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Stories about breaking the law!

Stall And It Might Save Your Life

, , , , , , | Legal | April 17, 2022

In the 1980s, I worked in a newsagent at a local train station.

One afternoon, when rush hour was almost over, I was refilling our drinks cooler while my female colleague was at the cash register. A man came in and asked [Colleague] for a pen and some paper. He then stood to one side and wrote a note of some kind.

All of a sudden, a train or a bus had come in to the station and the shop was flooded with customers. I stopped what I was doing and went to the second cash register to help get people out the door again. After a couple of minutes, all the customers were gone and the man from earlier came to the register. He put a note on the table and looked expectantly at both of us.

Me: “What am I to do with the note?”

Man: “One of you should read it.”

I picked up the note and read the first line.

Note: “This is a robbery. I want a minimum of 10,000. If you try contacting the police, you will be dead.”

I then noticed that he kept his right hand in the pocket of his jacket. I immediately pressed the alarm button which called the police and had the instore camera take one picture every second.

I turned the note over and noticed that something had been written on the other side, though it had been partly crossed out again.

I gave him back the note.

Me: “Which side am I supposed to read?”

Man: *Snarling* “Don’t try to be funny!”

As I had now pressed the alarm, I tried to stall for time. I took the note again and read it three times. I must admit that my hands were shaking a bit, but I gave the note back to him.

Me: “I’m sorry, but I can’t read what it says. Could you read it to me?”

Man: *Annoyed* “I’m going to shoot if you don’t give me 10,000 kroner.”

As I removed banknotes from the register, when there were above a certain number of them, I truthfully told him:

Me: “We don’t even have that much money.”

Man: “Do you want me to shoot you or shoot up in the air?”

Me: “I don’t know, but I don’t have that much money.”

Man: “Fine, just give me 5,000, then.”

Me: “We don’t have that much, either.”

Man: “How much do you have, then?”

At this point, I had noticed that his eyes seemed unfocused and his last statement told me that he wasn’t exactly in control of the situation. I opened the cash register and started counting the banknotes. Having counted them, I put them back in the cash register and closed it.

Me: “There are almost 1,500 kroner in there.”

Man: “Give them to me.”

As he hadn’t complained while I was counting the money, I opened the cash register again and counted them while wrapping every tenth note around the other nine. When I’d counted all of them, I recounted them while putting them on the desk between us. At this point, I had left the cash register open, and there were a lot of ten- and five-kroner coins.

Me: “What about the coins?”

He glanced at them.

Man: “I want those, too.”

I started taking them out of the cash drawer one at a time while counting them. I then counted them again as I put them into the plastic tubes we used when depositing them at the bank, each containing twenty to twenty-five coins depending on which coin it was for. I had done this with all the ten- and five-kroner coins and was counting the third tube of one-kroner coins when the police came in. At this time, I think almost ten minutes had passed.

Police: “Is the alarm from in here?”

That was the moment I was ready to throw myself on the floor. If the man really had a gun, this was likely when he would choose to shoot.

Me: “Yes, could you please take care of that man?”

We locked the door. One officer questioned my colleague and me while the other one questioned the man. The other officer came back and told us that the man didn’t have a gun and that he claimed that I had written the note.

They ended up arresting him and taking him to the police station. I then called my boss and explained what had happened. He laughed and told me that I should just open the shop again. I was the one on closing duties at 10:00 pm. The police left a little after 6:30 pm, and those last three and a bit hours were horrible. I knew that the man wasn’t coming back, but I was rather shaken.

There had been a number of customers while this took place. [Colleague] took care of them while I was dealing with the robber. Apparently, not a single customer noticed anything out of the ordinary.

Over the next week, I was annoyed that everybody I told the story to ended up laughing. I certainly didn’t find it funny. After that week, I slowly began seeing that the entire thing was rather funny because the man obviously had been out of touch with reality.

Three months later, [Colleague] and I were in court as witnesses against the robber. Our names and addresses were read aloud in court while he was present. All I know about him is that he was thirty-seven and from a neighbouring town. I don’t even know what kind of sentence he got if any.

I know that I behaved in a less than rational way, but you can’t plan ahead and know how you will react in a stressful situation like that, especially when you haven’t been told by corporate what you are supposed to do. Picking up on his not-being-quite-there and trying to stall for time led to things happening this way. 

I have twice since been in similarly stressful situations and have learned that I’m good at keeping calm while things are going on. Afterward, I tend to end up shaking all over.

Two Can Play This Game, Suckers!

, , , , | Legal | April 15, 2022

I got a call today for my extended car warranty. I’ve started answering all scam/telemarketing calls the same way because their reactions make me giggle. As soon as they pick up, I very enthusiastically say:

Me: “HELLO! We’ve been trying to reach you about your extended car warranty! How are you today?!”

I think I threw the chick for a loop because she stuttered and went:

Caller: “My extended car warranty?”

I heard someone in the background speak.

Caller’s Coworker: “Oh, it’s her. Just hang up.”

Then, there was a click and the phone went dead. I died laughing!

Putting The “Mental” In “Rental”

, , , , , , | Legal | April 14, 2022

I’d been renting my flat for six years when this happened. I’d been stung by s***ty landlords in the past, so I was relieved to find that my current landlord was a stand-up guy. Because my landlord travelled a lot for business, he used a property management service to ensure stuff got done.

The letting agent he had been using for years shut down because the guy running it retired, so my landlord found another company. As part of taking over, an agent from the new company came to do an inspection. No biggie. I kept the house in tip-top condition, and I’d never had any issues before. 

The agent looked around and saw that my furniture was a little battered. Most of it was bought secondhand, and I’d had it for years, so naturally, there was wear and tear. 

The agent started listing the damage to the furniture. I thought that was odd.

Me: “Yeah, it’s not in the best condition, but it’s my furniture, so it’s not a problem.”

Agent: “You’re going to have to pay to replace it all.”

Me: “Why? It’s my furniture. The place was rented unfurnished. This is all my stuff. It doesn’t belong to the landlord.”

Agent: *Smiling smugly* “The moment you bring anything into the property, it becomes property of the landlord.”

Me: “That’s not how that works.”

The agent huffed and continued nitpicking everything he could before leaving. 

A few days later, I got a letter stating that they were going to take my entire deposit to pay for the damage to the furniture. My furniture.

As I said before, I had been royally screwed over in the past by scummy landlords, so I knew my rights as a tenant and where to look in my tenancy agreement, etc. I researched this, and naturally, none of what the agent was trying to do was remotely legal.

I sent them a letter, highlighting the relevant parts of the tenancy agreement and the law, including that my deposit was protected so they couldn’t touch it until I moved out. They then tried sending me a bill and threatened legal action if I didn’t pay, but again, I reiterated that this wasn’t legal and cited the relevant laws and regulations.

The agent was obviously determined to get at my deposit and so kept coming at me with a bunch of bogus claims to extort money from me.

  1. They claimed that they had evidence that I had a dog which my tenancy forbade. For one, my tenancy does not forbid them; I just have to ask my landlord’s permission before getting any pets. Also, I do not have a dog as I have allergies.
  2. They claimed that I was illegally sub-letting. I wasn’t.
  3. They tried to get me to pay for a fence that had been blown down during storm winds — claiming that had I ripped this fence out of the ground maliciously — a fence that the building freeholder was actually responsible for, not my landlord. So, even if I had damaged the fence, the letting agent wouldn’t be who I paid to fix the damage.
  4. They claimed that I had let the flat become mould damaged. Again, not true.

It went on and on with him trying to make bogus claims. Each time, I demanded to speak to the landlord, but the agent refused to give me any of his details, claiming the landlord knew about this and was sick of me “abusing his property.”

He’d try to bully me with threats of eviction for non-compliance, and I’d just hit him with the laws that said he couldn’t do that. I thought he would eventually get bored and stop when he saw I wouldn’t cave in. He didn’t. After months of constant harassment, constant fighting, and documenting everything — including taking photos of the state of my flat every single day out of paranoia — I was burnt out. Enough was enough.

I needed to contact my landlord directly, but I’d lost his number a few years ago when I got a new phone. I’d never had any issues before and so foolishly never thought to get the details again. The only thing I had to go by was my landlord’s full name on the tenancy agreement and the address of his place of work. It took me a while, but I eventually managed to get his work email address.

I emailed him and explained what was going on, including sending him scanned copies of the letters I was being sent. Less than an hour later, he called me saying he had no idea any of this was happening, and he assured me that he had not okayed ANY of it. He promised he would deal with it.

A few days later, my landlord called back and explained what had happened. It turns out that the agent who had been hassling me was actually the owner of the letting agents. He was also my landlord’s nephew. His nephew had opened his new business when my landlord was looking for a new letting agent, so he decided to help his nephew out by signing up for his property management services.

The problem was that his nephew knew nothing about property management. He told everyone he had been taking courses, but he hadn’t. While you don’t necessarily need to pass a course to open or work as a letting agent, you do need to know what you are doing, and his nephew didn’t know the first thing about property management, let alone rental laws.

The whole time his nephew had been hassling me, he kept his uncle in the dark, telling him everything was fine. No wonder he refused to give me any of his details. My guess is he was trying to siphon my deposit for himself.

My landlord apologised profusely and assured me that he would make this right. And he did, by immediately firing his nephew and hiring a new property management company. He gave me all his contact details and told me to call him if I ever had any problems. I made sure I saved those details in as many places as possible.

Criminal Or Stupid? We May Never Know.

, , , , | Legal | April 12, 2022

I am second in a line of taxis at one of the major squares in Copenhagen. Three young men walk up to the first taxi and ask the driver something. After a few seconds, they walk down to my taxi. This is usually a sign that the driver in front has declined whatever their request might be, so I am prepared to also deny their request.

Man #1: “Can we pay with a Visa card?”

Me: “You can, but the taxi in front of me will also accept Visa.”

Man #2: “But do you accept Visa even if it’s a card we have found?”

I declined the fare. I couldn’t help thinking that this criminal career of theirs was still in its infancy and that maybe they would be better off doing something else.

If Only They Had Seen This Coming!

, , | Legal | April 11, 2022

I am the sender of this story. We stopped receiving the fortune teller scam call, but of course, that doesn’t mean we stopped receiving scam calls altogether.

This particular morning, I was at my workplace and it was slowly but surely starting to get busy. I was at the reception of the building, sorting the packages, when the phone rang.

Me: “[Workplace], good morning!”

Scammer: “Hello, this is Windows. Ma’am, please listen: your computer has malware.”

I smile, just as my coworker arrives.

Me: “Malware, reeeeaaaally now?”

Scammer: “Yes, ma’am, I can help—”

Me: *Interrupting* “Oh, please humor me. Please tell me exactly which one of the sixty computers in the building has malware. Pinpoint it for me, will you?”

Coworker: “What do you mean, malware?”

Me: *Loud enough for the scammer to hear* “Nah, don’t worry; it’s a scam call.”

Scammer: *After a pause* “What makes you think it’s a scam call, ma’am?”

Me: “Oh, I know your kind. So, which one of the sixty computers is it?”

Coworker: “[My Name], come on, we have stuff to do.”

Me: *sighing* “Too bad…” *To the scammer* “Sorry, pal, I don’t have as much time on my hands as you do, and I actually have some work to do. However, since you are happy to spend your day on the phone to scam and steal from people, why don’t you just go work in a call center like 911 or other emergency services? You would make money, actually save lives, and be useful for once. Anyway, bye, go bother someone else.”

And I hung up. That’s a shame; I really wanted to hear him try to come up with an answer to which of the non-existent computers it could be.

Related:
What, You Didn’t See That Coming?