Just a warning to those thinking it’s safe to come creepin’ and thievin’ in the country: We will catch you eventually. We have guns, we have dogs, and we stay eyes and ears open - Game On!
It was Saturday around noon that the sun decided it would peek through the general malaise that has become our grey skies. My Jeep parked near the road at the front of the dairy held my sunglasses. Not just regular shades, but a pair of colorblindness corrective lens cool cats. They look like a pair of cheapo’s and were a birthday gift from friends almost 4 years ago. The fact I’ve managed to hang on to them this long, all while still unable to locate a $160 pair of boots I bought 4 months ago and never wore, makes these shades the Grandaddy of my extravagances.
The Jeep was parked because I’d bellowed and belly ached about a few issues it was having, and that a company work truck was needed during irrigation. The truth of the matter is my air conditioning stinks and I just wanted a 4-day upgrade to my weekend.
But the Jeep had been ransacked! My friends have gotten quite the chuckle out of my using “ransacked” to describe its condition. For all intents and purposes, it has the ambiance of a hobo’s shanty. But it’s my shanty, and I noticed immediately that my clutter was out of order. Who pilfers through a trash Jeep?! My keen eye made it clear – the Coleman portable camping BBQ I’d bought at a garage sale 3-months ago was gone. Why do I carry a portable grill?
“Mom, you never know when Chris needs to eat a hot dog” - My sister Katie
An MHS hoodie, the legs to the BBQ, and various worthless garbage taken from my heap!
The sunglasses though – that had me truly pissed. Beyond the fact they had tenure within my junk, they were a $400 birthday gift. I’m Portuguese – I can’t in good conscience spend that kind of money on sunglasses! It was then I peered to my right, and noticed a car parked at the diesel tank 200 feet away. There are various vehicles in and out of farms all day, but you develop a sense for what belongs.
A 2000’s Chevy 4 door sedan backed up to a diesel tank mid-Saturday?! It didn’t take Inspector Clouseau to realize something was amiss. I locked eyes for a second with the driver, he didn’t seem alarmed at the situation, and slowly climbed into the driver’s seat. He pulled away slowly, as if he were the diesel tank inspector out making his rounds.
I wonder if that guy just ransacked my Jeep? I wonder if he stole diesel? I wonder how many hours before these corn fields get wet? Why didn’t I stay in college? Why don’t I just pull behind the car? That’d probably give me an indicator as to his guilt.
And guilty he was! As soon as I pulled out behind him, he nailed the gas like the Duke Boys trying to ditch Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane.
“Goo-goo-goo, we’re in hot pursuit!”
Trusted sidekick Banshee the deaf pup head perked up, not used to me traveling over the regulated 65 mph. We stayed on his tail for a few miles, until he decided that swerving into oncoming traffic made sense.
Discretion is the better part of valor.
We peeled off, but not before snapping a pic of his ride. The license plate was blurry, but it was a decent shot of the car. I speculated a 2008 Chevy 4 door Impala.
Like any sad attention seeking man in his 40s, I immediately posted the picture to Facebook. No allusions were made to actually catching this scum, but it made for an interesting Saturday conversation piece.
The folks of Facebook Land jumped on the case. Speculating as to make and model, all while sharing the picture to others. The posse was in full effect!
Alas, hours passed and nothing came to fruition. I went about my irrigation duties. Getting in an hour of sleep every 4 to 5 hours, and basically wanting it over.
I had just laid my head to rest at 3 a.m., when my roommate and fellow comic Connor Martin opened my bedroom door.
“Hey! There are cops knocking at the door. They’re asking for you”
Ohhhh no. What sordid detail of my past was making another appearance?! I made my way to the door in my finest cutoff sweatpants and sleeveless MHS tee. (* The standard irrigation attire in 100 degree heat)
“Are you Chris Teicheira?” — Officer Riley
There is no question that stirs more fear in my stomach than “Are you Chris Teicheira?”
Even my poor saint of a mother – school teacher Kerry Teicheira – speaks of those moments when she is asked “Is Chris your son?”
She, as I do, answer in a sheepish and unsure manner - “Uhhh – yes?”
The officer asked me to look at his phone, he had a screenshot of the Facebook post I’d made earlier — wanting to know if that was my doing.
My God, what had I posted on Facebook that would bring the police to my door at 3a.m.?! My brain finally stirred awake.
“Oh yeah, I caught some guy stealing at the dairy . . .”
And just as I was about to apologize for posting about a high speed chase, half-assuming that being the reason for the visit . . .
“We got him.”— Officer Riley
“Yeah, can you identify any of the items stolen from you?” — Officer Riley
I mentioned my Coleman BBQ and my shades. He had a picture of them sitting atop the car!
How did you put together that these were my items?
“One of the officers saw your Facebook post from earlier — he recognized the car.”— Officer Riley
One for the good guys!! And a wonderful excuse for my addiction to social media. The next time someone tells me I spend too much time there, I’ll remind them “Somebody has to be out here cleaning up the streets!”
Officer Riley politely asked if I could head down to the motel where they’d caught the perp. Part of me was still unsure and hoped this wasn’t an elaborate sting operation caused by a few unpaid tickets.
He told me they found the car parked in a handicapped spot! That’s some Lex Luthor criminal masterminding.
I wanted nothing more than to crawl back in bed, I was running on 4 to 5 hours of sleep since Thursday night. But knew 2 things: I wanted my sunglasses back, without having to go through the motions of them being released at the station.
And What An Amazing Facebook Conclusion Post This Will Make!
Banshee and I headed down like a makeshift Policeman’s Posse. I recognized Officer Ian Osborn right away, as he laughed “Can you identify your items?”
Yup. Those cheapo shades, and that BBQ. Unfortunately the legs to the BBQ had been stolen, and then discarded by the thief. He’d needed to make more room for his menagerie of stolen goods. Various tools, canisters, and pumps.
I suppose I’ll have to bend over when cooking my roadside hot dogs from now on.
His car bursting at the seams with country bounty, and parked dead front of the motel in a handicapped spot?! Gary Larson himself couldn’t draw a more perfect Far Side cartoon.
Officer Osborn questioned if he’d managed to steal any diesel at the dairy. He checked inside the gas canister found in the trunk.
“Is it red dyed diesel Chris?”
Sure is. We got him!
The Officers had gone out of their way to return my items — and they are forever appreciated for this.
The mornings FB post titled “They got him!” was a success.
All culminating in my favorite comment of the day.
“Those colorblind glasses did nothing for him. He didn’t see the big blue handicapped sign?! Great work MPD.” — Laura Garcia-Vierra
If you want to defund something, defund my pay for this column — because the boys in blue earned theirs.
Hot dogs and shades to you and yours.
“It’s not Where ya do, It’s What ya do.”