Take Me Somewhere Else
I was robbed once by gun point on the dark streets of South Tampa. It was years and years ago. I didn’t know who the guy was. He told me not to turn around while he kept pressing the cold steel of his weapon into the back of my neck. He sifted through my pockets, found my wallet, and then ran into the darkness. It was a stranger I’ll probably never see again.
I was robbed once online by someone who had stolen my credit card information and decided to purchase almost $1,000 worth of merchandise from Walmart Online (of all places). She was a stranger on the other side of the country from me in California. I can almost say, with certainty, I’ll never lay eyes on her. I didn’t have to pay for the merchandise and my credit card was credited. It took jumping through a lot of hoops with a guy who said his name was Roger (but I know that wasn’t his real name, and I know he wasn’t in America) to get it all sorted out.
And I was robbed again last night. Not by a stranger this time. I know exactly who this person is.
He came to us with a hard luck story about how no one in his family likes him. But he would never say why. He seemed like a personable fella. Other people I had talked with about this guy had told me (and I quote) “He will steal from you,” but I just shook that off. We got to know him through the months and he didn’t seem like the thieving kind. Tim is the more empathetic one between the two of us. I am always skeptical. There was always an air of mystery hanging around. Why doesn’t his family like him, exactly? Why is this guy homeless? Why doesn’t he have a job? What is he not telling us? I simply credited the fact that I don’t like people to the hole in his stories. I was being too analytical.
Two nights ago he got kicked out of where he was living because he was being accused of stealing his roommates checkbook. We were all trying to figure out the timeline and how it was possible that he could have stolen a checkbook. Checkbooks are so outdated. What could he possibly do with a check? Apparently, $14.99 had been used for an on-line chat system. I’ve gotten quite the education about routing numbers and account numbers on a check that I hadn’t known before two nights ago because I haven’t used a check in over a decade.
So here was our friend, kicked out on the street with his two bags of possessions at midnight…in the rain. I quickly let him know that he could not stay with Tim and me. He had to find somewhere to go. Make some calls. My words were, “We are not a hotel,” however, when I woke up yesterday morning, there he was (and a friend) sprawled out in my living room. Of course, Tim felt sorry for them. It was raining. It was in the middle of the night. Tim has a heart. I worked hard to not have one of those things. I woke them up at 8am (giving myself a few minutes to gain composure before I began yelling) and asked them where they were going to go. They were wet, they were tired, and they were incoherent. It was apparent that they needed rest. So, I found my heart and let them sleep in my living room for the day. Downstairs looked like a campground with luggage and backpacks. And it stunk like unshowered men with wet shoes.
They woke up around 5pm. I lectured them about how they should’ve spent the day making calls, creating contacts, getting their shit together. They (supposedly) called the friend’s father and got a place to stay. So they left. But not without lifting Tim’s credit card…from his wallet…that was in a drawer. I had to state that clearly so that you know that Tim didn’t just leave his credit card out in the middle of the floor for anyone to take. ALTHOUGH, this is his house and if he wanted to leave his credit card in the middle of the floor – that would be his prerogative. But he didn’t. It had to take some effort to open the drawer on the table, pull out Tim’s wallet, sift through his credit cards, and take the bank card. This isn’t just incidental…this was premeditated. He hugged Tim when he left (with Tim’s credit card on his person) and he shook my hand (with Tim’s credit card on his person) and left with his friend to go do some stealing on behalf of Chuck and Tim.
What he didn’t think out was that this is the day and age of technology. When a purchase is made on any of my credit cards, I get an alert on my phone telling me so. It tells me the purchase balance and then the balance left on my account. He spent $67 (and some change) at a BP gas station up the road about 10 miles from us. Makes sense since the person who picked him up was in a white truck. Then he spent $28 (and some change) on merchandise inside of the convenient store. I’m guessing that was for smokes and drinks and chips and stuff.
Since being robbed online before…I keep a very low balance on the bank cards. Around $100, that’s it. I called my bank this morning to report the card stolen and they reversed the charges within a matter of minutes. No hoops. No questions. The lady was done with me within 10 minutes. She was the joy in my fucked up morning.
It hurts more when someone I know steals from me. I look back over prior conversations wondering where I missed the signs. What he said, what he didn’t say, what should’ve been said. Now – 8 hours later – I don’t care. I’ve bandaged the wound, the bank has helped me by sending new cards and have frozen the old ones. Tim has tried to reach out to the guy by texting him. Of course, he’s not returning the texts. He knows what he did. And now we all know why his family and friends shun him. He’s a thief. If I ever doubted that before, I sure don’t doubt it now. This friendship cost just under one hundred dollars to dissolve. I’d call that pretty cheap.
If you’re in the Dade City/Zephyrhills/Wesley Chapel area and would like to know who this guy is….text me. I have no problems telling you who he is. I am seconds away from blasting it all over Facebook so his friends and family know. But Tim has talked me out of that. He’s the one with the heart. I WILL tell you that he’s on my friend’s list on both Facebook and Google+, though. You can do your own private investigating.