Thieves, Autism, Netflix, And Thongs

, , , , | Legal | September 14, 2019

A few years ago, while on my lunch break, I went to a nearby department store to pick up a few things. At the time, I had an iPhone 5C that had been part of a Black Friday promotion the year before. It was showing some usual wear and tear, but it was still a good phone and I had no plans to get a new one anytime soon. 

As I was checking out at the store, I placed my phone on the little credit card reader shelf directly in front of me to pay for my purchase. I looked up from the shelf long enough to answer a question from the cashier, and started to leave with everything of mine that I could see in front of me.

I’d barely made it out the door when I realized that my phone wasn’t where I’d left it on the shelf. A quick search confirmed it wasn’t in my pockets, my purse, or my shopping bag. I ran back into the store and went straight to the cashier to ask if she’d picked up my phone by accident. No luck. She let me use the store phone to call my own number to see if it had fallen beneath the register or something. It rang several times, then clicked off like calls do when someone hits the “ignore” button. I immediately called again, and this time it went straight to voicemail. Someone had turned my phone off. 

Needless to say, I was starting to panic — not because I’d paid a lot of money for the phone, since it was part of a promotion, but more so because I had my friend’s and family’s contact information in the phone, including some addresses. At the time, I didn’t have a lock code on the phone — a mistake I’ve never made again — so I knew this person could open it and view everything. Not to mention, the principle of the matter was that this was theft and it’s a horrible feeling knowing that another person has intentionally taken something that belongs to you. Luckily, I never used any banking or shopping apps so there was no account information they could see. 

I have to say, [Store] was amazing throughout this experience. The security team immediately started pulling camera footage and register data to give to the police. The store manager let me sit and calm down, and I used the store phone to call my work, my husband, the police to file a report, and my phone carrier to report the phone as stolen. They’d still be able to use the Wi-Fi on the phone, but at least they wouldn’t be able to make calls or use data on my dime.

I was honestly expecting to never see that phone again, but here is how incredibly stupid the woman who stole my phone was. 

1) She was clearly on camera. The camera was even visible from the register. She reached out at the one moment the cashier and I looked at each other, snatched my phone off the shelf, and threw it in her purse. 

2) She used a credit card to pay for her own stuff, so they had her name and an address registered with the card. 

3) When the police tracked her down, she first claimed she didn’t steal it. Then, when confronted with video and credit card data, she tried to blame it on her autistic daughter! Yes, she had a five- or six-year-old girl with her in the video, and she tried to say the girl took my phone and was “holding it” when they got to their car. How low is that?

4) We knew for a fact she still had my phone because she’d managed to open my Netflix app and was letting her daughter watch cartoons on my account. (I changed the password as soon as proof was sent to the officer handling my case).

5) When the police arrested her and got the phone back, they found hundreds of pictures she’d taken of herself, mostly making duck-faces in various bathrooms — why bathrooms?! — and a few raunchier ones of her in a thong showing her a**, etc., and audio recordings she’d made of phone conversations with a man, trying to find out why she wasn’t being allowed to see her other three children. The police were pretty interested in those recordings, but I don’t know what came of that since they didn’t pertain to my case.  

It’s still crazy to me when I remember all of this, which took place over about a month. Now, I always have a code lock on my phone and I’ve never put it down on that little shelf again.

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The Government Stole His Information Before He Stole A Thing

, , , , , | Legal | September 4, 2019

Back when I used to work for a specific big-brand cell phone store, our biggest competitor was directly next door due to bad lease agreements. We would trade stories of customers who came into both stores and this is my favorite.

A guy came into my store, looking to purchase a phone and plan. We ran his credit and informed him that he needed a fairly large deposit. He left, saying that he would try next door. It was a common occurrence, so we thought nothing of it. The next day, I found out the rest of the story, as my shift ended shortly after.

The man went in next door and did the same thing: filled out an electronic application for a phone plan. Now, for those who don’t know, we have to see and type in your driver’s license — or government-issued ID — and your social security number. When they did this, they informed the man that he had a deposit, but smaller than our store’s. The man seemed pleased and said he’d be back.

The man came back an hour later with a knife, held the store up, and robbed them of cash and phones. He had no mask or anything concealing his identity. When the state police came out to fill out the report, they laughed when the employee was able to pull up his cell phone plan application and give them every bit of identifiable information they needed. That man was arrested later that day.

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With No Money, Comes No Parental Responsibility

, , , , , | Right | September 1, 2019

(I’m on holiday and stop at a popular fast food restaurant for lunch. The dining room is pretty busy but I find a free table in an area with only a man and his five-year-old son. I sit down to eat as they get up to leave, but the father leaves his wallet behind. The wallet is clearly visible outside through the windows. I figure if they don’t come back I’ll hand it to staff when I leave. After a couple of minutes, they come back.)

Man: *picking up his wallet and looking inside* “You b****, you stole my money.”

Me: “Excuse me? I haven’t touched your wallet.”

Man: “Don’t lie, you little s***. I had $100 in here. Now it’s gone. Give me my money back.”

(His son pipes up.)

Son: “But Dad, you said I could only have some chips because you don’t have any money.”

Man: “Quiet, [Son]. Listen here, you b****. Give me my money back before I take it back.”

(By this point, a staff member has come to see what all the fuss is about. This employee has been cleaning tables outside the whole time the wallet was left on the table.)

Employee: “Sir, your wallet hasn’t been touched. I could see it the whole time. You need to leave.”

Man: “Listen here. Someone stole my money and I want it back.”

(He goes to grab my handbag when another customer steps in and restrains him, pulling him away.)

Customer: “[Man], you’ve been warned not to pull this stunt again.” *lets the man go* “Now, get out of here before you’re locked up.”

(The man ran out, leaving his son behind, who was now crying. It turned out the man had tried this in a few places and the other customer was a local off-duty cop. The cop called the station to get the boy’s mum’s information. I stayed with the boy until she came to get him. The staff got the boy a kids’ meal and threw in some extra toys. It turns out the father was a drug addict but the courts had given him access visits with the boy.)

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Hats Off To His Final Attempt

, , , , , , | Legal | August 27, 2019

My three siblings and I all started work in the service industry as soon as we were old enough, and out of all our experiences, my favorite Crazy Work Story is my younger sister’s.

She works in a store in the mall that sells very fun but very expensive clothing and accessories and that actually has a policy allowing employees to confront shoplifters. One day, a young guy — college-age — comes in wearing a bulging, heavy coat. Everything about his demeanor and the way he tries to avoid the employees screams, “Shoplifter!” from the moment he enters. My sister tries to keep an eye on him until he asks to go in a fitting room.

Their fitting rooms aren’t groups of stalls separated by sex but actual closet-sized rooms behind regular doors in the wall. They can only be opened from the outside by employees with keys, but, of course, customers can open them from the inside without a key. My sister unlocks a room for him and continues to keep an eye on it after he goes inside. As soon as he leaves, his coat now bulging even more, she peeks inside and sees that the room is full of anti-theft tags.

She catches up with him and asks him what all those anti-theft tags are doing in the fitting room he was using. He silently shakes his head, holds up his arms, and shrugs. The motion causes two of her store’s hats to fall out of his coat. According to my sister, “It looked like he just gave birth to them!” I can’t picture the scene without hearing a sitcom laugh track.

Well, mall security is called, and an empty-your-pockets ritual is conducted in her store’s back room. He hands over thousands of dollars’ worth of stuff from multiple stores in the mall, completely covering the table, including several very expensive gadgets from a certain computer store. Charges are pressed, and my sister is tasked with returning all the failed-to-be-stolen goods back to where they came from. (I am livid that the computer store, which had stood to lose the most money had she not caught the guy, didn’t give her a gift card or something as a reward!)

I guess the moral of the story is, if you get away with stealing thousands of dollars’ worth of stuff, quit while you’re ahead and don’t push your luck trying to steal a few hats.

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You Get Some Anxiety, You Get Some Anxiety, Everybody Gets Some Anxiety!

, , , | Healthy | August 26, 2019

(I go to a therapist for anxiety. For complicated reasons, I’m afraid of asking for an OCD and social anxiety diagnosis, so my partner comes with me.)

Therapist: “Okay, you are aware that I am not a couples therapist?”

Me: *nods*

Therapist: “And that [Partner] is not covered under your insurance?”

Partner: “That’s not why I’m here.”

Therapist: “Okay, well, let me just explain what we’ve been doing here.”

(She says her job description, and then talks about my anxiety. To my horror, she starts spilling every secret I ever told her, including unfair, heat-of-the-moment venting about my partner, without explaining the part after, where I acknowledged my unfairness. I start having a silent panic attack. Eventually, she stops talking.)

Partner: *without any hint of annoyance or anything negative* “I’m just here to help [My Name] ask for a referral to a psychiatrist.”

Therapist: “Sure! I can do that right away for you!”

(We leave. I am too terrified to speak. When we enter the car, my partner sighs angrily.)

Partner: “B****!”

Me: *jumps*

Partner: “Sorry, not you. Don’t worry; I tuned her out once I realized where she was going.” *pauses* “When we get your psychiatrist, do we have to go back to her?”

Me: *shakes my head no*

Partner: “Good. I can’t believe she did that. Do you want a hug?”

(We did hug and talk about the anxiety. My partner also has anxiety, and I’ve been trying to convince her to see a therapist. This… did not help.)

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