Photo Credit: dM.nyc™ via Compfight cc

A Theft Solves Two Cases

My coat was stolen in Grand Junction, but the investigation netted two thieves who stole two coats.

Last Wednesday I wore my coat to the HAL facility, but the day had warmed up so much I didn’t think about wearing it back to the hotel. I left it in the training room, and it was gone the next morning.

After a day of checking everywhere I’d been to see if I’d left it anywhere, I asked the facility manager for permission to review the tape. The training room had a security camera.

The tape yielded some interesting results. A person came in about 7pm, saw the coat, and checked to see if it had an owner. Around 10, he returned to the room and actually tried the coat on. There were two people on computers in the room, and he talked with them. He removed the coat and put it back on the chair, obviously conscious of the two people.

About three in the morning, there was nobody in the room, so the guy walked quickly in the room, grabbed the coat, and left. The lighting was too poor for the camera to grab the face of the man in any of the incidents.

I took notes of the incidents and turned in my notes to Corporate Security. I told them how to find the guy: use computer login records to identify the two witnesses at 10pm who talked to the guy, and they would identify him.

Nearly a week after the incident, I wasn’t too confident that the coat would be recovered. The IT guy poured through the computer that was used, skipping breakfast to do so. I bought and brought some McDonald’s, then made the offer: find out who stole the coat, and you’ll get lunch. Get my coat back, and you get dinner. He got lunch yesterday.

This morning the IT guy informed me that an employee of a subcontractor had stolen the coat, and they were working on recovering it. Halfway through the morning, I got my coat back.

The story doesn’t end there just yet. It turns out that the witness identified a person at the right subcontractor, but the person he identified didn’t steal my coat. He had stolen the coat of another Halliburton employee. When he fessed up and returned that coat, my coat mysteriously appeared at their office. The subcontractor manager viewed our videotape and correctly identified the person in the tape who stole my coat.

Two coats. Two recoveries. Two men seeking new employment. I’m very glad they weren’t our guys.

My coat’s going to the cleaners.

Originally published at www.necessaryroughness.org on April 24, 2008.