Bit of a kerfuffle at the weekend. Child 4 had dashed loudly away from the supper table to do one of those 9-year-old boy things that have to be done this very moment. I was mentally ‘tsk-ing’, though not saying anything as I am the stepmother and it is Not My Place. He then immediately came back down and whispered something to TL, who got up and rushed upstairs as though on fire.
It turns out that Child 4 had seen a hand come through the small window near (much too near) our front door and this hand had swiped my car keys which had been left on the windowsill by TL. You can imagine how much self control it takes me to type that sentence in lower case and not in SCREAMING capital letters as it’s very, very, very annoying that the keys were left there, it’s very annoying that the window was unlocked!!! And it’s also very annoying that *someone* (a million guesses) insisted that this painted-over window be reopened last year so that ‘air could circulate.’ Well, air doesn’t circulate that much but apparently the population of South London does.
The person now in possession of my car and house keys now sprinted off down the passageway next to the house and we all ran about a bit like headless chickens. Cool-headed Child 2 rang the police and I went out to see if next door’s Ocado delivery man had seen anything. Child 4 had given me a description of the miscreant (love that word) which I passed on, and the lovely Ocado man said he would be in the area for a while making deliveries and would swing round and see if he could spot the suspect. I wasn’t expecting to hear anything but he called ten minutes later to say someone exactly fitting the description was at the local off licence, and the police, who had just come round, headed off to interview the person.
There was an interminable wait, during which I ran up and down the passageway with a torch, in case the keys had been tossed, and I also lurked around the off licence, peering as best I could in the dark at the suspect and the police. By the time I got back, Child 4 was returning from an exciting ride in an unmarked police car with two undercover officers to see if he could identify the suspect. Unfortunately, being 9 and very shaken by all the events of the evening, he was reluctant to say it was definitely the person.
The police, who returned later to fill us in, said they definitely didn’t think the person they had stopped was the culprit. Why not? “She was training to be a nurse and didn’t seem at all the type.” I didn’t audibly sniff or roll my eyes at this, but I certainly felt like doing it.
Anyway, we then had a visit from a forensics officer the next day who found a nose print on our window. When he first said we might be able to get an ID from it I did envisage some sort of line-up of criminals’ noses being inked up and pressed against paper for comparison, but of course he meant DNA testing – who’d have thought you could get DNA from a nose? It was better than CSI Miami, though obviously a lot chillier in my hall.
After that, another policeman came round, listened to the story of the ‘nurse’ and diplomatically agreed with my assessment of this tale. Then, when TL was discussing the whole saga with the children in a cab, the cab driver piped up and said he and his office had had endless trouble from a woman who fitted Child 4’s description and, in his view, was unlikely to be bothering the Royal College of Nursing any time soon.
So there we are. The moral of the story seems to be a simple one. The police are lovely, criminals are truly horrid. And, if you are accused of anything, say you’re studying to be a nurse.