Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Book Heist

A local business that sells my book reported this week that someone had stolen a copy. The proprietor thought I would be upset, but I actually smiled at the news. I know it’s a little weird but on some level, I was flattered that someone would go to the trouble of stealing “Remembering Big”. Apparently, the thief was not armed and fortunately no one was hurt during the caper.
I would like to say to all potential thieves out there that you don’t have to knock off local businesses to get your hands on a copy of my book. You can check it out of any local library. If the book is always checked out, I can donate a few more copies in the interest of lowering the crime rate here in our home town. I’m sure the couches and chairs at the local library are more comfortable than what you’d find in the slammer.
I flipped back through “Remembering Big” again wondering to myself what stories could have pushed someone to break the law in this great state of Alabama. I mean, the story “Daddy Taught Me How To Cuss” was pretty funny, and “Old Buddy Changed My Mind” generated a lot of e-mails from readers all over the county, but were they enough to make someone snap and break the Eighth Commandment — Thou Shalt Not Steal? It’s hard to say.
Jilda said mirthfully that a homeless person probably wandered in from the streets looking for kindling to heat up a can of Vienna Sausages. She must have seen the injury in my eyes because she quickly amended her explanation to say “or they probably stole it to sell so they could buy food for their kids.” It was a nice recovery but the damage had already been done. That little remark will have a negative impact on the value of her Christmas gift this year.
I’m guessing the truth is, someone decided on the spur of the moment they wanted the book, so they picked it up and walked out. I will survive the loss of a book, but I know first hand that being the victim of theft is no laughing matter.
In 1971, a few months before I was drafted into the United States Army, a thief broke my heart when he stole my prized 1965 Impala SS off Second Avenue in Birmingham. I will never forget the feeling of walking out of the store and realizing that my pride and joy was gone forever. The police came and wrote a report, but the officer said bluntly, “You’ll never see that car again.” And I never did.
Several years later around Christmas, someone burglarized our house They stole electronics, videos, small appliances and Jilda’s class ring. We both felt violated because someone had come into our house uninvited and gone through our personal space.
The loss of our possessions was bad, but “things” can be replaced. When the thieves broke into our house, they took something much more precious than our VCR.
They stole our peace of mind and sense of security that we felt in the privacy of our home.
The next day, I called ADT and had hidden cameras and security equipment installed in our house.
I hope the person who lifted my book reads it. I honestly hope the words, put a smile on their face and somehow adds a little light in their lives. Wouldn’t it be a miracle if they read my story about “Life Decisions”, and the words somehow moved them to make a fundamental change in their life and they started giving instead of taking?


  1. Those oldies but goodies.

    Some one stole a copy of my book from my home. The cops said they couldn't even call it petty theft.

  2. This is a great story Rick. I hope that you turned this incident into an advertizing advantage for your book in the local paper that year.



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