It had to be true ‘cause it would be hard to make up such a story; yet for all it’s somewhat humorous detail there lies buried a warning the authorities deliver over and over.
John Doe was robbed. It happened on a nice sunny day in the middle of the afternoon.
Returning to his property after running errands John realized something was askew when he saw the riding lawnmower was outside, not in its usual place in the barn. His first reaction was “Oh great, the neighborhood kids must’ve taken it for a joy ride.”
The mower was now parked over by a fence, so he went to check if it still started, and it did, “oh good”. He hopped aboard, but when he put the mower into gear it didn’t budge. The kids must’ve tried to drive it like an ATV and threw the belts off when they changed gears. “Darn that’s going to take some time to fix, but I’ll have to do it another day”, and he went about his day’s chores out back.
After his jobs were done he pushed the mower back to its rightful place in the barn, and that’s when he noticed severed plant roots on the floor, plus his gas can was missing. “Where t’heck would those kids put… ?” and he set out in search of the fuel container. Soon he came across one of his totes… indeed, more than one. Those totes had been under lock and key in the house. This was a robbery!
Our farmer took a more thorough look around and discovered two trailers were missing. As he walked down a side lane he saw one of his trailers in a ditch, and here and there, contents from inside the totes were strewn about. His totes had been emptied and re-filled with other items.
Further down the lane the strangest thing happened. There in the ditch, nestled comfortably in a pile of Doe’s clothes (removed from totes) was a man, fast asleep!
Doe shouted, “Hey!” The dazed body rose – and tore off into the cornfield. The thought to give chase crossed his mind, but not being as nimble as he once was, Doe decided to call 911 to report a burglary in process.
He was told it might take a while before an officer could respond to the scene. (This reminded me of a joke where an elderly chap called the police to report a burglary in progress in his shed as he could see lights and figures. He was told there was no one available and it would be at least half an hour before a squad car could get there. Five minutes later the elderly chap called again and told the police not to rush because he had shot the intruder. Three squad cars were there within minutes! Finding no body the head cop admonished, “I thought you said you shot the guy”. To which the elderly man replied, “I thought you said there was no one available”)
After he made the 911 call John noticed a black carrier-bag that wasn’t his. He opened it and found it was carefully packed. Tightly rolled in corn-husks were leaves of fresh marijuana. So that’s what those severed roots were! Doe had not only interrupted a robbery, but also an illegal, if not premature harvest from within his own cornfields!
The first OPP on the scene was a tall officer who towered over the farmer as he described in detail what he had found. There was an awkward part regarding the marijuana haul that, “yes, seems to have come from my cornfield, and yes this is my farm; but no officer, the marijuana is definitely not mine!!”
Further detective work established it was clear the marijuana was from more properties than this one, and that some of totes had been re-filled with items that were not from Doe’s own buildings. The K-9 unit was then called in. The dog tracked the intruder and flushed him out on the next farm where he was apprehended.
There rings the same message we hear over and over again – be aware of your own property. Keep doing regular checks of fields, bushes and buildings. Property owners need to help each other and be on the lookout for unusual comings and goings. Take note of strange vehicles if you know your neighbors are away. Keep windows, doors and vehicles locked and know where your keys are. Stay alert and investigate if you see/hear something that doesn’t seem normal. Don’t be hesitant to call the police if you feel uncomfortable about something you find.
Just because it hasn’t happened to you yet doesn’t mean it won’t.