Yesterday, I was in my office and heard someone out in our main area so I peeked my head out and saw a man walking toward the door. It's not atypical for someone to come in and not say anything and then leave again. We don't have a receptionist so a lot of times someone will come in for directions, not see anyone right there, and then leave. Most of the time I hear them and help them, but since he was on his way out I didn't say anything. Plus, he looked a little "off." I assumed he was one of the many people that come in here looking for the Probation and Parole Office that's across the street but kind of hidden so it's hard to find.
Next thing I know I hear my boss Sue yell out, "Excuse me! Give me my purse back please!" I ran out to the main area and saw him take it out of hiding (he had a shirt thrown over it) and handed it back to her and then just walked out the door. My coworker Jim came running over (he sits in the back office and can't see the main area from where he is) and started following the guy out the door. He pointed out to me there was a safety officer next door at 7-11 (you can see the parking lot through my office window) so I went to get the cop while Jim kept an eye on the guy to see where he was headed.
I ran over to the officer in his car and told him briefly what happened. I gave a quick description and heard Jim yell that he was headed down the hill toward the library. I started to tell the officer when he said, "Just get in!" I got in and he called it in on his radio and we were off! We turned the corner and I saw the guy up ahead. I said, "That's him" and he got on the radio again saying he was about to be in foot pursuit of a suspect. I put my seatbelt on and we raced up to where the guy was. The officer stopped the car, told me to stay inside, and ran up to the suspect. He yelled for him to get on the ground and the guy sort of hesitated and had his hands underneath the shirt he'd used to hide Sue's purse. Next thing I know the cop pulls his weapon and is shouting to him to get down and show his hands. I was shaking. It was crazy being so close to the action. Another officer pulled up behind me and they cuffed him and she took custody of him since the vehicle I was in was a safety vehicle, not one used for arresting people.
Several more officers arrived and I was talking to them while they were dealing with the guy. One of them asked me to get Sue, since it was her purse that he stole. I walked halfway up to my building and she was on her way down. The cops asked how much the purse and it's belongings were worth and the good news is that it's a Kate Spade from Bloomingdale's. Since it's so expensive, they got him for grand larceny, on top of the many counts of theft for each credit card.
The officer called this morning and asked a few more questions about what I witnessed and then told me the guy's name. I looked him up on the Sex Offender Registry and wouldn't ya know it...convicted rapist. I started shaking thinking about what could have happened. When Sue first confronted him I was terrified he was about to draw a gun on her, and thank God he didn't. He just walked away calmly. It could have gone in a whole different direction and it's really, really frightening to think about that. I'm trying hard not to.
The guy's being held without bond and we'll probably be expected to make a statement at his preliminary hearing in about a month. But the cop was pretty certain that with his record and the grand larceny charge on top of all the other theft charges, he'll probably plea and it won't go to trial.