Bats in the Belfry

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I was out of breath from running. The hot summer air hit my face and caught painfully in my chest as I exited the building.

I watched the woman get into a vehicle ahead of me and start her engine. The sudden realization that I was helpless overwhelmed me.

In desperation I ripped off my right shoe and hammered the heel into the diver’s side window of the burnt orange SUV as it pulled out of the parking lot.

The woman stared back at me, shock playing on her face through the tinted glass.

“Damn you!” I yelled after her.

Several of my staff had gathered outside and were staring at me. They had witnessed the running through the clinic, white coat flying, shouting to stop the woman now driving away and wanted to know what the ruckus was all about.

“Who has a phone I can borrow?” Silence. No one was making eye contact with me. “I need a phone… Please? Anyone?”

Someone stepped forward and handed me their cell. I quickly dialed “911”.

I ran the license plate numbers in my head over and over again hoping not to lose them before the call connected.

“911. What is your emergency?” The woman spoke slowly, deliberately, no sense of urgency in her voice. A disinterested, uninvolved party.

I breathlessly relayed the details.

“Hold please.”

Wait. Are you supposed to put a 911 caller on hold? What if I were dying?

Before I could finish the thought, the voice was back. “Ma’am, I have passed the information to an officer and they will be there shortly.”

“NO!” I yelled. “I don’t need them here! I need them following the BURNT ORANGE SUV! I need for someone to get her!”

I could hear the sirens in the distance and hoped that meant they were pursuing her.

Thirty seconds later, however, two police cars pulled up in front of me. Four officers got out… slowly… and approached.

“Ma’am, are you OK?” One of them asked.

“No. No, I am not ok. Is someone going after her?”

“Why don’t you just come back inside and tell us what happened.” One officer grabbed my arm, speaking in that even tone I use when dealing with irrational people.

(Was I irrational?)

“Isn’t someone going after her?”

“No, ma’am. Not until we know what happened.”

“She will be long gone by then! Look, she is in a burnt orange SUV. She would still be easy to catch, she went that way!” I said as I wrested my arm free of the officer and pointed down the highway.

Who drives a burnt orange SUV when they are going to commit a crime, anyway? Pick something like black or silver. Blend in with everyone else…

“Come with us.” It was a command. Now I felt like the criminal. I acquiesced.

I was escorted back through the clinic to my office, flanked by the four uniformed police officers. Patients stared. A few whispered.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

“Look, I don’t understand why you didn’t just go after her.” I sat down behind my big mahogany desk. Two of the officers took seats and two remained standing.

I didn’t offer to get extra chairs.

One took out a notebook and said simply, “Tell us what happened.”

So I told them about seeing the woman in scrubs lurking around my office, about assuming she was there assisting a patient. She looked official, like she knew what she was doing. How my social worker found her digging through my purse and asked her what she was doing. I told them about the knock on the door while I was seeing a patient, when my nurse stuck her head in to tell me to check my belongings. How my credit cards, bank cards, and driver’s license were all missing. About chasing the woman through the clinic and then about my high heeled shoe on the windshield in the parking lot.

“You shouldn’t have gone after her.”

“Right. Well if I didn’t, who was going to?” I glared at each of them in turn.

“Doc,” (by now they knew who I was) “That was just plastic. It can be replaced.”

(Oh.)

The anger drained out of me. But the sense of violation remained and was magnified. A lump formed in my throat and the tears stung my eyes as I fought them back.

Turns out, I was not her first victim. Nor would I be her last as she made her way across the state targeting other clinics and healthcare professionals.

So what deep and profound lesson have I learned from this? I will tell you:

The Department of Motor Vehicles sucks.

I know, I know. That seems like an odd thing to say. Let me explain.

I went to get my replacement drivers license and had to stand in line for hours until my number was called. I explained the situation.

“Look up please.”

Bam! The flash. Wait! I wasn’t ready. You can’t take my picture like that! I want a do over! They don’t do do overs.

Then she issued me a card with the same number.

“Next!”

“Ma’am? There must be a mistake. You just gave me a temporary with my old number.”

The women stared at me through her bifocals with a look that suggested hellfire and damnation was going to rain down upon me. “Why would you get a new number?”

“Because someone stole my old one. Identity theft?”

She sighed an exasperated sigh and then leaned forward across the dirty counter, speaking slowly so that I, a dimwit, would be sure to understand. “Your license is going to have your picture on it. You are the only you there is. A new number is not necessary.”

“Ma’am, I beg your pardon but I don’t even look like my drivers license picture!” Who does, really?

She didn’t even respond. She just looked over my shoulder and said, “Next!”

And that, folks, was THE END!

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41 thoughts on “Bats in the Belfry

  1. Well, it did make an exciting post, although I’m sorry it happened to you. I had my purse stolen from my office once, and I remember what a pain it was. But the worst thing I lost was a turquoise ring that I had worn as a toddler and that my mother had mailed to me, carefully wrapped inside an entire box of Kleenex. I was carrying the ring in my purse for good luck. Guess it didn’t work.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Those police sound lazy. Don’t they want to chase bad guys? And they are wrong to minimize that it is only plastic. It is a giant pain in the you know what to get all that stuff replaced. I still can’t believe how lazy those cops were. I’m finding them guilty of the bigger crime of apathy. Shame on them. I bet if they had a crew from the show Cops there they would have busted their humps catching this demon.

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    • Yes! And really, nothing is “just plastic” anymore. That is your LIFE! In the wrong hands that info can be devastating and require years to clean up from. Fortunately, knock on wood, I have been OK. I like to think the shoe on the windshield showed her I meant business and scared her into maybe dumping my stuff somewhere. Others have not been so lucky…

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Holy Crap Doctor! (Depending on how you say that it could mean many different things.) Identity theft is a nightmare. 😦 I’m sorry you had to go through that. And why did they hold on to you walking you back in??????

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  4. This may seem like an odd statement, but the person who did this not only knew what they were doing but also knew the cops wouldn’t pursue her. The thing that perplexes me is how this person figures out these kinds of things. If they are that smart they could be doing quite well at a regular job. The most interesting part is if this person does get caught, more than likely would never speak of the previous events. So jail time if any would be minimal. My answer to the probelm, well hopefully this person is caught in the hospital first of all. Then instead of calling the cops………immediately schedule her for an operation. Sew her hands together and be done with it. It may be cruel, but at least she will think twice before committing another crime.

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    • She certainly did not do it out of need. I would completely understand that. And yes, she was clever. The car she was using had been rented at the airport. In fact, I believe she was arrested for the same thing but as you say, she was released quickly to only do it again. Apparently, it is very profitable. And for someone who is smart but without formal education, it is this or working in a factory somewhere in a physically demanding job barely scraping by. That being said, understanding doesn’t mean I don’t wish that window glass had shattered…

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  5. It maybe plastic but … If it were my one I would say good luck finding anything. However the fact someone has rifled your personal belongings, is icky. Then on top of that the time wasted getting replacements. Plus having to notify places of your new credit card numbers. It is truly bothersome. All I can say is well done for the sprint. Can I suggest a little more arm dumbbell training so that next time you land the shoe in the car. Your aim is superb though!
    I wish a really boring remainder of the week for you. That’s enough excitement I think.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a trail of indignities. Maybe I’m naive, but I’d have thought you, as a doctor would get more respect from police and Motor Vehicles. (Or is it that woman thing again?) Damn good for you for trying to get her or at least putting a “scare” into her.

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    • Not everyone in the community knows who I am. Certainly, I did not know the person in the DMV and I am not one of those that introduces myself as a physician (unless I am tied down on a table in the OR with my uterus wide open and you are wheeling off my baby to NICU but that is a different story). Truthfully, I think it shouldn’t matter what I do for a living, we should all be respected equally! πŸ™‚

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  7. What a nightmare. My mother had her wallet pickpocketed when she was in her 60s at a local mall. It wasn’t so much the money but she kept a treasured picture of my long gone Dad in her wallet. We were hoping they would take the money and dump the wallet but it was never found. My mother never kept anything of value in her purse again. A lesson that I have learned from her.

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  8. WOW! I’m so angry for you right now! And worried…my wallet was stolen a while back and I didn’t even THINK about the fact that the SOB that has my licence still has my Drivers License number and what that entails…crap.

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  9. i swear it is like we are living parallel lives! Only I was called by the physical therapist who works next to the Target to alert me that my belongings had been stolen and the non spendable stuff dumped in their parking lot! I got to see my thief on the security cam rifling through my purse in my office…

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  10. I was having a ultrasound scan when someone came in and told the doctor to go home as his house had been broken into, burgled and the police were there. I felt awful for the poor guy, he looked devastated as he apologised to me and left not knowing what he was going home to.

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