I counted the cash I’d taken from the ATM and turned around. My next door neighbor was standing before me with a gun in his hand…he grabbed the money I was holding,
I blinked a few times, not believing what just happened.
He took off down the road.
I ran inside the bank, and asked for the security guard.
“A man took my money from my hands, just as I retrieved it from the ATM. It was my neighbor, Mr. Van Stephenson. He’s usually a mild man, very quiet. It’s not usually in his character to do something like this,” I shrieked, while rubbing my fingers together.
“It’s usually the quiet kind you have to look out for. They never do seem the type, ma’am. But, then again, anything can go wrong at any given moment. You say he’s your neighbor. Can you give me an address? I’ll have some officers stake out his home. Don’t worry. We’ll recover your money. We’ve got him on camera too,” the security guard assured her while making notations in his book when I gave him my neighbor’s address.
“I forgot about that. Yes. That would be beautiful. But are you sure you got him on camera. I was standing the closest to the ATM,” I informed the security guard.
“Doesn’t mean a thing. Our cameras pick up everything accept sound,” he said while walking back to the desk.
He sent me on home. In the meantime, I was out of two hundred and fifty bucks.
Upon arriving home, I glanced at the house across the street from mine, wondering, What would have made Van do such a thing. I’ve known his family for years. We went to school together. I know his wife very well, too. We work together at one of our local grocery stores. She trained me for the management position. She has a high position in the offices of the grocery store. Surely, they can’t be in need of money.
I was still shaking as I entered my home. Taking off my coat, tossing it and my purse onto the armchair, I ran over to my phone, picked up the receiver, and dialed my neighbor’s number.
“Hello,” a woman answered.
“Hello, Mrs. Stephenson?” I asked while biting my lip.
“This is her sister, Margaret. What can I do for you today?” she inquired with a hint of irritation in her voice.
“I really need to talk to your sister. It’s an emergency. Is she in, please?” I asked in a trembling voice.
“Just a minute. Dallas,” she yelled, “There’s some woman on the phone who says she needs to speak with you. She says it’s an emergency.
“Hello, to whom am I speaking with?” she inquired.
“Hello, Mrs. Stephenson, this is Chloe, you neighbor from across the street. I was outside of the Wesley Bank today, getting some money out of the ATM. To my surprise, when I turned around, your husband pointed a gun at me, and grabbed my money out of my hands. He took off running down the street,” I wailed, while I continued to bite my lip.
“I can’t imagine my husband doing such a thing. Are you sure it was him. You can never be too sure, especially if the creep who did this to you was wearing a ski mask,” she barked at me on the phone.
“I’m sure. He wasn’t wearing a ski mask. His face was not covered. I recognized him right away. Are you folks having financial difficulties. You seem to be doing really well, financially. The only thing to cross my mind is you folks are having financial difficulties. Why else would he rob me of my money?” I shrieked, while I continued to tremble.
I glanced outside of my window. His car pulled into the driveway. He got out of the car, and casually walked up to the house, and entered.
“I’ve got to go. Talk to you later,” she said, in a hurry, as her husband entered the house.
The following morning, the doorbell rang,
I ran to the door, looked into the peep hole. Opening the door halfway with the chain still on it, I said, “How can I help you?”
“I’m officer Drew. I’m here about a robbery at the ATM. I’m more than happy to show you my credentials. In fact, I don’t even have to come into your house, if you don’t feel comfortable. I just want to let you know, Mr. Van Stephenson turned himself in this morning, and confessed to everything. I’d like you to come down to the station, at your convenience, of course, to identify the suspect. Here’s my card, if you have any further questions or concerns,” the officer said as he handed me his business card through the door.
The following morning, I went down to the police station, and identified Mr. Van Stephenson in the line up.
I asked if I could speak with him, before deciding to drop the charges, or to testify against him in the court of law.
I talked with him via a monitor.
“Ms. Chloe, I’m so sorry for robbing you. I lost my job. We have a mortgage to pay. It was a stupid thing for me to do. My wife got her hours cut at the grocery store. I’m willing to take whatever punishment the law throws at me, because what I did was a dishonorable thing,” he said with his eyes drooping down in sadness.
I approached the officers at the desk. “I’ve decided to drop the charges. However, I would like to get my money he took from me. It was in the amount of two hundred an fifty dollars.”
The clerk handed me an envelope of which he opened, and counted out the two hundred and fifty dollars.
Although I dropped the charges against Mr. Van Stephenson. I looked upon him with eyes of distrust ever since. His deed changed my friendship with him and his wife. They were both unable to look me in the eye since then, because of the shame and guilt.
© Copyright, Kiki Stamatiou, 2015