Friday, August 6, 2010

New Year's Eve Bandits

      Happy New Year
It was New Year’s Eve and I didn’t have enough seniority to get the evening off.  My wife didn’t want to sit home alone, so we hired a baby sitter so she could ride with me on patrol.  However, after this night of adventure she never rode with me again.

It was a blustery cool night with high winds. Our first call was to contact Rob who was waiting in the precinct lobby and was convinced his future father in law was going to kill him. Rob had been in a bar and accidentally (yeah sure) met his ex girlfriend and was socializing with her when his fiancée found them together. Loyalty is important to the fiancée's family so Rob was sure that he was going to be a dead man soon.

Rob’s fear and terror were so real it frightened my wife considerably. To this day Rob’s terror of being killed is still vivid to my wife.  She was sure the future father in law was going to come busting through the front doors of the precinct at any moment with guns blazing. After Rob calmed down we followed him to his apartment where he had been living with his fiancée. He quickly retrieved personal belongings then took off to find a new city in which to live.

Throughout our shift we had a series of other calls that were equally unsettling to my wife, but they are stories for other blog posts….

Approaching 10:30 PM we were on our way back to the precinct to finish for the night. Dispatch sounded a holdup alarm tone over the radio indicating an armed holdup had just occurred. A cash only gas station was closing for the night and the manager was taking the money to a night deposit drop when three armed men held him up. Unknown to the manager, one of the suspects was a former employee who knew the closing routine. The victim reported the holdup suspects had handguns.

As we rounded a corner near the gas station, we saw three men look at us, then run down the sidewalk throwing fists full of money into a 20-30 mph stiff east wind. The money was blowing all over the neighborhood. As we watched this strange way to celebrate New Year’s Eve, I quickly concluded these men were the holdup suspects.

I sped up and cut in front of the three robbers causing them to scatter into an apartment parking lot as they continued to throw money into the air. I radioed my location and the number of suspects, then jumped out of my patrol car and caught up to one of them knocking him to the ground. My wife was frightened for my safety, knowing I was outnumbered, that the suspects were armed, and that cover had not arrived.  Quickly handcuffing the first suspect, I did a cursory search of his person for weapons without finding any, and then stuffed him in the back seat of my cruiser.

I yelled at my wife to get out of the car. I did this because I was going to chase after another robber and  didn’t have time to search this guy completely. Had he had a gun he could have shot through the front seat, harming her. She didn’t understand what I was asking her to do so, I yelled again for her to get out of the patrol car and stand behind a nearby tree until cover (help from other police officers) arrived. As my wife stood in the dark windy night she watched the events unfold, still fearful for my safety.

Once she was out of harm’s way, I went after another robber and by now my siren and lights woke up the neighborhood dogs. The dog that barks the fastest, loudest and harshest is the one that is closest to the stranger. An officer can usually follow the intense barking right to a hiding suspect. It worked this night as I found another robber hiding behind a dumpster with a dog that was going nuts, just behind a fence about two feet away from him.

I handcuffed this suspect and searched him for weapons finding a large hunting knife in his boot. He still had several $20 dollar bills stashed in his shirt. This suspect would not cooperate by walking to my patrol car so I concluded he resisted arrest at this point to give his partners more time to escape. I had to carry him with one of my arms through one of his handcuffed arms, back to my car. By now, cover officers were arriving so I handed this suspect off to one of the cover officers to thoroughly search him and seat him in a separate patrol car. Another officer had removed my first detainee, searched him and searched the back seat of my car thoroughly for weapons. Not finding any, he placed this suspect in his car so my wife could get back into my vehicle.

A police dog unit had arrived and I knew the third suspect couldn’t be very far away. We started to search for him and almost as soon as we started the search was over. The dog found the third suspect under a van hiding up against the curb in the darkness. The suspect didn’t want the dog to come under the van to escort him out so he agreed to come out if we held the dog. As we searched this suspect we couldn’t find a weapon so we had the K-9 officer use the dog to search for a weapon and sure enough the dog found a large hunting knife by the curb under the van where the robber was hiding. The suspects in the robbery had used hunting knives, not handguns, for weapons to threaten the victim’s life if he did not cooperate and hand over the cash.

We attempted to gather up as much cash as we could but only recovered a small amount of what was stolen. I’m sure the next morning residents in this neighborhood thought the tooth fairy had a few too many libations and dropped her money sack in the heavy wind leaving them a New Year’s Day gift.

Over the years I would occasionally ask my wife if she would like to ride along with me and she would reply, “No thanks, I like to pretend I don’t know what you do for a living.”

That was okay because we believe the following teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
• By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.
• Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.
• In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.
• Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.

From the Proclamation on the Family (September 1995)  To learn more about the Proclamation on the Family see or

1 comment:

  1. I like your transitions from story to the gospel  I thought mom would not ride with you because when you were chasing the bad guys you told her to check the back of a house while you looked in the front? Or is that another story of the night?