Of course, I was still broke as hell. I was a little idiot thug wannabe at this time in my life because I really hadn't developed any sense of self-identity. Yes, I was that guy. I feel compelled to point out that I am so completely different now that people who knew me then don't recognize me, visually or otherwise. My friend G and I were both in rather unfortunately similar places in our lives.
We had discussed other ways to get money. At one point we actually talked about how to rob the restaurant she worked at without getting caught. She was a closing hostess and so had keys and access to the safe. We thought about taking the money out of the safe one night as she closed, and then coming back later to break a window or something and make it look like a late-night break-in, but decided against that.
One day she called me up. It was the day after Easter, a Monday, and she told me that the restaurant hadn't made a bank deposit that day. Easter is probably the busiest day of the year for this type of restaurant. She estimated there was seven thousand dollars in cash in the safe. We hadn't really talked enough about it or worked out a good plan, but we decided to do it anyway. The plan was that after EVERYONE else left and she was the only one left, closing, I'd come in with an unloaded gun and "rob" her. With a ski mask and the whole deal. Then she'd call the cops and give them a totally screwy description of the guy.
So I got my dad's 12 gauge and made sure it was unloaded. I wanted to use his .22 pistol but I couldn't find it. I got some old clothes and went to buy a mask and gloves. I was REALLY REALLY nervous. Finally she paged me with 09, which upside down reads "GO". So I pulled the car up behind the restaurant. I got out, paced, felt really anxious, and got back in the car. A minute later I got out again, walked part way up the sidewalk, and turned around. At this point my gut instinct was screaming at me louder than it ever had before in my life, but I forced myself to think only about what I would do with $3500 (my half of the 7). I forced myself to walk in there and when I did, there were two other employees besides G. What was I supposed to do? I had a ski mask on and a shotgun in my hands. I made them go back into the office and I made them put all the cash from the safe into the backpack I had. Another employee came around the corner and I made him get down on the floor with everyone else. I never pointed the gun at anyone, it was always pointed at the ceiling. I got the money and told them to count to 30. Then I bolted. I got in the car and tore out and went to G's apartment. She had left me with her house key, and the plan was that we'd meet up at her place later on. I put the clothes in a suitcase, left the money in the bag, and put the gun back into its case. I hid those three things in the storm shelter under the apartment complex.
I went up to her apartment and watched TV for a while. The plan was that during this time, she would be calling the cops and giving them a bogus description and filling out paperwork and whatnot. Me hanging out at her apartment would not have been in any way unusual, so that was okay. But I was really really nervous. I was edgy and apprehensive and jittery and finally I just left. I left her apartment door unlocked because I had the only key to the place, and I left that key on her coffee table with a note for her to page me when she got in. I went home to my parents house, which is out in the country about 20 minutes from her place.
What I did not know was that during this time, the cops were talking to everyone at the restaurant. One of the employees thought he recognized my voice but couldn't place it. (This is reasonable since I used to hang out up there after closing time waiting for G to get done and I knew everyone there. I know, I know how stupid this idea was.) The cops went to G and said "we think you're being used by someone and you need to come out with it" or something along those lines, and she gave me up. Told the whole story.
At my parents house, I was still really antsy. I couldn't sleep even though it was 3 am. Finally about 4, exhausted, I fell asleep, and my pager went off 15 minutes later. It was G's code, but from a number I didn't recognize. I called the number, and it was a convenience store. I asked for G and she answered the phone. She said that she had gone to the apartment, found it locked, and couldn't wake her roommate to let her in. She wanted me to come pick her up until her roommate awoke in the morning and she could get into her apartment. I told her I'd left the door unlocked and she said "I know - I mean.. she must have gotten up and locked it." So I thought about it and I said "are we good? Is everything cool?" She said "huh? oh, yeah, everything's ok."
Now I was in a bad state at this point. I had fallen asleep for only fifteen minutes after being really exhausted, so I was really slow and groggy, but I still kind of had a bad feeling. So I thought about it and told her I'd be there shortly. I figured that if we were busted, there was no point in running, I might as well go face the music. So I was in no hurry. I spent about five minutes loving my dog because I had a feeling I might not see her again for a long time. I didn't bother to wake up my parents on the off chance that I *wasn't* busted. Didn't want to trouble them or tell them what I'd done unless I was forced to do that.
Of course, the cops had decided that for G to contact me via my pager was a good way to get me to come to them, since that's how she had contacted me before.
So finally I left the house and went to the convenience store. I came in through a dark back route so that I could see if there were any cops around. There were none, so I pulled in. I walked in the store and looked around, but I didn't see G anywhere. I asked the clerk if he'd seen a girl who looked like G and he said no. At that point there was one police car going through the parking lot. This wasn't unusual since cops frequent this store a lot, but I knew there was a good chance the gig was up at that point. With G not being there I figured I better get the heck out of there. I got in the car, started it up, put it in reverse, and looked in my rear view mirror to back out.
There was a cop car behind me with its lights on. No idea where he came from. I knew immediately the deal was up and I was busted. I looked to my left and saw four cop cars RUSH up on me, lights blazing, and the cops jumped out and had all their guns pointed at me. I looked to my right and saw the same thing, totaling nine cop cars, some of which had more than one officer. It was a felony stop, just like you see on COPS. I immediately put the car in park, cranked the window down as fast as I could and stuck my hands out so the cops could see them. They instructed me to reach over with my left hand to turn off the car and throw the keys out the window, which I did. They told me to open the car door, so I opened it from the outside and got out. Hands up, walk backwards towards my voice, on your knees, hands on your head. The whole deal. That's what happened to me.
I signed something saying they could search my car since I knew nothing was in it. They took me to jail. I saw G there but I didn't speak to her. I was held in a holding cell with three other people. I ate the breakfast they served because at that point I didn't know when I'd eat again. They strip searched me, rear end and all. They let me keep my black silk tropical fishy boxers but took my clothes and made me wear the orange jumpsuit.
I was in the holding cell until about 7am when a PD officer came to get me out. He put me in his car and took me to a building that had no markings on the outside, but inside it was the FBI Violent Crime and Commercial Robbery Task Force. Talk about intimidating. But, I still felt like there was a chance of getting away with it, so I planned to ask for representation and not say anything in the mean time. They took me to a boring nondescript room with a window at one end. The window had venetian blinds and a camcorder on a tripod on the other side. They handcuffed me to the table and left me there for a while.
After a few minutes a guy came in and gave me a coke and unhooked me and left again. I thought I heard a little something so I put my ear to the wall. I heard G's voice, and I heard her telling them EVERYTHING. This was the first time I figured out why we'd gotten caught and what was going on. I knew at that point that holding out for a lawyer was useless and that my best option was to at least have our stories match. So when the investigators came in to question me I cooperated and told them everything. I wrote a signed confession and the whole deal. It turned out to be a good thing because as I was drawing a map to show them where the money and gun were, someone came in and told them they had found it. Apparently they had searched G's apartment for me just an hour or so after I had left there, too.
They took me back to jail. My parents wouldn't bail me out so I was there until sentencing. G had been bailed out after about a week and been on house arrest since then. She got sentenced to 3 years intensive supervision probation. I got sentenced the same thing, but with an additional 90 days jail time tacked on the front of it, so I went back. I got out, did my duties, and got released from probation after about a year and 8 months (a year and 6 months would have been the earliest possible early release, so I did pretty well.)
In one more year if I haven't gotten into any more trouble I can get it expunged.
G and I made up and we are still friends, even though we don't talk that frequently anymore. She's married to a computer guy and lives in a nice old house and has an office job.
If you want to read more about my time in jail, go here.