edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
So at about 7:50 pm a tall, skinny guy wearing a green and black hoodie pulled way down over his forehead, a black turtleneck pulled up over his nose, and his sleeves pulled down over his hands walked into the smoke shop and stood at the counter. I went to ask what I could do for him and he mumbled something about twenties.

I figured he was trying to make a bad joke about it being cold outside, since he was all bundled up, but I couldn't really understand what he'd said and I guess I looked at him funny. He kept hunching and ducking his head down so I couldn't see any skin between his turtleneck and his hood, and he held his right hand up at the edge of the counter with a small flashlight just poking out from the end of his sleeve.

He said something about twenties again.

At this point I remembered that we'd been robbed a few months ago, put that together with the way this guy seemed to be desperately avoiding both our security cameras and my gaze, and said, "Are you... robbing me?"

He said, in a relatively high voice and generic northeastern American accent, "Just the twenties from the register," and kept standing there with his stupid little flashlight resting on the counter. His left hand was down at his side and seemed to be empty, and he wasn't looming at me -- if anything, his body language and vocal tone were apologetic rather than threatening. And a six-inch flashlight does not count as a weapon.

Which is probably why my reaction was not to open the register, but instead to take a sliding step to the left and slowly start to reach down toward the telephone, to see how he'd react.

At which point the would-be robber must have lost his nerve, because he turned and walked out of the store. He turned left and headed east on State St., but I have no idea what happened once he passed beyond the edge of our display window.

Meanwhile I'd dialed 911, and the police showed up within two minutes. They took my report and description, such as it was, and waited while I tried and failed to get our security system to display the recording of the event -- I have the code, but even though PM showed me how to enter the commands, I couldn't make it display anything but real-time feeds. They will send an officer tomorrow morning to get the recording from PM, who is opening. I also called PM and told her what had happened so she won't be caught by surprise.

Then, since it was 8:30 by the time the police had left, I started closing procedures -- putting away newspapers, dumping coffee pots, counting cigarettes and lottery tickets, etc. -- and locked the doors at 9pm, as always. And now I am home and eating dinner.


That was definitely one of the stranger evenings of my life.
edenfalling: circular blue mosaic depicting stylized waves (ocean mosaic)
Do not be alarmed! I was not there! The robbery was at 7:35 in the morning. I haven't opened the store for about a year and a half, and I never work Sunday mornings anyway.

PM (my manager) was the only person on staff at the time, and she is unharmed. She was understandably still somewhat shaken up when I clocked in around 3:30pm yesterday -- she kept verbally rehashing the incident, as one does when trying to get a grip on a disturbing event -- but today she had moved on to annoyance and adjusting some of our procedures so that if (gods forbid) we get robbed in the evening, there won't be all that much cash in the registers.

I can't say much because of the ongoing investigation, but basically the second customer who came in to the store threatened PM with a metal object (kept hidden so she couldn't see if it was a gun, a knife, or something innocuous), and stole some money from the register. Then he ran and she called 911.

7:35am on a Sunday is a stupid time to rob a store, especially if the store only opened five minutes ago. You are not going to get much money. It might make some sense from an 'avoiding other people walking in to see and/or stop me' perspective, but given that we sell newspapers and newspapers are a business weighted toward morning purchases... eh. It smacks of a desperation move.

Also, we have security cameras.

Today our owner came up from Elmira to talk with PM and do some general store assessment while he was here. This is the first time I have seen him since I started working at the smoke shop, which was... six and a half years ago, I think. We are not what I would call a central part of his business. *wry*

We shall see what happens with regard to the thief and our tentative new monetary security protocol thingies.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
I arrived at the police station at about 8:35am, was told to go upstairs and wait for Investigator H, and duly met him at about 8:40am. He is a pleasant man about my height, white and maybe thirty-five to forty-five years old. (I am terrible at judging people's ages.)

He went over what I remembered from the burglary, including a few questions like how far was I from the burglar when I saw him (about eight feet), did either of us say anything (I said something to the effect of, "What are you doing in my house?!"), could I verify that my window screen had been in my window that evening (yes, of course), could I swear that the hat had not been in the yard (it hadn't been there the day before, but I couldn't say about the evening or night), and a couple other things of that nature.

Then we went next door to Ithaca City Court, which is a very 1960s institutional-style building right on the edge of Six Mile Creek as it flows toward the Cayuga Inlet. There is a security checkpoint at the entrance, complete with baggage scanner and one of those free-standing faux doorways you walk through. The courtroom we went to was on the second floor; bathrooms were on the third floor. (The third floor, incidentally, was missing a lot of ceiling tiles, because the building is currently in the middle of a rennovation project.) Investigator H wanted me to observe court proceedings and make note of anything that struck me and/or anyone I recognized.

I recognized several people both among the lawyers and among their clients -- this is because a lot of people in town come in to the smoke shop for one reason or another -- but while there were three men who could have been my burglar, I couldn't tell you whether any one of them actually was. Investigator H said that was about what he'd expected, since I saw him so briefly in bad light fifteen months ago, but not to worry, this would not have any effect on the case. (I do not know if the suspect was, in fact, in court today; Investigator H wouldn't tell me one way or the other.)

I did not get to meet the DA, but I saw his back extensively while he and his aide sat at a table to represent the People in each case. The defense side involved at least ten different lawyers, some representing only one case, some handling three or four. There was frequent rearranging of the order in which cases came before the judge, as various clients turned out not to have arrived on time, which is apparently par for the course.

The case load involved a few drug cases, a bunch of traffic violations (some involving alcohol, some not), an assault case, a couple theft cases (one of which was also a drug case), and the odd case of a young man who apparently followed a female college student into an apartment complex, destroyed some packages with her name on them, and maybe snatched and broke her phone? He was representing himself and basically stonewalled the judge every time she asked him a question. It was an incredible display of idiocy on his part, because the judge clearly wanted to find some explanation for what had been going through his head so she could parole him instead of sending him to jail, but he just wouldn't help himself.

It was all interesting to watch, though I confess it made me feel rather cynical about the general level of common sense in my fellow human beings.


After leaving court, I did several useful things:

1. Got a haircut

2. Met RE at the smoke shop to get back the $10 I lent him on Monday

3. Ate lunch

4. Repotted my poor rootbound schefflera (aka my dwarf umbrella tree), potted some baby spider plants that had grown roots, and cut some more spider plant babies to put in water for a couple months

5. Read interviews with Ithaca's four remaining mayoral candidates (Democrat, Republican, One Ithaca party, and Independence Party/Democrat) in preparation for Tuesday's election

I feel unusually productive. :-)


Nov. 4th, 2011 08:54 am
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Am at City Court to observe for an hour and note anything I see. Investigator H very nice.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
I am currently drinking tea and eating toasted Eggo waffles by way of breakfast. In ten minutes, I will head into town in the general direction of the police station to do... something. Neither Investigator H nor the DA (who called me again yesterday afternoon) will tell me any details, since they don't want to prejudice me or something. Which makes me suspect my burglar may physically be there.

Also the DA may be there; he said he might get to meet me.

I am not cut out for this!

*frantically drinks more tea*
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
1. More burglary follow-up:

Investigator H called me at work again this afternoon and asked if I could come in to the police station "sometime around nine... maybe a little before... how about eight-thirty?" for something he wanted to try but didn't want to give out details on just yet. He thinks he can have me out again in under an hour.

Friday is one of my days off this week, and I needed to get into town anyway for a haircut (my hair has grown long enough to start doing its annoying flippy thing on the back of my neck, grrr), and I would like to do what I can to get my case resolved and the burglar charged, so I said yes.

Of course, this means I need to get up around 7:15am on Friday, so as to have a chance to eat a little breakfast before I walk into town (which should take, oh, 25 minutes, since the police station is about two blocks further away than the library, which takes 20 minutes if I'm not in a hurry), and I am not a morning person, but whatever.


2. Work was busy but overall successful. We had four deliveries today: from our Snapple distributor, from Elmira Distributing (the regular Wednesday delivery, which contains cigarettes, candy, tobacco products, snacks, and random things), from J&R Santa Clara (cigars and pipe tobacco), and Phillips & King (foreign cigarettes, cigars, tobacco products, tobacco accessories, e-cigarettes). P&K invariably arrives at the most inconvenient time, so that did not surprise me, but J&R is less troublesome, so I was a bit surprised when it turned up approximately five minutes before the Elmira delivery.

Oh well, we got it all checked in, priced, and put away in the appropriate places, and I still got out about fifteen minutes before schedule, so yeah. All in all, not bad.


3. One nice thing about having my master fic post as a sticky at the front of my journal -- and doing that by dating it to January of 2030 -- means that it traps a lot of spam comments that are immediately obvious as spam. This is because the comments talk about how interesting the spammer found the post, or how the information made the spammer think about the issue in a new way, or how the spammer found the post useful in writing an essay for school. Which, given that the post in question is a list of links to other posts that are also (at heart) lists of links, is beyond ridiculous.

This week I had another two spam comments on the six-year-old post that keeps getting hit, two on an Angel Sanctuary fic from 2010 that also gets hit relatively often, and three on my sticky post (two of which came this morning, within an hour of each other). Last week I had no spam at all.

All this is on LJ, I should mention. Since I set up a Dreamwidth account in 2009, I think I have had maybe two spam comments total on that journal. Some of that is doubtless because DW is a smaller service and some is because its membership is still restricted by invitation codes, but I also think DW has a really awesome anti-spam team. Whereas LJ... is trying. *sigh*
edenfalling: circular blue mosaic depicting stylized waves (ocean mosaic)
1. Alas, I was unable to buy a headband with cat ears. Because I have no car, I only get out to the grocery store (and the mall next door) once a week, generally on Saturdays... and by Saturday, the only cat ears left were the metal-studded ones that were part of a dominatrix-kitty getup. Which, no. I am sure it would look fine on many people, but not my thing, especially not at work.

There were some cat-shaped domino masks, but I wear glasses (have done since I was six years old) and a domino mask over glasses is just asking for trouble.

So I wore an orange shirt by way of holiday spirit. Initially I attempted to wrap some green yarn around my neck and shoulders and claim I was a pumpkin, but I was deservedly mocked by my coworkers, and the yarn itched something awful anyway, so I gave up on that pretty fast.


2. Vicky called me on Sunday just as I was about to head off to work and was therefore unable to really talk. We have made a phone date for Thursday evening, to catch up on general life stuff and also hopefully have her nag me into taking one or two concrete steps toward going back to college.

For this, I blame my mom. She asked me when she visited if there was anything she could do to help with that process, and I said, "Honestly, no, but Vicky maybe could," because that sort of thing is different coming from a sibling than from a parent. (Which is a weird reason to support multi-child families, but there you are. *wry*)


3. So back in July 2010, I was burgled in the wee hours of the morning. Today I got a call at work from the local DA, who passed me off to Investigator H, who had news and questions about my case -- which, to be honest, I had forgotten they were working on at all.

The upshot is that the DNA from the black baseball cap which was found in my backyard, and which we assume belonged to the burglar since A) it did not belong to anyone living in my house, and B) there is no reason for any innocent passerby to be in that part of the yard, was eventually entered into the state DNA database under something to the effect of "John Doe, associated with burglary, details blah blah blah."

That was in February. Sometime between February and now, a man entangled with the legal system for some other reason was required by New York law to submit DNA for evidence. And it came up as a match to my burglar. Also, the man is apparently a physical match for the (admittedly horribly vague) description I gave the police at the time.

Investigator H wanted to know if I could pick the burglar out of a line-up, to which I said no, because honestly, I saw him for less than five seconds in bad light. So Investigator H said they wouldn't bother with that, since it would only confuse the issue. He also asked how close the baseball cap had been to the window the burglar had used for forced entry, to which I said, "Within fifty feet," because it was fifteen months ago and I can't be more precise.

Anyway, we shall see if anything comes of this.

Side note: Investigator H was extremely pleased to learn that not only am I still living in Ithaca and using the same phone numbers, I am, in fact, still living in the apartment in question. Ithaca is a highly transient town -- I suspect most university towns are -- which makes prosecuting cases like this very difficult, since by the time any evidence turns up, the victim may well have left town altogether. I am trying to imagine if I'd been burgled during the years I was moving every twelve months (from 2000 to 2006, I had seven legal addresses) and the logistics give me a headache.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
1. AO's son Josh is making some slow progress! First some of his friends put together an iPod of music he likes, and while he was still in a coma last week, the doctors could tell by watching his various monitors that he was responding to the music. On Sunday he opened his eyes, and on Monday he was able to twitch his toes when asked to move them.

He is still very, very injured, and I think he has more surgery scheduled for Tuesday, but this is good news.


2. Some random stuff that happened at work today:

a. We received not only this week's book shipment, but last week's as well. I only had time to put up one, and it was riddled with shortage errors. (I sometimes think STNC's warehouse is staffed by illiterate monkeys.)

b. We were expecting a delivery of Wind River tobacco -- specifically, 21 one-pound bags of bold flavor and 24 one-pound bags of mellow flavor. What we discovered, via worried phone calls from Wind River Co., was that while our bill reflected our order, what was actually on the truck heading our way was 21 and 24 cases -- each case holding 12 one-pound bags. *headdesk* PM hashed out an agreement whereby we took 5 cases of each flavor, left the others on the truck for immediate return, and will be billed the difference. (I think Wind River's warehouse may be staffed by illiterate monkeys as well. This is actually a running theme in my experience with wholesalers.)

c. About fifteen minutes before I closed the store, I was washing the front doors with Windex when two obviously drunk guys walked past the store, stopped, turned around, and walked up to me.

"We just wanted to tell you that you're really hot," one of them said.

As I wondered what to say to that, the other added, "You know everybody's dirty little secrets."

Then they left.

Drunk people: weirder every day!

d. Tangentially related to the issue of my hotness, MS has informed me that there is a mostly tongue-in-cheek rumor among my coworkers that I am a closet dominatrix. I about died laughing. :-D

(This is even funnier if you know how passive-aggressive I am at work.)


3. I was awakened around 9:30am on Sunday by the police calling with a follow-up on my burglary. They said that the thief's baseball cap has been sent off for DNA testing, but since this was not an urgent violent crime, it's not high on the priority list and they won't have results for a few months. Still, this may eventually turn up a suspect. Also, they have not found any of my jewelry.

I told them that my upstairs neighbors R&A had had their car broken into, most likely on the same night by the same guy, and the police said that if their iPod was indeed stolen, they should file a report that includes its serial number, so the cops have a better chance of identifying it should it turn up somewhere.

I must remember to email them about that.
edenfalling: circular blue mosaic depicting stylized waves (ocean mosaic)
1. Burglary aftermath: I hadn't noticed at first, but it has become clear that I'm having some issues sleeping while it's dark out -- noises become magnified, and I get very paranoid about the shadows my nightlight throws on the curtains in the living room. Since night is generally dark, and I have to be at work during the day when it's light, this poses something of a problem. I have been getting maybe five hours of sleep a night, since I can't properly get to sleep until about 5am, railroad spike or no railroad spike.

Thank god it's summer, is all I can say. I can only imagine the trouble I'd be having with longer nights.

Anyway, today I got home from work around 6:30 and took a nap until 8:30, so hopefully that will keep me from falling asleep on my feet tomorrow. Then I have Friday and Saturday off, so I can sleep really late.

I need to work through this, though, because it could very quickly become a major problem.

Maybe I should try just leaving the kitchen light on tonight.


2. More burglary aftermath: I was talking to my upstairs neighbors R and A yesterday night, and they revealed that their car (which sits in the driveway beside my living room windows, just a yard or two from my bedroom window) was broken into sometime between Wednesday and Sunday. (They cannot be more specific, because they don't use their car that often.) The thief went through their glove compartment, took the loose change from the little change drawer, and may have also stolen an iPod.

We presume it was the same thief, and that he broke into their car before breaking into my apartment. Again, nothing really huge, but troubling.


3. We have a new employee at the smoke shop! His name is RE, and so far he seems quite decent. PM, JE, and I walked him through some of the basic tasks this morning and early afternoon. Tomorrow I will walk him through evening tasks and the closing routine. (This is, of course, why I need to be awake. I get bitchy and more incoherent than usual when I'm really tired, and that's not a good frame of mind for teaching.)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
There are some stories that I outline quite tightly before writing. There are others that I start writing with nothing more than a vague destination in mind. Most fall somewhere in between.

Even with outlines, though, I am continually surprised by what actually comes out on paper. I mean, I started writing ch. 14 of "Guardian" tonight. The first scene was meant to be Naga-tachi doing a quick once-over of Kaiminori to pick up Itachi's trail. So far, the actual scene has been Naga and Suisen bitching at each other as they wake up, with... well, with implied fanservice. In other words, Suisen is naked. I am not describing her naked body, because that is so irrelevant, and also this is not that kind of story, but still. She's naked. Her nakedness is mentioned. More than once.

Sometimes I really wonder about myself.

Anyway, 575 words in rough draft. That leaves 3,500-4,000 to go.


In other news, today I got passport photos taken at RiteAid, and I also bought a bunch of white plastic hangers at Bed, Bath & Beyond. So it's been productive.

I slept with my railroad spike under my pillow last night, which is, I suppose, an improvement. Still had the nightlight on, though, and the hammer close to hand. Tonight I have only had the kitchen light on as well as the lamp in my computer room, instead of the kitchen light, the living room light, and the bedroom lamp. So that's also an improvement. We'll see how I feel vis-a-vis the railroad spike.


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Elizabeth Culmer

September 2017

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