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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Please Call the Cops!

Late Greetings to all,

We had a busy morning and barely made it to the lab at the hospital before they closed. The doctor failed to mention that they (the lab) only worked a partial day on Saturday. All is well and the vampires got their feast from Anna this time, which makes the lab techs happy. They wring their hands and look for any other place to be when I show up. No, I am not mean or rude to them! I have tiny veins and they roll. Anna has beautiful wide open veins and they stabbed right on in and got six vials of blood in less time than I could squeeze out one.

The weather for beautiful downtown Fallon is a gloomy gus grey sky with icicles in the air causing frozen goosebumps on any exposed flesh. Officially we are supposed to see 44F with 10 mph wind from the North, but I seriously doubt that it got that warm. Still talking about rain and snow mixed for tonight.

We stopped by the grocery store on the way home and all of the corned beef in Fallon has been bought up! Who knew that there were so many traditional Irishman in town. O'Garcia, O'Hernandez, O'Ramirez to name a few. Do you suppose that folks believe that they have to eat corned beef and cabbage to be allowed to drink a pint O' Guinness?

I know what y'all really want is for me to quit talking and get on with the story for today. So here it is and nary a Leprechaun or a green beer in it. Enjoy!

Please Call the Cops!

In the summer of 1999, I was delivering the mail in our small town of Fallon and hearing disturbing news from people along my route that caused me great concern.

There were break-ins happening on neighboring streets close to my house! Our city had very little crime to speak of and my neighborhood even less. This was a shock, and having lived in places where there were bars on all the windows, not a welcome change for me. I had gotten used to the unlocked doors and keys in the car ignition habits of a trusting rural town. Not that I did those things, but I liked the feeling of trust and peaceful living it showed.

The criminals seemed to be getting away cleanly, leaving no trace evidence behind and our police department was baffled. They were not being seen coming or going from the houses, no disturbance calls had been recorded for late night dog barking, no suspicious cars parked on neighborhood streets.

I beefed up security on our house with; metal door jambs and extra long deadbolts, charlie bars in the windows, security cameras and monitors. Plus we had a German Shepherd which was probably the best deterrent of all. She was a life saver for criminals because she prevented them from getting into a house where they would not leave alive.

Another week went by and more burglaries had happened, including one on the street right behind my house. The thief or thieves, were careful in what they took, and didn't bother with taking cameras or computers, although it was noted that a computer had been used in one house. The unit had been left on, which was contrary to the habits of the owner, and a search of the history showed that the folder with their insurance photos had been accessed. The items with high value were taken and the owner admitted that they probably used it to locate the goods, because he noted the location in the house of each item thinking it would help for insurance claims if he had a fire or theft.

This home owner is a good friend of mine. All of his business, medical and legal files are accessible to anyone, and his family and even some friends used his computer. So it was odd, but added details to a complex situation.

My police detective friend told me that this made the home owner a "subject of interest" in a possible insurance scam, but didn't want to say more. I could see his reasoning and thought to myself that it was odd that some random burglar would think to search a computer.

A chance overhearing of a conversation brought another piece to the puzzle for me. I didn't place it right away, but it put it on the table for later.

While in the local billiard parlor eating lunch one afternoon, I heard a neighbor boy (chronologically a man, mentally a boy) bragging to another young man about his father's handgun collection. Had I walked out at that point I may not have registered the conversation as important, but I was just starting lunch so I heard the unknown young fellow ask, "where does he keep this fantastic collection?" That set off a bell in my head as "pumping" someone for information, so I listened more carefully and turned on my bar stool to get a look at the guy. The man was nervous and careful and spotted my movement and my postal uniform and shut up and turned away from me, making me even more curious.

I asked the girl behind the bar if she knew the guy talking to my neighbor and she said no, but he had been coming in for about six weeks. Funny, that was only a week longer than the burglaries had been happening. While I was talking to the employee, the subject of our discussion has gone to the bathroom, and out the side door. I asked my neighbor who his friend was and he said "Billy." I asked if he had known him long and he said that he just met him the night before throwing darts. I had to go back to work so I just filed away the situation as odd and kept going.

The more I thought about what had been happening in our neighborhood and what was being taken, as I drove and walked my route, the more I wondered what was common to all of them. There had to be a link or a pattern of some kind. I mentioned the conversation I overheard to the man next door, who was understandably NOT happy with his son for running his mouth. Another neighbor down our street asked me what I knew about the thefts and was irritated with the prospect, having left Los Angeles to get away from the constant threat of crime. Our neighborhood was on edge and my street probably more so, because we felt that we were "next."

After work I drove back by my friend the detective's house and mentioned to him what I had overheard and my gut feeling that the billiard parlor was being used as an information source for the thieves. He agreed that it was possible and cautioned me about getting too involved and tipping the bad guys off. I recognized being told to back off, even if it was politely done and said OK fine, it's your ball game.

The next day as I delivered to the house where the latest burglary had been committed I had the opportunity to speak with the woman of the house, who is also a good friend of mine. She was still shook up about the crime and and mentioned that it was the second time in a week that someone had been in her house. That took me by surprise and I asked her what she meant.

She had come home unexpectedly two days before the burglary to change and shower because she had gotten sprayed (soaked to the skin) with blood at work (ER nurse) and wanted to change all of her clothes and wash her hair. When she came out of her (master bedroom) bathroom completely naked wrapping a towel around her hair she encountered a young man going through her underwear drawer. She said that she screamed and started to retreat back into her bathroom in fear, but since he kept picking up more panties instead of looking at her or saying anything, she got bolder and angry and ran at him, intending on "scratching his eyes out." She chased him out the front door of her house and down the front walk, and then realized that she was still naked and ran back into the house and threw up in the foyer and collapsed there.

I asked her if she had reported the intrusion and she hung her head and said no. She had been raped in medical school and went through police interrogation and line ups, and then court and felt like with her being naked when the crime was committed, it would be like that all over again. She was not harmed physically and nothing was taken so she and her husband decided that it wasn't worth the hassle and wrote it off to a "panty freak" that wouldn't come back.

Curious about the concentration of the "panty freak" I asked her if she kept anything valuable in that drawer. She said, "You mean like my Fredrick's of Hollywood black lace thong?" laughing at me. "No, seriously." I said. "How did you know?" she asked. "Know what?" I said. "That I keep my diamond necklace and earrings in a white box under my panties?" she said with a scared look on her face. "I didn't know, but somebody did!" I fairly yelled.

I was late getting going down the street (getting back to work) but I had to ask her to describe the guy. The man she described was the same size and hair color as the unknown "Billy" from the pool hall, and he was "wearing latex medical gloves that fit his small hands well", she said. Noting that she noticed things like that from years of wearing them herself. Curious enough to risk getting even further behind, I asked if she or her husband had been to the pool hall to shoot pool or have a beer recently and she said no, but as I started off she said, but my son throws darts there every week. I was doing a "happy dance" in the seat of my mail truck. I was also so late that I had to skip lunch to make up the time!

It was too much coincidence for me, but I had been told to back off by my cop friend. I was convinced that every robbery had been scouted and planned with information gathered from loose lips and careful questions at that pool hall. Add alcohol and everyone was your new best friend! A few days of watching routines and then slip in and out. Places with dogs had been hit, places where the occupants worked nights and slept days had been robbed. Even homes on patrol watch by the police department had been entered and ripped off. If the detective would just listen and compare the robberies I was convinced that there was a person from each address who frequented the billiard parlor before they were burglarized.

Monday I was off so I was going to go to the police department and make a formal statement to either my friend, or the desk sergeant. Like my neighbors, I figured that we were on the "hit list" and our turn was coming up next. If we didn't jump on this and the guy (and accomplices) got wind of me asking questions he would skip town and never get caught. My neighbors would not get their possessions back and justice would get a black eye.

Saturday night was quiet and we had nothing going on Sunday so I could sleep in, or so I thought. My dog went ballistic and alerted about 5:00 am and I checked everywhere and found nothing wrong or out of the ordinary, so I went back to bed.

A couple of hours later on Sunday morning I woke up to a police car parked across my driveway and another in front of that from the other direction. I got some clothes on and my flip-flops and wandered on outside to find out what all of the excitement was.

Being placed in custody was a young white male who had been inside my next door neighbor's house, loaded up his gun collection and exited undetected. He sought to hide and wait in a car parked in the extra parking area in front of their house when my dog alarmed and I looked outside. I had even shined a flashlight across the windows of that car and didn't see him because he was hiding in the floorboards.

In the man's own words he had decided to wait there for his friend because it was comfortable and no one could see him, but he fell asleep. He got a rather rude awakening by the homeowner who jammed the barrel of his 44 Magnum in the burglar's mouth and told him to "Please run or fight back, please!" He was heard to scream around the gun barrel, "Somebody please call the cops, this guy is crazy!" I think that my neighbor was just living out his "Dirty Harry" fantasy.

Down the street the other member of the burglary team had picked the worst possible house on the block to rob.

On Saturday my amigo Larry and his wife had taken their car to the shop to be serviced and then detailed for a trip to southern California and popped into the pool hall for a cold beer and mentioned all of this to the barkeep there. What they failed to mention was that they weren't leaving until Monday. They were on Larry's Harley and parked it inside the garage when they went home.

This gentleman was a geologist with a PhD and clean fingernails who worked for a local business not five minutes walk from where we live. His life was not always this way. Before he decided to become one of the establishment working stiffs, he had been an active member of the Hell's Angels and when he took his shirt off you could see the ink and scars he earned in that lifestyle. Truly a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde kind of thing. Our burglar awakened the beast I'm afraid.

Even while the police were next door to my house the scene down the street was still being played out. It had taken the burglar longer than anticipated to break in, but he had no fear, there was no dog and the owners were away, he had heard them say they were going to southern California with his own ears.

It was the careless breaking of glass into the kitchen sink and the mumbling of the burglar that woke Larry up and made him pull on his leather riding pants and riding gloves and step into his steel-toed boots. He awakened his wife and told her that someone was in the house and handed her his pistol in case he needed back-up.

As the criminal started down the hallway he was met by the irate biker who punched him in the nose and yelled, "I am going to beat you bloody!" according to his wife, who told him to take it outside if he was going to play with his "mouse", she didn't want blood all over everything. So he did. Larry dragged the intruder out of the house by the hair and told his wife that when he gets tired of hitting this guy, she was to call 911, because he was going to need an ambulance. She said, "How am I supposed to know when you are tired of hitting him?" He replied, "because I will get tired of picking him back up and just let him lie there."The young bad guy, bleeding from his nose kept saying, "Please call the cops lady! Call 911!"

He told the police that he "forced the fight outside to protect his wife as he struggled with the intruder." Like I said, it wasn't his first rodeo, he knew what to say to a policeman.

When she told me the story I thought that it was a joke, but Larry really did haul the guy out into the back yard and beat on him until he was a mess. He was convinced that the cops would do nothing to punish the man for all of the heartache he had caused. The jerk would get some puny sentence, do a few months in county lock up and be right back at it again. Larry wanted to "inspire a career change" he said. I believe that he did.

I am sure that you guessed, (and correctly) that the criminal who met with Hell's Angels justice was none other than "Billy." When our "panty freak" burglar reached the Emergency Room of our local hospital, the nurse on duty was his recent victim and recognized him. She excused herself from working on the man out of a sense of professionalism and the personal need to be away from him, or possibly lose control. She admitted to flopping back and forth in her mind seeing him as only another patient in need of medical attention, and the guy who was handling her panties while she was naked in her own house. She ended up going home on sick leave after a couple of hours of trying to work.

Billy was bruised up pretty well, all over his body, but no damage was done to vital organs like kidneys or spleen or his eyes. His nose was broken by the first punch and his lips were split. The ER Dr said it was like he had been in a rock tumbler with a couple of really big rocks. He was "tenderized" the doc said.

The police searched Billy's apartment and found a lot of the guns and jewelry taken. The accomplice rolled over on Billy and one of the new bar tenders at the pool hall after the detective told him that Larry wanted to "meet" him and the cops were inclined to let him. The young man couldn't say enough after that and asked for police custody. There had been some merchandise already transported over the hill to Roseville and it was gone.

Our crime rate took a drastic drop after that weekend and our neighborhood is still known as a place where those crazy B@#$%%s live and where the criminals say, "Please Call the Cops!"