Isabelle is a 25yrold non-profit worker who lives in San Francisco. She’s clever tongued and speaks in a fast smoke-tinged voice. She is respected at office and dedicated to her work with kids, “I’m sure it will be pleasant for people to know I’m looking after their children.” After work she’s been known to cut loose with the best of them. She was twenty-three when this story happened.
(The following is derived from a recorded interview and the names have been changed for obvious reasons.)
Six days after the robbery, I’m at this bar Delirium with a bunch of friends. I’m outside smoking a cigarette with a buddy, telling him the story about our house getting robbed. I look across the street and see Jason and his girlfriend are walking towards the corner.
“That’s the fucking guy who robbed me! Stand in front of me!” I said. My friend hid me from view while I dialed 911.
The dispatcher answered and I said, “Hi, I reported a robbery like three weeks ago. I’m at a bar on 16th street and I’m looking at the guy who robbed my house; he’s standing across the street. Can you please do something?”
Thirty seconds later, I’m still on the phone with the dispatcher describing which direction Jason’s walking, when a cop car pulls up alongside him, stops and flashes their lights. I’m like, oh man, some shit’s going to happen.
The dispatcher said to wait in the bar and an officer would come talk to me, and then hung up. Minutes later, she called me back and said an officer was outside.
I exited the bar and a cop car was waiting. The officer said, “Ma’am, get in the car. We need you to identify the perpetrator of the crime.”
I became nervous and hesitated. Recently, one of Jason’s old roommates had told me that Jason’s dad was an active member of the Hells Angels in Castro Valley. He described all these connections his dad had with sketchy big time drug dealers and crackheads.
Luckily, my buddy offered to ride along in the cruiser and the officer assured us that Jason would not be able to see me. The cop drove up the street to where Jason and his girlfriend were. He shined the spotlight and headlights on him so he couldn’t see into the cop car, and asked me to identify him.
Jason was cuffed, leaning against the hood of another police car. His face was squished up from the lights and an officer held his cuffed hands behind him. The crazy girlfriend was sitting on the curb.
“That’s the fucking guy!” I said.
The cop said I had to come to the police station and file a follow-up report, indicating why I called the police and what took place. I was at the police station until like 2am. While I was there, one of the cops that arrested Jason came in and started talking to the officer filing my report.
“Did you see that little white kid that came in? He had a bag of cocaine on him this big!” He said, holding up his hand with three inches between his thumb and forefinger.
“That little fucker. I went up to try and talk to him and the kid picked up his skateboard and started swinging.”
The officer speaking was a 6’ 4’’.
My sister and I decided not to press theft charges. It would have required us to testify in court, in front of him and potentially his motorcycle gangster father. Instead, he went to jail for the coke.
The two positive impacts that came from this story are one: I created a new word used to describe sniffing cocaine off someone’s genitalia. That verb is “dusting.”
Two: I now receive a check for fifty dollars every month from Jason. His judge read the reports I had filed and ordered Jason to pay me restitution. The receipts that I submitted to the police detailing everything he stole totaled 2,200 dollars. I’ll be getting checks for the next two years. I think they garnish his wages, so I get a check from him that processes through the court. Then I spend it on cocaine that I sniff off people’s penises. Joking.
That’s it dude, that’s my story.
ARE YOU SCARED OF RUNNING INTO HIM?
I think I see him all the time. Right after he robbed me, I became paranoid and hyperaware of every scrawny white boy with a skateboard. Then I did see him and he got arrested! My fears vanished for about a month, until the police informed me that he’d been released from jail. We moved out of the apartment immediately.
DO YOU FEEL BAD ABOUT DROPPING THE DIME ON HIM?
When I saw him outside of the bar I was like, I want this motherfucker to be arrested, right now! I was so mad at him. Afterwards, I felt really guilty. When the cop in the waiting room said Jason was arrested with a bunch of coke, I became really concerned. I was really upset that he might go to jail for over a year. But he only went for a few months.
WHAT DO YOU THINK EVERY MONTH WHEN YOU GET THE CHECK?
It’s a little bitter-sweet because it reminds me of how stupid I was, but I also get fifty bucks. I actually have one of the checks in my backpack right now; I need to go cash that!