Akemi and I had just finished our evening workout and were preparing to take the dogs out for their last backyard bathroom visit of the night when, suddenly, the doorbell rang.  My first thought was: “Damn charity canvassers.  I’ll just ignore them.”  And then, as the realization dawned, my second thought was: “It’s 10:00 p.m.  That’s no charity canvasser.”  I remembered reading that if someone ever comes to your door, if nothing else, you should let them know you’re home – just in case they’re casing the place in preparation to rob it.  And, after my brush with a potential home invasion a couple of years back (March 21, 2009: Hi! I was just in the neighborhood and thought I’d break in!) I wasn’t about to take any chances.  So, I turned on all the lights and looked out the handy window that flanks my door.

Some stranger stood on the porch.  Maybe mid-forties, dressed a little shabbily, he seemed to perk up at the sight of me peering out at him. “Yeah?”was my less-than-warm greeting.

“Hi,”he said, loudly enough to be heard through the closed door.  “I’ve been doing some work for Miss Shelby down the road and I have a flat. I was wondering if I could borrow some cab fare to get home.”

It’s not that I was unsympathetic.  Just extremely distrustful.

Mistake #1: If he was “doing some work for Miss Shelby”, why wasn’t SHE footing the cab fare?

Mistake #2: Since 95% of the homes in my neighborhood are Chinese-owned, the selection of “Shelby” as a possible run-of-the-mill-maybe-that-IS-my-neighbor’s-name was a poor choice on his part.  If he’d gone with “I was doing some work for Mrs. Luang down the road and I have a flat”, I probably would have been more inclined to…well, not believe him, but certainly give him a little more credit for the effort.

“Sorry,”I told him.  “I don’t open my doors to strangers after ten p.m.”. In truth, I rarely if ever open my doors to strangers unless I’m in a haranguing mood.

He looked down at his watch and seemed to think: “Shit.  If I’d just come ten minutes earlier, I’d have cab fare right now!”, looked up and opened his mouth to say something, then thought better of it, turned around and headed back down the walk.  He was considerate enough to close the front gate on his way out.

I actually considered checking his story out by hopping into my SUV and circling around the block in search of a car with a flat tire, but changed my mind after imagining that, if he was truly resourceful, he could have flattened some poor, unsuspecting shmo’s tire in the hope that someone would do just that.  So, instead, I skipped the car ride and took the dogs out to the backyard as planned, one eye on the Jelly, Bubba, and Lulu, the other eye on the shadowy side of the house (which I imagined as the ideal area from which to launch an ambush).

Well, the rest of the night was uneventful.  But that didn’t stop Akemi from suggesting we start locking the front gate after dark.  I think she’s a little spooked because this incident comes on the heels of another incident that occurred in Japan.  Apparently, a friend was alone one night when she heard someone trying to force the front door of the family home.  She yelled and the would-be burglar abandoned his efforts and left.  The next day, the police informed her that, since the intruder didn’t actually gain access to the house, there was no point in dusting for fingerprints.  If, in the future, said intruder succeeded in gaining entry, then they would certainly dust for prints wherever he happened to leave them (ie. the inside of the doorjamb, the t.v., her throat).

Whenever the subject of home burglaries comes up, I’m always reminded of the Jason Momoa story.  Back in his first year on Atlantis, Jason was living in a modest apartment in the downtown center.  One night, he was awakened by whispers outside his front door, then the rattle of the doorknob.  Someone – someONES! – was trying to break in.  As the hushed conversation continued on the other side of the door, Jason crawled out of bed and grabbed the first things handy – a couple of ice axes he’d used on a recent mountain climbing outing. The doorknob rattled.  Heart pounding, Jason quietly approached and then –

Threw open the door and jumped out, loosening a no-doubt horrific howl of rage.  I’m sure that, to many of his fans, the prospect of having a half-dressed Jason Momoa towering over them would be the stuff of dreams – but in the case of these two fellows, a half-dressed, 6’4 raging over them with an ice axe in each hand was more the stuff of nightmares.  They bolted like a couple of scared rabbits – and, I like to imagine, shit their pants as well.

38 thoughts on “December 13, 2012: Miss Shelby’s Hard-Luck Scammer!

  1. I’m so glad there is someone else who is cautious about letting strangers into their home. I too do not open the door, unlike some who will open the door to anyone. I had a scare years ago ( did not get hurt) that left me wary. It’s a good lesson on how to not be a victim. I liked the story about Jason, I can only imagine what went through the guys minds but I think they won’t do that agin.

  2. A flat tire after doing work for a “Miss Shelby” at 10pm? Actually, “Miss Shelby” sounds kind of like that name of some bordello madame. What part of Vancouver are you in, again? Anyway, very suspicious indeed. Although they probably weren’t dangerous and were just grifting the neighbourhood for extra money. Given my experience with some relatives, I’ve seen every trick in the book.

    I’ve heard the official “we can’t do anything unless they actually do/try something” line before here, and wonder, “Well, that’s something, anyway. I’ll take some comfort that you’re at least attempting to do your job while I WATCH FROM MY GRAVE.”

    Anyhoo. Sounds like those two than ran into Jason got a good lesson in what can happen if you’re a jerk.

    I’m off for the weekend to New Hampshire to do a little hiking and some socializing with my volunteering friends! I’m really looking forward to it, evean as short a time as it will be.

  3. Jason, half-dressed, you say? Bring it on. 🙂 Break-ins blah blah blah blah blah, that’s all I remember now. 🙂

  4. Hi Joe! Hi everyone! Miss me?

    This might be your best post ever…. you had me Googling “Miss Shelby” – hope she lives nearby ‘cos she’s a cutie

    The story about Jason was ha-larious! I wish I was there.

    Catching up on a few blog posts…..congratulations to Akemi on her residency! So happy for you both.

    Sorry to hear about your Snow Monkeys. I’ve had a crazy run home. I won the last four games and beat many of the leaders. Somehow I’ve managed to come back from 2-8 to be 6-8 and I’m in the playoffs. It makes no sense.

    Last weekend I met Jen Spence and Ben Browder (for the 4th time). Had the best time…also had fun with Sanctuary’s Jonathon Young.

    Take care everyone!
    Cheers, Chev

  5. @Joe:

    Was Jason sure they were thieves? Maybe they were drunk and confused?

    In one of my first jobs in high school, I was a doorman at a cinema that happened to be near a bar. On one of my slow evenings, I witnessed an obviously drunk man wander up to his car and then spend the next ten minutes trying to open the fender with his car keys (had he gotten near the lock on the door I would have intervened). He then wandered over to the curb-side fender and spent a couple of minutes trying to open that side. After giving up on that, he sat on the curb, rolled on to his back and passed out. We called 911 at that point and then I went out checked on him while we waited for the ambulance.

    After he was picked up, I went back inside, and ten minutes later observed the real owner of the car show up, get in, and drive away completely oblivious to the drama that played out around his car moments before. I never found out where the drunk’s real car was.

    So, yeah, they could have been drunk and confused, but then again, I heard a few hard luck stories walking around Vancouver at night, so probably not…

  6. I think you did the right thing Joe, you don’t know what kind of person you were dealing with, it could of been a crazy guy, or a criminal or something, you did the right thing not exposing yourself to danger there, especially at that time of night, because lets be honest here, whoever it was could of attacked you or anything if you had opened the door and ‘helped them’.

    In my opinion, theres no legitimate reason for anyone to knock on your door after 10pm unless they are either friends or family, or if its an emergency situation like someone dropping dead near your home and they need to use the phone lol

  7. “I’m sure that, to many of his fans, the prospect of having a half-dressed Jason Momoa towering over them would be the stuff of dreams…”

    That is a pessimistic understatement. I prefer the optimistic view … a half naked Jason Momoa towering over me. 😛

    You and Akemi should take karate classes. Good exercise plus learn how to kill with one good kick. And you should get at least a tape recording of a large dog barking so you can play it louding when necessary.

  8. Well I think that class I took with Mr Smith and Mr Wesson would be helpful if I get over the panic rising in my brain ,if such an event ocurred at my house. But not counting on it. I agree with Akemi and lock the gate, If someone wants your stuff bad enough they figure out a way to get it. Do the dogs bark at the doorbell? Would L.A. be safer orTokyo? Be safe. glad you were on your guard.
    ~I love the Jason Momoa story, and yes I can imagine him as you described,,sigh…thanks for the image.

  9. Was that when Jason & Joe Flannigan shared an apt.?

    That would make for a funny visual.. a half-asleep Momoa chasing a drunken Flannigan around with ice axes. Wait.. wasn’t that going to be a Season 6 episode???

  10. I love Jason!! Just the mental image of that moment… 😆

    Joey, because you live in a mostly Chinese/Asian neighborhood, could criminal types be checking you out, thinking that you keep your money in the house instead of in the bank? Asian homes are often targeted because of the common belief that they have a lot of cash in the house. Perhaps you should put your scary Mafia-esque Italian name on the door or mailbox, or something. 😉

    das

  11. Sigh….Now if you could only provide a digital version of the “dream/virtual” image you described of Jason.

  12. Oh, yeah – forgot…

    Saw a couple dozen meteors tonight in about an hour and a half. Just beautiful! Before my toesies got cold I saw a couple really big, lasting ones, and several little darts, and some in between. Good show! Might go out again just before bed to catch a few more. The Geminid meteor shower did not disappoint! Best show I’ve seen in 20 years! 🙂

    das

  13. Um, Archersangel, does your avatar on the right have a nose…or is that something else? 😉

  14. <<– HOWLING, lol, drunk and confused or actual burglars, I bet they thought twice before they did it again. Yeah I'm not a Jason Fan-girl but I can appreciate him half naked. 🙂

  15. Yes, it was good that you were cautious. There is not way to know for sure. You might want to get cameras put up like me and my hubby have. As for Jason, I’m sure they were terrified. LOL! You go to break into an apartment and Conan jumps out at you with axes. LOL!!!

  16. Yeah, I’m thinking Miss Shelby should have foot the bill for cab fare. Tough luck, really ballsy scammer.

    Great Jason Momoa story. Mental note: buy two ice axes.

    Might be time to invest in a firearm and the training to use it properly. (?) My friend and I are attending a Combative Carbine Skills Series at Barnegat, NJ in March if you’d like to attend. You can stay in my spare room, and borrow one of my AR-15’s. It’ll be great fun. =) http://www.mdtstraining.com/faq-home.htm

  17. As a fan of the entire Stargate “universe”, I have checked in on your blog periodically. As a firearms instructor, I read this entry with great interest.

    I know that living in Canada, your defensive options are a bit limited. However, good lighting on the outside of your house, locks on all outside-leading doors and windows, and an alarm system are very good things to have. You might also consider a video doorphone so that you don’t have to get near the door to talk to someone. You can put the inside part deeper in the house, and be able to see and talk with anyone at the door – keeping you safely out of the way.

    Here in the USA, I not only recommend these options, but something that I think you may be familiar with – the FNH USA PS90. It’s a great home defense firearm, just a little different than the P90’s used in SG (and which are not available for purchase by other than LE agencies and military units). If you’d like a link to my review and article about it, let me know.

    As for Jason Momoa with an ice axe in each hand? I can picture that. I bet they didn’t run as much as waddle, especially with as much stuff as I’m sure they dumped in their pants.

  18. It’s only polite to call these days before dropping by so my friends say they don’t feel bad not answering at all, even though people can tell they’re home. I haven’t worked up to that yet, I prefer to shoo them off quickly. I look pretty mean, though, smaller people are better off leaving them wondering how vulnerable they look.

    I don’t think ignoring them would work in your neighborhood as the early shenanigans seem to have so much to do with assessing whether you are home so they can break in. If it’s Akemi alone, she might be better off just making a ruckus.

    You must live in one swag-filled neighborhood. I heard if you leave busted laptops just inside, just past where they’d see them from the window, they’ll be glad to grab something portable and run back out. I sounds like it’d make them curious how much more you have to me, though.

    I haven’t heard of a break-in around here, despite some riff-raff down the street. I think the retiree next door has some swag, including some very valuable guns. I don’t think waiting for them not to be home would work because there are more like him from every viewing angle around here.

  19. @Patricia Stewart-Bertrand
    I think that’s supposed to be a tongue in archangels avatar

  20. In our neighborhood, it is often, “My baby is at the hospital and I need cab fare to pick up her prescription.” And it is almost always after dark. Why can’t people be honest and say, “I need a twenty to buy drugs”?

  21. Holy Hannah. Wow, Can you imagine what would have happened had you opened the door?? People are losing it these days. Now some psycho in Conn. has totally lost his mind… that’s just a little too close to home for me, being that my sister is a teacher. School used to be a safe place. Has anyone here been directly affected?? My prayers are with you and those that have been affected.

  22. I’m having problems focusing today.

    Two stories of interest and one case of horror: http://news.yahoo.com/apple-execs-said-seething-over-google-maps-praise-181532467.html & http://news.yahoo.com/google-maps-becomes-no-1-iphone-app-hours-190049769.html

    Anyway, off topic but there was a terrible school shooting in CT. What kind of monsters would do this?
    http://gma.yahoo.com/breaking-conn-school-district-locked-down-shooting-report-151955384–abc-news-topstories.html

  23. Theres a sad story going around today Joe, some crazy gun toting lunatic went into a Connecticut Elementary school and shot dead 18 children and 9 other people assuming Staff as reports say at least 27 dead, including 18 children. Heartbreaking stuff.

    There needs to be stricter gun laws to protect children/ordinary citizens. Utterly disgusting that any old crazy person can get a gun.

  24. @ Patricia Stewart-Bertrand – (in archersangel’s avatar) no…I think that is what you think it is… 😳

  25. Oh my gosh! 20 children killed at an elementary school today by a teacher’s son. Good Lord have mercy!!

  26. I was out doing yardwork for my folks today – it was a lovely day and I do so enjoy making the gardens neat and tidy. Such rewarding work! And then my husband called to tell me there was another horrible shooting – this time at an elementary school. Twenty children among the dead. I started crying when I tried to watch the news coverage. This ugly world is getting to me. I think I’ll stay outside with the leaves and the sunshine and the birds, and stay away from the tv and the news for a bit.

    das

  27. That was scary. Joe, glad you didn’t open the door! I agree, lock the gate, keep security lights on overnight, etc. Though I’m softer on Carson Beckett, Jason Momoa doing a pre-Conan impression with dreads and ice axes is a great visual! It’s amazing how scary we can all get when threatened that way.

    Ironically, someone kicked down the door of my brother’s house Tuesday morning, with my sister-in-law home alone with my two baby nephews. 😯 They rang the doorbell, my SIL didn’t answer, and then they proceeded to kick the door in, pushing the inside frame away from the wall. She made enough noise that they realized someone *was* home, and split out of there. She looked out the remains of the door and got a glimpse of them, enough to give the police a description.

    My bro and sis always kept their car in the garage, and never left outside lights on at night. The cops were pretty sure it was someone from the neighborhood who thought no one lived in the house. We are thanking God that they were kept safe!

    In all, it took two days to repair the house and install a steel security door. Poor bro and sis… That happened just four days after their kitchen, dry wall, and master bathroom were flooded from some handy man’s shoddy home repair to a kitchen water line. They have been through it this week.

    Thanks for the good home safety recommendations, James Bell, Jr.

    ————————————

    My heart and prayers go out to the families, friends, and communities affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting today.

    It reminds me of our discussion the other day about responsibility (for ourselves and others), and warning authorities when you think someone is teetering on the edge of disaster. On the other hand… you don’t always know. And it’s a tragedy when you find out later. More on that from me tomorrow. It has been a harrowing week.

    ~L

  28. @Ponytail

    Sad, very very sad. Those poor kids. Shocked it was 20, hard to watch these reports on TV..

    Too many monsters in this world.

  29. Glad you and Akemi are safe. Here people will pull up at the gas station and while you are pumping gas, ask for cash for gas because (fill in the blank). I would offer to pay for their gas but that was the best I could do and when they said no, they would get in their car and drive away. I stopped carrying cash. People come to my door, I point to the “no soliciting” sign on my front door from the inside of the side lights of my door. People aren’t supposed to be soliciting in this area.

    Yes, I, too, am curious about the Destiny/SGU/David Hewlett thing.

    @ForTheLoveOfBeckett Scary stuff. I’m glad they are okay.

    And my heart goes out to everyone who is grieving or suffering traumatic stress from the events in Connecticut. I don’t know all the details, but it’s ridiculous that we need metal detectors in our schools nowadays. Never needed things like that when I was going to school in the 1970-1980’s.

    Went to see The Hobbit today and loved it. It did not feel like 2 hours and 46 minutes. Saw it in RealD HFR 3-D. Now I want Peter Jackson to go back and do Lord of the Rings in 3-D. I can’t imagine anyone else doing The Hobbit other than Peter Jackson. Frankly I would not go see it if it weren’t Peter Jackson’s creation. I have SO much to do before Christmas. This is the latest it has been that I’ve gotten my cards out. I still have a huge amount to do. Ornaments are not on the tree (lights are but not ornaments). Patrick’s 17th birthday is on Monday. I cannot believe my baby is going to be 17. We got him a Casio keyboard. I heard he likes to play around with the keyboard at school. And if he doesn’t, then I’ll drag out my piano books and re-learn how to play. We always buy gifts for him with the mindset that if he does not like XYZ, then we’ll have to like it. Except last year I figured wrong. We bought this clown fish balloon that you can pilot via remote control and the husband never put it together. So I’m bringing that to Sunday’s Christmas Blow-Out Book Club meeting as my white elephant gift. No doubt, the yearly Shake Weight will be there, now proudly owned a full-year-each by 3 of us. Usually these parties start at 6 p.m. and last until midnight. On a Sunday. With a 50-minute drive home. Then starting on Wednesday, I’m booked solid with pet clients until the day after Christmas. So that is about a 10 to 12-hour day. I’m thinking if things don’t get done by Wednesday, I’m in a heap of a mess. Friday is Patrick’s holiday party so I’ll have to squeeze in that. We just made 30 foam frames of his picture to give to staff at the school. And I have to wrap each one. Plus 4 special presents for his two teachers, case manager, and whatever the person’s position is above the case manager. I think I might be short on gifts. For Christmas, Patrick is getting a tabletop air hockey thing. He is playing with the air hockey table at the YMCA. We only get him one gift. Jeff and I have a $100 limit for each other this year. And we made our usual donation to Patrick’s school’s end-of-year annual fundraiser. We only buy for Jeff’s mom and my one sister (who is single) for Christmas as far as extended family goes. I did manage to get some bare-bones clear lights on my shrubs outside. I need to start Christmas card addressing in October. That one weekend we gained in November with the Thanksgiving dates being early I lost because of that stupid hospital stay. That makes me tired thinking of everything that needs to get done. How is everyone else doing?

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