Midnight Break-Ins

I was over at Slamdunk’s blog and he posted about some of the disgusting conditions certain eateries are in when they think no one is looking.  Like at 2am in the morning, when the police show up for a report of a break-in.

I too have seen poor cleanliness and is one reason I refuse to eat at some places.  After spending time in the restaurant business while going to school during my pre-cop years, I am fully aware of how much work it takes to keep a restaurant clean.  I worked as a bartender/bar manager at one of Vancouver’s more popular restaurants, and after the place was closed it took me FOREVER to clean the bar area.  The head honcho would spring surprise inspections the following morning, and would literally go around with a white glove, running his finger along ledges and on the undersides of the bar.  It had better be clean or there was hell to pay.

Now, as an officer, I have had ample opportunity to see some deplorable conditions when responding to calls in the middle of the night.  Two such times were in smaller hole-in-the-wall eateries that were both closed down within a year due to poor sanitation.

The first incident came in as a break-and-enter in progress.  Someone called 911 to say a suspect had kicked in the front door to a bakery and gone inside.  Units raced to the scene, with PSD Hondo and I not far behind.  We approached the broken front door, I called out a warning, and when I got no response I released PSD Hondo into the bakery with his command to search for anyone inside.  As Hondo searched I was standing not far from the display case when movement caught my eye. 

In the case was the biggest granddaddy of a rat I’ve ever seen, it’s wire tail wrapped snugly around it’s body and it’s sleek brown fur shining in the beam of my flashlight.  It appeared nonplussed to have been caught red-pawed as it nibbled a piece of cake.  I was horrified.

At the same time, PSD Hondo returned to me after having searched the entire establishment – apparently the bad guy had made good his escape moments before we got there as no one was inside. 

I returned my attention to the display case and the rat was still there.  I banged on the glass and had a serious case of the heebie-jeebies when the thing waddled off, dragging it’s tail over the baked goods when it exited the case.  Totally and completely disgusting.

The second time was in the same neighborhood only a few blocks away at around the same time of night.  This time the burglar alarm alerted police to a break-in.  We arrived shortly thereafter and went through the same routine of sending PSD Hondo in to search. 

PSD Hondo searched the front of the store with no issues but when he got to the doorway leading to the back he exhibited what we call a ‘change of behaviour’.  It was not a behaviour I had ever seen in my dog before – Hondo shrunk down so his belly was brushing the floor, his legs were flexed and his ears were back.  His hackles were up and it was clear he was not pleased.

Keep in mind the inside of this place was fairly dark.  With only the street lights from outside illuminating the way, I went to where Hondo and peeked around the corner.  I didn’t see anything except black, but something smelled off and the hairs on the back of own neck started to stiffen.  It was only when I shone my flashlight into the space that I startled – hanging by their rear feet from hooks in the ceiling were the carcasses of a dozen disemboweled pigs.  BIG pigs.  In an establishment reported to be a corner store.  They were lined up in four rows of three, their noses just a foot from the floor, taking up the entire back of the store. 

It was akin to the scene in a scary movie…you know the one…where the music starts and you want to tell the person in the movie to leave, to turn around, to get the heck outta there?  It was really creepy.  Hondo thought so too.

He belly crawled up to the nearest carcass and sniffed.  Then Hondo forcefully bumped his nose against the carcass’s neck as if to say, “Hey, what’s up with you?” 

His doing this caused the pig to sway in a domino effect and a wave of movement slowly rippled through all the carcasses.  Their gentle swaying and spinning was too much for my dog; he retreated back to the doorway.  Can’t say I blamed him – the pigs were the same size as he was, and he was probably thinking he did not want to end the night strung up from the rafters.

Nothing was missing from that store, so it’s a wonder if the bad guy got surprised by the pigs as well….

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4 Responses to "Midnight Break-Ins"

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