I was driving my patrol car when a loud beeping sound filled the interior of the car. At first I thought my computer terminal was malfunctioning but the beeping was too loud for that. Then my attention was directed to the small plastic display box mounted from the ceiling of my car.
Each car is equipped with different tracking devices. Some have Lojack (for tracking stolen cars), some have Pronet (for locating stolen bank money implanted with a tracking device), and some have nothing. The cars I get usually fit into the third category.
I'm still a rookie on my squad and the daily assignment of patrol cars is based on seniority. By the time the box of car keys reaches me, there's usually a choice between older, roomier Ford Crown Victorias with way too many miles, or newer, cramped Chevy Impala's with barely enough room for my eight year old daughter to fit in. We have a few luxurious Chevy Tahoes but my chances at getting one of these is astronomically remote.
On this day, however, I had a car equipped with a Lojack detector. I've never had one before which explains why I didn't recognize the beeping when it was triggered. The device beeps and displays an arrow pointing in the direction of the signal. As you get closer, the beeping increases in volume and frequency. My signal was strong and I drove through the nearby neighborhoods until I located the stolen bright yellow H3 Hummer parked in an apartment complex. You'd have difficulty choosing a more conspicous vehicle to steal than this one.
There was nobody in the vehicle so I called for a tow truck to impound it until the owner could be notified to pick it up. An officer from another squad arrived to help me process the vehicle. Just then, a woman came out of the apartment directly in front of where the Hummer was parked. "Is this your Hummer?", I asked. "No, the guy in my apartment just drove up in it.", she replied. "What guy?" "I only know him as 'Ace'. He just got out of prison and is inside visiting my husband." She then opened her door and yelled to Ace to come outside to talk to the police.
As soon as I saw who she was talking to, me and the other officer dashed into the apartment with guns drawn. Any time we confront a person believed to have committed a felony, we assume he is armed and therefor display deadly force to ensure compliance.
"Stand up! Turn around and put your hands in the air!", I commanded.
The 6 foot tall, 200 pound man stood up from the couch, raised his arms but kept turning around to look at me and my partner.
"Face away from me and keep your hands up!", I shouted.
He kept looking back at us and was probably deciding if he could escape out the door behind us. Realizing it would be difficult to run past two officers with guns drawn, he started moving slowly forward to the back door of the apartment.
This is the moment my 5 foot 5 inch, 125 pound female partner holstered her gun, charged him, and slammed him into the wall. I put my gun away and forced him to the ground before handcuffing him.
He tried denying any knowledge of the Hummer but later admitted to 'borrowing' it from a woman he was dating. He asked to use her car one night while at a bar together and just never gave it back. He didn't know her last name, phone number, or address and only met her a few times. He also didn't know the vehicle was equipped with a Lojack device.
I wondered what kind of woman would give a brand new $40,000 car to a man she just met in a bar. A quick search of her car gave me the answer: The rear cargo area was filled with crates of bras, panties, and other intimate apparel items. The glovebox contained an invoice from a medical lab with venerial disease test results -Happy Valentine's Day, Loverboy! I hope the temporary 'free' car was worth it.