I had been told not to drive to the precise location. Drive nearby and then call 911. I drove precisely to the location. I didn't mean to, I really did not. It sort of snuck up on me as I was inching toward it counting house numbers. When I saw the house number, my heart raced. A 25-30 year old African-American male was staring straight at me from the porch. I met his eyes then looked away as I quickly memorized the license plate of the only car in the driveway. I felt in over my head. I drove a 1/4 mile away and scanned places to pull over to dial 911. I chose a trucking company parking lot. I made the call and I hear, "911 what is the location of your emergency?" After sharing my plight, the operator dispatches a unit to my location. While I waited, I looked up the license plate under a "free look up" that asked for my credit card. I resisted the temptation to know more. I sat in my car eight minutes and then the patrol car drove up. Out comes, officer Chris.
My first words were, officer are you feeling lucky? His response, "I don't believe in luck." Nervously I say, "Well do you bring good karma?"
"He says, karma, that is an interesting word. Why don't you start at the beginning." And so I did. After patiently listening through how I had come to this point, he asked me was I super sure of the address? Saying, "I don't want to ambush an old lady." I triple checked and then he says, "This is going to require backup." Now I am excited, CSI style. Wow, backup! He proceeds to radio for backup, and I hear in the backdrop, really Chris? Really Chris? He just kept saying send back up. I am sure they are thinking are you kidding? All this for a i-Pad? In any case, four patrol cars and eight officers later, we are making a plan. Well okay they were making a plan, but they needed me and I needed them. I kept asking do you think we will get it back? Officer Chris says if it is in that house I will bring it out for you. If not, I will write you up a police report. His strategy, the presence of force and intimidation. That was it! Operation Rescue iPad, as I so named it.
Officer Chris told me he was leaving me in the capable hands of 28 year veteran, officer Crenshaw from Los Angeles, California. He would stay with me as the other officers (one being female) went to the address in question. Ten minutes later they radioed back with a single question, "What time did the ping happen the night before? I responded 6:42 PM.
The granddaughter of the grandmother who answered the door had powered on the devise from the home the night before. The grandma was certain. Furthermore, the granddaughter works at non other than Atlanta Hartsfield Airport. She does not work cleaning airplanes however. I had been very clear and upfront, I did not want to press charges against a young person. The airport I learned is federal property. Crimes there are taken very seriously with unforgiving consequences. I just wanted my i-Pad back. Besides it is nearly Christmas. God had to be in this throughout.
This is where I must be a bit cryptic and I will speed things up. The granddaughter was given the device by a male friend who likely originally took the devise and tried to sell it for the first couple of days. She accepted it, powered it on, got my alert that is was lost and quickly powered it down. The next day she quickly got it out of her house and her grandma's house. What she was planning to do next I do not know.
Grandma is persuaded to call her on the phone. The officers tell her about the potential trouble she is facing if the i-Pad is not returned. After denying having the devise for a few minutes she relents but refused to come back to the house, fearing arrest. The police were unsuccessful in convincing her she would not be arrested. And here is where this young lady pulls her ace card.
She will return the i-Pad as follows. She would give the devise to an anonymous friend who would hand it over to the police and get this, in another county where Atlanta PD could not arrest outside their jurisdiction. And my dear officer Chris and team agreed to her plan..
And this is how it all went down. Officer Chris brought me back my i-Pad to where officer Crenshaw and I were waiting. We slapped high fives, I passed out hugs. I insisted on group pictures and we grinned until our cheeks hurt.
I plan to keep my promise. No prosecution. God kept his too. You start this HE said and I will finish it. And My God He Finished It. To God be the glory. Amen.
P.S. I know the name of this young woman. I know the precise location where she works. I plan to stop by the next time I pass through the airport and ask for her by name. I will tell her who I am and give her a hug. I will pray for her. My words, you have a fresh start to do all things right. Use that start to do good.
A good lesson for all of us.