On any given day, one of the first things I do each morning is take a brisk walk around the neighborhood. But, yesterday was different, I got so busy it wasn't until after 8 PM when I found the time to go outside. My neighborhood is a quiet and established area with beautiful old homes which have either been well cared for or remodeled. So, walking after dark is really never a problem.
One of the places on my route is a church with a huge parking lot that I usually cut through on my way back home. Last night I noticed two guys sitting in a truck which had been backed in to a space along the backside as I entered the lot. "Okay", I thought, "just keep your eyes forward and walk as if you're on a mission." I got within 10 feet of the truck when both doors flew opened, the guys exited the truck and were standing there with one foot still in the truck. Uh oh, their eyes were on me.
I had to think fast. "Have you seen a man walking a large dog come through here?" I said this hoping they would think I wasn't alone, that I was looking for my husband who was walking our large, ferocious dog - I have neither. They grunted, "No". I said, "Thanks", and kept walking, faster and faster. As I reached the other side of the parking lot, I noticed a Volvo and, through the shadows, I saw a hose which stretched from the gas tank to a gas can sitting on the ground. Holy crap, these guys are siphoning gas!
Upon leaving the lot, my route took me out of their line of sight and my brisk walk became a dead on run for the last block before I reached my home. I fumbled for my keys, unlocked the door and dialed 9-1-1. "What's your emergency?", the dispatcher asked. I quickly explained to her what I had just witnessed and she said she was sending out a unit to investigate. I hung up the phone however, my curiosity got the best of me.
I headed out back down the street to watch while staying out of the line of fire. Within 30 seconds here comes two police cars - one entered from one side of the lot and one entered the side close to where I was standing. I moved in closer. As the cops approached the truck, the doors opened and the guys began to flee the scene. The chase was on! These guys did not get very far before they were tackled to the ground. Wow!
I moved in a little closer when a third police car pulled up right next to me. I quickly said, "I'm the one who made the call", the officer pulled on into the lot next to the Volvo. Next thing I know, a helicopter is overhead with its beacon shining all around. Damn! The guys were then placed into the patrol cars then the cops searched their truck. On the back of the truck was a camper shell and from the inside they pulled out seven 5-gallon gas cans. Holy crap, these guys are professionals!
As the police were wrapping things up, I was feeling pretty proud of myself and decided to head back to the house. I looked at the clock, checked the TV schedule and had just settled in when a knock came at the door, "Phoenix Police". We had a brief conversation where I learned these guys apparently had been working the neighborhood for the past week or so due to the number of reports made. That's 40 gallons per haul at $2.69 per gallon. The officer told me that often times the gas is sold at half the pump price to friends and associates and this is an activity which happens all over the valley of the sun. What a way to make a living.
Now that this post is finished, it's time for my walk. Watch out criminals, here I come!