The other night I forgot to lock our car doors and inevitably, something of value was stolen. The thief got his (or her, but let’s just say his) grubby little hands on Mike’s iPod radio thingy (I’m such a techy). It was lying on the center console in plain view, unplugged. Unfortunately for him, we assume that when he grabbed it the cable got stuck on something. He must have pulled pretty hard because all we found the next morning was the cable with a frayed end and no iPod radio thingy attached. I’m pretty sure he would have wanted the whole thing so it could work. Aw, tough luck.
This is the third time we’ve been victims to your not-so-smart suburban criminal in the last 10 years. The first time, my $100 portable CD player was stolen from the front seat of my ’94 beige Corolla. I know, I know. I was just asking for it. The thief got away with not only my CD player but a stack of my Christian CDs, as well. Fortunately for me, he wasn’t really stealing, he was trading. He left behind his newer CD player, in the leather case, with a stack of dance CDs for me to enjoy.
We’re still trying to figure that one out.
Another time something was stolen from our unlocked car was two years ago and little Max remembers everything about the incident. What was stolen? Mike’s green Jansport backpack from college and a bag of gumballs. The backpack we could live without but why, why, why did the thief take my gumballs? At least the criminal had manners, though. He kindly took out all of Mike’s books from the backpack, including his Bible, and put them in a nice, neat stack. That sure was kind of him.
Max remembers this incident clearly. More than a dozen times in the last two years the situation has popped into his mind and he has insisted that I ask a police officer how the ongoing investigation is coming along. Have they recovered those gumballs, he wondered? Any new clues? He wanted to tell them that he was a detective, too. That he was still on the case.
(he’s always liked to solve crimes – remember the time he suspected that Hurricane Dean nearly started a fire in my bedroom?)
So you can imagine how over-the-top excited he was about playing Detective this weekend. All day Saturday Max was pacing in front of the house, marking the crime scene with his neon green pool noodle, asking neighbors if they heard footsteps in the night, and collecting evidence from the ground, putting it in a Ziploc baggie to examine later. The evidence was a) two pennies, b) dirt next to the car door, and 3) a tiny metal ring that resembled a small earring.
Max concluded that 1) the thief had a hole in his pocket because what else explains the pennies and dirt? They must have fallen out of his pocket. And 2) that they had an eyebrow ring just like this woman he saw once…and that, OH WAIT!, it was quite possible that it might be a woman who committed the crime. Also, he told me that the thief was someone who liked to listen to music. That narrows it down tremendously.
He was having so much fun gathering evidence and writing his report (I loved playing along, too) that I had to keep reminding myself that here was one of those teachable moments I had been given to talk to him about right vs. wrong, responsibility, and consequences (um, that would be mine).
He listened to everything I had to say. But he had to get back to work as soon as possible, there was more evidence to collect. A piece of string.