Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tales of the Weird But True #1: The Case of the Missing Plates

Today I went to the gym. As I walked through the parking lot I noticed a guy sitting in the passenger seat of a Red Honda Civic, messing around with his T-Mobile Sidekick. I thought that was kind of interesting. I continued walking up toward the gym and in the next row, I saw another guy, crouched in front of a blue, Ford Mustang GT. I was on the opposite end of the car so I couldn't see what he was doing. Still, I thought to myself, "Hmmph. Someone's getting their plate jacked".

As I continued walking up to the gym facility I pondered if I should mention that to someone. My internal reply, "What? You see two black guys in a parking lot and automatically think 'they must be stealing something'? That's called "profiling"." I felt guilty that I automatically type-cast two black guys with white tank tops and black doo-rags as "suspicious", and proceeded with my workout.

Ninety minutes later I was leaving the gym. I walked past the same Blue Mustang GT. Guess what? NO PLATES!!! "Sunuva..." I screamed. "Damn!!... black!!...". Talk about a quandry! On the one-hand, you've got damn, thievin' ass bastards! And I knew it! On the other hand, man was I tired. I Alas, my previous shrug meant I was now morally obligated to report it.

I flag down the ever-present Parking Gestapo and tell him the short version. He calls it in to the real police. A few minutes later, not one, but two cruisers roll up. Meanwhile, everyone inside the gym (built with an entire wall of plate glass facing the parking lot, btw) is watching the drama unfold. I tell my story to Officer A. Officer B shouts from his cruiser, "where's the blue car?" I point, he goes. Officer A takes a statement, funky little spiral-bound notepad in hand (I didn't know anyone still uses those). Officer B finds the car and lights up the ol' red-and-blues. The crowd goes wild!

I continued to give Officer A as many details as I can:
What'd the car look like?
Red, older Honda Civic. Fading paint job.

Anything special about it? Wheels? Anything?
Not really.

What'd the first guy look like?
He was crouched down on the other side of the car so I don't know his exact height. But, kinda like me. Black, same height, same build.

What was he wearing?
White tank top on and a black doo-rag.

What's the second guy look like?
He was sitting inside the car so I don't know his exact height either, but... well... kinda like me. Same height, same build. Black guy.

What was he wearing?
A white tank top on and a black doo-rag.

Twins, huh?
Yeah basically.

(And then, the clincher...)

Why didn't you tell someone earlier?
Well, you know- you can't just assume that two black guys loitering in the parking lot are stealing stuff.

Officer A laughs and says, "yes, I certainly know what you mean".

So, like many police stories, it ended with an unknown victim, a clean getaway, and me- with a business card. In case I think of anything else.

Of course, it could have been one of those guys' car and they just went to, um.... wash the plates? Couldn't it?

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