As buccolic as I make Sonoma out to be, I’m not trying to say it doesn’t have crime or problems. It just seems we have a different kind of crime than the gritty urban crime I’m used to reading about in San Francisco and Oakland. Maybe I’m not clued in to the seamy underbelly of Sonoma, although I do try to keep up. The Crime Report in the Sonoma Index-Tribune is one of the first sections I turn to. That’s where I find gems like the big Saturday night crime spree we had a few months ago when a local deejay showed up drunk and/or high at Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack, proceeded to get into an argument with the owner, smashed one thousand dollars worth of turntables, then ran down the street to Sonoma’s only sushi restaurant and, for good measure, punched the owner in the face. We were all talking about that one for weeks. Last Friday night, three taggers were caught in the act of defacing the feedstore and, in Tuesday’s edition, the crime was still being hashed out on the front page.
Yes, we have our own brand of crime. It seems to be largely victimless, mostly alcohol-fueled and quickly nipped in the bud by the excellent Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department. When I say we have a Sheriff’s Department, I really mean it. These guys are cast much more in the Wyatt Earp mold than they conform to any donut-eating stereotype. Years ago, before we had fencing, we had an ATV stolen. Within days, the Sheriffs had rounded up the usual suspects, recovered the vehicle, gotten a confession, led them in front of the Hangin’ Judge and organized restitution. You don’t mess with Western Justice.
So it was shocking and saddening to find out early this morning that we’d been hit by criminals. Although, thankfully, it seemed to be The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight. Since we wrapped up the harvest and got all our wines in barrels, I’ve been in San Francisco most of the time between Thanksgiving and New Years. That’s too many nights with lights out and, I guess, too much of a temptation.
Apparently, about dawn the perps crept over from the nearby State Park and started jimmying open the windows to the garage/workroom. What they didn’t count on were John the Baptist and his right-hand man Louis. Especially as we race to get the drains and hillsides ready for our torrential winter rains, John and Louis are up here most days. And despite their Saintly names, you don’t want to meet John or Louis if you are wrong-doing. As near as we can tell, the two of them came roaring through the gate in John’s old muscle car, blasting Johnny Cash, just as the perps had wriggled their way into the garage. Apparently that was frightening enough that the perps threw themselves back out the window after doing not much more than tipping over some cans of paint.
It was probably the Johnny Cash that did it.
Although Louis says he and John had the windows down and were engaged in their usual trash talking. As John the Baptist says: “We’re not Librarians.”
In any case, the perps fled down the trail under the Mountain Lion’s sometime lair. Which could have been the cause of some beautiful Instant Karma. However, Joaquin (or Joaquinetta, as John, who’s seen her, claims she’s female) wasn’t in da house at this moment. Pity.
Although it seemed the crime-in-progress was thwarted, I drove up from San Francisco to survey the damage. Reaching back to everything I’ve learned from devotion to three franchises of Law & Order, I determined that the criminals were a disorganized pack of punks. They clearly weren’t competent enough to mount a quick, efficient operation that nabbed items of the most value in the shortest amount of time. Of course, that would assume that there HAD been anything of value for them to grab. Other than an old Ford truck with two flat tires and one dead battery, the garage mostly holds Andy’s large collection of bits and pieces of lumber. Judging from the way he hoards it and won’t let a bit of it be discarded, burned or used, he thinks it’s worth its weight in gold. I’m not sure what it would actually fetch on the open market. Or how, indeed, you would get it down a trail and past a Mountain Lion.
So I’m giving a sigh of relief that everything is intact and we don’t seem to have been targeted by Master Criminals. But that isn’t stopping John and Louis from debating whether they should stockpile weapons and spend a few nights up here. Fair warning: their trigger fingers are itchy.
Let’s just hope, for the sake of Criminal Sonoma, that they don’t deputize the Mountain Lion.
We just found out one of the criminals signed his name in the dust on the garage door.
Karma will git ’em and her name is Joaquinetta.
I’m not sure what makes me madder. Breaking and entering is bad. But when you tag the Feed Store, you’ve crossed some sort of line.
this was an exciting story to read. they don’t know WHO they are messing with.
they’re lucky oscar wasn’t there.
Punks! Double punks! Too bad the cat was busy with other varmits. We also had some problems in Napa a few years ago. Our neighbor met the punks with his arsenal of weapons and scared the living daylights out of them. The neighbor is a bit over-the-top when it comes to guns and a sense of trespassing. I am sorry to hear that punks tried to break in, either way, what a bummer. May Juanita prowl on by and follow their tracks.
I’m certainly glad they got spooked off…what if they had come for the wine?!
If they could figure out a way to get a two hundred pound barrel full of wine through the dark and 1/2 mile to the nearest road (lifting it over a fence) they probably deserve it for ingenuity.
Suggested movie viewing this weekend:
Yes, Maybelline. A little Clint Eastwood is warranted.
Update: one of the would-be thieves actually wrote his name in the dust inside the garage. “Bill”, Louis and John are coming to get you.
Maybe you could post warning signs about the Mountain Lion in residence – that might keep the bad guys at bay.
I thought of you the other day – I was getting out of my car and a woman was walking her dog and came by as I got out, and she had a Terrier on the leash that looked just like Oscar. I couldn’t help myself, it just popped out – “Oh thank heavens, Terriers are here! We’re all safe now!” She got the joke and laughed along with me. Her Terrier ignored both of us, just as God intended.
Have a great weekend!
Yes, ignoring people. That’s something terriers have perfected. Oscar is currently ignoring my pleas and dog biscuit bribes to come in the barn so I can go to town.
Dumb & Dumber part II – Bill
Go get him, posse!
As the saying goes, “You can’t fix stupid”……..