All last week I was negotiating with a company that owed us some money, hoping to get it from them before we moved. Near the end of the day on Thursday they passed me a check. That night, Shannon and I went for a run. I usually leave my car unlocked in the drive way, so that we can use the garage door opener to get back in the house.
After the run, I popped the garage from the car and noticed that the check was in the console between the seats. I thought about picking it up or locking the car, but I wondered for a moment where I had left my keys. I left the car unlocked and with the full intention of returning once I had found my keys, headed inside.
As you may have already deduced, I never made it back out to lock the car.
I went out at 7am the next morning to get the check and it was gone. I freaked. This was a big money item and I had lost it. My first thought was that someone had stolen it, but who would steal a check? What could you even do with it?
Plus, all the change and a few bills that were in my ashtray were still there. My FM turner for my MP3 player was still there. I searched the car thoroughly, knowing how easily fate could have blown the check between the seats just to mess with me. Nothing… I got out and went to Shannon’s car. Her doors opened right up. She hadn’t locked her’s either.
Sitting right there in front of me was our XM radio. There was no way that someone stopped by to steal my check and had left this gem still hanging from the dash. I headed inside and told Shannon what was going on. Her advice was simple. Tear everything apart until I found that check.
After she went to work, I dug through every place that I could have ever left that check, but it was no where to be found. Around 9am, after searching the car for a 3rd time, I called the business and asked them to cancel the check and write me a new one.
I told them that the check was stolen. It had to be stolen. As crazy as that sounds. Someone had to have stopped by my car and taken only the check, even though there were things around he or she could actually get money from. It was a hard pill to swallow, but I knew I was right.
It took all day, but the business finally got me a new check. I took it straight to the bank and dropped it in the deposit box.
The old check was gone, but no thief would ever be able to get the cash.
Three days go by, we head up north to a family reunion and then to Cape Girardeau for a wedding reception. Then, a few hours after getting home Sunday night, I get a call. It’s the Herrin Police department.
They arrested a mail thief in Herrin on Saturday. In his possession was a check with my name on it. “Really,” I tell the officer. “But, that check wasn’t in the mail. It was in my car.”
The officer then tells me that the theif’s charges just went from a small misdemeanor to a felony due to stealing my check.
I meet the cop at in the parking lot of the local bowling alley and, like a reverse drug deal, he traded me the check for a written statement.
At the end, I asked the cop how he tracked me down. He only had my name and he got my cell phone number. I couldn’t remember ever registering it with the police.
“Actually,” he said. “I went to school with a guy that works for the business in question. I called him up and he helped me get your number.” He smiled: “It would have been easier if you had a criminal record.”
“Yeah,” I replied. “You would have found my name in your database eventually and then my dad could have helped track me down. He was the criminal in the family.”
“I myself…” I slapped on my Caruso shades, “like to keep them in check….”