One evening, I walked into my office to see that a female officer already had a female suspect handcuffed. The officer told me the story of the arrest, then, she whispered to me that the suspect had a partner waiting for her by the front door. She winked and told me that the partner also had merchandise from our store based on the statement of her arrested friend.
I walked to the front of the store and, sure enough, there was a female fitting the description the officer had given me, sitting on a bench. I looked at her, and then I looked across the street and spotted a police car. I looked back at the female and you could tell she wanted to run. I walked over to her and whispered that her friend was under arrest and had informed us that she, too, had stolen merchandise from our store. Her eyes got big as saucers.
She asked me if she could give the merchandise back. Just as she was asking me that, the police officer returned to his car across the street. She grabbed me by the hand and told me that, not only would she give the merchandise back, but, she’d give me fifty dollars too, if I promised to let her go. Deal!
I walked back inside the store and grabbed one of our plastic bags. I told her to drop everything into the bag. She reached into her bag and dropped several items into my bag. Then I asked her if that was everything? She gave me a puzzled look and then she remembered the fifty dollars. She reached into her purse, took out two twenties and a ten dollar bill and dropped them into the bag. Satisfied, I told her to go and never return to the store, or, I’d arrest her on sight. She pretty much ran trying to get out of there.
Now the moral to this story is, crime really doesn’t pay, and sometimes it costs you, as in her case, fifty bucks. The real truth behind the story is this: since I and the female officer who arrested her friend had not actually observed the second female steal anything from the store, legally, there was nothing we could do. She easily could have told me to kiss her ass when I approached her on the bench, but she didn’t know if I could arrest her or not. There was no way I would have asked the police officer to check her bag, because, for one thing, they had better things to do and, for another, what if she had stolen nothing? Things could have gotten ugly.
When you’ve been at this for a while, you pretty much know when a person is an opportunist and not a professional thief. The first giveaway is that she stuck around after her friend got caught. The second was, she let me bluff her and wound up paying me to let her go, when, in reality, she was home free anyway.