Yesterday, while walking down a big hill towards the beach, two women stopped me.
"Did you see what that woman is doing?" One of them asked as she pointed at another woman, farther up the hill, fiddling around a mini van.
"No. What is she doing?" I asked.
"She's taking all the license plates off the parked cars."
I scanned the cars lining the road. About 10 of them were missing front license plates.
I had passed her on my way up the hill, smiled and said, "Good morning." And I'd passed her on my way down too. But I didn't actually look at what she'd been doing. I assumed she was unpacking her car for a beach day. Milling around, taking her time.
Not committing a crime.
The three of us watched as she walked toward her minivan. The lights flashed as she unlocked the door and leaned in.
"Well, that must be her car. Let's get her license plate number." I marched back up the hill towards the thief.
After about 30 seconds, I thought, "She could be crazy. She could have a weapon."
I turned to the two women trailing behind me.
"Do either of you have a cell phone?" I asked.
"Yes," they said.
"Okay, let's pretend we're buddies and I'll babble as we walk by. We'll get the license plate number and we'll call the police when we get to the top, okay?"
So that's what we did. Then my two cohorts got in their car and I was left alone to pass the crazy lady again.
I made it almost to the bottom of the hill when the police arrived. I walked back up, told the officers what I'd seen, gave them my phone number and went home.
Needless to say, it was all very weird.
Have you ever witnessed a crime in progress?
4 years ago