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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Hard to believe

We found out that the mysterious man in the white car trolling our neighborhood for little girls actually happened over a month ago, we only heard about it two weekends ago, and that he has already been picked up and is "not out yet." Relieved? No.

Let me tell you how we found out.

I was publishing that post below when I hear my mother (yes, my parents are staying at our house for the next several days and it is no small coincidence that the previous post dealt with a hostile situation) yell as she goes barreling across the living room and out the front door, "Call the police! A man in a green pick-up just stopped and took a picture of Elle!"

What the fuck?!

I tell her to call since she supposedly witnessed this event as I run out and see the tail end of a green pick-up truck round the bend at the end of our street, run back inside, grab my keys, my phone, and my shoes and jump in the truck. Our street loops around and comes back out one street over. There is no other way out and he is going the long way, so I drive in the opposite direction to catch him. At the entrance to our neighborhood, three vehicles ahead of me, waiting to make a left onto the main road is the green truck. The traffic was heavy on this little two-lane road with the workers all on their way home and the snowbirds out for the Early Birds, so he was way ahead by the time I could pull out. I was able to keep him in sight and about five miles down the road was finally able to pull up behind him as the road widened to four lanes. By that time I had the sheriff's dispatcher on the line and was able to give her a full description of the vehicle including the tag number. I kept following the truck until we turned onto a road that I thought ended in a mostly vacant industrial complex, and after keeping him in sight on a parallel road, lost him when he entered the vast maze of a neighborhood north of us. The dispatcher wouldn't reveal any information other than the vehicle was registered to a local address and it appeared he was headed home. Had I known the road was a back way into the huge subdivision and not a desolate road where it would be obvious I was behind him, he would have led me right to his doorstep.

Then what? I don't know. I was driving Jorge's monster diesel truck while my vehicle is in the shop, so I did not have my trusty cane knife by my side, not that I would have used it. There was no adrenaline pumping. I was perfectly calm and cool.

It was no exaggeration when I told you we rarely have traffic on our street (except I believe, I quipped, for the occasional pedophile.) When we do, we recognize either the driver or the vehicle. This is not an area you casually drive through or accidentally turn into. Now, my mother is known for her not-so-acute powers of observation, once famously ordering my father to bring the car to a screeching halt on the side of the road in North Carolina to see a bear -- it was a cow -- but she was 100% adamant about this. She had been looking out the window, watching the kids play, when the guy stopped directly in front of her. Sarabelle was riding Gracie's bike, towing her on the skateboard. They both noticed the strange vehicle slowly pass them, stop, and felt uneasy. Elle had just walked up from the street and had seated herself on a patio chair in the driveway between my parent's car and the garage.

Was he taking pictures of the ospreys that roost on our TV antenna? Was he an insurance agent photographing the house for the file? Was he a realtor or an appraiser researching property? (There I go giving everyone the benefit of the doubt, again.) Or was he just your run of the mill pervert?

Since it's not illegal to take photos of anyone's child, the detective said they will first determine whether or not he is a registered sex offender and then will make contact with him sometime in the next day or two to question him and let him know that they are keeping an eye on him. The detective was the source of the report on the man in the white car. The officer left his card and told us to call him in about a week to find out what happened.

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