There has been an OUTBREAK OF CRIME in New Zealand.
And I have been at the epicenter both times.
Junior and I were at the McCafe recently, getting ready to order manly coffees with whipped cream and little umbrellas.
All of a sudden, a young girl ran up to the counter, out of breath and shouted:
“A guy just grabbed my iPhone and ran off. I was just sitting there working on my laptop with my iPhone beside me, and he grabbed it.”
Since Junior and I were Johnny On The Spot, and because 40 years ago I was an *Official Backup Unit, we leaped into action.
I quickly got a description from the girl:
“Uh. Uh. Uh. A young Maori or Pacific guy in a hoodie. With a backpack. That’s all I saw.”
I asked her for her cellphone number.
She and Junior looked at me like WTF?
I quickly explained it was so I could run around the nearby bus/train station, ringing the number, so I could hear it in the thief’s backpack, and then totally bust him.
By then, Junior’s eyes were dilating and his nostrils flaring.
“What do I do,” he asked as I ran off, to catch a thief.
I so wanted to go all Jack Bauer and scream for him to “establish a perimeter” and thigh-shoot anyone who sounded like a Russian mole.
But that was from 24, not CSI.
So I told Junior to stay with the girl and comfort her.
In a nice way.
Then I raced off.
Well, I sort of jogged off.
At a pace that I could maintain for actual minutes.
OK, so I was walking.
But it was fast, purposeful walking.
Then I had a flashback to about 2002.
I was walking along Auckland’s touristy waterfront when two 8-year-old Maori or Polynesian kids snatched the purses off two Japanese tourists’ shoulders and started running.
Right toward me.
I proceeded to put a shoulder into each of their chests and knocked them both to the ground.
I grabbed the purses and hung onto one of the kid crooks until the police finally showed up.
They looked at the kid and said, “We know you.”
The Japanese ladies then gave me a $10,000 reward and the police gave me my very own badge and threw me a parade.
Well, actually, nobody said or did anything.
And now, I realized that the two kids that I tackled way back when are now probably adult gang members, just waiting for the day they find that one-armed American cop wannabe.
So they can dish out some payback, Aotearoa, New Zealand-style.
Despite these unhelpful thoughts from the past, I reminded myself that I was at CSI: McDonald’s to do a job.
I carefully made my way through the bus/train station, secretly dialing the young girl’s phone number as I casually strolled by every young felluh with a backpack.
I was way cool and looked exactly like David Caruso.
Except that I did not have on sunglasses.
And I don’t have that pale Irish skin thing going on.
I wish there was a happy ending to this edition of CSI: New Zealand, but sometimes the crims win.
This time, the thief got away with the iPhone, which come to find out the young girl had been given only the day before.
When I got back to the McDonald’s, the girl had called her boyfriend, and he had come to get her.
She was really thankful for the support we had given her.
Junior puffed out his chest and said:
“It’s all in a day’s work, Ma’am.”
Well, he didn’t really, but I bet he wanted to.
Because he was at the cutting edge of crime.
With flared nostrils.
And a macho cup of McCoffee with whipped cream and a little umbrella.
Just like his old man.
*OBU- Another story for another time