and I let him go ahead of me down the stairs.
I followed since I was going that way anyhow. I kept a distance – but I wasn’t even thinking about a knife. He was bulky-sized and heavy-set – about 5-10″ wearing X, Y, and Z…sorta gangbanger-dressed, with a dark gray backpack. He walked slowly with a lumbering short-footed gait. Weight 190. Hispanic.
Maybe he had a load in his pants, maybe it was everything he could do to keep from just bolting and running. I really wanted to see who’s address was on that Amazon box, I believed it to be my slightly nerdy upstairs lady-neighbor who usually got software manuals and crap.
I let him walk ahead and after about ten paces I said in my most casual voice, “I’m just going down to my garage.” And he kinda nodded Uh-huh and kept his shuffling pace.
I went straight down the driveway, flicking the garage-door opener, while he turned left and followed the path away from me. Upstairs in another Unit another neighbor lady came out.
The whole thing was surreal, each of us pretending that nothing was going on, knowing absolutely that something really was. I got the cell-phone and went across to say “Hi” to the neighbor, and pointed-out the kid out to her. His speed had shifted up a notch, heading around the corner. I walked quickly after him and paused to look in the dumpster where the empty box now lay. It stank. He was across the street and heading down to the Complex’s pass-through that would take him onto Shoreline…
I went through another gate that leads around our lake to see if I could intercept – he was out of sight.
I got back upstairs and called the Cops. I didn’t have the police on the cell-phone and I was reluctant to dial 9-1-1. I went back down and retrieved the empty box from the dumpster where he’d tossed it – it had an invoice for a bunch of DVD’s and my downstairs neighbor’s address, about $125 worth of stuff. I called again and reported that too, giving directions again.
In only a few minutes a young-ish undercover guy in a new-model SUV swooshed down the driveway, and talking into a radio asked a few question. I repeated my directions and he took off. As he was leaving, a uniformed officer walked up the path and we started the whole description thing.
While talking with him he got a call that they had a “stop,” so we walked around to the other parking lot to his car and I took a ride to ID a perp. I had to gave a negative on the skinny, fuzzy-bearded, pony-tailed kid they picked up. Definitely not that one.
We’ll see how it all works out. Back to reading Guns & Ammo…