Sunday, July 11, 2010

" Go ahead -- Make my day!" -Chapter 3

When I was the security guard at Giant Foods, I caught petty little thieves including some young kids who would come in and fill their pockets with sweets and candy bars. As I worked in this store in my high school years, I knew some of these kids, or at least who their Mothers were. Upon catching them I would 'collar' them as they left the store, and bring them back into the store. I would call out to the Manager to call the authorities, and would order the little culprit/s to come with me to the store's back room to wait for the authorities to arrive. I would then sit them down and ask the usual questions like: "Why did you do it? What would your Mother think?" and "Doing jail time for some lousy candy really isn't worth the effort now is it son?" I usually always got promises like "Please! I'll never do it again. I just thought it would be easy--please just let me go! I promise, I really do that I will never do this ever again!"

My only reply would ever be "Well I'm sorry little man, but you broke the law, and that is illegal, and needs to dealt with in the proper manner!"

Meanwhile, while my culprit usually sat there very worried and squirming a bit, sometimes close to tears, his Mum would arrive and would be assisted to the backroom where I held my 'guilty culprit' I knew that in that neighbourhood, any punishment given by the individual Mother would always be more effective than involving any other authority, and in a way, we all ensured that these kids would learn some important lessons. For the most part, the majority did.

At other times I had to chase shoplifters as they left the store in an attempt to catch them before they got away. (The rule was that I was not allowed to leave on such a chase unassisted, but had to always grab a duly appointed guy from the store to assist me)---but on a crazily busy day with a store full of people and action that wasn't always possible. One snowy night, I single-handedly chased a teenager out of the store who had left with some electrical equipment under his jacket--he could run - fast! I was yelling at him saying that he was in trouble--but he just kept running faster--(I knew his family---but I had to catch him for proof). Suddenly I slid on the black ice in the parking lot and slid across the surface, tearing a huge slash in my jeans knee section. It really hurt--both my pride and my knee--I quickly jumped up and yelled out to him, "I know who you are--and now you owe me a new pair of jeans, you jerk! You had better never show your face around here again, or you're gone!" I was probably more angry about my new, now torn jeans than the electrical equipment however! I contacted his Mother--but without proof, we couldn't do much about any follow up--I'm sure she did though!

There were many times when I did catch adults stealing equipment, clothing, food, and one time a complete leg of ham! I used to be amazed at their skills of concealment. These cases always involved the police, sometimes involving two police vehicles, which would turn up at the scene, and a charge would be placed. I would then be required to appear in the City Court sessions to properly identify the suspect, and agree with the charge.

Once I left the courtroom, the accused would then be charged and sentenced or fined by the Judge. The funny part was that for some reason I always got the same judge, and when he would ask me to elaborate on some cases, I would step forward, and in my own style would gesture with my hands and arms, and explain the chase and catch, probably sometimes in wild detail, depending upon the case. He always just looked at me in fascination, and even perhaps in amazement, sometimes--perhaps wondering- Is she for real?

Then I would leave the courtroom. (For future reference, remember this judge and the imagined look on his face on these occasions--he will appear again in a future post.)

Then, one day, on what seemed like a quiet Sunday, while sitting up in my viewing station, I happened to notice a man who was acting a bit strangely--he knew we had security cameras in the store, and he was walking around looking at them and then turning quickly away. I left my station and I started to follow him from a distance, using the mirrors in the store to assist me. I knew he was shop-lifting, and I knew I had to stop him. Before I left the store to go after him, I grabbed the attention of the Assistant Manager who was close to the door, and indicated to him that my 'shop-lifter' had just walked through, urging the AM to follow me--but he was too slow. I quickly followed the man outside and yelled out to him to stop, which strangely, and I thought too easily, stopped him. He had made a small purchase, but I asked him to come back inside the store with me, as I wanted to ask him some questions.

He started to argue, " Why should I? What can you do?" He started shouting abscenities at me, and turned as if to walk away. I yelled out, still trying to speak calmly: "Sir, I'm sorry- but I believe you have just left this store with more items than you paid for, and I would like to discuss this with you" The next thing I knew he was throwing electrical items, packets of food and other items at me and the ground. (The Assistant Manager still wasn't anywhere near me for my assistance.) The shoplifter then reached into his jacket and pulled out a large knife and started waving it at me, yelling "Do you want me to use this on ya? I can!Don't think you are going to stop me!" He was yelling and his eyes were flaring. As he was still a bit distant from me, I replied, perhaps stupidly: "Go ahead, you fool. Stab me! That will prove a point--kill me for some stuff laying here on the ground--what kind of loser are you?" He lunged towards me--trying to grab my shirt--I quickly jumped back, yelling "My God! You are a true idiot!" He suddenly stopped and with real anger in his eyes, he just turned and started running. By this time, the Assistant Manager had finally arrived. I yelled "Danny--quick call the police. Get them here NOW!" I then ran after after the culprit, trying to keep an eye on his position.

Within minutes about 4 squad cars pulled up---I yelled out to them, pointing the direction that the culprit had been running towards. They caught him within about 20 minutes. (I didn't have to go to court for that case, apparently he was wanted by the FBI and Department of State).

Now--that was an adventure!

(Footnote to this story - At night-time I was usually being followed by strange vehicles when I left work. I had to resort to driving home in varied routes in order to shake the follower. Sometimes I drove a different car to work so that it would appear I was not there. When I was really concerned, I would be picked up by my Dad for a while--eventually life went back to normal.)

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