Janet Urquhart: A criminal with a conscience?
August 23, 2002
I inadvertently embarked upon a life of crime this week. Petty theft is my new M.O.
You can look for my photo on the wall at the post office.
It was a gray day in the city. Daybreak revealed a rare, overcast sky as the perp ? that would be me ? slipped quietly through the front entrance at City Market. I’d been casing the joint for years under the clever guise of grocery shopping.
Glancing furtively about, I headed for the battery section and plucked a four-pack of double-A?s off the rack. Like stealing candy from a baby.
Then I nonchalantly strolled toward the back of the store. That?s where they keep the fresh-brewed coffee. I poured myself a cup, as I do most mornings, to maintain my cover.
On the way past the pastries, something caught my eye. It was a cinnamon roll.
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I had a steaming cup of coffee in one hand, batteries in the other, and the unguarded breakfast merchandise tempting me in all its gooey goodness. I put down the coffee, stuck the batteries in the front pocket of my jacket and bagged a bun faster than you can say, ?Book ?em Danno.?
It was time to make my getaway. I lurked briefly in the produce section, looking like a celery stalker, and made my way to the checkout counter to pay for my purchases. I disappeared out the exit undetected.
So shifty was I, my transgression escaped even my notice.
Several blocks from the crime scene, I noticed a slight bulge in my jacket. I reached to pat down the fabric. The batteries! I’d forgotten all about them in my heist, er, haste to snag the cinnamon roll.
I was a shoplifter!
Panicking, I checked my backside. Was I being tailed by a plainclothesman? Everyone was in plain clothes, except the woman in the skintight, hot-pink capris and lime top. Was she packing heat in that designer clutch?
I ducked into an alleyway until the coast was clear.
My misdemeanor weighed heavily on my mind. For all I knew, my every move had been captured by a security camera in the nearby cheese section. (If I was going to conceal a camera, I’d put it where people say ?cheese.?)
I spent the day half expecting Aspen?s finest to burst into my office with a warrant for my arrest on a battery charge, my Miranda rights on their lips. They?d find my sugary prints all over the goods.
Somebody in a suit coat was going to flash a badge in my direction and take me ?downtown? to grill me in the glare of a bare light bulb. I?d sing for sure and the Energizer Bunny would be pressing charges.
I could demand to talk to my lawyer, but I don?t have one. I?d use my one phone call to ring up Domino?s.
I wasn?t at all confident that the Sweet Tooth Defense would hold up in court. Can you get sent to the slammer for your first offense? With my luck, I?d get work release.
But, as the day wore on and no men in blue showed up to cuff me, it began to dawn on me that I’d pulled my first job. Heh, heh, heh. A criminal mastermind was born. With my innocent countenance and bigger pockets, there?s no telling what I could net with my next haul.
The only problem was, I felt guilty. The next morning, I returned to the scene of the crime for my morning coffee, offered a full confession to the cashier on duty and had her ring up the now-opened battery pack. She let me off for good behavior.
Just call me the Goody-Two-Shoes bandit.
[Janet Urquhart wouldn’t look good in jailhouse orange. Her column appears on Fridays.]
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