Dear Ms Jordan:
I used to see a place on the website to report stories, I no longer see that so I’m writing to you directly.
I have a local hometown story to share….I wrote it up, but perhaps you need to report/write it differently. I can provide a photo too…it’s about a young adult, Charlie Harkins, a very nice young man, who helped to foil two small crimes this week. One was just tonight! I didn’t know if it was appropriate to blog?
Here’s the story:
Give this Hero a Cape: Young Alamedean Foils 2 Capers in One Week.
In one week an 18 year old black belt foiled two separate petty crimes. Charlie Harkins, who is an instructor at Alameda Martial Arts on Bay Farm Island and has a day job at Starbucks on Park Street, used some quick thinking to first foil an attempted gift card fraud at Starbucks (by feigning that the terminal was ‘acting up’ and then alerting his manager) and then used GPS computer technology to intercept cell phones thieves in an exciting virtual chase through the streets of Alameda.
On Friday, January 17th, Charlie Harkins was scheduled to teach an advanced class. As one student rushed to the door, he inadvertently dropped his cell phone in the parking lot right in front of Alameda Martial Arts. As head instructor Erik Lee welcomed the student in, he watched a purplish-blue colored car slow to a stop. Mr. Lee traced the spot where the occupants were looking and saw something shiny. As the occupants of the car picked up the object, Mr. Lee locked eyes with them and they stared back. It occurred to him that perhaps this object belonged to his student. There was a brief moment Mr. Lee felt, that they could have asked, “Is this yours?” but they chose not to ask. According to Mr. Lee they left with a look on their face that said, “Ha, ha, it’s ours now.”
Following his gut, Mr. Lee asked his student if his cell phone was missing and indeed it was. The group tried to call the phone,but no one answered. Charlie remembered that when his smartphone was stolen, the first thing the thief did was have the sim card removed so it could not be located by GPS.
Quickly, Charlie suggested that they track the phone via GPS to get a sense of where the thieves were going. The group gathered around the computer monitor and watched as the car drove to South Shore center. In the meantime, Mr. Lee called the student’s father, Rowan Richardson, owner of Body Techniques in Harbor Bay, informing him of the situation.
While Charlie tracked the thieves’ movements, Mr. Lee called the Sprint Store in South Shore Shopping Center to report the possible arrival of two women asking to change the sim card in a smartphone.
Meanwhile, Mr. Richardson decided to drive to South Shore. Following the directions of Charlie who was manning the GPS he found the vehicle and when the two women who matched Mr. Lee’s description approached the car, he addressed them calmly asking, “Were you just on Bay Farm and do you have something that belongs to me?” Mr. Richardson, who had got their license plate number, said he was ready to call the Alameda Police if he felt threatened or if they did not cooperate. However, the women, who were no doubt a little unnerved by Mr. Richardson’s towering size (he stands 6’5” and has a distinguished pepper gray beard) decided to relinquish the phone.
A confrontation like this is never ideal, there is always the possibility that something could go wrong. However, the smart-thinking of Charlie Harkins proved to be an exciting lesson about teamwork and the importance of following your gut for the five future black belt students.
Instruction in Yoga, Martial Arts, Group, & Personal Fitness