A few days ago there was a report in Oliver Daily News of a back hoe being stolen from a farm.
With the best imagination possible, how can you steal a backhoe without being noticed. This is not the first time that backhoes have been stolen around town but you really would think that an enormous piece of equipment would draw attention. I guess we are all so used to seeing this sort of machinery going up and down the highway that we ignore it.
A couple of years ago some enterprising thief stole a porta potty from beside the washrooms at Lions Park. Why would someone actually want to steal a porta potty? It was maybe some farmer who wanted to install one on his property for pickers to use. However, if this was the case, why did he not steal a clean one from the rental place on Sawmill Road? A well-used outhouse is not the ideal thing to manhandle onto a truck and the mind boggles at the consequences of the manoeuvre.
I guess that if you have enough nerve you can steal just about anything. Most of us, as eyewitnesses to a theft, would say nothing to the thief, we would just think the item was being moved for some reason. If I were in town and saw the John Oliver statue being loaded onto a truck, I would assume it was going to be cleaned or some such thing. Maybe someone like Jack Bennest would approach the thieves and ask what was going on, but the majority of us would assume all was well and get on with our daily tasks.
If we saw someone put an item from a store into their pocket, most of us would speak up however, if that same person was trying to break into a car, we would assume he had locked his keys inside and would probably not try to apprehend him, in fact, we would probably try to assist in the break-in. Most of today’s cars are not easy to break in but many of us have driven older cars that had coat hangers shoved through the windows so often that there was a permanent dent in the rubber seal.
It is strange how our attitude towards theft changes, depending on what the article that is stolen happens to be. A fifty thousand dollar sports car is fair game but a ten dollar set of Christmas lights or a child’s tricycle is downright mean. Stealing from a handicapped person is despicable but the theft of a priceless painting is looked on as a bit of a lark. Stealing collection boxes from store counters and containing a few dollars is nasty but stealing the crown jewels would be looked on as a great feat.
I guess most of us relate to the poorer person being victimized while people with vast amounts of wealth, compared to ourselves, can afford to lose some of it. I guess it is human nature to side with the underdog.
Most of us probably commit acts of petty larceny and don’t think much about it. I feel no guilt about swiping a few tomatoes from fields where they are growing in abundance, however would not dream of taking them from the store. My husband goes out with his plastic bag and relieves a neighbouring farmer of a few apples, even though we have two trees of our own. Is it just the thrill of the heist that causes us to do this?
Maybe one of these days you will see my name in print when not attached to my weekly column ………..Pat Whalley, tomato thief!!!