In which I go sleuthing… (epilogue)

posted in: Personal | 6

I have the phone back. Life is good.

Yesterday, I visited the Police Station and the Palladium-Item about the theft.

I spoke with the carrier manager (circulation manager?) about it. She said that the Palladium Item would reimburse me for the overages, and dock it out of the thief’s paycheck. The thief was, apparently, an independent contractor and had already lost a couple other routes for undisclosed reasons. From the sound of it, she may be losing her job now too.

But the overages are covered, so that’s good.

The person I spoke to at the Police station said that since I have the phone back, they probably won’t do much with it now, aside from keep it on file. If anything else develops, I’m supposed to call them (I guess if the thief revisited or something). The thief probably won’t be charged with anything, but I guess employer punishment is good enough?

I felt this strange compulsion to find out more about my perpetrator. Googling her name turned up nothing; Neither did searching myspace or facebook. Who else would know this person?

I tried searching myspace for the name of the person that called me and mumbled (see part 3)… restrict search results to 47374… There we go. Age 27. I viewed her profile (public), and her pictures (also public). She had around 100 pictures on there, I started scanning through them, and eventually I found a picture whose caption mentioned my perpetrator’s name.

The picture wasn’t very big, but I could at least tell that she was young, probably mid-20s. A minority.

I searched some more pictures and strangely enough I saw a pic that included a friend of mine from several years ago (coincidentally). I searched for my old friend on myspace, found her profile, and was writing up a message to ask her if she knew my perpetrator;

*DING* Google mail chat client alerting me of a message.

“Let it go.” my wife said. We had been chatting about this, and I showed her the picture of the person. I told her about the likely mutual acquaintance.

“It’s not worth it.”

I felt reluctant to walk away.

I just wanted so badly for this person to put an identity with their victim — to humanize the crime and really connect them with their deed. I felt some sort of schadenfreude about wanting this person to feel remorseful, or sorry, or feel anything at all. To care about the fact that this was not a victimless crime — that stealing it off of someone’s porch was no different than stealing it off of their person. I wanted her to acknowledge that she was not entitled to this transfer of property; I wanted to know — to understand — why she felt it was ok to do this.

Was it the Ralph Nader sign that she saw on Sundays throughout election season? Had she peered in the front door and saw our television and DVDs? Did she think I somehow didn’t deserve to keep it because I was careless enough to leave it on the porch?

Or am I giving her too much credit?

Maybe she didn’t think it through at all. Maybe, like a child seeing a cookie, she saw something she wanted and just took it, consequences be damned. Maybe she knew that she wouldn’t get to keep it indefinitely, but didn’t care. Maybe she doesn’t care about her job at all, and figured the person would inevitably find her out somehow.

My co-worker suggested that most people probably would have just given up from the get-go, filed an insurance claim with the Cell Phone Carrier, paid for the replacement, and just been done with it. Maybe she expected me to roll over and not fight it. Maybe she didn’t expect my tenacity to compel me to beat her at this game.

Whatever the case, I guess it’s just not worth it. Things have been set back to rights, materially, and it’s not worth creating more drama for myself, and more importantly: my family. I have enough things to worry about, I don’t need to get myself involved in the petty life of someone low enough to rob another human of their Cell Phone / MP3 player.

The grapes of concession are sour.

6 Responses

  1. Matt McKimmy

    Great series! Having recently been the victim of theft (garage was robbed of my tools and car-stereo equipment) I can sympathize with many of your emotions. Unfortunately my sleuthing prowess isn’t as good as yours, and apparently neither is the Richmond Police Department’s. Glad you’ve got your cell phone / mp3 player back!

  2. Thomas Kemp

    Whoow. I followed the mystery until the end, and I’m not sure I like where it ended up:

    “. . . the petty life of someone low enough to rob another human of their Cell Phone . . .”

    Petty life, indeed. So petty that she works as a contractor delivering the paper (sub-minimum wage – contracting job at best) for people who could not even pick her out of a lineup – despite the fact that she stopped by their home each week . . .

    Maybe she is a mean-spirited person who took advantage of your carelessness to her own ends. Maybe in a tough economic spot, having the freedom to call whoever she wanted for a week provided a chance at a carefree – “regular’ life, if only for pretend. Who knows.

    I would not be so quick to judge the decision another person makes in their lives. . .

  3. Aaron

    I admit that “petty” may be a harsh word, but I would say as the victim (term used loosely, as the theft is most certainly of the “petty” variety) of this crime, I am justified in being a little irrationally angry, aren’t I?

    Is it really fair for someone else to “have the freedom to call whoever she wanted for a week” at the direct expense of someone else, without asking permission? The notion of stealing to have a chance at a carefree “regular” life seems a bit romanticized, doesn’t it?

    She is indeed a contractor — in her mid-20s (plenty of time to turn her life around, should she decide to). My wife has seen her a few times, but paper delivery is kind of an anonymous task, no human interaction is necessary. The person I spoke with at the Pal-Item said that this particular person has been in trouble before, although she didn’t specify what the trouble was.

    The fact that I can empathize with the misfortune others have is half of the reason why I am not pursuing this further in civil courts (the other half being that, as I am materially equivalent to my pre-crime status, more or less, it’s not worth my time).

  4. melissa

    I remember when I first moved to Richmond and worked at Cracker Barrel I had a bookbag stolen from my car that had some precious journals, books, CDs and even a few tarot decks. I filed a police report and everything, but of course nothing was returned. I never recovered my belongings and I’m sure it was someone that I was working with.

    I don’t understand the mentality of a thief either. I was really hurt by those petty actions and they might have gotten like, $100 worth of crappy CDs out of the deal, MAX. The rest of the stuff they stole was only valuable to me. 🙁

  5. Vernon

    Rumor is she broke in the house, stole cool stuff you forgot you had, shoved your toothbrush up her ass and took a picture for you to find months from now when you finally get the film developed from the old, trusty 35mm.

    And I heard that toothbrush plays MP3s.