Invasion of the Garbage Can Rustlers
It's a known fact that people these days will steal anything, and I mean anything. Don't believe me? Try driving to the local mall and leaving your car unlocked while you shop. Come back in an hour, and if your car is still there you'll probably find that your radio, CD player, purse, floormats, glove compartment light-bulb and cigarette lighter have all vanished quicker than you can say Please Rob Me Blind.
Now, the area I live in is prone to groups of transients drifting around in the back alley. This means if you leave anything of value, no matter how nominal, outside after dark, you're more than likely to wake up the next morning to find that you're a few possessions lighter than you were yesterday. Over the course of the last four years, I've had numerous items "liberated" from my back yard, including a grill/smoker, a shovel, a wooden sawhorse, an electric power cord, and six garbage cans.
Garbage cans? People will even stoop to stealing garbage cans? Yep, garbage cans. In my neighborhood, if you leave a garbage can out after dark, you might as well put a neon sign over it that reads "I Am an Idiot for not Locking This Up, So Come Steal It." The real insult here is that not only will said thieves take the can, but they'll dump the contents in the driveway and walk away with it emptied. Hey, Sticky-fingers, if you're gonna take the garbage can, the least you could do is take it contents and all.
I have this fantasy where I actually see someone walking onto my property to take something of mine. In this fantasy, I have a rottweiler named Axel with a head the size of a Volkswagen engine. Axel is very protective of my person and property, and when he sees this invader sneaking into my yard, he launches himself at said intruder like a Tomahawk missile. I stand on my back porch sipping coffee while Axel chews our invaders fingers down to bloody nubs. Scratch one burglar.
Another fantasy is to wire the garbage can with dynamite. When it is lifted, it explodes in the surprised thiefs hands, thereby delivering the message "Don't Mess With My Stuff, You Dumb-Ass". The only draw-back is that I would have hose the blood off my driveway and buy another garbage can every morning. Maybe after five or six incidents the word would get around.
Ah, but life is rarely fair. The laws don't do much to protect my property, but if I happen to "injure" someone protecting my stuff, the authorities will certainly come down on me. I was told that I can't sic my dog (a miniature dachshund named Daisy) on an intruder, neither can I wire my trash-can to deliver a jolt of electricity to a potential thief. I ran the exploding can idea by the local cops, and was told to "rule that idea right out". I might wind up sharing a jail cell with my trash-can thief, or even worse, wind up in jail while the thief is partying on the outside and suing my family.
So what can we do? Well, you can barricade yourself in at night. Hire armed guards to patrol nightly with orders to round up suspicious looking characters. Install elaborate security alarm systems that will summon the police about twenty minutes too late to do anything. Or simply pay the thieves to stay away. In the meantime, anyone have a slightly used Rottweiler for sale? I'll take my chances with the jail cell.
Originally appeared 2004-12-18