When you live in the Bronx, you learn a lot about crime. A few weeks ago I walked down my block to go move my car. I had parked in a spot at the end of the block sandwiched between a construction site and an abandoned car dealership. All I wanted to do was move my car from one side of the street to the other as New York City parking laws state you must do. When I found my car, I was surprised to see what a mess I had left it in. The glove box was open and I must have smashed my own window" .wait a minute" I didn't do any of that" I was robbed!
I stood there cursing the thief for the 2 hours as I waited for the cops to arrive. I thought, "What an asshole. How could someone do something like this to me! I work with underprivileged kids!" But then I had an epiphany. As the police took my statement I realized that this was not the first time I stood before a police car and pleaded my case. It had been going on for a long time.
1984- I started off on my criminal career early in life. When I was about 2 years old I began to engage in minor acts of vandalism. One foggy night I took a crayon in my small hand and crept over to our white walls. In less than 10 minutes I had produced what my mother still calls, "a perfect train" with a smoke stack and everything!" I didn't get in a lot of trouble but I knew I should cool it for a while and get my name off the street. Hell, when your name is Street, you've got enough working against you already.
1989- I was done with the petty stuff. No more drawing on walls for me; I had grown into a smart, hardened criminal. Oh, I had also grown taller and stronger than most of the kids in my grade at this point as well. Like any criminal genius does, I took stock of my assets to see how I could use my gargantuan build for my financial benefit. I could have been a bully but that was for back alley thugs, I was high class. Instead I started a protection agency and I had one very satisfied customer. The arrangement worked as such; He (the nerd) would pay me (the muscle) $5 a week to ensure his safe passage when about the school grounds. I was to provide protection on and around the swing-set as well as the cafeteria and during all school sponsored events such as field day and class trip to town hall. In return, he would pay me my sum, but if he missed a payment I was allowed to beat him till I was satisfied. This system was in place until he became goth sometime in middle school and scared everyone.
1993- Extortion and protection are great ways to make a little scratch but the problem is I had no way to spend it without incurring an investigation by my parents. For this, I needed a bigger plan. My friends Trent and Chris were to be my accomplices in a series of robberies which would strike fear into the retailers of Madison, Connecticut. Slowly we would make our way from shop to shop and steal whatever we could. I myself was partial to lifting candy and toy cars. Trent's specialty was novelty goods suck as rubber checks "that really bounce!" Chris, well Chris was like the Don Corleone of the crew; overseeing all of the crimes but keeping his rap sheet clean (which was a good thing because in years to come, that rap sheet would unjustly get longer and longer). Once the daily spree was over we retired to the woods behind the supermarket where we would stash our goods. I imagine if you went back there today you would find about 30 Lbs of rotten candy, twenty five plastic army men, and a whole bunch of other shit nobody really wanted. That was the problem with this racket; we never stole anything we wanted, we stole what we could. (Although I think Trent stole a pair of Rollerblades once).
1995- I am no idiot. I saw that working with partners reduced my individual gain. I knew I had to strike out on my own so I left my old crew behind and ventured into the fast paced and glamorous world of baseball card theft. I started small at first; a pack of Topps here, an all-star card there. But I was never satisfied. Soon I was stealing packs at a time whenever I would visit the card shop in my town. I turned around and sold the hot cards to kids at school for profits that sometimes reached over $5. I was living the life, but it had to end at some point. One day I stole a bunch of cards from the shop and walked across town to the supermarket where I was supposed to meet my Mom and sister. I decided I had better open them up inside the supermarket so my Mom doesn't wonder how I could afford 20 packs of cards. I walked up and down the aisles, ripping the foil from the stolen treasure and, at the pre-appointed time, I left to meet my getaway driver in the parking lot. As I walked through the doors and into the lot I heard a voice calling after me, "Little boy" little boy, come back here right now!" I froze. And before I knew it I was being dragged back into the store by a large, angry woman while my mother stared in disbelief. Petrified, I confessed to stealing the cards and they took my picture, confiscated the cards and let me go home with my crying Mom. It's too bad I didn't realize that the supermarket didn't even sell the cards I had in my pocket and all I had to say to beat the charges was "I bought these at the baseball card store. All I was doing was opening them in here." My Dad finally figured out what really happened and I got sent away for a long time.
1996- When I was paroled from my grounding, I knew I needed to either get out of the game completely or up the ante. I choose the latter. But first I needed fire power. Luckily, I had a Dad who grew up in the 50s when a BB Gun was an essential gift for an adolescent boy. So, with devious eyes I stared at my birthday present; a Crossfire, pump action BB and Pellet gun. My sister began to cry" I should have known this would lead to trouble. But it would also be my finest hour of criminal cunning; my last great criminal enterprise.
Matt and Steve stood by the old maple tree in my back yard with the gun pointed at the road. I walked across the lawn and asked what they were doing with my firearm. "Shooting at cars, retard." Oh. They couldn't hit shit from there so I suggested we climb up into my tree-fort and try for the kill from higher ground. A blue Suburban rolled down the road and Steve put the gun to his shoulder and the scope to his eye. Click" BAMMMM Steve hit the car right in the back window, exploding a huge hole in it. We ran for our lives. I stashed the gun inside the house and climbed up to my room to get a better vantage point of the crime scene. Police cars showed up and, as I watched from my window, I saw Steve and Matt try to make their getaway. The cops grabbed them and came searching for me. I was a goner.
But I was also a smart little kid and I devised a plan. With tears welled up in my eyes I told the cop that we were shooting at a soccer ball by a stone wall. Steve had taken his glasses off to use the gun and the BB must have ricocheted off the stone and hit the car. The cop stared down at me" and bought the lie hook, line, and sinker. We were free men, well boys actually, but we were free nonetheless.
I had to hang it up after that. Things were getting too big and the old gang was getting out of control. A bunch of my friends went down on an internet credit card scam that the FBI had been tracking. When the FBI is confiscating your friend's computers, you should be a little wary of the activities you participate in. Those were crazy times, man, but we did what we did to survive. I guess the petty criminal is still alive inside me but I can't let him come out anymore" the supermarket already has me on file.
NOTE: Stories left out include: Bronx Zoo gift shop heist, Skateboard wars, religion class brawl, CVS Pharmacy cigarette stealing, and more!