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.


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  1. Yeesh, how awful! I’m glad none of you got hurt and that there were so many people working at the time. Hope the bad dreams don’t last long. 🙁

  2. whoa. That is freaky. I’m glad you are OK. And I’m glad you guys are going to have security cameras in the new place. Working with the public is always a bit risky.
    Take care.

  3. Rob just told me that if you do dial 911 here in Australia you WILL get connected to emergency services. Apparently it is because so many people hear 911 on TV and the movies that they had to do it. Go fig.

  4. Yeah, I was told that afterwards. It was just that I totally froze in my confusion. 🙂

  5. Hey Kris, not sure if reading that made me feel better or not. I didn’t realise about the tapestries! Eeek! At least no one got hurt, that’s the main thing . . . .

  6. In the light of day I’m feeling a lot less shaken about it, Becca. After you left I was like, “I hope Becca’s Mom doesn’t make her quit now!” 🙂

  7. No, mum isn’t likely to make me quit, she was happy we dealt with it the way we did, she really likes you and Losh

  8. That’s so creepy, I hope everyone is doing ok. I just cannot imagine how anyone would ever firstly want to steal anything and secondly have the gall to walk into some shops back office with a plan to steal something(then it makes me think how rural and naiive my mindset is). You should all take care of yourselves extra well over the next couple of days.

  9. The police came afterwards and got statements from Albert and Losh. Apparently they really are going to try to get a DNA sample from the shirt! Total CSI. I didn’t think they’d do that for anything less than a murder!

    But I don’t think we have to worry. The guy won’t be back. We just have to be extra vigilant about making sure the office door is locked. We even took to escorting the backpackers in and out today when they were dropping off their stuff.

    And Helen, did they call you yet? Because I’ve been told I’m going to be training you next week… 🙂

  10. That is scary; I’m glad everyone’s okay!

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