I suppose it’s about time I put fingers to keyboard, so here goes. The last two weeks at the O’Malley House of Shenanigans have been straight out of an episode of CSI, Law&Order and Dog the Bounty Hunter. Take your pick. It all started last Tuesday morning when we woke to find two of our bikes laying in the driveway, our garage door open and our enormous, bright orange ATV missing.
Might I remind you that we live in a gated mountain community at 9,000 feet.
Let me break this down for you – any prospective burglar would need to first gain entry through our secured gate, then travel up 7 miles of switchbacks, then another mile of single lane dirt roads, then figure out a way to get into our garage in the middle of pitch black night, then perform whatever acts of magic are necessary to remove a vehicle the size of a car (as well as a few other tokens) from said garage, all without making a sound. But is that what happened? Well, sort of. We think. This is when Detective Marissa O’Malley was put on the case.
I first began by surveying the scene and looking for clues. Clue #1 – due to the magnitude of effort described above in arriving at our home, I deduce that it is an “inside job.” Clue #2 – two dogs belonging to a family we have already deemed as shady just happen to be traipsing around our front yard. Clue #3 – the actual items that were stolen (ATV, hiking boots, sunglasses, “Bad Motherfucker” wallet, iPad) compared to things that were not stolen (tools, golf clubs, skis) lead me to believe that we are dealing with teenage punks. Had we owned snowboards or skateboards, those would surely be missing as well. Judgmental, you say? I say, some assholes broke into my home while I, my husband, my babies and my two absolutely useless dogs were sleeping!!!! The only way I’m getting over this is to find answers to it all and perhaps make a few assumptions along the way. If my peace of mind requires a certain stretching of the imagination, then so be it. I ain’t movin’!
Naturally my next move is to report this to the police as well as to our HOA. Over the course of the next 24 hours, we gather enough information through the help of our HOA to make my suspicion of a particular family all the more certain. We learn that there are at least 5 adults and 3 teenage boys renting a single house near us. We learn that this family has been evicted and has to be out less than a week from when the theft occurred. We learn that they have an enclosed, spray-painted trailer sitting in their yard that could easily fit our ATV inside.
One day later I am sitting calmly at my desk down in town when I receive a call from our HOA manager. The trailer is on the move. It has just left our community and is heading in my direction. Without missing a beat, I grab my keys, run out of the building and jump in my car. Marissa the Bounty Hunter is on the case. I get on the horn with Doug, our HOA manager, and he navigates me until I reach the suspects. We have a white pickup truck pulling the suspicious trailer, followed by a 2nd blue pickup truck. I tail them for about 10 miles, realizing that I have less than a quarter tank of gas in my car. This could get dicey. I consult with my friend Elli from the CSPD and she advises a call into 911. Meanwhile, the suspects have now realized I am tailing them and pull over. Well I’m sure as hell not giving up just yet, so I pull over too and act like I have no idea what’s going on. The driver of the first truck gets out and goes to talk to the driver of the 2nd truck. I’m looking back into traffic, still feigning ignorance. Eventually the driver goes back to his truck and they both pull away. So I pull away. Now I’m on with 911, still following these jerks who obviously have my ATV in their trailer. As I’m hurriedly giving the facts to the 911 dispatcher, about 5 more miles later they all pull into a Shell gas station and park. Oh NO!!! Now what do I do??? Well I’m a bounty hunter after all, so I pull in after them. This probably would have been a good opportunity to get gas, but the fear of Colorado’s laid back gun laws began to set in at this point and instead I just do a couple laps around the gas station, clearly not bringing any attention to myself whatsoever. It was when the first driver and two of the teenage boys I mentioned earlier all got out of their vehicles and started approaching mine did I decide it was probably best to skedaddle out of there. By now 911 has dispatched vehicles and I am confident these criminals will be accosted and properly prosecuted.
Not more than a few minutes later I am escorted by police vehicle to a location a few miles away where the suspects have been pulled over and the trailer searched. The trailer is full of crap they are moving!!!! NO ATV. Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God. Not only do I not have an ATV, but now I have shady people knowing that I am the one responsible for having them pulled over. Lovely.
But if you think by now I’ve given up the investigation, you are sorely mistaken. I spend the entire following day trying to find out anything I can about the family I believe has stolen our property. I start by looking into the teenagers. I have a contact in the school district who lets me know who they are based on the fact that they are transferring out of the district. I think to myself, hey, teenagers like to brag, maybe I can find some incriminating evidence on one of their Facebook pages. No luck on that front, but what I do find when I Google Image one of their names is approximately SEVEN different mugshots of his father, also known as the guy driving the truck pulling the trailer, also known as the guy who got out of his vehicle (TWICE!) when he realized I was tailing his ass. Oh yes, this fine fellow had several arrests during his previous life down in Texas for all sorts of weapons-related charges. Oh. My. God.
Now you can understand why I didn’t get more than 4 hours of sleep per night all of last week. Interestingly enough, our ATV turned up on Friday. It had been spray painted black (murdered out, if you will) and ditched off of a trailhead at the bottom of the mountains we live in and called in by a hiker who had noticed it sitting there for a few days. It can use some servicing, but the good thing is we got it back. Sean thinks that perhaps they knew I was closing in on them and that’s why they hadn’t gone back for it yet. I’m definitely on board with that version of the story. We also got a random call from a kid in our town saying he found our Ipad on the side of the road, however, when Sean started running some searches on it himself, he learned that the kid had had it for at least a couple of days. The genius also left his Facebook account completely unlocked, so you can bet your ass I’ll be keeping a close eye on him.
As for now the El Paso County Sheriff’s office has our case listed as closed. As far as Detective Marissa O’Malley is concerned, though, it’s still open and active.