Rhonda's A 'Muse'-ing Rambles

Life and Times of a Busy Woman

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Cat Helps Solve Robbery!

Posted by Range Officer Rhonda on October 11, 2008

Some of you may remember back in September a small blip on my blog about a cash register drawer, with money in it, found in my yard by my son. At the time, I meant to write more about the event, surely a robbery of some type, but I was somewhat ill for a few weeks and just could not concentrate on anything, especially writing.

To summarize, my son found a cash register drawer (with a little coin in) and I contacted the local police. They came and recovered the drawer, took some fingerprints, walked around a little in the area and I (not them) found a little more ‘evidence’ to help them along. It was just a torn coin roll, with a few pennies inside. But still, something. That was basically the end of the story on my end. The officer did not have much hope in finding out anything about a robbery in the area and mentioned to me it was most likely a dead end. At the time of the incident, there was a rash of hit and run robberies occurring in Austin, and I did a little research on line but really couldn’t tie the two events in any way. So I dropped it, mostly, with the thought of someday including it in a small mystery story of some kind.

Today, however, I made another discovery in my yard, and I feel so very foolish now. I believe I’ve flunked my first CSI test – let alone not trying to look for further clues! And I call myself a writer? Shame! Oh, but you want to hear the story. Here goes.

I was walking out to my car with the goal in mind of running out to get some donuts – something we haven’t done in maybe 10 years. I know I haven’t had a donut in at least 4 years. I woke up this AM with memories of cooking donuts with my mom when I was growing up, then started fantasizing about what kind of donuts we like. I even mentioned to my husband, as he walked by, that I wanted a selection of donuts and would he go get them? He thought I was nuts, and also alarmed because he knows I am diabetic and have been fanatical about avoiding sugar & flour, etc. The thought was so deeply planted in my mind that I decided I needed to indulge this brief fantasy while I would allow myself to do it. So – back to the car. I walk out to the car, and the dogs in the back orchard are barking like crazy – in a hysterical way. Not a normal bark to tell me that the neighbors are walking by – but a frenzied ‘Mom MOM come get this thing’ bark. They have something, probably alive, cornered. Cautiously, I walk over to the outside of the orchard fence towards a pile of old tree limbs my husband had dumped. The pile had been there a while and weeds had grown high within, creating a substantial mound. A piece of what looked like heavy cardboard had blown over the pile, offering even more cover. Cautiously peering under the brush from the outside, with the dogs on the inside going into an even larger grenzy – I spot what looks like a black animal. OK. No skunk smell. Phew – that had been my first worry. I saw a little white in there as well. OK, it could be a raccoon. I wasn’t about to stick my hand in the unknown and try to figure out what was inside – so I went back in the house, out the back door, through the yard and out to the orchard with the dogs. They are still going crazy. Parting the weeds at the fence, I see – a CAT! Now, it’s making that low growl, hopefully aimed at the dogs and not me. Taking the dogs into the house, I go back out front to the mound and see if I can free up kitty. I think it is my neighbors cat (we call it Tinkerbell). Lately, about the past month or so, she has been making it a habit to hang around that one spot in my yard. She even Meow’d me over once to pet her, which I did. I was only a couple feet away from the brush pile, but didn’t pay it any particular attention. Several times my dogs have chased her off and several times I would see her sitting there by the patch of weeds and branches.

When I get back to the brush pile, I reach down to pull aside the cardboard looking thing, only to find – it was a bottom panel covering the rest of the cash register we had found last month. Thinking only to free up the cat, I moved it a little (the register), stuck a stick in and drove the cat out. She ran off without even letting me pet her. But her job was done. After a month of trying to get our attention, she finally had gotten what she wanted.

Ah- now, for the crime. When I moved the panel and saw the rest of the cash register, I saw pieces of paper sticking up that had been hidden. With the wind and the little tiny bits of rain we had had, I knew there was not much chance of evidence (like fingerprints) remaining, but I still approached carefully and only touched one tiny piece with my fingers. I got the packet of paper free, which proved to be a bundle of checks. Underneath that, a couple coins (26 cents). I pulled out the bundle of checks, now with two of MY fingerprints on the front and back of the pile, took them in the house and called the police. That was over an hour ago; I don’t even know if they will ever come back out again. But I stuck the bundle of checks inside a ziplock bag (after I thumbed through them) and found out where the register had originally come from. I don’t know if I should mention the name of the store or the city…..oops, the police just showed up! Back in a bit.

Where was I? Oh, update. The cash drawer we had found before had given up some good fingerprints, but were not identified. The case was dropped for lack of more evidence as no local burglaries had been reported. The city where this register is from (thanks to today’s find) is about 20 miles away. Our local police dude is going to contact their people and let them figure it all out. The register and it’s hidden booty of checks will now make their way back home; or actually, into a dumpster for the wrecked register. Thanks mostly to the attentions of one seriously PO’d cat, we now know where the crime happened.

Now – does this have anything to do with the locals in my neighborhood? Last week someone siphoned about 25 gallons of gas from my vehicle. Yes, there are some teen hoods that hang out, shoot guns, start fires in the nearby woods, etc. Please don’t let it be that group of boys! I like their parents so well and they own a restaurant here in town. My own teen boy, thankfully, is maybe a year too young and thankfully, does not hang out with them!

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