...or, "Stolen For Safekeeping"
Ron was up and out the morning after our Delaware County Fair parking lot art heist, back in Walton. He checked with the fair office to see if anything had been turned in. (My paintings, while of paramount importance to me, were only a small percentage of what was contained in the boxes and the portfolio-like booth display case that were taken.) Nada. Then he spent a good part of the morning driving around the fair grounds and nearby backroads, looking for likely spots where someone might have dumped the goods that they didn't see reason to keep. Like pamphlets about becoming a Master Forester and such. Or paintings!
No luck, home for lunch. We decided to put it behind us. Ron began setting up to repeat the fieldwork needed to replace the many days of data lost amongst the paperwork in one box, and I painted a plein air of the pasture behind the barn. And then I got a call from the Walton Village Police Department.
They had seen my Facebook post (Ah! social media saves the day!) and so when they were questioning a fellow (We shall call the fellow "Jack," as names have been changed to protect the....) about various...things...they brought up the subject of a missing couple of paintings at the fair. And Jack said he'd found them! And held onto them for safekeeping, along with some other stuff! And then he gave the police a phone number where he could be reached. Which the police gave to me.
Which I immediately called, and the woman who answered had no idea who Jack was, and there was certainly no Jack there.
I called the police. I heard a loud sigh. He told me he would try some other method of finding Jack, and I'd hear back from him. However, in a few minutes, the call I received was from Jack, who invited us to drive over to his home to pick up our things, telling us that he "called the number on something in the box, but got an out of order or no one's there message or something." (note: Which could be true, if he chose the card from Cooperative Extension and didn't choose to leave a voice mail message? And didn't see any of the other numbers on things, like my business cards on the back of the paintings with my cell phone number?) Mainly, Jack kept repeating to me that "Everything is all here, it's all here. I made sure that everything's all here." Huh?
When we met Jack, he had clearly taken inventory. "Here's your papers with the sign up sheets and pamphlets and your ibuprophen and your keys and your name tags...Everything is all here." It was a little weird.
Weirder still, when we got back in the car, Ron told me that Jack was the guy that Ron stopped from walking away with the one box that he was able to save in the parking lot. (To back track: Ron had set down four boxes, stepped away, came back and saw someone--who we now know was Jack--with the only remaining one, and stopped him. Jack handed it over. Ron asked him about the other boxes and Jack said that the one that he handed over had been the only one there.) Got home and did our own inventory, and indeed, there was something missing, Ron's metal clipboard that closes over the sheets for his forest inventory data. So Ron started to do a little freakout and I called Jack back, who said, "Oh, yea...I do have that.) right about the same time Ron was discovering his data sheets down in the box, stuffed among some brochures.
All's well that ends well, and I thank everyone for their well wishes during my twenty-four hours of art heist anxiety!