Amazon Kindle

Kindle, Wi-Fi, Graphite, 6″ Display with New E Ink Pearl Technology

Recently while I was working, I had some property stolen from me.

I usually bring a book or two and my family Amazon Kindle to read if it gets real slow. Usually I keep these items in my pack. I’ve learned over many years in the law enforcement profession that although it can be fast-paced at times, there are also times when watching paint dry would be faster. I started bringing along a book long ago before the advent of cell phones and the ability to call, text or game at a moments notice.

This day happened to be a slow morning and I took out the Kindle to read a bit. I must have left it on my work station. Stupid move #1. When I came back from lunch, I couldn’t find it in my pack. I looked around everywhere…nothing. Bummed is an understatement. I felt like an idiot.

I went to speak with a guy who is the security and fraud manager for the building. I’ve heard from others that he is in charge of monitoring the cameras that are placed around the building. I tell him of my dilemma and ask if he could check the cameras between 11:30am and 1:30pm. He was very kind and said he would do just that and get back with me if he locates anything.

The next day I get to work early and decide to go down and sweep and mop my area and prepare for the influx of people that will be coming through. As soon as I did, he comes out of his office and tells me he knows who took my Kindle. I can feel my stomach drop as I’m hoping it isn’t an employee of the city.

He asks if I would like to come take a look. This worked out well since I’m early anyway. He shows me video, time stamped at 12:53pm, of a guy he believes is contracted through one of the city offices and works for one of the vendors. The video shows the guy walking in the basement where my post is. He walks past my work area in one camera shot and should be seen immediately in another camera shot continuing down the corridor, but he doesn’t. There is a 10 second period of time when he is in a blind spot. After that 10 seconds, he walks in the view of the next camera, putting the Kindle in the back of his pants. He continues down the corridor, walking past a State Trooper, who he turns and glances at as he passes. There is another camera view way down the hallway which shows this guy stopping at my work station, picking up my Kindle, looking it over then putting it in the back of his pants. He even steps over a barricade to get to it.

The video is excellent and shows a couple of very clear pictures of his face. I could tell what he was wearing and a general age and build as well.

Now I know this is partially my fault. I shouldn’t have taken such an expensive piece of equipment to work. Forgetting to put it away was my fault; but damn, he knew it wasn’t his no matter how stupid I was.

Later on this morning the Security manager, gave me a copy of the videos and told me he found out what local vendor this guy works for. I told what happened to one of my colleagues, “M”,  and ask her opinion of what I should do next. Once she heard where he worked, she suggested that I should go there. Actually she offered to go there with me during the lunch hour to have a little “chat” with this gentleman. This sounds like an excellent idea to me and we make plans to do just that.

At lunch time we go to his place of business and ask around. We find a very helpful worker there. I show her the picture and ask her if she recognizes the guy. She said she did and said he has been working there for a few weeks and is out on a delivery but will be back in about an hour. She even gives us his full name and address. At this point we don’t really give out much information about what we want. We just say we would like to talk to him. Now I know if two uniformed police officers showed up at most any job and ask for someone, the word gets around pretty quickly that something isn’t normal.

I then dropped off “M” as she has other duties to get back to. I still had a little time, so I went back to this guys workplace and just hung out in the lobby. I parked by cruiser near the back of the lot so it wouldn’t be immediately visible to anyone pulling in.

Around 12:50pm, a van pulls in. The same lady that helped us earlier comes running across the parking lot, out of breath and tells me that he has returned and she can take me to him. We go outside and he comes out. He looks all unaware as I thought he would. I ask him if he can come to the side and talk with me privately. Remember I’m trying to help this guy out. I could have just went into his work place and started telling what happened and cracked out the popcorn and candy and we could have watched the surveillance video, but I didn’t.

Once we are alone, I ask him if he made a delivery on the previous day at city hall. I confirm with him what time he was there. I’m expecting the whole bullshit about it wasn’t him and he wasn’t there and all of that, so I go right into it.

“This is what I know. While you were walking in the basement of City Hall, you walked past my work post and saw something on top of it. You climbed over the barricade and grabbed my Amazon Kindle, shoved it down the back of your pants and continued down the corridor, passing a State Trooper. I want my property back.” As I’m saying this, he is very quiet and his head is hanging lower and lower. “I don’t know how you have to work it out with your afternoon deliveries, but I want my property back. I will be at my post all afternoon and I expect to see it returned. If I don’t have it returned, then I will be forced to file a formal complaint, which means eventually your employer here and the Temp service that sent you will find out and that will probably put you out of work.” To my surprise he admits it and says he doesn’t have an excuse. He just wants to ask one question.
“If I return it this afternoon, what happens afterward.” My response to him is, “If my Kindle is returned to me in the same condition it was in when you took it, we are done. Nothing else will happen on my end.”

I could see his face brighten up. He said he would bring it this afternoon and thanked me for giving him the opportunity to return it. Now I’m not the most giving type of person and I tell him I understand times are tough, but I still want my property back. Realistically, I just want to tell my wife the story with a positive ending and not have to spend the money to replace it. He reaches out to shake my hand, which I reciprocate and we part ways.

I figured I would be at my post for another three hours or so and I told him that. Wouldn’t you know, they finished about 3:15pm and I haven’t seen the guy yet. I even walk back past my post a couple more times, just in case he was walking in the basement again. Nothing.

I head to our report room and pull a complaint number so I can get started on the formal complaint. Just then “M” calls me and says they have the Kindle. Apparently the same guy pulls in front of city hall and drops off some woman to bring the Kindle. I speculate he is afraid I will arrest him, even though I gave him my word.

My co-workers/friends, “M” and “A”, speak to this woman and tell her that they  know what she is there for and they take the Kindle and say they will deliver it to me. I appreciate them being my “Road Dogs”, willing to jump in the fray and help me in my moment of need. I didn’t even have to ask…they volunteered.

I appreciate the help that the security and fraud manager gave me. This was the Friday before the July 4th Holiday 2011. I know if he would have given me the run around for even a few hours, my Kindle would have been in the wind, never to be seen again. I thank him dearly for his help and I bought him lunch when I got back to work.

Moral of the story: Don’t steal, you don’t know whose property it is and what resources they may have to get it back. Other moral of the story: Don’t forget and leave out your electronic equipment.

Now I can look back and laugh a bit but at the time it truly sucked.

Take Care,





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