I spy with my little eye … a bad guy

Saturday, December 2, 2017

How do you catch a criminal who doesn’t want to be caught? Well, sometimes it takes a great deal of investigation, processing evidence and working with other agencies and the public. In other cases, however, you can just look on the camera system they left for you!

They may be nice enough to look directly into the camera, turning their head from side to side before they take it down and place it on the floor to await your arrival. They may also be nice enough to stay hiding in the same area wearing the same clothing, so you can easily identify them.

My small kids love to play the game “I spy with my little eye” while we are driving. Sometimes I think the criminals are trying to play a similar game with us. “I spy with my little eye… someone that has warrants running down the street in front of your police car.” In this case, the criminal wins a free trip to the Vernon County Bed & Breakfast.

Sometimes we even deal with people who did not realize they were criminals. I once had someone tell me they did not know they could not borrow someone’s four-wheeler without permission. He was simply using it for a while with the intent of returning it when he was done. He said he never thought of asking the complete strangers first! He won the prize behind door number two … or as we also call it “dorm 2” in the jail.

I once interviewed a guy for theft and had him tell me that he could prove he did not take anything from his employer because he was at a friend’s house during the suspected time and they had cameras at their house to prove it. When I spoke to him he was wearing a bright yellow shirt that said, “got beer?”. He insisted I go ask the friend, so I did.

When I arrived, the friend was on the phone with 911 reporting a theft of a safe full of money. Guess who was on camera taking the safe! I informed the “got beer?” guy that he was indeed correct, and no longer a suspect in the theft from his employer; he still won a prize for being on camera.

A few months ago, we started holding educational classes for inmates in an effort to help them be more successful when they are released back into society. There is no question that many of these people are very intelligent and could be successful if they would put their talents to good use. So why do they do some of the things they do? Most of the time the answer we get is “I don’t know what I was thinking.”

Once they get off track and know that they are already making a bad decision, the decision-making seems to just keep getting worse. People do not do stupid things because they are stupid, they do stupid things because they make bad decisions that start to grow and fester into an even worse incident. The good thing is that all it takes to correct this problem is getting off on the right foot. Once they do this, they can make a better decision and stop playing games that end in free trips to buildings that are secured by steel doors, cameras, guards, and no freedom.