When I was much younger and I was hanging out with some mates before a karate class, we were almost arrested for stealing my own car and breaking into a school to perform a burglary. We had a few hours to kill and we were really into parkour and any activities that stretched your physical skills. On this particular day, it was school holidays so we went past a nearby primary school to mess around on the playground.
There were quite a few people at the school using the basketball courts and similar. When we arrived, one of the guys went straight for a big climbing frame, climbed up and flipped off while one of the others filmed on a video camera. The boys started messing around doing flips and my mate Claire and I wandered down to the other side of the school to find something else to do.
We found another playground around the corner and it had a cute little pink rubber ball in it. We sat down and were talking throwing the ball back and forwards to each other. Kev decided to walk from where the guys were to find us and as he was walking along the footpath he was grabbed by two police officers and thrown in the back of their van.
Kev was terrified. He could see out their little side window as the car moved, that the police were driving towards us. He freaked out and told us he was screaming and pounding on the walls of the car telling us to run. The car is, of course, sound proofed so we couldn’t hear a thing.
Claire and I meanwhile were then approached, rather aggressively, by two police officers. I immediately thought we were in trouble for stealing the ball, which was silly. But I dropped it and we both stood up. The police were demanding to know about ‘the silver car parked out the front of the school’, and I told them it was my car. I asked what was wrong with it and they continued, still aggressive, that it was a stolen vehicle and demanded we go with them.
Then my mobile phone started to ring. I looked at the screen and saw it was my dad calling. The cop told me not to answer, but I was freaking out and I didn’t care if the police didn’t like it, if I had my dad on the line I’d feel a whole lot better.
I answered and my dad demanded to know where the car was. I said it was with me and he then asked why the police thought it was stolen. I was so confused and was totally panicking. The police made us go with them and marched us back to the car. When we got there, they had all the boys and Kev there. They took out notebooks and began asking us questions about what we were doing and where we had gotten the car.
Finally I got really assertive, telling them it was my car. They then asked why it was registered under someone else’s name. I explained it was my dad’s name, and offered to call him back and get him to explain that to them. They then demanded to search the vehicle. We obliged, which was awkward because there were five of us, packed for karate. They then went through the 10 bags we had in the car, through all of our stinky sparring equipment, until they found the video camera.
They then demanded to know where the camera was from. The boys explained it was ours. They asked for evidence of it. The guys then got out the camera and began showing them videos of us doing flips and tricks on different playgrounds. It was at this point that the penny dropped and the police realised that the call out was a false alarm.
It turned out that a school teacher on the grounds had seen one of the guys with a camera, had heard a loud banging and thought that the school was being robbed. It had been robbed the week prior so the staff were on edge. She had given the details of my rather rough looking car and described it as a ‘clearly stolen vehicle’. The police had then sped to the school, arriving without their sirens on so as not to arouse suspicion.
The teacher came out of the school once all was understood and had a laugh with us and the police had quite a few laughs watching the flips the boys had filmed on the camera. All the other people in the school playgrounds got some mild entertainment.
Any time I locked my keys in my car after that and had to break into it, I always felt a little worried that police would spring up from nowhere to arrest me.
Dress: c/o Lazybones
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Location: Queenscliff - Hotel Q