Sunday, March 10, 2013

Boogiman Snatches Scott's Macbook @ Starbucks, North Park

At around 6:30pm on March 5, I walked into the busy Starbucks Coffee shop at 2899 University Ave.
and glanced around for an empty seat while I ordered coffee. Since my laptop battery was charged up I decided to sit outside at one of their tables and work on the evening's news report for the blog.
I sat with my back to the wall, my backpack containing my power adapters/battery chargers for my Macbook and my Sony digi camera as well as the camera were beside me in my chair. With my 13" Macbook sitting along side the padded zipcover which serves as a mouse pad, I began to write my new post. Periodically, between thoughts, I'd pause and sorta scope out the scenery...acknowledged
new customers who'd just sat down at the adjacent tables. 

As the darkness fell, I chatted briefly with one guy who stepped outside to smoke. He wondered if the Library was open. I'd written a couple of paragraphs and uploaded a video file and was focused upon my work typing when suddenly an arm swept across the table top and while I was typing, my computer was swept out from beneath my fingers! The young latino guy who stole it had approached the store running (eastbound) passed the store front. With no railing nor obstacles in his path to slow him down and give me any forewarning whatsoever, he simply extended his arm as he went by me, grabbed my computer with the mouse dangling by its cord and bolted around the corner
 down 29th Street.

I jumped up and chased after him, knocking over the empty table and chairs to my right but I could get no closer than 15 ft or so from him as he turned the corner before he outran me for the next block and a half down 29th.  As I chased him, I shouted and screamed continuously in hopes that someone down the street in his path would stop him. But after you go just one block down 29th, everything gets very dark and quiet down there as there are no shops/stores and few pedestrians.

After chasing him for one and half blocks I stopped running. Not only was I exhausted from sprinting that short distance, but I'd twisted or jammed my right knee as well but since I'd lost sight of him completely in the darkness, I was reluctant to proceed any further at that point
without any means of self defense/protection.

I turned around and hobbled/ran back to Ground ZERO, the CRIME SCENE @ 2899 University Ave.*** I'd just realized that I'd left my backpack and other valuable stuff behind amidst the pile/trail of Starbucks patio furniture which was strewn across the entire sidewalk and into the street. As I returned to the coffee shop, I saw a guy picking up my cigarette lighter from the street. I told him he could keep it. The patio furniture and debris/property/stuff that I'd left behind all appeared to be undisturbed and left lying where ever they happened to land when I fled the scene to chase after the boogieman.

The portion of this incident you've just read, IMO, is not nearly as amazing and outrageous as what follows. This next portion of the incident is somewhat blurry to me because I was in utter shock from what had just happened. My mind was running in five different directions at once and these were my thoughts as best I can recall: • Call 911 • Go back down 29th St. • NO! Go buy some weapons first then go down 29th St. • Do I have GPS? • Do I have XXXX  XXXXX  XXXX installed? • Who saw this guy and do they know him? • Was he alone? • WTF does Starbucks have exceeding cheap ass patio furniture? Maybe cause they know they're in the ghetto and have to replace it often! •Are any Starbucks employees gonna come outside to find out what happened? •Did they call 911 ON ME because I flipped over their chairs/tables? • Did anyone else call 911?

I stood there in reeling in shock but painfully aware of the NON REACTIONS from everyone around me who seemed content to just standby and gawk at me. While my adrenaline was pumping like a fire hose to do SOMETHING QUICKLY, I realized that I was completely disabled from any action that would fix this situation. I picked up my backpack and stepped up to the window and looked inside
the store. There were lots of blank faces staring back at me but I saw nothing to indicate that anyone inside the store was upset, bothered or at all distracted from their Starbucks coffee pleasure or from enjoying their free wifi internet session. The employees were focused upon serving coffee and appeared to be unaware that just two minutes prior a predator thief had struck upon one their customers and left their pristine patio in a mess.

Rather than leave silently without being noticed, I opened  the door and unloaded a short and very loud and vulger barrage of ideas/concerns and othrwise, gems of wisdom of the streets which popped into my head. As I walked away, I continued to feel the bizarre and lifeless stares from the  bystanders all around me whom, after hearing me hollering inside the store and disrupting everyone inside, must surely be stares of ice cold disdain.

Its rare that I ever  get to see the reactions from bystanders after being the victim of a violent crime.
That's because in previous incidents, I was either unconscious/incapacit\ununted or too busy dealing with the police to take notice. In times when someone actually helped me, I became aware of it after waking up in the trauma ICU at some local hospital. While I've been mugged and robbed before,
I've never been so immaculately, so precisely, so surgically and so indefensibly raped of thousands of dollars worth of my property in the blink of an eye while amidst pedestrians/folks all around me.
But then to witness the most unconcerned, apathetic and incompetent non-response from every person present at the crime scene not only puts a sharper edge on the pain and loss I incurred, but it    also puts this entire nightmare into sharp focus for me to understand better.

This was no random act. This is not a case of negligence or stupidity on my behalf and nor am I willing lie down and be counted among the silent masses of victims of this and other similar violent crimes. That said, I do feel fortunate to have realized the severity of the rampant crime situation here before deciding to move into a nearby apartment that's been offered to me at an enticing low rent price.  I'd considered this apartment offer to be a great bargain opportunity. That is before my computer got jacked out of my hands. During my meeting with the SDPD officer who wrote the crime report, I heard some candid anecdotal insight about the alarming North Park crime wave and
in particular the 9899 Starbucks Coffee shop location which I'd never imagined nor would suspect before becoming a crime statistic.

I must pause for now but I'll return here soon (I hope) to show you some video/photo details about this breaking news story as well as discussion of the underlying and sidebar issues ("the news
behind the news", as we news professionals like to say). 

I'd really like to hear from the readers out there with  your questions comments or 
experiences you may have to share. 

In the meantime...

***So help me God, from this moment forward, 
the 2899 University Ave. Starbucks store shall be
 known as Ground Zero North Park, and as the 
"crime scene coffee shop" (CSCS).

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