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Little Girl the Thief

I’ve been posting (probably too much) about our lost photos. The story actually took several strange turns last week. Get this: So when we lost the camera we put up 19 lost camera signs. Crazy, but true. Last Wednesday my husband gets a call from some guy with an accent saying that he has our camera. Doesn’t want the $250 reward. He just wants to keep the camera. What’s our address? My husband, overcome by the fact that he can make his depressed wife (me) happy again, gives the guy our address. He tells me, the overprotective safety freak, and I am still over the moon.

Okay, so about an hour later my mother-in-law gets home with Big Girl. Little Girl is in the playroom with our sitter. I recount the story of the strange man with the camera. Not ten minutes later my sitter comes into the kitchen where I was making myself an iced coffee. She hands me — get this — my lost camera. Turns out Little Girl pulled it out of a hiding place wanting to use it. I am dumbfounded. In fact, I believe I stuttered something to the effect of, “But wait, that’s my camera.” Duh. My husband was equally as incredulous when he came home to me holding the camera in my hand.

We pieced things together after the kids were in bed. Little Girl probably swiped it, we think, while we were loading the car. I would have found it one of these days since she hid it at the back of the toy closet on a shelf, but still. Who would have guessed? How could we have known? So now we have a problem. We’ve still got to deal with the weird guy who claims to have our camera. He actually called back a little while after we found our camera saying that now he wants the $250 reward in addition to being able to keep the camera. (We offered both for the safe return of our photo card!) Oh, and did we have the cables for it, too? He’d like both when he meets my husband up the block from our house at a burger joint.

I want my husband to get the card so we can help reunite it with whomever lost it, so my husband tells him to call back. We don’t hear from him again until the next day, though. I was cautious at this point because I had called a policeman friend asking for his opinion. He told us there are people who post stuff on Craigslist and then, knowing someone has a lot of cash on them, rob them at gunpoint. He tells my husband not to meet this guy. That it’s not worth it. During the call the next day my husband tries to get out of meeting the guy explaining that we found a backup of our photos so he should just keep the camera for being a nice guy. (Our friend also told us not to anger the guy since he has our address.) The guy calls back again a few hours later. At this point, my husband comes clean and says that we’d be willing to give him some cash if he will give us the card. We want to find the rightful owner, we say. The guy, who is getting weirder and weirder, tells my husband that he is about to leave for a three-month vacation, and keeps asking for the wires to the camera. Finally, my husband tactfully hangs up.

The story continues over the next few days with this guy calling us a few more times. One of the best lines said after he finally got that it wasn’t our camera: “But I just want to be your friend!” Anyway, we’ve got our photos, we’ve got an interesting story, and unfortunately, we’ve got the knowledge that some other family (the guy said the camera card that he has contains photos of a broken roof and Asian people) is not going to get its camera back.

And that brings us back to the beginning of the story: We are still flabbergasted that our little child, our baby, took our camera and hid it. How she had the time and opportunity to do it baffles us. Also, the fact that she saw me crying and heard all the talk about the lost camera and didn’t cough it up. We reprimanded her, telling her she is never to touch Mommy’s camera ever again, but I somehow have the feeling this is not going to be the last time we have such a discussion.

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