It was 05:30 am and there was just a little over an hour before the end of shift. We were silent, driving around the neighbourhood, fading into that zone that night workers reach about this time, the humming zone, where you are half way between awake and asleep.
Then it happened. Our peaceful quiet was interrupted by dispatch, sending us to a break and enter. Information received, was that the neighbours across the street were advising the occupants were out of town, and they could hear the house alarm sounding as well as could see lights on in the house.
As we made our way there, we were both crossing our fingers, hoping it was only a false alarm. Any thing else would surely put us into overtime. As we navigated the area, looking at our map, the houses starting getting quite big and the map showed the house was at the end of a dead end street with woods and the Don River behind it. “Damn, looks like a prime target” my escort Oscar says to me. We both are disappointed, believing that it is most likely a break and enter and we will be going home late.
As we pull up on scene, we see a house with a few lights on inside but there is no alarm. The house is shielded completely by a fence seven foot tall. It was mostly wood, except this one area which was made of stone. The driveway gates, made of wrought iron, had spearheads at the top and were electronically operated. We located a wooden gate at the side of the house. It was seven foot tall and we could not unlatch it from our position. Oscar is a youngish fellow, in his thirties, average height, but very well built. He works out each day and so he has a lot of strength. As we look at this gate, the alarm starts to go off inside the house. We become excited, thinking the perpetrator must still be onsite and tripped the alarm again. We had a chance of catching him!
“We have to go over this gate.” I say, waiting for Oscar to bend over and offer me his hand and back as a boost. But no, he just stands there looking blindly at me. Are you kidding? Okay, so I bend my then, 140 pound frame over, offering my hands to his 180 pound frame of muscle. I’m starting to get a little pissed with him. Really? He struggles to scramble over the gate and he can’t seem to pull himself up the last foot that is needed. He descends, giving up. He shrugged and said “I’m not feeling well. Must be coming down with something.” “Hurmph,” I answer. Just then the house alarm starting sounding yet again. We immediately start walking different directions checking for somewhere we might gain entry onto the property. Then I see it. The scout. I figure out that I can pull it right up onto the boulevard and use it for height to scale the fence. I jump in the car and align it just right, beside the fence. I grab Oscar and bring him back, both arms out in proud display as I point to the car and say “Brawn, meet brains. This is our way in.” I must say I was feeling especially proud of myself as we scrambled up to the top of the scout and jumped over the fence, almost effortlessly.
As we checked the area and house, we were to discover there was no perpetrator there. There was no break and enter, only a false alarm. So, in the end, we didn’t get a pinch, but the good news was, we would get out on time. As we approached the section of the fence we had hoped over, we were confronted with the seven foot fence again. Suddenly, I realized we were right back were we started. We couldn’t get over the fence. Oscar turned to me and rubbing it in said “Okay brains, now what?” He was close to being shot at that point! I stood there, not saying anything, but thinking. “We could call for fire to come with a ladder,” I offered. “I’m not waking those guys up to rescue me” he countered.
And so, we started the perimeter search of the property from the inside, hoping there would be a way out somewhere. We found a second gate, but like the first, it had a big pad lock on it. I was starting to give up hope and was imagining the ribbing and cajoling we were going to be met with once we admitted publically that we were stuck. I hated the idea of calling the Fire Department, cause when they come, they must employ lights and sirens. And besides, we are going to be stuck here well past shift end and I’m really tired. That rock looks out of place, I thought. I reach down and discover a key underneath it. I almost kiss it as I raise it up, like an offering to the Gods and exclaim to Oscar “I have the solution!” rather dramatically. I unlock the door, proudly beaming that “Brains wins again,” as I replace the key. And as we climb back into the scout he says, “You were just lucky. The lesson is make sure you look before you leap!”