I don’t watch CSI. I don’t watch any cop/investigative shows for that matter. You see, I don’t need to because I have my very own cop drama going down. Well, I guess not me exactly, but my friend. I’m involved for translation services…
Poor SZ. She had a stash of cash put away in the bedroom. Went away for May holiday. Came back three weeks later, and all the cash was gone. Oddly, nothing was disheveled, and nothing else was taken. Watches, a couple US dollars, an old cell phone, some jewelry– all still there. So the big mystery… what the hell happened?
First clue: SZ asked the ayi to do major spring cleaning during the break. I’m often the translator for her ayi; I’ve met her and I like her. She’s been working there since November. Money lying around the apartment; never had a problem. Still, you can’t help but consider her a possible culprit. Outside of SZ and hubby, the landlord, and property manager, the ayi’s the only other person with the key. I know, I say only other person but clearly there are already five people involved given the five sets of keys. When SZ first told me the news, my immediate response was to call the ayi and demand an explanation. Yes, I was totally in accusation mode. (I’m a hothead!) Fortunately, SZ didn’t want to falsely accuse, plus she wanted to ask the ayi in person so… that was what I was called to do today.
Well, this ended up being a six-hour affair. My god. Ayi came for her normal shift. I tried to be as tactful as possible… I asked if anyone had come in with her when she cleaned the last three weeks. No one. Are you sure? Yes, why? So I said things were missing. And I saw immediately, this heart-sinking expression on her face. What to do? What was taken? Was it a lot? Then she said there was one day when she noticed the curtains weren’t pulled fully tight like she always leaves them. When she re-checked the 4-panel sliding glass doors, the far right one was unlocked. At first, she thought maybe SZ was back (we didn’t tell her the exact travel dates), but nothing inside had changed. Maybe SZ had left the door unlocked? She locked it and thought nothing more. Meanwhile, she cleaned as she was instructed: specifically, she wiped down the windows, mopped the floors, wiped down all the furniture…
What to do, what to do. I told ayi I had to report it to the complex… maybe they had outdoor cameras installed. Ayi agreed… anything to clear her. The community agent came. They relocked the doors… whaddya know, a couple hard jiggles and the right-panel lock popped right open. And SZ never used the alarm system (management never gave her the instructions). So very quickly, these little details culminated into a bad situation.
So many lingering questions. If it were indeed an ordinary thief, why didn’t he/she clear everything out? Why take just the cash? And why worry about keeping everything in the original state? We called the cops. Two uniformed dudes arrived. Ayi was freaking out… clearly worried about keeping her job. A PI-looking guy also came, as well as a fingerprinting guy. I must have explained the scenario a million times. So many questions. What does the hubby do? What does his company do? What does SZ do? How much is rent? What’s his salary? Really invasive questions. And frankly, I didn’t see the relevance. But they’re cops… all you can do is tell them or say you don’t know. The whole thing was very uncomfortable. They took notes, jotted down records… the fingerprinting guy tried dusting a few places, but he said any oils/evidence would have been removed by the ayi’s cleaning or would have degraded by now considering this happened three weeks ago.
I have no idea why, but we had to go to the police station to file yet another report. The fingerprinting guy gave us a ride in the back of his cop car. That’s right, we were in the backseat of a copster. And let me tell you, that car was a piece of shit. Super junky. Worse than a cab. Dunno how they’re supposed to catch people with a jalopy like that. I mean, what about high-speed chases and shoot-downs and shit? Oh well, at least we got to bust through red lights and stuff. Yeah, we badasses man. Should have gotten some pictures for you, but well, pulling out the camera didn’t exactly seem appropriate given the circumstance.
So we show up at the station. Go through the whole story AGAIN. I really don’t understand what’s up with all the repetition but like I say, these are cops. I don’t question them; I just cooperate. Really sucks, but in the end, I don’t want any trouble, you know what I mean? I’m definitely not about to piss one off and get thrown in the Chinese slammer.
So I’m back home now. Exhausted. You know, with calling the cops, we had hoped they could collect some kind of evidence… even if it were just another set of fingerprints to clear the ayi. We also thought, why not gain some insight into crime investigations… hey this could be interesting? And for me, this was another opportunity to test my Mandarin chops. Yeah, yeah all those were good reasons for about ten minutes. Then lunch quickly came and went. I found myself reciting details like a robot. By hour five, we just wanted out. End the process. Right. Now. Please. The money is gone forever. Game over, you know? The cops say they’ll pursue the 5 sets of keys lead… We won’t be holding our breaths.
On my way home, I thought more on all of this. I suspect someone saw them placing the money into their drawers, and someone saw them leaving with their suitcases. I came home and locked all my windows even though I live on the 17th floor. The material stuff and money is of lesser concern, but how freaky to have someone in your home while you’re there? Yikes, gives me chills.