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The police will probably never find your stolen goods. They'll take your report, and you'll have to be content with the insurance money and the fact that the perp, most likely an habitual criminal and an idiot, will eventually be caught thieving from someone else. But your purse and laptop likely won't be recovered, and they're going to sell your stolen bike at the next Police Auction.

But steal a little girl's customized wheelchair off her family porch, the chair of a girl with a disability, and they're going to run a tooth-comb over town.

Unless, of course, the perp is such a monumental dingus that he practically rolls himself into custody the next day.

I do not want to make light of the loss of this girl's mobile device. She lives with cerebral palsy, which affects her to a degree that she cannot walk unaided. The customized chair cost $7000.00, and she faces significant disadvantages while it's being replaced or fixed, a process that could take months. The story, however, went viral, at least locally. Donations quickly arrived, enough to cover the cost of a replacement, and a local organization has loaned her a standard chair for the time being.

By then, the police had the suspect, thanks to the fast efforts of the thief himself.

The story, as I said, quickly became very well-known, in a region which cannot have so very many customized pink wheelchairs. Naturally, our master criminal decided to use the most conspicuous piece of stolen property in four counties in the commission of another job, in broad daylight.

At 9am on Wednesday, he entered the Food Basics, making his second appearance on a security camera in as many days. He piled some items on the pink wheelchair and put others in a bag. He paid for the items in the bag, and tried to slink out, nicely inconspicuous, with the stolen goods on the wheelchair, like, oh, these? That's just my stuff.

An employee accosted him. He produced a knife and a pipe, clonking the clerk with the latter. Then he rushed out, ramming a passer-by in the process of making his daring escape.

The police arrested him later that day. He still had the wheelchair, though it had been disassembled and damaged, and he had started to paint it yellow. He also had the stolen goods and, of course, his weapons. He's also on probation for prior offenses. Shocking, I know.

So: theft over $5000.00, armed robbery, possession of stolen property, breaching probation, and assault with a weapon. No law exists against being a monumental dingus, but the notoriety he has earned from this little spree will doubtless follow him for some time as, frankly, it should. This is Trailer Park Boys-level criminality, though I doubt they'd stoop to stealing someone's wheelchair.


Coincidentally, this same week, I received a sketch of Patti Washington (scroll down here). She's the most-discussed of The Con's characters, such that any of my characters are discussed, the girl geek genius who also has cerebral palsy. A local artist, Dan Barrick, made the image. He's currently negotiating with the publisher to do the cover for my forthcoming collection of short fiction, Live Nude Aliens and Other Stories, and has asked my input on some of the characters and creatures in my writing. He's made it to the point where they've commissioned a more detailed version of his cover concept.

He's created a beguiling likeness of Patti, and it's an interesting experience to see drawings of people and things that hitherto existed only in words and imagination. Barrick has a presence in the local nerd community, ongoing work drawing the comic Lucky Unlucky, and a forthcoming graphic novel, Murgatroyd and Nepenthe (under the name "J. Slater"). He's been commissioned to design a mural for a local comic and gaming shop. I hope they go with his cover. His concept (which must remain secret for now), along with the title, would move a few copies. However, my name's not "Stephen King," and so I don't have a lot of input on those decisions.

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