Lock Your Car

October 2008

I’m a Police Reserve Officer for the city of Richfield.

Is that why, I want to shout, “No, Don’t Leave Your Wallet There!” to the lady who has her billfold sitting on the ledge in the coffee shop. Anybody could open the door, grab her billfold, and be gone.

Or, is it because I’ve stolen before?

In my teens, I did a number of things that I am not proud of. At one point, taking blank checks from my parent’s checkbook, signing their name, and then retrieving the cancelled checks from the mailbox. Our life was so chaotic that I got away with it for … awhile.

I want to holler to the woman who is walking to the shower at the YMCA, “NO, don’t leave your iPod sitting on your gym bag. Cover it!”

While still a teen, I opened the back of a car, once, and took the person’s groceries. Not because I was hungry but because it was there and because I could.

I often tell Juan Jose’ and Crystel to care for their belongings, that they could be stolen.

Soon after getting her phone, Crystel left it at our table in the restaurant, while we helped ourselves at the buffet. It wasn’t until we were walking to the car that she realized that it was gone. I saw her startled face. She was stricken. I pulled her phone out of my pocket. Told her that as far as a thief was concerned she had just laid $500 on the table and put a sign out that said, Take Me, when she walked away from the table.

Jody, Coach Marty, Beth

When I first put on a Police Reserve jacket ten years ago, it felt very comfortable. After a moment, I realized why. I had stolen a similar jacket from a river bar when I was seventeen. The bar had live music, dancing, and it was sticky hot. People piled their jackets in a corner. I eyed the pile, picked out a dark blue jacket that I thought might fit me and walked out of the bar. I wore that jacket for a couple of years.

Sunday evening, I was helping Scouts with their personal fitness badge. A billfold and phone were laying in a pile amongst papers and pencils on the ground. “Someone is going to stay here, with their stuff, right?” I asked. The Scouts had walked across the street to a park to run a mile. Still, I was nervous. I reached down and put the billfold and phone in my pocket for safekeeping.

This morning I got a text from our neighbor: FYI: someone rifled through my vehicle (on my driveway) last night. It was unlocked. I think only took some cash. I reported to police. They said at least 5 people from Morgan to Logan area reported the same thing.

I’ve sat in many police reserve trainings, and we discuss car break-ins. We provide a Theft from Auto Prevention Program by conducting a risk survey of unoccupied vehicles, in hopes that drivers will think about what they are leaving behind in their unlocked car. We tuck the result of our inspection under windshield wipers.

I text her back: It happened to us as well. Too embarrassed to report. Jody and I are Police Reserve Officers.

I also use my past as an example that people make mistakes and can change.

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Cub Scouts with Antonio

Cub Scouts ready to leave for Camp Tomahawk

Cub Scouts ready to leave for Camp Tomahawk

This is Antonio’s 5th year in Cub Scouts. That means that this is my 5th year in Cub Scouts. It started off when we were Tigers together when he was 6-years-old. I got the hint real quick that he would never allow me just to drop him off.  I also saw that our den leader needed help with this group of first graders so I became an assistant. That started my career in Scouts and Antonio tagged along.

That was our deal. He would go, if I would go.

It was important to Jody and I that Antonio learn to navigate his way in the ‘male’ world. The easiest place to find a bunch of boys is at Scouts.

Merry-Go-Round of Death!

Merry-Go-Round of Death!

I’ve watched him over the years become friendlier and more social with his den. Especially, after the  Scout meeting when a pick-up game of tag erupts.

I’m really not sure if Antonio has learned any life lessons in his last four years of Scouts. And there has been many times that he has told me that he loves his home with his two moms and his sister and that he doesn’t need the experience of Cub Scouts. I believe him. Still, I make him go. It just seems like the right thing to do. Throw him in a pond of testosterone and let him find his way to shore.

Antonio knows that he can decide for himself whether or not to join Boy Scouts after fifth grade.

We just came home from a 3-night camping trip at Camp Tomahawk for 2nd year Webelos (10 and 11-year-olds).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI had a good time because Antonio was having a good time. He was the one shooting the BB guns, practicing archery, racing to the top of the climbing wall, riding the merry-go-round of death, and playing king of the hill on the raft.

I was the one watching his smile.

Yes, I still got the occasional, “When are we going home?” question. And also his own honest opinion of himself , “I miss home when I’m only a block away”, he said. I told him that I understood and that both things could be true. He could miss home and he could have a good time.

I even heard him mention a time or two that he might join Boy Scouts.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAntonio doesn’t appear to be aware of the controversy surrounding Scouts. It wasn’t present at Camp Tomahawk. What was present was an awesome staff of young men who were intent on making a memorable experience for 10 and 11-year-old boys. And to that end, they succeeded.