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I was looking into the fun topic of Maine’s crime statistics to learn a thing or two about what those lawbreaking rascals among us are up-to these days, and according to the figures, our criminals have been busy as beavers.
In the report I read, under the heading “larceny,” for example, were listed all the different types of theft that you and I wouldn’t necessarily think of, unless we’re in the habit of thinking lawbreaking thoughts. There was shoplifting, theft of bicycles, theft of motor vehicles, theft of items from motor vehicles, theft of motor vehicle parts and accessories and theft from buildings. There was even a separate category for thefts from vending machines.
The figures – if they are to be believed, and why wouldn’t they be? – hold good news for vending machine owners. From 2004 to 2005 thefts from Maine vending machines plummeted by almost 35 percent. We can only conclude that either vending machines are getting smarter or vending machine crooks are getting a tad dumber.
To me the most surprising statistic in the whole pile was the one showing that pick -pocketing in Maine increased by over 30 percent between 2004 and 2005. As far as I know the pickpocket statistic doesn’t refer to those individuals operating in tollbooths in York and Hampton, N.H.’ those perfectly legal pickpockets and are fully authorized to pick any pockets that happen by. The statistic refers to those engaged in the unauthorized picking of pockets, those individuals who bump into you in a crowd at the Blue Hill, Cumberland or Fryeburg fairs and lift the wallet right out of your pocket without you being the wiser. I don’t mean to single out those fine fairs. Fact is, the picking of pockets can take place at almost any other fair in Maine even the Washington County Fair – if it was still in existence.
After reading the pickpocket statistics I checked for my wallet and was glad to learn that it was still where it was supposed to be.
I don’t know about you, but I always thought pickpockets worked in big cities teeming with gullible easy marks just waiting to have their pocket picked by some artful dodger.
And another thing: I know where people go to learn how to lobster and how to drag for fish and scallops and how to harvest wood and build boats, but where does someone go in Maine to learn the ancient art of pocket picking?
My first impulse is to blame the whole pickpocket business on people from away. Why not? We blame them for just about everything else.
Hard as it is to believe we may have within our borders a homegrown pick pocket class with its own unique homegrown pickpocket culture. But don’t look at me; I’m just writing about them.
And if you think this column was just a distraction so I could move in and pick your pocket you’re wrong. Go ahead; check for your wallet. If it’s missing – like I said – don’t look at me.
John McDonald is a humorist and storyteller who performs regularly
throughout New England. John’s e-mail address is mainestoryteller@yahoo.com.
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