Dimon Kendrick-Holmes: Fighting crime with alligators

dkholmes@ledger-enquirer.comJanuary 24, 2014 

I tell you, this cold weather is a real pain.

You still have to wake up and go to work, but everything's more complicated than usual.

Take yesterday, for example. I woke up and walked my dog and ate breakfast and got ready for work and then drove downtown.

But it wasn't that easy.

Before I could walk the dog, I had to find my long johns, wool socks, gloves, toboggan and heavy coat.

Before I could eat my bowl of cereal, I had to take off my gloves.

Before I could get ready for work, I had to peel off all the other stuff.

And then before I could drive downtown, I had to go out and warm up the car, which was tough because first I had to wrestle my alligator out of his pen, move him out to the driveway and put him in the back seat.

If you're confused by this last sentence, you need to read the online comments that alert readers posted on Tiffany Stevens' story entitled "Police: Cold mornings bring out unattended cars, car thieves."

On Tuesday morning, according to the story, Phillip Eldridge was kind enough to go outside and warm up his wife's brand-new Honda Pilot. When he went back inside the house, he heard the vehicle's door slam and he immediately knew what had happened.

Somebody was stealing the Honda. So Eldridge jumped in his pickup and chased the thief, catching up with him near Double Churches Elementary School. The bad guy cut him off, causing a collision between Eldridge's brand-new, stolen vehicle and his older, non-stolen vehicle.

That's a bummer. And then Eldridge tried to detain the car thief in the CVS parking lot, but the guy punched him in the face and ran.

So what does this have to do with an alligator?

In Stevens' story, Sgt. Gerald Williams of Columbus Police Department's Auto Theft Unit said that he receives 10-15 reports of stolen vehicles per day, and that many of those involve cars that have been cranked up and unattended.

That's when the wheels really started turning for our trusty readers.

"Time to put out the bait car," commented Bill Evans.

Later, William Dillon, a top commenter, developed this concept further: "Maybe CPD could start a bait car program with videos on YouTube for some extra cash," he wrote. "It would be very entertaining."

"It sure would!" replied Debbie Eklund, another top commenter.

But John Tart took the discussion to another level: "I would leave mine running on purpose with a Alligator or Big Snake in the back seat for them!" he wrote.

That'll teach 'em. Other readers fantasized about alternate, less creative ways to do violence to those who dare to steal warmed-up cars.

Of course, auto theft really isn't a laughing matter. It's frustrating, it's scary, and it makes you want to take matters into your own hands, which can be more dangerous for you than the perpetrator.

Unless you're an Army Ranger.

Or a sniper.

It's a problem around here, no matter where you live. Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying.

Dimon Kendrick-Holmes, executive editor, dkholmes@ledger-enquirer.com.

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