I guess if you live in a large city where you can have a certain amount of anonymity, it may be easy to hide from the law, but if you live in a small town, being a criminal isn’t easy. I’ll give you a couple of true examples that recently happened in our neck of the woods.
Our little town has been plagued by a rash of underwear thefts. Targeting young women, this vicious fiend would enter their homes while the women were away, and he would pilfer pieces of their unmentionables and occasionally a small something personal. The paper nicknamed this desperado the “Panty Thief.”
Unfortunately for the thief, he broke into a woman’s home last week, while a neighbor happened to notice his car parked on the street close to her house. I figure she was nervous about her own underwear and had been keeping a vigilant watch. Anyway, thanks to her, the thief was apprehended soon after, and wouldn’t you know that just about everyone in town knew him. His tale reminded me of the old Arlo Guthrie song, “Alice’s Restaurant” where he sat in jail with all these killers and armed bandits and when asked what he was in jail for, he replied littering. I assume the Panty Thief will have a tale to share with them.
In another recent criminal activity, a guy from our small town decided to rob a bank. He did have enough brain activity to go to a neighboring town, but unfortunately, he picked one only 20 miles away. He didn’t, however, have the foresight to wear a mask, and the video camera got a great face-front shot of him. Needless to say, he was arrested about a day and a half later because I guess he didn’t realize that many people who live in that small town work and shop in this small town.
Of course, I don’t know, but I can imagine how this criminal deed might go down. He went into the bank, looked at the teller and, “Stick ’em up. Give me all your money.”
“Is that you, Bobby Joe?”
“I’m not Bobby Joe. Now, give me your money, or else I’ll shoot you.”
“Bobby Joe, why would you shoot me? Why, I saw your mama just the other day at Walmart. She said you were looking for work.”
“You leave my mama out of this. Just give me the money.”
“Hey, Mr. Jones, Bobby Joe’s over here and he’s robbing the bank. Do you want me to give him all the money or just part of it?”
“Bobby Joe, what in tarnation are you doing with that gun. Give me, that gun, boy, or I’ll call your Uncle Harvey over at the grocery store to come over him and whip you good.”
I think there are a couple of lessons to be learned here for all those small-towners thinking of taking up a life of crime. First, if you’re going to steal underwear, just take the old stuff or maybe some off a clothesline. And second, travel farther than a few miles to rob the bank. Third, and most important, just get a legal job and save yourself the grief and the town gossips some energy.