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November 22, 2003

Stupid Crime on the Rise

It’s been a weird couple of days around here.

Thursday night I headed out around 9:45pm to get a pack of smokes. I decided to go the quarter block beyond the gas station to check if CVS (a pharmacy / convenience store) was still open as I needed to pick up some gauze bandages as well. As I pulled into the CVS parking lot the lights were all on, but no cars in the lot, so I turned around and started to pull out to head back to the gas station. As I was about to pull out west onto main street a police cruiser was headed west down the street, no flashers or anything. Suspiciously though he waived me to pull out in front of him. As soon as I did, there go the flashers as I pulled to the curb two more cruiser quickly blocked me in!!

When the officer approached he was especially careful, but also polite:

Officer:
Sir, were you just at the CVS? (taking my already offered license)
Me:
Yes sir, I was.
Officer:
Do you work for CVS?
Me:
No sir I don't.
Officer:
Could you tell me what you were doing there?
Me:
I wasn't sure if they were open still or not, just drove through the parking lot when I saw they were closed.
Officer:
Did you touch the door at all?
Me:
No sir, I never even got out of the car.
Officer:
(relaxing and waving off the other cruisers) Ok, sorry for the delay there was an alarm at the CVS just now -- so when we saw you coming out of the parking lot as we responded...
Me:
(finally breathing again)That's ok, totally understand officer.

He then took down my license info for their report as the other cruisers went on to investigate the CVS itself. All told it only lasted 5–10 minutes but it damn sure felt like 30 minutes. Of course when I related the events to my wife, she laughed and said “Maybe that will finally teach you not to smoke.”

Then yesterday, as my wife was walking to the yarn shop, she passed the bank on main street (maybe 200yards from our home) as it was being robbed. Now I know banks still get robbed often enough, but for this little town it is really unusual. Tammy told me about the whole thing when she got home. It was the talk of the entire town this morning. I drew a few odd stares from some folks as I walked to get breakfast this morning. I finally figured out why when I looked at the front page of the paper at the bagel shop—in general I look a lot like the guy with his face plastered above the fold on the front page of the paper: Caucasian male 5’11” to 6’, late 20’s to early 30’s, about 180lbs with short dark hair.

The bank’s camera caught it all, and got a decent – not great, but decent – image of the robber. Unfortunately, while we have been here for four months now, we have not really become “well known” around here. Only a handful of people know me on sight and maybe another dozen that recognize me without really knowing my name. Luckily the robber seems to have a well formed mustache and is otherwise clean shaved, while I currently have a week old start at a very scruffy beard. So it only takes a minute or two of logical thought for most to figure out.

What is mildly alarming is that armed robberies around here – the county that is, not specifically Mystic which really does have a wonderfully low crime rate—of gas stations, convenience stores and banks is up 200% over last year—400% over 4 years ago! In the paper one professor of Criminal Justice observed that “As the economy weakens, it activates a certain criminal element in our society..” Yeah, I can identify with that, to a point. Desperate times = desperate measures type of thing. Personally I haven’t had a job lasting over 1 month in 2 years, and of those I have had very few. I’ve been turned away from too many retail level jobs as overqualified, yet had to compete with “peers” who have Ph D’s for what should be entry through mid level IT and Technology jobs. Not having a Master’s degree much less a PhD…well you know. Desperate as it gets though I can’t even fathom contemplating robbery. Maybe selling everything and moving to Honduras or the Dominican Republic, but not armed robbery.

Posted by Eric at November 22, 2003 12:32 PM | TrackBack
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