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How NAFTA works
SOUTH NELSON CIRCLE — Making a routine inquiry he would shortly regret, on Jan. 18 the deputy learned the pickup truck parked on the shoulder had been reported stolen about two months earlier. The vehicle’s listed owner lived nearby, and the officer dutifully looked him up to find out why that might be. The owner turned out to be a nervous, fidgety man who seemed more willing to cooperate in theory than in fact. He said he’d found the truck on a website, although which website he couldn’t quite remember, and thereby contacted the wife of the truck’s presumed owner, a surname-free fellow called “Dusty,” who put him in contact with Dusty’s presumed business partner in North Dakota, who put him in contact with Dusty himself, who instructed Mr. Fidget to meet him south of the border to close the deal. “About two weeks ago or so,” said Mr. Fidget, he’d flown to Arizona, rented a car in a border town he couldn’t recall, driven an unspecified distance into Mexico, and came to rest in a small Mexican town he couldn’t recall, which is where he met Dusty and came into possession of the truck. When the officer expressed an interest in talking with Dusty, Mr. Fidget became positively twitchy, saying he had “a lot of paperwork” that might have Dusty’s number in it somewhere, but that Dusty “has about 20 pay-as-you-go phones,” and it just wouldn’t pay to look. Surprisingly enough, given that remarkably sketchy tale, Mr. Fidget seemed to be — at least temporarily — the vehicle’s legal owner. After a drug-sniffing canine cop gave the truck its personal seal of approval, the deputy bid Mr. Fidget good day, but warned him that his purchase came with a shaky pedigree and a JCSO detective would probably be looking him up one day soon. Mr. Fidget said that no matter what happened, he could never be persuaded to take legal action against Dusty. Before parting ways in that little Mexican town, he explained, Dusty made him sign a handwritten note “stating that I would not press any charges against Dusty at any time.”

Never mind the Barcalounger in the glove compartment
WEST HIALEAH PLACE — The thrift store employees called on the fly. It was 8 p.m. Jan. 20, and they were in hot pursuit of a white Ford F-250 heading south with a bed full of boosted donations. Deputies stopped the truck on West 2nd Avenue and asked its sole occupant to explain the diversity of pre-owned goods piled in back and jammed in the cab. About a month ago, the driver told officers, a guy at the thrift store assured him that items placed in a certain area were to be discarded and could be procured without permission or penalty, and that everything he’d taken had been in that area. The thrift store employees begged to differ, saying that he’d taken his second-hand swag from the area reserved for depositing donations, and they planned to press theft charges. Perhaps mindful of that principle of law that says you can’t steal your own stuff, the accused announced that most of the stuff in the truck bed, and all of the articles packed into the cab, belonged to him all along. In other words, he’d just been tooling around town with a filing cabinet, stair-stepping machine, portable air-conditioner, three pairs of skis, a broom, and a child’s bicycle with a “Goodwill” sticker on it in the back of his truck, and a leaf blower, a drying rack, a folded-up weight bench, a power-washer and two small chairs taped together in his cab. The thrift store employees disputed him on several points, most significantly regarding the skis and the broom, which are kept on store property and could only have been obtained through a determined act of trespass. Deputies cited the anti-donor for theft and second-degree trespass, and the goods were returned to the store’s “Not For Stealing” area.

But check the hatchets at the door

WEST ROXBURY PLACE — Buzzy and Lulu are neighbors. Buzzy and Lulu don’t get along. Buzzy likes to complain to JCSO about Lulu’s dogs. Lulu likes to complain to JCSO about Buzzy’s surveillance cameras. On the morning of Jan. 15, Lulu called JCSO with a new camera to complain about. She said Buzzy’s latest eye-in-the-sky appeared to be unwholesomely situated as best to record the activities of Lulu’s teenage daughters. As far as the responding deputy could see, it was situated as best to record the inside of Buzzy’s own privacy fence. Well then it might interest you to know, Lulu continued, not yet defeated, that Buzzy once blasted the song “Who Let the Dogs Out?” all afternoon just to get her goat, and that he’s been seen by reliable persons leaving the house after dark dressed in black clothing. The officer pointed out that while neither of those actions are, strictly speaking, illegal, he’d stroll next door and ask Buzzy about his impressive camera array. Instead of offering an explanation, Buzzy waved the deputy inside to see that none of the contested cameras were, strictly speaking, hooked up to anything. Truth is, Buzzy admitted, Lulu won’t make her dogs shut up so he installs dummy cameras just to yank her chain, and he’d appreciate it they could keep that little factoid on the Q-T. Alas, the deputy was duty-bound to share the joke with Lulu, who chose that moment to realize her feud with Buzzy was childish and un-neighborly and asked the deputy to “arrange a meeting” so they could “bury the hatchet.” The officer asked Buzzy if he’d be up for a little hatchet-burying. Buzzy said he’d think about it.