Crime scene

By Helen Row Toews

January 25, 2018 3:49 PM

Crime is on the rise across the prairies. Unfortunately it seems we hear more stories of theft in rural areas than ever before.
There was a time, in the not so distant past, when farm homes were left unlocked and keys dangled trustingly in the ignition. Not anymore.
Private property is broken into despite elaborate security measures, and robberies of tools, electronics, vehicles and identity documents are stolen every day.
One reason farms are targeted by thieves is because of the large tanks of gas and diesel always kept on site to run equipment.
I remember a story told to me many years ago by a friend who woke up about 4 a.m. hearing noises outside. Sam (not his real name) leapt from bed, hurriedly dressed and went to investigate.
It was still dark, but in the first glimmer of sunlight he could see two men busily smashing the padlock to his fuel tanks.
Their truck idled near the road and several large containers sat next to them on the grass, ready to be filled. Moving stealthily, Sam edged back inside his house and reappeared moments later with a gun.
He had no intention of shooting them. He just wanted to – scare ‘em a little. Concentrating on their task, the thieves didn’t notice Sam approaching on the other side of a caragana hedge. Hefting the shotgun to his shoulder, the farmer fired straight up into the sky.
“Man! I’ve NEVER seen two guys run so fast in all my life,” he laughingly relayed the story a few days later, as we stood near the spot in question.
Sam paused, glancing toward his shed where several new red jerry cans sat in the shade. “All in all, not a bad outcome,” he acknowledged with a grin.
Of course, I’m not advocating the use of firearms, but a story with a rare happy ending was too good to resist.
With all the added concern over recent thefts in our area, our farm is on higher than usual alert.
One evening this past summer, my brother’s reflexes were put to the test.
A black storm was rolling through the heavens, blanketing the countryside in an unusually thick fog. Thunder growled overhead.
It had been hot and muggy all afternoon and before sitting down to relax, Linda lowered the window on the screen door, hoping for a breeze to waft through.
They sat on their sofa with lights low. After viewing a particularly gruesome episode of “The Walking Dead” on television, the two sat quietly discussing the latest break-in, not far from us.
Suddenly something thumped loudly against the door.
Both leapt to their feet and stared wide-eyed at one another. What was that? As they stood, rooted to the spot, a flash of lightening illuminated the deck.
Through the dense haze outside they saw a light-coloured object rush past the window.
It slammed into the house again. Was it some nut rushing the door in an attempt to bust through, some lunatic hurling a heavy object at the wall, or – oh no – a ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE? Bill marched purposefully into the foyer.
When the next blow fell he yanked the door open, poised for a fight.
No one was there. He peered off into the gloom, perplexed until a slight scuffle caught his attention and he squinted down.
At his feet stood a young coyote, staring up. Frozen in time, they locked eyes for several long, contemplative seconds.
My brother’s narrowed, suspicious eyes widened in disbelief and the pup gazed owlishly back.
Then everything happened at once.
The coyote leapt sideways in an effort to dart round Bill’s legs and lunge inside while Bill hollered, “Get outta here!” and blocked his path. At the sound of a human voice the creature reconsidered his wild plan, rushed down the stairs and disappeared into the mist.
Bill later concluded the animal must have become disoriented in the fog and decided that forcibly entering and bedding down on a Homo sapiens living room floor was the only way to go.
If all attempted break-ins were furry woodland creatures we’d have nothing to worry about. Sadly, they’re not, and we do.
These days everyone must do their very best to safeguard homes, vehicles and property and aid the RCMP in any way we can to end this wave of crime.
Oh, and keep an eye out for your fellow man too. We’re all in this together.

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