Have I ever been arrested?
As a matter of fact…….no…however….
I have been detained by the police, questioned, and eventually released.
Why you ask? Well, funny story….
It all began when I was poor. Not, living in a cardboard box poor, but the sort of poor that college students have to endure. The sort that makes you decide which bill you’re going to pay, and what the excuse will be to the other three why you couldn’t pay them this time. I wasn’t lazy. I wasn’t a lout that drifted through my schooling and lived off mommy and daddy, or a big fat loan. I was actually fairly resourceful.
I worked nearly full time and went to school full time. This left very little time for anything in my life other than school and work, but I’m sure at some point that will all pay off. (as of yet…not so much) It’s tough though. School is ridiculously expensive. I was renting a friends place and I had shut the water heater off because I wasn’t home enough to use it. Don’t think I was horribly disgusting, I showered both at school and at work….so no worries, I wasn’t a stinky freak. I just had no hot water at home. Then there was one point where I had to turn the water off all together. Conveniently just before I had to shut off the gas. I say conveniently because if you’ve ever been in central Canada or anywhere that gets cold, you’ll realize that water freezes in the winter. If you have no heat in the house, and there’s water in the pipe, pipes will burst. Now….if you’re “smart” and have turned off the water at the main, then even if your house is a balmy 0-5 degrees Celsius (35- 41F) the water won’t freeze and the pipes won’t burst. Problem solved right?
Anyways about this time when everything but electricity was shut off, I still had to get school papers done. Research papers and the like. Ever tried to go to a library at 2am when you’re done work? It doesn’t work too well. So what do you do? You have to use the internet. Right? Well that’s what I did. I would drive in my car and find open wi-fi in and around my house. I’d never stay at the same place for longer than an hour, and I’d never repeat the same location more than once in a month. “Is this illegal” you may be asking. Technically, I don’t think it actually is. Is this the reason I was taken in cuffs to the central police department to be questioned? Yes..and no.
What I had found is that people get a little creeped out by a dude sitting in a running car, tapping away at his laptop between 2-5am. Who didn’t get creeped out by it? Institutions and businesses that had no employees at work at that time. The best of which was a hospital that was near my place of residence. So what happened next? I found a open wi-fi next to a research wing of this hospital. Conveniently there were also a block heater plugs in the parking lot that was within range of this wifi. (if you don’t know what a block heater plug is, phone a Canadian, or someone from North Dakota or anywhere else that gets snow, they’ll fill you in on the juicy details) What this meant is that I didn’t have to idle the car for hours to ensure that the battery didn’t die.
Oh, that’s another funny story that’s worth digressing to.
I had a transformer that plugged into my car’s cigarette lighter adapter. From that transformer I would plug in my laptop. I would then run the car on idle from time to time to ensure that the battery didn’t die. A few times, however, I became engrossed in what I was doing and forgot. The result was that I had killed the battery. Now, ordinarily someone that was faced with this situation would think, “Oh darn, I guess I have to call someone to help me out.” but not this guy. Nope. I’m too smart for my own good sometimes. My car was a manual transmission vehicle. This means it’s possible to push start the car if you get it up to a decent speed and pop the clutch while turning the key. It’s so old school it’s awesome. Show your friends, you’ll be the life of the party. So I have from time to time, due to a dead battery, push started my own car. It’s…pretty impressive if you ask me. Especially when you don’t have a hill to run down. Oh, pro-tip; if you’re popping the clutch to start your car, it’s better to pop it into second instead of first. Common thinking is to put it into first but often if you’re not going fast enough that’ll just stop the car dead. Second has less rolling resistance. 😉
Right…so….where was I….
Yes…plugged into the block heater plug at a hospital while sucking back their wi-fi at 3am. You know what also happens at 3am? That’s right, sleepy time. So on one particular night I fell asleep. Actually it wasn’t on one particular night, but it had happened numerous times, and on the time that I had been taken into custody I had fallen asleep. At about 4am I awoke to a light rapping of knuckles on the window of my door. Freaked me out, and I woke up immediately.
“What are you doing there?”
“Research for what?”
“You go to school here?” This is a security guard. The only thing that they’re trained to do is jingle keys and try to use sarcasm in clever manner. Usually they fail at both.
“No I go to school at the university.”
“What are you doing here then?”
“Using the internet.”
“The internet that’s available on the free wi-fi hotspot at this location.”
“I don’t get what you’re trying to say, I’m not some tech nerd.”
“There is a router nearby that is broadcasting a free internet hotspot. I connect to that hotspot with my laptop so that I can research for my school paper.”
“Is that what you were doing when I saw you here?”
“No, at that point I had apparently fallen asleep.”
“I see. And who gave you permission to be here?”
“I saw no signs indicating I wasn’t allowed to be here.”
“This is private property.”
“No it’s not. This is a government facility, it’s government land, and therefore public land.”
“Is that so.”
“As far as I’m aware, yes.”
This is a mistake. If you’re faced with a security guard who’s trying to be all supercop, it’s best to act as dumb or dumber than you. Picture an inbred poodle-shitzu cross that spends most of it’s time barking at a crumpled piece of paper. That’s about where you’re aiming.
“Well that sign there says you’re not allowed to be here.” He’s deftly pointed to a sign indicating that there is no parking allowed 24hrs Monday – Friday. It’s 4am, but it’s Saturday.
“I’m…..look is there a problem here?” <– this is also a mistake
“I think there is, can you step out of the vehicle please sir?”
“Because I asked.”
“Why did you asked.”
“Because I have reason to ask.”
“And what is that reason.”
“I don’t have to tell you that.” (I’m pretty sure he did, but I’m still a 20yr old kid and he’s a big fat lard ass with a uniform, perhaps he didn’t)
“I’m failing to understand why I have to get out of my car. I think I’ll leave now.”
“I can’t let you do that.”
“The police have been called, apparently there was a complaint. We have to hold you for them.”
“A complaint?” (wtf??)
“Step out now before there’s more trouble for you.”
“Complaint about what? Who complained? There isn’t even anyone here?”
“You’ll have to take that up with the officers.”
“This is ridiculous.” So I step out of the car and fatty asks me to turn around so he can check for weapons. Good lord, what an idiot. He smells like old pepperoni pizza. I’d suggest he take a bath but that still wouldn’t wash the stupid off of his face. Then he tells me he has to cuff me. “Why?”
Whatever, this is all bullshit and I know it. Fine, I’ll go with the douche off to his douche layer. Deputy douche has reached into my car and grabbed my laptop.
“What are you doing.”
“We wouldn’t want anyone to steal it, would we?” Security guards. God I hate them.
Skip ahead a few hours and I’m in the back of a squad car. The police have my laptop in their hands and still I haven’t been told what’s going on. By the time I’ve reached the department I’m getting a little freaked out. “Why exactly am I here?”
“Were you not informed?”
“Informed of what?”
The two cops look at each other and I can see through the grate that they’ve rolled their eyes at each other.
“Well normally you’re informed why you’re taken into custody, you’re saying you don’t know, you weren’t advised?”
“No…I wasn’t. I was only told there was a complaint and then I was put in cuffs to wait for you guys.”
“One of the guards said he saw you viewing some questionable material on your laptop.”
…….wait….what?? “Huh? Questionable material?”
“The detectives will talk to you about that. I suggest for your own sake that you don’t say anything further.”
A few hours later after being locked in an “interview” room all by myself, the aforementioned detectives wander in.
“So you know why you’re here?”
“No, not a clue.”
“Oh I think you know.”
“No I don’t. They didn’t tell me.”
“The officers that brought you in didn’t tell you?
“No all they said is that some security guard witnessed me viewing questionable material on my laptop. I don’t even know what the heck that’s supposed to mean.”
“I see. Well we have investigators going over your laptop right now.”
“Is there anything on there? Anything that we should know about?”
“Are you sure? It’s better if you tell us now than we find out later.” (this is a completely obvious technique that cops seem to use in reality as well as on CSI)
“No there’s nothing on there, just my school stuff.”
I pause….I’ve downloaded songs, movies, and porn on that machine….I’m not sure if it’s illegal or not….
“Just music, and a couple of movies….”
“What kinds of movies?”
“Like…” I try to think..what the hell did I download. I can’t even remember now. “I can’t remember actually…..no wait…I downloaded that Jet Li movie….I just…I can’t remember the title right now.”
“I see.” then cop two comes at me. A woman. She’s cute and all….I’m wondering what to expect from her. “You probably have porn on there though don’t you.”
I’m embarrassed A woman asking about porn on my computer. Gah so awkward. Under other circumstances I could have easily been asking her to dance, “Ya….ya there’s porn on there.”
“That’s what we thought.” she says. “The witness said he saw you viewing child porn on your lap top.”
“That’s what the witness said.”
“This is bull. I….there’s no way that I would ever look at that crap.” (I went into detail why…but that’s too personal for this site)
“Well that’s what here to find out. We’ve got a special tech going through every file on your machine right now and when they find it you’re going to be in worse trouble then you are now.”
“They can look all they want, there’s nothing there to find.” — I’m angry, and upset now. I realize at this point that dickless the wonder-douche security guard has made up a bullshit line of crap to put me through this.
“The witness said you’re some sort of tech whiz, well we’ve got our own techs here and they’re pretty good.”
“I’m not a tech whiz, I connected to a free wi-fi hotspot. It takes a laptop and a click, that’s it. Any idiot could do it.”
“Why were you even there?”
…explained the situation…explained why…detectives seem to be getting a little puzzled…
Then they leave, and come back about 30min later.
“We’re letting you go.”
“Our techs didn’t find anything, but your laptop is being sent to the federal branch that deals with these things.”
“Even though our tech couldn’t find anything, we have to follow up on this. You understand.”
“I do. I don’t fault you guys, I’m just pissed at the guard who made this bs up.”
“Well that’s between you and him. The feds will be in touch with you when you can get your laptop back. I suggest you get your own internet though.”
I had to tell two profs this story to get extensions on papers that were due. They both thought it was hysterical. I was less amused. I guess from the excuses they normally here, mine was a welcomed change.
About two weeks later I get a call from the feds. I have to go to talk to this other investigator that’s part of a squad of people that tracks down and jails fucked up perverts that I was accused of being. There was an interview. She explained what they did. She explained how they went through the entire laptop and didn’t find anything. She explained that they even tried to reenact the situation to figure out how the “witness” would have thought I was looking at kiddie porn. After all of that, they found nothing. Of course. So she apologized for the inconvenience and wished me the best. I said that I’m glad that she and her colleagues are in the world though I wish they didn’t have to be and that she didn’t need to apologize to me. The dumb ass wannabe cop security guard needed to apologize. “Good luck with that.” was her last words to me and I thanked her once more before leaving with my laptop in a sealed evidence bag.
It was the most bizarre experience I’ve ever had with law enforcement.
So no….I’ve never been arrested. Detained, questioned, and investigated, but never arrested.