Local Reality Shows

The stories are true. The names have been eliminated to protect from the humor.

My favorite reality show really isn’t a show, it’s the local zoning board hearings broadcast on cable access.  Neighbor vs. neighbor.  Tears.  Accusations.  Lawyers. Architects explaining their “vision for the space”.  Politicians, some bright and thoughtful, others less so.  It’s got it all.  While the show has been much less interesting since the real estate bubble blew up like Able over Bikini Atoll, it’s still worth watching.

My other “slice of local life” of course is the police blotter in the weekly local paper.  The hardships and difficulties of the people in these pages are real and in some cases very serious.  Sometimes they involve kids with drugs, others adults being pulled over at odd hours.  What amuses me are the sagas associated with some of the other, less serious items.  Perhaps it’s in the way they’re written by the news staff, or maybe it’s the way they appear in the police reporting.  We’ll never know, but week after week, there’s always something that grabs my attention and makes me wonder (and laugh).

Someone broke into a home some time between 4:03 p.m. and 9:36 p.m. March 6 on the XXXX block of [Flower] Lane and stole a bag of jewelry. It contained a $5,000 diamond watch, a $2,600 engagement ring, a pair of $2,000 diamond earrings and other items the owner could not recall. Two women’s purses and $100 in cash also were reported stolen.

A “bag of jewelry”?  I’ve heard of jewelry boxes, safes, hallowed out books and other things in which jewelry is kept, but a bag?  That’s awesome. Was it just lying there on the kitchen table?  Was it labeled “Jewelry” like it always was in episodes of Batman? And what’s with the precision on the estimated time of the break-in?  4:03pm and not 4:02 or 4:06?  Isn’t it an estimated time anyway? Is this victim wearing a tracking bracelet on his ankle that lets authorities now his precise whereabouts at any time?  If the cops find a suspect, can he say “I was there at 3:58pm, but not 4:03”?  I’m also sure that the insurance company will be happy to pay the claim on the “other items the owner could not recall”, too.

A [local] woman reported her diamond ring, which she purchased in 2004, was a fake. She told police she paid $15,623 for the 2.65 carat diamond ring from [Joe’s Jewelry Shop] at ##### [Main] Ave. She recently had it reappraised and was told the diamond was a fake. She also said she’s had the ring cleaned by several different jewelry stores in the past, but did not believe anyone tampered with it.  The owner of the original jewelry store has since sold the business and retired.

He thanks you for your patronage and sends his regards from a country without an extradition treaty with the U.S.  Reporting this to the police creates at least two problems and doesn’t solve the original one:  The only people I know that get jewelry reappraised are the ones that are trying to sell it.  That’s out of the question now, although I’m sure there’s a pawn shop someplace nearby that might look at it–but they might think it’s stolen.  Worse (?), all her friends now know it’s a fake so wearing it becomes problematic.  “Oh is that the fake ring?  I would have never known if you hadn’t told the police.”  “Oh, poor ******.  Bless her heart.  Doesn’t she have a real diamond ring to replace that fake one?”  She can’t even “lose” the ring now and try to (fraudulently) claim on the insurance!  I hope she remembers to cancel the policy on the ring.

A resident on the XXXX block of [Michigan] Avenue reported that he found footprints leading to and from the front door and side windows on both the east and west side of the home.

“…to and from the front door”?  No one EVER walks up to the front door.  Would it have been better had the footprints only led TO the door?  Does the mailman have an alibi?

Great stuff.

(I’m not sure why I felt compelled to hide or disguise some of the information in the publicly available blotter.  It just felt like the right thing to do.)

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