Hi all! If you recall from THIS post, all of my expensive things were stolen on New Year’s Eve. If you follow me on Facebook you probably already know that I have re-acquired my laptop in an exciting manner. Without further ado, I present to you a true tale from The Adventures of Zazz.
I had my Mac-book stolen on New Year’s. Luckily, Apple lets you lock a stolen laptop and send a message to the computer’s screen, so I offered a fake reward of $1000 and left my phone number. One night I got a phone call from a middle aged man saying he wanted the reward in exchange for my laptop.
“And I didn’t steal it.”
He wanted to meet me in a place of his choosing to make the exchange.
“But don’t involve the cops.”
I involved the cops.
In my fluster of receiving this phone call during a night of drinking with my friends, I asked him to call me back in a half hour to work out the details. I phoned the police immediately after hanging up the blocked call with the man.
From there, the three of us did a lot of back and forth calling for a while; the police, the man, and me. But I didn’t have a car, the cops weren’t being too responsive, and the laptop man was being difficult to work with. I had asked him to turn the laptop into the police station assuring him I’d get him a reward. He didn’t like this idea. Even though he claimed to have bought the laptop from an unknown source, he was convinced he would be arrested upon stepping foot into a police station.
The last time the man called that night I told him to call me at noon the next day, I gave the excuse of not having a reliable ride. On a previous phone call, the cops had asked me to come into the station the next morning to give an official statement, so I planned to be at the police station at noon. As planned, the Laptop Man called right when I was sitting down with an officer. This was my last ditch effort to get a fire burning under the police force’s ass. I put it on speaker and we arranged to meet in a half hour at the location of his choice.
Interest peaked, the cop called in an unmarked car to use and we scouted the rendezvous on googlemaps. The officer went into the back to consult with his police palls and I was surprised when he reemerged and invited me to join them.
“You can stay in the car if you’re uncomfortable.”
That’s all I needed to hear. I cut him off with a,
“I’ll approach the guy, I’d have to.”
I knew that if a cop showed up instead of me, I’d never see my laptop again. So I hopped into the “undercover” cop car with three officers and we made a game plan.
We figured that the Laptop Man would, obviously, be keeping an eye out from somewhere else to scope for cops; so they dropped me off around the corner so I could walk to the location. The plan was for me to stay in a spot where the officers could keep an eye out for me, then they’d call me and use my phone as a wire when the man approached.
The Laptop Man called and asked me to walk towards a swing-set across the street in a park. He told me that if any cops showed up, he’d throw my laptop in the pond. Naturally, I made sure to walk as far away from the pond as possible, near the road, and as far away from the kids in the park as possible; while still walking towards the swing-set. I dawdled in order to give the cops time to call me. When they did, I answered my phone and placed it in the front pocket of my jeans. They could now listen in.
The Laptop man approached me on a bike from behind and immediately asked to see the money. I stood in front of his bike and asked to see the laptop first. He wouldn’t show me at the start but, I reminded him that I was a young lone girl.
“and how do I know you wont just rob me?”
He understood that; and as soon as he showed me the laptop the cops, who had been listening in and watching me from afar, screeched into the parking lot Fast and Furious style. The Laptop Man couldn’t ride off and as he put his hands up and attempted to get off the bike, the police tackled him to the ground. Honestly, the tackle seemed a bit over the top to me. A brief thought occurred to me that these young officers might be trying to impress me.
I got my laptop back and they found out the bike he had been riding was stolen too. One police officer remembered the description of this bike when it was first reported stolen, the owner was eager to find it. They later searched the Laptop Man’s house and found him harboring other stolen items as well as a man wanted for rape and assault. My other stolen goods weren’t there, but I found that I felt more satisfaction in knowing I helped capture a criminal and get people’s items returned to them.
The police told me that druggies would often steal things, but have no easy way to sell them because all pawn shops send items through the police system. So they’d often go to one guy and exchange the goods for drugs, leaving the drug dealer with a bunch of things that he’d later pawn off through his networks.
Laptop Man wasn’t too bright and had a messy record of drugs, DUI’s, and being in possession of stolen property. He was banned for life from driving and lived far away from my house, so I highly doubt it was him who broke in. For this, I do feel slightly bad for getting him captured. Primarily because he very well could have bought it off of someone not knowing he couldn’t access it. Perhaps the weasel of a man only wanted his wasted money back. Instead he got jail time.
Is there a moral to this story? Yeah. Sometimes you have to be a little productive if you want things done. Also, don’t buy obviously stolen goods and attempt to get ransom money out of it.