Abandoning skanky mattresses and furniture are hate crimes, and package thieves are cut from the same cloth.
These rats need skewering.
Few things get under my skin as much as abandoned, humped-on furniture, but package thieves come pretty close. And, ’tis the season for these losers to come out of their pain med stupors long enough to use what semblance of societal normalcy they possess as a cloak for their cowardice. Like this guy, who literally takes his toddler out of its stroller to make the kid grab someone’s package.
But guess what, dummies? Here’s where your excuses go to die, ’cause what the hell will you have to say for yourselves when you get caught?
Oh, I’m sure you’ll start yammering to the arresting badges about having the “wrong house” or doing a “favor” for a friend. They’ve heard it all before, so to them you’re the least interesting of their shift-ending paperwork. The ball points of their writing utensils will press down a little harder when they sign your incident report, however, because drug dealers who sell to sixth-graders are respectable by comparison. And since the average penalty for theft or possession of stolen mail is 3-5 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines, I recommend not yammering your way through custody: chances are good that someone’s mom had her holidays ruined by your caliber of caper.
As for the rest of us, local news producers love doorstep Grinch footage, so in the coming months we can expect to think often, “Wow! That loser is a real piece of garbage,” or “If I could just get my hands on those a-holes,” or even, “Now there’s some quality surveillance footage! Where do I buy that camera?”
If it wasn’t for the universal disgust felt by homeowners and apartment dwellers imagining their own packages being carried off, these clips wouldn’t be such a seasonal trend. Stuff gets stolen every day, but the alarmism plays better around Black Friday.
And that’s just the viewing audience, the ones who gasp, shake their heads, and add this threat to a list of other worries. I tend to take things a bit further, imagining a whole range of booby-trapped bait boxes.
Truthfully, I can’t tell if I’m bothered because I’m an ex-felon who courteously interacted with his victims or if the mischievous part of me would just plain enjoy seeing dog shit detonate in the face of a scampering looter (or his kid). I’ve never even had anything stolen from my apartment building or front porch, so I guess I’ll have to chalk this attitude up to my being, well, a better class of criminal.
But there’s always some fool who decides, after seeing one of these stories, that he can do it better, smarter, faster, or slicker. Never mind that awaiting him are increasingly sophisticated surveillance systems — not to mention former and would-be victims willing to take matters into their own hands. From the couple who disguised animal feces as a phony delivery to the man who recently yanked a woman’s purse from the front seat of a fleeing thief’s car, regular folks don’t seem to mind confronting jackasses who steal only under virtually zero-risk conditions. Which brings me to a major point of this blog: “Get Character or Become One.”
“Get Character or Become One” refers to willingly surrendering how people see you based on very limited information, because you were too stupid or careless to give anyone reason to decide otherwise. We are all in charge of our own narratives, but when we act with knee-jerk impatience or a sense of entitlement, we are often left with negative consequences. Once we realize we’ve allowed others to decide what our motives might have been, we often find ourselves in a panic, arguing defensively to justify our actions. So if you don’t get character, you become a character; it’s as simple as that. We’re free to write you off and remember you with assessments like, “Oh yeah, that’s the idiot with the laser pointer.”
Given the relatively lazy nature of this particular crime, a lot of package thieves believe they can get away with excess flab and wearing garments held up by elastic. Yet this is absolutely the wrong kind of attire for residential fight or flight. What may be fine for a slouch over to the local yogurt trough risks biting them in the ass when the motion lights flick on and a tangle of rosebushes is waiting on the other side of that fence.
For many of these geniuses, strategizing ends with the idea that blending into a community will automatically assure success, hence the typical use of their own vehicles. Very few consider preemptive steps like stealing a set of license plates, so they end up driving away with the forensic equivalent of their bare asses hanging out of the car. (Personally, I’d buy some solid-colored gift-wrap and scotch tape it to the car — anywhere. It goes on easy; comes off fast, and it takes very little vehicle alteration to throw off dog-walking witnesses. If you don’t believe me, put a shark fin on your roof. People won’t remember the car. I say, the more absurd, the better. But maybe digressions into how I’d handle things isn’t quite the way to go here…)
The point is, the reason so many of us are unafraid and even eager to confront package thieves is that the deliberation is similar to deciding whether to mash a filthy cockroach. Roaches are unsightly and unsanitary, and everyone is happy to see them get squished into yuck. And now we’ve all seen enough footage of package thieves to recognize a similar ugly skittishness and lack of anything worth appreciating. We’ve decided for them who they are, and we’ve concluded we have nothing to be afraid of. Just watch the footage of the homeowner who nabs the purse: Fatty the Waddling Thief has to hold up his own pants. A jury will eventually get to see that at least 20 times.
Package thievery itself is synonymous with oblivion and indifference, and when you’re as character challenged as that, it’s easy to pretend someone receiving packages at home is wealthy, or luckier than you, or someone who thinks they’re better than everyone else. Never mind that, judging by the footage the Internet has to offer on this matter, most perpetrators appear accustomed to their own rather leisurely lifestyles. Some of them are probably homeowners themselves; many look like fairly well off (white) people driving pretty fancy cars. But no matter its degree, delusion is not an excuse. And it takes a special lack of character to steal books from someone working in the service of special needs children.
So package thieves? They’re onto you, and they’re gonna call you out every chance they get.
Some might even be carrying baseball bats.