An employee of a small town "liberry" chronicles his quest to remain sane while dealing with patrons who could star in a short-lived David Lynch television series.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Tales of the Bladder Thief

Since the theft of the library's laptop from the "private" upstairs bathroom by presumed bashful bladder-bearing thieves, the "liberry" staff have all become Junior Clubhouse Detectives and extry security conscious.

From what we've been able to piece together, the laptop was likely stolen on Monday afternoon. We have confirmation from Mrs. A's significant other, Mr. A, who was working in the area and dropped by Monday to use our facilities, that the laptop was indeed in the restroom when he stopped in. And as we don't open til 1 on Mondays, the theft would have had to have occurred between 1 and when we closed at 5 p.m. when Mrs. C noticed that the restroom door was slightly and atypically ajar.

We've now narrowed down the list of suspects quite a bit and have our eye on two particular patrons as the would-be thieves. Until Monday, one of these two patrons was an almost daily user of our computers. Since Monday, we've not seen the man at all, nor his friend who occasionally comes in with him and who WAS with him and WAS upstairs quite a bit on the day in question. Our theory is that his friend, seeking a quiet and more private place to have a wee, popped into the upstairs restroom, did his business and noticed the laptop. From there they might have smuggled it out in a coat or just hoofed it out the back door.

Course it might not be them at all, but the main suspect does have quite the local history with run-ins with the law.

We've also decided to crack down on whoever has been stealing our magazines. I've already theorized that it's Chester the (Potential) Molester, scoring himself some PG-rated skin-mags in the form of Teen People and Parents, but we've yet to actually prove it.

So last Thursday, I decided to pop down to the corner market store and pick up one of their gargantuan club salads for dinner. (I love them dearly because the market doesn't skimp on the toppings. It's loaded down with sliced ham, eggs, bacon, tomatoes and all the things that make a great club salad. Plus, after 15 minutes of steadily eating it, the salad will not have gotten noticeably smaller. That's a good salad.) On my way out the door to get my salad, though, who should I see coming up the walk but Chester himself. I turned right back around and stayed put in the library where I could keep an eye on him. After all, there were a few kids in the library, all watched closely by parents thankfully, but I wasn't letting Chester out of my sight while kids were about.

Chester made his traditional walk-through, starting in the kids room, where he did cast a curious glance at one of the pre-teen girls, but he headed on into the computer hall and down toward the restroom. (I hate to think what he might do in there, particularly since I'm usually the guy who has to clean the restroom.)

Mrs. A saw him go through and told me she was going upstairs to do a quick inventory of the magazines on the rack so we could see what wasn't there after he went by. We were hoping to catch him in the act. Unfortunately, Chester only stopped at the water fountain and managed to get back to the stairs before Mrs. A could make it to them herself. So she followed him up and noted that he had a very pregnant pause by the magazine rack before he noticed that she was watching him. He quickly grabbed a college financial aid form and headed into the non-fiction room. Mrs. A followed right behind him and pretended to be sorting the books on the book cart until Chester had finished with his upstairs walk-through and went back into the stairwell/magazine area. She popped around the corner just in time to see him pausing again at the magazine rack, but he saw her and immediately broke off and went down the stairs where I saw him cast another quick glance at the little girl in the kid's room, then saw him see me see him do it after which he made a bee-line for the front door.

"I think you're right. He has been stealing the magazines," Mrs. A told me later.

Damn, I thought. I sure hope we don't bust him for magazine theft. That's like busting Al Capone for tax evasion when you know he's been bootlegging and worse.

With our new security measures in place, the upstairs restroom is no longer left unlocked at any given moment and we have now begun tallying our cashbox at the end of the day. It seems that it too has come up a bit short as of late and we're trying to avoid a repeat of previous cashbox adventures, such as the ones we had with a former Liberry Rogue called the Untalented Mr. Ripley.

TO BE CONTINUED...

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