Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Crime of the Century (Can You Hear Me Now? Division)

GORJ COUNTY, Romania--Police arrested a man here recently for attempted burglary after his intended victims discovered his presence in their home when his cellular telephone rang, a Dec. 27 AFP piece reports.
   The story neglects to mention the name of the man, who is eighteen. For the purposes of this post, then, the well-traveled and sophisticated First of All shall give him a name we assume to be typically Romanian: John Smith.  
  A police source in Gorj told AFP that Mr. Smith's victims, two neighbors in their seventies, "were resting on their bed when [Mr. Smith's] phone rang." The couple deduced that someone else was in the room, a task made easier by the fact that, as the police source noted, "they have no phone." 
   This couple shows a perspicacity First of All likes to think is native to all Romanians. Mr. Smith, on the other hand, displays a spectacular level of criminal folly. One wonders at his ringtone; was it, perhaps, the theme from The Three Stooges?
   Gorj is a Romanian county with a population of a few hundred thousand. Its main industries produce mining equipment, glass, wood, mechanical components and textiles. (This according to Wikipedia, the source of all information of dubious provenance.) There is also a vibrant food and beverage industry, aka hotels and tourism, aka partying.
   That Mr. Smith evidently was unable--or unwilling--to find gainful employment in any of these fields, and instead turned to crime, un-silenced cellphone in hand, fair baffles the mind. 
   This is Mr. Smith's second arrest for attempted burglary. He faces seven years in prison. 
   Seven years in prison because he neglected to silence his phone? First of All is not convinced that this is sufficient penalty. It would be perfectly apt punishment for those who do not silence theirs in movie theaters. But for a young man embarking upon what he hopes is a lucrative career in criminal enterprises, yet who forgets to silence his phone, seven years is not enough. Better would be a life sentence of hard labor, by which we mean being forced to text friends until his thumbs fell off.  
   Mr. Smith's foolhardiness affirms the truism that they just don't make 'em like they used to. The burglars of yore would be aghast. 

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