Get off my lawn.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Artists in law enforcement

Earlier, I posted this article about a security guard at the building where I work.

There are about 80 people in my office in the building he guards the entrance to, all of whom get their network connections from a 100-port router in a rack next to the office door. That router came up missing a few months ago. The Federal Asset Protection Team (or whatever they're called) came in to investigate the theft. They returned almost immediately after that, when some additional equipment came up missing from a closet.

An occasional visitor to that office was a man to whom I'll refer as "Gragg" in this story, in order to protect his privacy. (Note the unusual spelling I use here. You're free to assume I'm spelling it that way not because that's his actual name, but for some other unknown reason.)

Gragg was the federally-appointed Computer Technician, in charge of all cable plugging and unplugging, monitor picking up and setting down, and other technical tasks that no one in the office besides him is qualified to do. He would hang around the developers from time to time, and tell us how he could type Java code in Notepad without the aid of syntax highlighting. At one point, I spent considerable time wondering why someone with that kind of talent didn't write software instead of spending their days wheeling computer equipment around and plugging in cables. (Total time spent wondering: 2.5ms)

Anyway, during the robbery investigation, the Team asked the guard if he had seen anything unusual. He said "There was some guy in here the other day for about an hour, and he left with a big box." They asked him what the guy looked like. Being the great illustrator that he is, he drew them a totally realistic picture of the guy. It was so good that when the Team showed it to the man reporting the robbery, he instantly said "Oh yeah. That's Gragg." So they arrested Gragg and got all of the equipment back.

The leader of the Team got a commendation for his excellent investigative work, and the guard got nothing.

Moral[0]: If you're planning to sneak stolen goods past a guard in a federal, be sure to stop and chat with him. Verify that he is A) blind, B) unable to remember faces, C) unable to draw well, or some combination of A, B, or C before proceeding.

Moral[1]: If you're an investigator, be sure you're the guy in charge, so you will be properly recognized for your efforts (and those of others).


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