The Richmond Register

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August 1, 2013

Mystery of Lowell Branch shoe bandit remains unsolved

POINTS EAST — The Lowell Branch Bandit has struck again, and I’m really commencing to get seriously upset about this very confounding situation. 

The capers or hits, or whatever you want to call them, started about a month ago shortly after Loretta bought several throw pillows for our front porch furniture. Four or five of them were green and two were shades of red and purple.

Around the first of July we had a storm one night and the next day Loretta announced that one of her pillows was missing. We looked all over the yard and garden, thinking that maybe wind had blown it off the porch, but it was not to be found on the place.

I knew there was more to it than wind because the missing pillow was too heavy to have blown very far and if the wind had been that strong, my sweet corn would have been flattened.  Then, a few nights later a green pillow went missing in perfectly calm weather.

Two weekends ago, I left my good, high-dollar, SAS dress shoes sitting on a porch table when I changed into my garden sneakers to go pick beans. I forgot and left them on the porch overnight and the next morning one was gone. We spent an hour searching, and I even called some friends in Mount Vernon who had been visiting to see if one of their kids might have packed it off.

In the meantime, two more pillows went missing and then, last Saturday, the straw that broke the camel’s back! I admit that I’m a slow learner, but I left my brand new, $100, top-of-the-line,  New Balance sneakers on the porch to dry because I’d gotten them soaking wet during a rainstorm Friday and I forgot to bring em in. Saturday morning one of them was gone and I’m ticked off, big time.

We have a dog gate on the front porch so that we can keep our horse that looks like a dog confined to the premises when he’s not outside in his run. Loretta maintains that the gate was closed on Friday night when we went to bed because she checked on it. That begs the question, “Then why on earth didn’t you bring my shoes in when you went outside to check the gate?”

But I didn’t raise it because I was in no mood to discuss whose responsibility my shoes are.

So Loretta maintains that the thief has to be a raccoon that is either getting under the gate or between the porch rails. The coon snatches a shoe or colorful throw pillow, hops up on a table and tosses his loot out in the yard. Then he slips back through the rails or under the gate and takes it wherever coons take stuff like that.

The coon, she maintains, has to be a male because no female of any species would put up with the way my shoes smell. Then she says that maybe it’s a pair of coons and the female, with obviously good taste, has been stealing her pillows.

But I don’t think the culprit is a coon or coons because our garbage cans have not been bothered in ages, and there’s no such thing as a garbage can that a raccoon or team of raccoons can’t overturn.

I also point out that our sweet corn is coming in, and the patch has not been raided although  several friends and neighbors have had theirs destroyed overnight.

My sweet corn problem is a horde of mixed black birds. The solution involves firearms but that’s another story for maybe, next week.     

Both of the missing shoes are for the right foot, so maybe the thief is a one-legged man who wears size 11D.

In the meantime, if you wear that size and have a pair of nice brown SAS dress shoes or New Balance Vibrams and think you might need  spares if the left ones go flat, give me a call. I can make you a heck of a deal on both and they are darn near good as new.

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