It happened last night about 6:30, not long before we started to close up for the night. Becca and I’d been helping a customer down at the knitting counter for some time. Losh was also on the floor, along with about three customers. The first thing I remember is Losh rushing down to us and asking, “Did you let somebody back in the office?” No. “Somebody’s back in the office.” I looked up in time to see Albert dash through the door marked “STAFF ONLY.” Losh was looking at me scared. I grabbed the phone off the counter. “Should I…?” In my panic, I forgot the Australian emergency number. All I could think was “911! No, that’s not right, idiot!” A second later all thought left my head as we could clearly hear Albert fighting with the intruder in the hallway. I put the phone down. What should we do? Should we try to hold the door closed to he can’t get out? What if he’s got a weapon back there and we’d be trapping Albert back in with him? The matter was decided when the door flung open and a crazed skinny shirtless man flew out. I just had time to see his dirty blonde hair and notice that he was hitching up his pants oddly. My first incorrect (albeit funny) thought was that Albert had walked in on him having a wank back there. “Where’s his shirt?” I gasped, wondering if I’d been so blind as to have not noticed a shirtless man enter the shop. “Albert ripped it off,” Losh reported from the hallway. “What’d he get?” “A computer.” We found out afterwards that Albert had entered the office, seen the guy, and asked him what he was doing. He said we’d let him in to wash his hands. Albert stepped back out into the shop to ask if it was true. When we denied it, he headed back in and asked the guy to return whatever was obviously stuffed into his pants. The guy rushed him. They grappled in our extremely cluttered hallway. Albert was twice the size of the guy but quickly realized it was better to let him go. The intruder was crazy and he was pulling things off the shelves, things like customers’ irreplaceable tapestries. The stuff he stole was replaceable; they’re not. So he let him go, but not before tearing off the guy’s shirt. Everyone was fine. We called the cops. I was still shaking ten minutes later. How did I not notice him? Was it me that left the door unlocked? All my way home I entertained vigilante fantasies about noticing a shirtless man at my bus stop and kicking him in the balls so I could steal the computer back. I had dreams about it all night.
The new shop’s going to have security cameras.