177. The Robbery at the Mall (2)

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Janelle used the phone of the helpful woman to call Cliff. Cliff played golf with a medical doctor almost every Saturday. Perhaps Dr. Kildare could look at her injuries. Cliff, angry but glad his wife was alive, said he would be there shortly. She told him to bring their son and her spare set of car keys, because her keys were in the stolen purse. Cliff and Donovan arrived just before the police officer finished filling out his report. Cliff hugged his wife gently. He told Donovan to drive home in Janelle's car. Cliff then asked the officer what the chances were of catching the attackers.

The officer shook his head. "Not good," he said. He told Cliff that robberies like this one happened daily throughout southern California. "Thugs are everywhere, prowling around like sharks in the ocean, looking for prey." Cliff asked the officer what could be done. "I know this sounds ridiculous, but we police can no longer protect you law-abiding citizens. There's simply too many criminals. Tell all your female relatives and friends one thing: Don't go anywhere alone, day or night. A woman by herself, even in public, might as well be carrying a bright neon sign that says: 'Victim hereŚCome and get me!' I'm not supposed to be telling you this, because if the word gets out, tourism will suffer in southern California."

The officer asked Janelle to sign the police report. He wished her a speedy recovery, and promised to do his best to help put the culprits behind bars. He reminded both of them that the two thugs now had their credit cards, address, car keys, and house keys. He suggested that they make the appropriate phone calls, change the locks to their house, and get new keys programmed for her car. Cliff told the officer that a couple of his friends were at his house, with guns, watching for intruders. Cliff and Janelle thanked the officer and the helpful woman. Cliff drove Janelle straight toward Dr. Kildare's house.

"Maybe we should move," he told Janelle. "To another city?" she asked. "To another state," he said.


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