Officer Alex proves the all is not always as it seems, crime-wise
I asked what the weather was like, what the light source in the parking lot was, if they remembered anyone else being on the parking lot, even if it was just lights on a nearby vehicle—boilerplate questions for a robbery report.
The victim answered as best she could, and began listing things that were taken, as I’d requested. Her vehicle title, $450 cash, not much else. She was shaken and distracted, but that was to be expected. I asked about the gun separately from the suspect’s description, which is also standard, because the impression one makes tends to overshadow the other.
“Big, but not too big. Black, the plastic kind, like a Glock.” I grunted in response as I wrote, then asked her about the suspect himself. “You’re positive it was a man?”
“Yes ,” she said. “We seen him from a long way off.”
“We?” I asked. She had initially said she was alone.
“Well, yeah, there was some other folks with me but they gone now.” Again I grunted.
“So your friends were with you when he pulled the gun?” I queried. “Yeah,” she said, “but they didn’t have nothing taken, they just wanted to go.” I raised an eyebrow, and became sad that this now smelled of poop.
“How about your car keys or your purse?” I asked. She looked back with mild confusion. “Keys? I didn’t have no keys or a purse with me. I just had my coat.”
“Let me get this straight. They took cash, but you didn’t have a purse, and they took your car title, but you didn’t have a car. Right?”
She paused and looked down in thought. “No, I just didn’t drive that night and I don’t like to carry my purse, I just use my pockets mostly.” I smiled pleasantly in understanding and nodded my head. Her shoulders lowered slightly.
“Hang on a sec, OK? The detectives are calling.” She acknowledged this and I stepped away.
We’d had report of a vehicle vandalized on the parking lot of the deli she was reporting this occurred in, but the victim didn’t want to make a report when we got there. Management had called it in, as well as this robbery I was now taking the report on. The business didn’t have video, but they did write down the tag of the car when they reported it so we’d be able to find it when we got there. I called dispatch and got both the tag and the victim’s number, and called him while my partner sat with my victim. He mentioned he was at home, so I decided to swing by for a quick chat. (Yeah, yeah, this was a detective’s job, but what can I say? I’m impulsive.)
I met Mr. Jonathan Davis less than a mile away with yet another officer and began to chat him up on the porch of his house. His car was there about the same time this occurred, so if it was related or a coincidence I had to know what he knew either way.
Davis was nervous, sweating despite the winter temperatures. I’d intentionally interviewed him on his porch to keep him out of his comfort zone, which is usually where people keep their weapons, if not on their person. (There is a reason there were two of us there, you see.)
In short order, Mr. Davis revealed that he did indeed know something about my victim. She and two men approached him from the far side of the darkened parking lot. She held out a stack of papers that included a car title and some cash, and she said they needed a ride just a few miles away and they would pay. “Here,” she said. “We’ll pay you,” holding up the money and paperwork to distract him from her friends reaching for their waistbands and pulling out large lock-blade knives. (The distraction failed.)
Mr. Davis was a permit-holding gun owner and reached under his own coat to reveal a Smith & Wesson XD9, a mid-sized polymer pistol.
“This isn’t happening,” he said. “Go on.” As he said this, he glanced at his car, which had had the tires slit. “Shit,” he said. “You did that?” The “victim” nodded, mouth agape, she and her friends transfixed on the end of his pistol. “Then you’ll pay for it,” Davis said. “Drop that money.”
For reasons unknown, he had instantly decided that he didn’t want to shoot them but he also didn’t want to spend hours being questioned by cops to then spend half a year going to court to watch these folks never do any real time and never even pay for the damage to his car. He saw a few hundred-dollar bills and decided they’d pay for the damage and be gone. She dropped the papers and the money and fled, and here we were now.
In other words? My robbery “victim” was actually a robbery “suspect” who’d vandalized her intended victim’s car to keep him there and ease their getaway, and the whole thing got flipped on her (bless her heart). And while I admired the guy’s call (and his cynicism) on some level, my vandalism suspect was now technically a robbery suspect.
Have I ever mentioned how much I loved my job? The courts would now have to sort this mess out, but hopefully they loved their jobs too. As for the detective inheriting this…that remained to be seen. (Hey, I’m impulsive.)
When officer Alexander D. Teach is not patrolling our fair city on the heels of the criminal element, he spends his spare time volunteering for the Boehm Birth Defects Center.