Mom Catches a Crook.
22 July 2002: Mom and I caught a man breaking into her neighbor's house!
I was paying Mom a surprise visit when it happened. I was there because two weeks ago, outside a yarn shop on the coast, Mom told me Grandma had a knitting machine. Was she sure? Yes she was sure! She and her sister bought it for Grandma. For the next two weeks I dreaming of knitted afghans. Finally I called Mom, home from Palm Springs, and told her answering machine, "I'm coming to root through Grandma's things for that knitting machine!"
I don't usually visit on weekdays because of traffic.
Mom took me to the shed where Grandma's things are stored in plastic bins covered with plastic sacks covered with a tarp. They're certainly kept safe from the rain! We rooted around and found the device Mom remembered... but alas, it was a loom, not a knitting machine.
To soothe my disappointment, Mom prepared a bowl of Artichoke Soup Parmesan for me. We were talking in the kitchen when I saw a man walk by the kitchen window! I quickly realized he was in the neighbor's yard, dismissed him, and went back to talking to Mom. But she'd seen me pause and stare, and she turned around, and spotted the man herself. "He does NOT live there!"
He was wearing blue jeans and a white wife-beater--a sleeveless undershirt--and we watched him jiggle the back doorknob. Then he squatted and reached deep into the doggie door. His whole shoulder was inside. Mom ran to the phone and called 911, and gave the dispatcher our location and a running dialog of the trespasser's activities. I kept my eye on him.
He shoved his arm and shoulder inside the doggie door and fiddled around for a minute, then stood up and ran something down the doorjamb. Then the intruder was inside!
The police station is only a few blocks away. Within minutes, one, two, three police cars roared down the street -- and right past the burgled house. "They passed the house!" we shrieked. The dispatcher told her, "They caught him!"
We couldn't believe it was true, because he had only been in the house a few minutes. But sure enough, the police officers came to our door, and we cried, "We're the people who reported it!" The blond, beefy officer asked us if we could identify the suspect. We said, "Yes, of course, of course! He has very close cut hair. He looks like he's balding. White undershirt and blue jeans, oh yes, we will absolutely know him when we see him!"
Mom worried that the man would identify us, and there would be repercussions. I offered her my floppy red hat, but when she declined, I was glad to hide behind its wide brim myself. However we needn't have worried. The officer was careful to not let the man see us clearly. He put us in the police car (mom let me sit in front) and drove us down to the corner and stopped the car just where we could peek around the corner to see the captured suspect.
There he was, blue jeans and undershirt, close-cropped hair, and all.
The officer took us back home and asked for more details. What happened? How tall was he? Mom thought he was short, maybe 5'6" to 5'8", while I thought he was a bit taller, maybe 5'8" to 5'10". We both agreed he had a slim to medium build. Mom said he was 30-35, and I agreed, but we both hsaid it was hard to tell. He seemed to be balding, but he also seemed fit and unlined. He was Caucasion, and somewhat tanned.
The police had to move a bunch of stuff away from the side gate he jumped over, before they were able to climb over. He must have been quite strong.
He was not carrying a TV or jewelery box, and so we weren't sure if he was a criminal or a friend who knew the owner. Mom heard one cop wondering why a man would enter a house with a doggie door and presumably a doggie inside. This made us consider whether we had put an innicent person in hot water. But we decided we did the right thing, regardless. He looked so suspicious that we were correct to call the authorities.
Our vigilance paid off! The next day the victimized neighbor came over and thanked Mom, over and over again, for calling the police. She said the suspect lives catty-corner to Mom, and he was kind of sleazy, and his cousin babysits her kid. She was going to press charges. He didn't have any of her posessions on him, but he might have gotten her credit card numbers. She was so grateful that we saw him.
So that's how we caught a crook.
I'm still without a knitting machine. We did find more Grandma yarn in the storage bins, mostly wool skeins, a few mohair, many thread cones. Most of this yarn has peculiar hues called "Grandma colors." I am going to investigate dying it.