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1:59 pm - Sunday, Sept. 25, 2005
The Police Blotter

The Police Blotter

It's funny--I complain about how "boring" life is most of the time, but whenever things get "exciting"...well, most of the time, that kinda sucks too.

But here's what I mean...

Last night, a little before 10:00 p.m., a couple guys (White, overweight, late 30s/early 40's) came into the bookstore.

They had paper shopping bags--One from The Gap and one from Old Navy--and went straight upstairs, which is where our "Multimedia" section is located.

I pointed them out to Tim G., because they seemed "sketchy" (Maybe it was the bags. We don't check bags at the store, but it seemed odd that two middle-aged guys would come in with shopping bags from two different stores. But anyway...)

They were upstairs for less than a half-hour (Rob was up at the Music info desk, but with his nose in a book, not paying attention to anything), and when I saw them coming back down, I pointed them out to Tim again (Fortunately, he happened to be by the info counter both times).

Instead of making their way straight to the street side exit, our "sketchy" duo took a circuitous route, keeping a lot of bookshelves in between themselves and the Main Info counter, where Tim and I were watching them.

When Tim saw that, he made a beeline for the doors, and sure enough, as they went through, the alarm went off.

Tim tried to get their attention--"Hey Guys...!", but they just kept going.

And the policy with shoplifters at that point is to leave them alone--"liability issues", you know--but instead, Tim followed them right out the door (Tim's dad was a police chief, and Tim did a stint in the Army when he was younger, so he's not really built to let shoplifters leave the store with stolen merchandise).

So half just appreciating the novelty ("Well, this is an interesting development...", I thought to myself), and half not wanting Tim to be dealing with two guys on his own, I followed the three of them out.

Tim kept asking to see their bags, and I don't really remember them saying much in response--they just kept walking down the street.

I got my cellphone out, and Tim said, very loudly, "Yeah Jim, call the police". But of course, I didn't have my phone on, it took forever to "power up", then I couldn't get a signal (Thanks for nothing, Cingular!).

Then Tim got a look inside one guy's bag, saw a dvd box set of Smallville, and got pretty hot under the collar.

He said, "Give me the fucking Smallville dvd", and when the guy still wouldn't comply, he grabbed
him, and tried to get him in a headlock.

The guy started twisting around, trying to get free--biting Tim's thumb, at one point--and I grabbed him from behind, ending up with his jean jacket in my hands.

Apparently, this was all more than the guy's partner-in-crime had bargained for. He made a token effort to come to his buddy's defense, but I made a grab for him with a free hand, and he decided he didn't like this game too much (Obviously a pussy, like me, but I do give him some credit--At least he didn't run away).

In the tussle, Tim managed to get a hand on the bag--This was "Gap Bag Guy"--and it ripped apart, spilling dvds out onto the street (We were in the middle of La Ciengega at that point).

So since we were now in the middle of a busy intersection, with hundreds of dollars of dvds lying in the road, we started picking them up, and our chunky villians got away, but at least with only half of what they'd left with.

We called the police, who came shortly after the store closed, and filed a report (We all looked at the security tape--the two officers, Tim, and myself--they took pictures of the stuff we recovered, and they got our contact info).

It seems unlikely the two shoplifters will come back--If you were a shoplifter, would you come back to a place where the employees actually try to physically stop you?--but if they do, I guess that means Tim and I could end up in court, testifying against the guys (They stole enough to make it "felony robbery").

We might also be in some trouble with Borders--What we did was very much not Borders policy, so we could get written up, or I guess possibly even fired (I worry for Tim, especially, cause I know David wants him out).

But as I told Jane in an email, if I get in trouble for not leaving Tim to deal with two shoplifters on his own, I can deal with that. In fact, I can hardly think of a better reason to be fired.

One thing I thought about after it was all over--Beyond how lucky I was that punches were not thrown or weapons drawn--is how very, very useless I am in a situation like that. Since I was a little kid, getting in occasional fights in the schoolyard, I've always been struck by how, when you really need all your faculties, they go right out the window--In a tense, potentially violent situation, I literally "can't see straight" (When Tim started wrestling with the one guy, I completely forgot that the other guy had a bag full of our shit as well).

So while I might fantasize about being a hero, in reality, I kinda suck as "Action Man".

But at least it occurred to me to try and help when my friend needed help, so I'm going to give myself "partial credit" for that.

Well, it's just about time for me to get ready for work...

And I hope it's boring.


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