"I see things differently..."

Monday, July 2, 2012

Citizens' Arrest

On the next to the last night of my Sights & Sounds of Ireland Tour, I experience the most memorable event.  All the other wonderful moments will be treasured, but this one above all the others, is indelibly etched in my mind.

Four of us were returning to our hotel at dusk along Dublin's Grafton Street (the main shopping area). Though not crowded, there was a comfortable number of people around, and we felt very at home.   I dropped a few steps behind to take a photo of the other three (Rick, Jeff, & Patty) on my iPhone.  As held up my iPhone to click the shot, a hand swooped up to grab the phone from my hand.  

The sinking feeling of loss swept over me, immediately followed by my internal response, "No!"  I spun around and gave chase to the thief and his two friends, shouting "Stop, thief!" repeatedly.  Patty and Jeff heard me and immediately joined in, Patty, in good voice, yelling, "Help!", and Jeff, a retired teacher and coach of "track & field" took off with great speed.  He hadn't run in years, but proved it was still in him!  Rick didn't hear us, and was confused when he turned around and there was no sign of the three of us.  

Other bystanders did join in the chase, including a musician with great running ability.  3+ blocks later,  Patty & I caught up with the others at a pub, where we were told that a short blonde fellow had run into the building.  As she & I turned the outside corner, we inadvertently blocked the escaping thief.  He had been "flushed" out of the bathroom, where he had locked himself in, but had wriggled free of Jeff and the others.  At that moment, he was re-captured along with one of his other companions (who was already being held).  The young thief said that he had tossed away the iPhone.  Two new friends and I re-traced the chase path, looking under cars and in the top of trash receptacles, but to no avail.  But when we returned, we discovered that others had also gone searching and had found the phone, intact, along with my last photo taken----a blur of color as the theft took place.

I called Rick, who then re-joined us.  The police came, took the report, and escorted the two 15-year olds (it turns out...) in their car.  Also found on the thief was a wallet loaded with cash and credit cards (not mine....)  The group surrounding us were thrilled over the citizens' arrest.

In retrospect, I probably shouldn't have given chase.  It was an instinctive response. I am always very careful with keeping my belongings protected and out of sight and warn others to do so also, but it only takes one slip up.   As it turned out, what could have been a very bad experience turned out to be a very positive one.  The generous support of friends and strangers was heartening.  I confronted the two boys, probably sounding more like a concerned mother than a theft victim, that they were "never to do that sort of thing again!"  Most likely not a terribly effective lecture, but I imagine they will remember that people rise up together to stop wrong-doing.  Maybe the consequences will help turn them in a better direction----one can hope.  

The following night, in front of our entire group, Rick presented Jeff, Patty, and me with our new "Dublin Track & Field" T-shirts.  He probably best summed it up when he said, "No one gets between Gail & her camera"!

1 comment:

  1. What a story!!! You should have told us about that yesterday at critique group meeting. I actually like the blurry photo that resulted from the thief taking your iPhone. So glad you weren't hurt, but proud of you for taking a stand!!!