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Thursday, April 21, 2011

I'm The Victim Of Another Crime - Nothing New For Me

Silver nail polish on my truck. Another crime.
Today, I became the victim of another crime. It's nothing new for me. This was one I could live with. Someone threw silver nail polish all over the side of my truck, then ran. I was disappointed, but I didn't get upset. I've had a lot worse happen. This is something I'd expect to happen in this neighborhood.

I spent the afternoon at Dunkin Donuts (my office) blogging. I was there from about 12:35 pm to 5:55 pm. When I got home, I noticed the damage on the passenger side of my car.

Immediately, I returned to Dunkin Donuts and parked in the exact same spot where I had parked all afternoon. I saw silver drippings all over the ground, so I knew the crime was done at DD.

I called the police and they said someone would be right out. I figured it wouldn't take long to get cops to show up at a donut shop. They were there within 15 minutes - a good response time for a non-violent crime.

From the clerk inside DD, we learned that he spotted the splatter on my truck when he arrived for work at 1 pm. So, the crime happened within 15 or 20 minutes of when I arrived at DD.

The older of the two officers asked me, "Got any enemies?"

"No. No one knows me here. I live like a hermit, spend all my time at the donut shop blogging and I have a few friends - three I went to high school with and another three or four that are all in mental health recovery groups with me. And I can't imagine them doing this. I'm invisible in this community."

I told the cops that this was just a random act and that was that. The cops and a couple of people who had gathered around said, "I'd be a lot more upset about this than you seem to be. In fact, you're rather calm based on what happened." I guess my medications were working well.

It's not the first time I've been a victim of crime. And I've had much worse happen to me the last five years from a personal standpoint.

Crime has found me a number of times throughout my life.

Twenty minutes before midnight on New Year's Eve on the Las Vegas Strip, waiting to ring in 2007, I was punched out by a small, young Latino man that thought I was talking about him. Two hard shots to my left jaw pushed me back against the wall along Las Vegas Blvd. My fresh drink went flying all over me. His friends spit on me. That was the last night I had a drink. Drinking just didn't seem worth it anymore.

In 2000, my wife (ex-wife) and I put her home up for sale. We did it For Sale By Owner. A woman came to see the home. I let her look around unattended. She stole close to $15,000 in jewelry, clothing and personal care products by stuffing them in specially design pockets she had in a loose fitting jogging suit.

That night, we realized all of this stuff was missing. I called the police the next day. Over the next four days, I went on a personal manhunt for the perpetrator.

From the conversation I had with the woman and things she knew about the neighborhood, I assumed she was from the area. I put out flyers with a description of her car and what she did.

Someone else who had been robbed by her called me and she had the thief's license plate number. I contacted the detectives I had been working with over the last several days, gave them the info and they came by with a mug shot book. I ID'd the woman from the photos, but the police couldn't get the arrest warrant until Monday. This was a Friday. That meant this crook had a whole weekend to hit more For Sale By Owner homes. (FYI - Always use a real estate professional to sell or buy a home.)

I spent all day Saturday and called every single For Sale By Owner ad in the northwest part of Las Vegas. I found 18 more crime victims. This slime bucket stole medications from a guy in a wheelchair.

Her arrest made the local news. This woman had been robbing people for over two years, and I put a stop to it. Back at the office where I worked and my wife was president of the company, they mocked me, "Hey Lone Ranger, what crimes are you going to solve tomorrow?" My wife's partner asked if I was going to take sick days for the two days I was away from the office.

All the merchandise of all the victims, including my wife's stuff was returned. The only thing not recovered were several of my ties that were special gifts to me. I didn't get my stuff. I was mocked. I was docked for work. But the detective told me, "If we had more people like you, there would be no crime." That was worth it.

In the end, there were 41 felony counts against this fake real estate buyer. After several motions and delays, she walked with probation because it was her first offense and there were no weapons or blood involved.

In 1981, I fell asleep at the wheel of my car while driving on the Interstate. I was going around 60 miles an hour. I just passed out and laid to the right. I heard rocks hitting the bottom of the car as I ran along a guardrail. I yanked the wheel to the left and made a hard left turn across the highway directly into a concrete median. The car was crushed. I knocked the stereo out of the dash with the left side of my face. I split my pants.

The cops that showed up asked me, "Did he live?"

A guy came by and we hooked a chain to the car and dragged it to the other side of the road. It was uninsured. I left it there.

In 1980, on a night well below zero, my car door on my Honda Civic wouldn't close properly. It was frozen. Someone went in the car and stole my 8-track player. This crime was kinda funny because I was wondering how to get that damn after-market 8-track player out of the car. The criminal solved my problem and left his tools behind. I was actually thankful I was robbed.

In 1978, I was leaving a restaurant with my parents and brother and sister. A guy was shoving me from behind. I was trying to turn around to say, "Hey buddy, quit pushing." He got around me and ran outside and down the street. I went after him.

The next thing I know there are cops behind me shooting at the guy. He starts shooting back - and I'm in the middle of all this gunfire. I could hear the bullets whizzing just above my head. Fortunately, I got out of that alive.

At a high school dance in 1973, I was very, very drunk. I had my eye on a girl I had liked for a long time, Angela. Her friend didn't like me. So she told a gang of boys from a rival school that I had called one of them an asshole. They surrounded me and beat me senseless. I wound up with the corners broken off of my teeth and a severely broken nose.

The next day, our family left for a long vacation by car to Florida. When I got back, I had to have my nose re-broken to put it back in place. Six months later, while playing football, I tackled a kid and caught a heel to my nose, breaking it again. Fearing that my father would yell at me, I went in the bathroom and with both hands pushed my nose back to the middle of my face. Talk about pain. Where it sits now is where I put it back then.

There have been a few other incidents and car accidents. But being a victim of crime is nothing new for me. I'm sure I'll be filling out a police report again some day.

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