I responded to a theft call from an eldery couple. I arrived to meet an 89 year old retired reverend and his 85 year old wife. They told me how some servicemen were in the house and emptied out a hallway closet to repair a leak. A few weeks later, the couple started to return the items to the closet and realized many things were missing. They had a different perspective of cost as the following conversation will show:
"What items are missing?"
"Well, a gun, ring, silverware, some sweaters, and a men's jacket."
(after getting a description of each item, I asked for the current value to determine the class of theft.)
"How much was the gun worth?"
"Oh let's see. It was an 1800's cavalry rifle so it's a collector's item. I'd say it be worth $25."
"Okay, how about the ring?"
"Oh dear, it was one of kind. I couldn't possibly place a value on it. It was so beautiful and meant so much to us. It was very expensive when I bought it and I'm embarassed to say how much it would be worth now. I paid $300 for it when I bought it. It's got to probably be about double that now."
"All right, tell me what the men's jacket would be worth."
"Well, it was a really nice jacket and we paid a lot for it. We bought that in 1975 and it cost about $35. It's probably worth about $40 today."
They told me the value of the other items and I was finished getting information for my report. The wife then added, "My husband won't be able to testify in court against anybody; He's got irritable bowel syndrome. He can't go anywhere without having a bathroom nearby. He just can't control his bowels anymore."
I expected him to be embarassed over his wife's indescretion but instead he confirmed her description. "Yep, I've got irritable bowels alright. I had to get an excuse to get out of jury duty last week because I knew I couldn't sit on those hard wooden benches for long without needing a bathroom."
Just when I thought I had my fill of unwanted information, the reverend dished out another serving:
"Dear, I bet this officer would love to see your spoon collection.", he offered.
"Oh I couldn't.", she replied. "I haven't cleaned them lately and I'm afraid they're not polished."
"Come on darling, I'm sure he's excited to learn about your spoons.", he insisted.
"Would you?", she asked me.
(No! Please! No!, my inner voice pleaded. It'll be certain death! Don't do it!)
"Of course.", I replied, conquored by her sweetness and obvious desire for attention.
An overload of information poured from her as she described each of the 300 spoons in detail. "This one's from Holland. From my aunt's friend. Emma. She was a school teacher in 1947. Related on my half-sister's side. These were etched in blah-blah-blah fashion -revolutionary for the time period. And these were originally crafted for blah-blah-blah. I almost forgot the blah-blah-blah's. Special and rare due to blah-blah and I know you've seen these, right?"
I made it through her dissertation and was thanked kindly for my time.