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Thursday, July 01, 2004

Somedays, You Wonder Why You Get Out of Bed

I'll explain in a minute... Posted by Hello

So, anyway...

It was a typical Wednesday morning. In the process of "getting ready for work" I went out to the driveway to retrieve something from my car. I noticed Cami's new/used car had the driver's side door slightly ajar. Being the typical husband, I assumed she had not shut it completely the night before, thus leaving the dome light on all night, possibly running the battery low. I shut the door, noticing several of her CDs strewn across the front seat.

Back in the house I asked her if she had, perhaps, gone out to the car looking for something while I was in the shower. Her answer was, no. I then, gently of course, told her she had apparently left her door ajar overnight, and reminded her to be more careful in the future. I also mentioned the CDs on the front seat.

"I didn't do that," she responded. "Did you happen to notice if my bag was still in the car?"

THE BAG: containing papers and materials for school/tutoring, her hand-held computer/planner, her ID/Credit Cards/checkbook/etc, and other materials. Think of a small suitcase that doubles as both purse and filing cabinet.

It was, alas, no longer in the vehicle.

Sometime between midnight and 2:00 am, the street-thug pictured above relieved us of the burden of THE BAG.

The credit card companies/banks and the police were called. While we waited for the police officer to come, I tracked down the sanitation truck (it was trash day in our neighborhood) and asked the guys on the truck to keep their eyes out for any discarded materials. I also did a quick drive circuit of the neighborhood, looking for anything that the thief might have tossed.

Once I got back to the house, we finished with one bank and found out the other wouldn't open until 9:00 am, and the emergency number they gave on their answering service was incorrect. While I waited at the house for the police officer, Cami decided to take off on foot in search of clues. She nextel-ed me a few minutes later with the "news" that she could see some of her items in a dumpster of an apartment building less than two blocks from our house. She stayed to guard the dumpster as I continued to wait for the officer.

15 minutes later, when the officer appeared, she made it clear that she would "take your statement, but we probably won't really investigate this kind of thing."

She agreed to follow me over to the dumpster site, where I climbed in among the trash as Cami gave her statement and tried to detail the items missing (including about $50 worth of various gift-certificats given to her by her students on the last day of school). The bag and a lot of the unusable paper/file-type items were there in the dumpster. I also found the personal effects of two other likely victims of the same thief, which I turned over to the officer.

Later, one bank was able to tell us the perp (sounds official, eh?) had used the ATM/Visa card to withdraw $220 from the "fun money" account I use to buy photo supplies, CDs, and other non-essentials. We immediately drove to the location of the ATM, and spoke to the branch manager. Later in the day, they provided us with a photo, a low-res copy of which is posted above.

The other bank told us he had used our other Visa/Check card to pay at the pump for $17 in gas (apparently he didn't find the PIN to that card on Cami's pocket PC). The video survelience at the gas station does not include any outside cameras (wonder how they deal with drive-offs?) so we were unable to get any more info there.

This morning, Cami decided to drop by the dumpster again, just for kicks. More of her items (including some old checkbooks and other financial receipts) were now dumped there. We called the police and said we would like them to note there is a pretty good chance the guy is local. One detective seemed interested in our information. He has, subsequently, already been reassigned to a different case.

So far, they have not interviewed anyone in the area of the apartment building. Cami has sat in a parking lot across the street, out of view, watching to see if our friend above might just live there. If so, his life will get pretty rough, very soon.


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