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Falsely accused: what would you do?

  1. Apr 30, 2003 #1
    As part of my recovery program from back injury, I am supposed to walk a few miles a day. If it's painful, I stop and lean against a wall or bus stop for a few seconds. When the discomfort has subsided, I move on.

    That's what I was doing this afternoon when I heard a guy shouting at me, "You there, stop right there". Then he came running towards me, a distance of about 50 yards.

    I stood my my ground and when he was about three yards from me he shouted, "Did you take my car keys?"

    I'm stunned because all I have been thinking about is shuffling along the sidewalk, trying to get home. The guy says, "I saw you on my lawn and people normally walk on the sidewalk. The keys to my house and car were in the door. Did you take them?"

    So I say, "I wasn't on your lawn, I didn't notice your door, your keys or your car. I was just walking."

    Then he shouts even more loudly, "You were acting very suspiciously. Why were you walking and why were you hanging round my door?"

    I hold out my hands as if to indicate I have nothing to hide. I tell him I have a very bad back, that I have to rest every 20 yards or so and when I am walking that is all I think about, I don't notice much else. I tell him I will empty my pockets if that makes him happy, he can call the cops if he wanats to and I will wait and talk to them.

    Then he gets defensive and says, "Come on now, is it possible that you saw the keys, were tempted, reached out and grabbed them? Think about it"

    By this time I am very angry and tell him, "No offense, but I live in a much bigger house than yours, I have plenty of money, I have a car of my own and I have never stolen anything in my life. Now call the police and I will wait right here and we can talk to them together".

    He then says, "You better watch out and quit acting weirdly." Then he runs back to his house cussing and swearing.

    It was only when I got back home that I realised I had been accused of stealing and that in my own neighborhood a guy had stood shouting at me calling me a thief. What would you have done in these circumstances?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 30, 2003 #2

    GENIERE

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    I think your remark; "No offense, but I live in a much..." was a good put-down and I think the other guy knew it. With a bad back, I think you did well.

    I've used this comment with good effect. "Walk away while you still can!"

    Of course there might be consequences with that.

    Regards
     
  4. Apr 30, 2003 #3
    Chapter Two of this saga: I was so furious when I got home that I decided to go back to the guy's house and insist he call the police so they could question me and I would be in the clear.

    I knocked on his door and before I could utter a word, he said: "Oh dear, I am so sorry, I found my keys on the TV." Then he held out his hand to shake mine. But before I'd shake, I let him know he had made me angry, he'd shouted at me in the street, accused me of being a thief and said I acted weirdly. I informed him that I have never stolen anything and that my back forces me to stop and rest very often, which might look odd if you don't know me.

    He was very apologetic. We shook hands and I was glad the problem had been resolved.
     
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