The poor, the Bible says, will always be with us. Unfortunately, petty criminals and thieves are here too and while vigilante justice is not something that’s prevalent on this island, some people learn the hard way that sometimes it doesn’t pay to help people do their jobs.
I’ve heard quite a few stories about business owners who are constantly plagued by people for whom a locked door is no obstacle. People who, although they are clearly not your better half seem to think that what is yours is also theirs. People who think that they can take, reap or walk away with what they never bought, planted or put down anywhere.
The only recourse that most have is to call the police to report the matter, who will ask you when you last secured your premises, what exactly went missing, and whether you have any suspects. They will dust for fingerprints – some of which will be your own, and others that you hope will be in their database. If you don’t have a security system installed they usually advise that you get one so that you don’t continue to be a target or at least provide them with some pictures they can use.
People used to say of our local police force that unless the criminal was caught in the act he was sure to remain a free man – with your goods in his hands. However in recent times, they’ve been doing a much better job at finding the culprits even after the deeds have been done. But some people take the police’s call for help a little too literally.
This week, a business person decided to take matters into his own hands. Having been harassed by a regular thief he was “lucky” enough to be there when the gentleman showed up for work. I’m unsure as to whether the shadow employee had already gotten in, was in the process of going in or whether he was coming out, but the “employer” decided to detain him – for several hours.
It could be that the employer had other pressing matters to attend to and it took him a little longer than he had planned, or he might have called the police who may or may not have had a vehicle available at the time to get to the scene – thus causing a delay. Because I don’t want to believe that he deliberately left the person who was trying to steal from his business tied up for practically the whole day.
In the end the business owner was charged with kidnapping since the thief had been unable to get away, and as he had not allowed the fellow access to any food or water during the ordeal, he faced charges of reckless endangerment as well. Because if you’re going to help the police to collar a perpetrator you have to make sure that he’s alive and well fed. That way he can explain just why he was leaving your premises without paying for his goods.