Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Adventures in Tri-Metro Land

This morning, Ash took all the little scraps of paper, on which I'd been scribbling vital information about our debit card theft, down to the bank to confer with them on our next step. So far none of the charges the thieving CAsshole made have hit our account, likely due to the fact that they've been canceled at the source. Still, we don't want this weasel to get away with it, so after consulting the bank, Ash popped down to see the police. Unfortunately, you can't just pop into ANY police station for this sort of thing.

"We can't do anything," the policeman at Town-A's police department said. "You're not in our jurisdiction. You're in Town-C's jurisdiction so you need to go see their department."

See, we live in the Town-A/Town-B/Town-C Tri-Metro area of small West Virginia towns. The towns are very small, but they're so close together that you'd hardly notice you'd moved into another town unless you paid attention to the signs. So Ash piled in the car again, traveled from Town-A through Town-B and to the Town-C police department, a journey of no more than 4 miles, and was hardly shocked to find Town-C's police station was empty of all life.

Town-C, which we live closest to, is not large enough to have a full fledged police force, you see. They have a handful of officers who have to both patrol in the cars and come back to run the desk. They can't do both at the same time, so they don't even pretend to. It's not at all uncommon, therefore, to see the police station sitting empty and locked up with all its lights out. In the department's defense, Town-C is a very poor community. It used to be the hub for all lumber activity and the money that came with it and for most of its life was actually something of a Flourishing High Society mecca. But logging dried up and most of the high-society crowd moved over to the more clean and historic-looking Town-A, leaving Town-C to dry up.

So poor is Town-C's police department that some of its officers have been known to moonlight as police officers for Town-D, 11 miles down the road. And, a year or so back, a couple of these Town-C/D officers did a wildly intelligent thing. They pulled over a woman over for speeding, she offered them sex in exchange for a free-pass on the speeding ticket and they took her up on it. They then proceeded to head back to one of the officer's apartments where they VIDEO TAPED the "encounter". Then, in some kind of endorphin-fueled haze of fraternal camaraderie, one of them decided it would be a great idea to show the tape TO THEIR BOSS back at the station the next day. Fortunately, their boss WAS a good cop and he had the pair charged, prosecuted and ultimately fired. Mayberry, this is not.

In order for Ashley to file a police report today she had to first come home and CALL the police. This evidently routes through 911's dispatcher who forwarded the call to an officer who then agreed to come back to his station for a few minutes so someone would be there to let her in and help with the report.

So now the report is filed and will soon be winging its way to San Diego where we'll see what happens. As I said before, it seems phenomenally stupid that our CAsshole debit-card number thief would actually ordered stuff off the internet and sent it to his own home. If he's smart enough to have gotten the number, it stands to reason he has some sort of plan for not getting caught. I'm thinking we're not likely to find him. But maybe, just maybe he really was that stupid and the cops in San Diego can nail him to the wall for this.

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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.