08 June 2008

We have these friends who have a shop downtown. Small salon. Over the past several months someone with a penchant for cash has been breaking into the downtown storefronts...he got our friends about six weeks ago. In response, State Farm informed our friends that without an alarm system, they couldn't be insured.

So our friends got an alarm system.

The city police told our friends, B&G, to set the alarm on "silent," so that if the thief struck again...he would be caught. This makes sense...the downtown merchants struggle on a daily basis just to stay afloat so, let's not discourage free enterprise in an historic district. (At least, not until someone figures out how to run my car on beer instead of gas, since beer is just about cheaper and I really think my car would enjoy the ride better. On beer. Just a random thought there.)

Tuesday night, the alarm at the shop went off. Our friends live two doors up, so as soon as the alarm sounded B jumped up, grabbed his gun and headed downtown. In a nightshirt and printed boxers. And with bedhead. And when he got to the shop, there stood a policeman. There is no glass in the door; the thief had thrown a piece of parking pavement through it, and when B ran up the cop said, "Who are you?" B explained he was the owner of the shop and that the alarm had gone off at home and the cop said, "Well, I need to see some ID."

Now, this is a 59 year old man standing in the middle of downtown at two o'clock in the morning, in a nightshirt, waving a gun around and...the cop wants ID. B explained that last time he checked, he didn't carry ID in his drawers. Last time he checked. And he pointed out...how could he be there? If the alarm hadn't gone off? And warned him the shop was being broken into? Holding a ring of keys which just, incidentally, FIT THE LOCKS IN THE SHOP?

At which point the cop ordered B to............unlock the door. Now, there's not a shred of glass anywhere in the frame of that baby but the cop wants it unlocked. And when B says, "Why are we standing out here? THERE'S A THIEF IN MY SHOP!" the policeman says, "I'm waiting for backup."

Oh, y'all...this shop is four blocks from the police station. I could stroll the distance in under two minutes but...they're waiting for backup. And waiting for backup, so that they can catch this thief who has been operating in this district for months. And waiting for backup.

I don't have to finish this, do I? The thief went out the back door. Down the hallway to a connecting business and out into the street. Scot free. He stole a handful of quarters and dimes, leaving a stack of solid silver antique serving trays and an original painting by a famous local artist just sitting there.

He needed cash, for drugs you guess. Or gas.

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