I love being a pet detective. But when given the chance to use my investigative skills in other areas of my life (not related to lost pets) I jump at the opportunity. Completely. So although this blog entry has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with lost pets, I think you’ll enjoy my story. Two weeks ago, some schmuck stole a fan from my front porch.
It wasn’t one of those cheesy, cheap, plastic fans either. No, this was an industrial Patton brand high velocity blower fans that cost well over fifty bucks. With no air conditioning here in Seattle, that fan was the best thing that cooled my house down on hot summer days. When I discovered that I was a theft victim, I was peeved. Get-even-peeved. So I devised a plan. Here’s what I did.
I actually had a second Patton fan (identical to the stolen one). So after about three days (it took me that long to round up my surveillance equipment) I put the Patton fan outside my front door as the “bait.” I hoped that whoever stole my first fan would see my second fan out there and think I was dumb as dirt. Next, I took a nanny camera (hooked up to a TV/VCR combo) and set it up under a broken flower pot and set it so it was pointed right at the Patton fan.
I wanted to capture video footage of the culprit and of the special surprise I had in store. My goal was to end up with a clip that I could put on YouTube and embarrass the dirty thief. Then, and here’s the best part of this story, I set up one of those motion-activated-scarecrow-sprinklers designed to scare wildlife (or unwanted cats) out of a garden. I put the sprinkler inside a flowerpot right by my front door. I set it so that if anyone walked up to my front door (to steal my second fan) they’d be blasted by the sprinkler.
Surprise! Ha ha ha…TAKE THAT, YOU IDIOT!!
Watch this video here on YouTube and you’ll see how the sprinkler works. We (Missing Pet Partnership) recently purchased one of these devices to scare off coyotes and raccoons attracted to yards after we’ve set up feeding stations (with cameras or traps) to capture skittish dogs and cats. I planned to turn the tables and use the scarecrow device to get some justice. At the very least, I hoped the fan thief would bend over to pick up my fan and receive an unexpected scarecrow enema.
So I set my trap…every night. I had to walk a weird pattern by leaving my garage, walking out towards the street, and then sneak up on the sprinkler less I trigger it. My biggest fear was that I’d forget to disarm it, walk out the next day to get my mail and get nailed by my own device. I admit that I entertained the idea that I could leave the device set up throughout the daytime and scare off pesky solicitors who keep trying to sell me magazines and dual pane windows. But after setting my snare every night for almost two weeks (including through a three-day heat wave) I had no results.
Until last night. The first piece of evidence I didn’t even notice at first. One of my (three) metal swans was pushed over and nearly laying flat on the ground. It wasn’t until I went to turn the scarecrow sprinkler off that I noticed the more obvious physical evidence. There were water droplets on the sprinkler.
As a detective, I knew immediately those water droplets meant that the sprinkler had been activated. Someone (or something) had moved within the sensor causing it to go off. I had the sensitivity set on low so the sprinkler would only be activated by a large animal (and not a cat or raccoon). Besides, there was no food that would draw animals into my yard…just a tempting free Patton fan. It was time to review the VHS tape and see what tripped the sprinkler. (And yes, I did say “VHS tape.” I do tend to live in the past. Like one of my volunteers said recently, “Kat, the 1980’s called, they want their hair style back.” And what’s so wrong about the 80’s?)
So today I sat down and watched the footage. The very long, very boring footage. It was like watching paint dry. In slow motion. I played it in fast forward mode but that didn’t help much. I was hoping to see water spray, arms flailing, and hear a shout of “Oh crap!”, and maybe even land a full facial shot of the thief. Sadly, the tape was a total bust. It recorded on slow play and only captured two boring hours of inactivity. Whatever tripped that sprinkler came later in the night.
I was bummed. I wanted a great ending for this blog. I wanted a funny-ha ha-gotcha moment captured on film. I wanted justice in an unjust world. OK, what I really wanted (and don’t tell my pastor this because I’m not supposed to want this) was sweet revenge! Although I didn’t get any of those things, I’m confident that the creep who stole my beloved Patton fan won’t be back. So I’m putting the scarecrow away for now.
But, I was thinking…you know…wouldn’t it make a cool Halloween prank if I dressed that scarecrow sprinkler up to look like a vampire? What can I say…I’m a risk taker. Life is too short to lead a boring life. Live life on the edge!
Kat & Dogs