Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Dahlman Episode

The summer my dad and I were working on the Plymouth voyager in his parents' die cutting shop bay; I don't remember the year... We had an old black Chevy truck that had been owned by my other grandparents, namely my Grandpa Jerry. He sold it to my mom for a dollar, and we had it sitting by the aforementioned die cutting shop. One day, it disappeared. My dad didn't like that very much. So we decided to hunt them down, and that we did (hang on here, there's a car chase near the end) We found out that this criminal was kind of an idiot. For other thieves out there, there are four things you do not want to do when stealing things.
1: revisit the site on a nearly daily basis looking for other stuff to take,
2:(in the case of a vehicle) drive them around town casually after stealing them,
3: steal them from my dad or those close to him,
4: offer to buy them beforehand, giving out personal information in the process.
My dad actually chased them in my sister's car when he realised that the truck that had just passed him in the other direction had all of grandpa's union bumper stickers, right where they'd been for who knows how many years...
So my dad rapidly and energetically turned around, and the other guy, guilty as he was, immediately sped up. Chase #1. Eventually, the guy took the truck through a bunch of parking lots and then over a curb or something, which ended the chase, as my dad was using my sister's low-profile Le Sabre, I think it was...
So let's see what my dad and I did... ah yes: it is important to note that my dad and I would work well into the night on that van of ours. They drove by once, late at night, while we were still there. We failed to get a license plate number, unfortunately... We used the personal info given to my grandma by the suspected crook to track down a few things. Like the dudes house, for example. Call the number. "Hi, you've reached so-and-so, please leave your message.."
Look up the dude, and I have forgotten his name as of writing this, in the phonebook. Borrow Grandpa Jerry's other vehicle, which he still has, and use it to conceal our identity with my sister's car from the earlier chase... Go to the dude's house late at night. Attempt to slip a camera under his garage door. Return multiple times to stake out the neighborhood. And here's what you will likely remember most: steal his trash at 3 AM and dig through it and make observations at a nearby bag and save (or some store like it)
Uhh... I'll try to remember what we found out from his trash, and you may find this impressive. There were two households in that house. One of the guys recycled, one didn't, and the guy who didn't, I believe was abruptly quitting many pharmaceuticals and returning to habitual smoking and consumption of beer. Soon after that, we found we weren't getting anywhere. Dead lead. So we were driving around SE Omaha looking for leads. We found one. The dude who offered to buy the thing before it disappeared said that he worked for Dahlman Auto Body. We drove down some major street and sighted a Dahlman Avenue. Here began the real fun. We located this "Dahlman Auto Body". Now, a regular auto body shop is usually open from like 8 AM to 11 PM or something like that, right. 2 AM was a little unusual. And regular auto body shops, well, don't have bald lanky white guys dressed in black clothes patrolling nearby intersections... I smile as I now type this... we drove up to the guy, he walked up to us, and we drove away quickly. We came back again. With a disposable camera. We pulled up to him and leaned over as if to ask for information of some sort. The information? A picture of his surprised face. A real shame it didn't turn out :) Don't feel bummed- WE DO HAVE A PICTURE OF THESE GUYS. And it's great. When we locate it, I'll be sure to put it up here. "Whatcha doin', dudes?" He asked in shock and suppressed surprise as we sped off. Then we made our mistake. We kept driving around the area. Chase #2: We happened to notice we were being followed by a black truck. Not our black truck, though: much newer and generally spiffy-looking. My dad is generally a very legal driver. This chase then, went the speed limit for probably all of its duration... Whenever we put on our turning sniggles (family tradition, Caroline started it), the dudes in the truck would immediately pull into the corresponding lane. This was all fun for my dad, who played with them like that for a while. They were getting pissed. We proceeded into Council Bluffs, Iowa. When the highway was like four lanes, we pulled into the far right one. We passed up an exit. Then my dad says "Hold on!" and I'm thinking "Great." We take the exit, at like an 80 degree angle off of our course. They followed us. We then... pulled into a McDonald's drive through. They soon pulled up beside us. Before they did, however, my dad once again said four little words, which I think offer an interesting insight into my dad's way of dealing with life... "Get the camera ready..." They pull up, I raise the camera, the dude raises his finger....

*click* Oh, man, that was terrifying.... The entire time this is happening, of course, I'm thinking, "What if these guys have a gun?!?!?"
Beautiful picture, by the way; that's the one I need to find for you people- the other dude we snapped earlier was in the passenger seat, and conveniently leaned over to see us.

The driver, a bid bald white guy dressed in I think a black T-shirt and jeans, promptly cut us off in the drive through and began to jiggle the door handle with fury trying to get out of the truck ASAP and scare us as much as he could in the process.... My dad shifted our vehicle into reverse and we backed up with a terrified me in the passenger seat, and a severely angered criminal sprinting after us to be seen right through our windshield and headlight beams. We escaped into Council Bluffs... but we had to get back home sometime, right? There are only two or three highways that go between the two cities. They camped out in a gas station parking lot monitoring one of them, which we were going to take. Then, my dad realises that we need gas. So we turn left twice into the gas station. I look out my window, and Oh, Joy! They are right friggin there, intently monitoring the patch of road we would have been on just seconds ago had we not turned off to get gas. We got gas, hoping they wouldn't notice us. They didn't. We then crossed the street and tried to see them with binoculars, but couldn't. We then went down the minor neighborhood street we were on, on got back on the highway via the last possible chance we had, thereby evading their detection.

The truck got left somewhere in Omaha. The police picked it up. It had a ton of parts pulled out of it. We went to the impound lot. And don't you just love our system of law and justice? If we were to get our vehicle back, we had to pay an impound lot and vehicle desertion fine! Because of course, it's obviously the victim's fault the vehicle got stolen, right? Of course. So we said goodbye to the old truck. *sniff* So endeth the Dahlman Episode.

If you would like some excitement yourself, or want to learn more about fine criminal establishments like Dahlman Auto Body, feel free to visit Dahlman Avenue late at night with a camera. The criminals there are in full operation to this day, I do believe. Oh, yeah... wear body armor :)

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