There are all kinds of people in the world. Â Some pay attention to the world around them. Â Some diddy-bop around in ignorant bliss. Â Some fall in between and may sway from one extreme to the other. Â All of them have the potential to witness something criminal…or at least vaguely suspicious. Â What follows are two very different tales based on a similar crime.
A man walked through his complex photographing graffiti for an upcoming HOA meeting. Â He saw a bicycle lying on the ground near a tree. Â The bike appeared cast aside and the man found it unusual. Â The man waited and watched the bike for a short period of time. Â The man saw a stranger approach the bike southbound from a neighboring complex. Â The stranger was carrying two black bags. Â The man thought it was a mite suspicious and thought perhaps the stranger was the tagger.
The man called out to the stranger. Â The stranger jumped on the bike and pedaled swiftly away. Â The man ran to his car and headed in the same direction in which the stranger rode. Â For a brief time, the stranger was out of the man’s line of sight. Â The man found the bike a short time later abandoned on the side of the road. Â The man called the police. Â The man described the stranger in detail.
The police arrived. Â The bike had a camera bag wound up in the front brakes. Â The bag contained a very expensive digital camera. Â The police found other witnesses down the road as the stranger’s odd behavior caught people’s notice. Â The police eventually found the stranger and he was eventually arrested for burglary, possession of stolen property and possession of burglary tools.
A lady saw a strange man in her neighbor’s garage. Â The lady watched the stranger take a bag of golf clubs. Â The lady saw the stranger get into a white mid 90’s Ford Ranger. Â The lady described the strange man simply as “black” and neglected to get the license plate of the Ford. Â A few minutes later, the lady called her friend to tell her what she saw. Â The friend called the police. Â It is unclear how much time elapsed between what the lady saw and when the friend contacted police.
The police arrived. Â The garage door to the friend’s house was closed. Â After gaining entry to the garage, the police searched the house. Â It was immaculate with no signs of entry. Â The only item missing was a set of golf clubs. Â A 30 minute search ensued. Â Turns out the husband gave the stranger the code to the garage and gave him permission to borrow the set of clubs.
Let’s examine the difference between the two witnesses.
1. Â The first got very detailed in his description of the stranger. Â The second said the stranger was “black”…no description of clothing, no license plate on the truck.
2. Â The first called the police immediately. Â The second called her friend, not the police.
3. The first waited by the abandoned bicycle to give arriving officers as much detail as he could. Â The second left the area after calling her friend.
4. The first was responsible for assisting police in capturing a felon (this was what I posted about in the Warning! post). Â The second was responsible for delaying the police unnecessarily (operating under the assumption the stranger was actually committing a burglary…which he wasn’t).
Here’s what I’d love for you to take away from this post. Â If you see something suspicious or out-and-out criminal, don’t wait until tomorrow to call (I wish I were kidding and that we didn’t deal with that very thing every blessed week). Â Get as much info as you can! Â I care a whole hell of a lot less about the dent on the right rear bumper of a vehicle than I do about the freaking license plate.
There’s no need for you to be a hero. Â You don’t have to tackle anyone or confront anyone. Â Just pay attention. Â Make note of what you’ve seen. Â Be as detailed as you can. Â You have no idea how frustrating it is to get to the scene of a crime and come to find out we may have driven right by the suspect without knowing because we had no description outside of a “blue sedan”.
Have you ever witnessed an in-progress crime or seen something suspicious and decided to call police?