Sep 272013

Voice’s Old Susannah takes a look over the past week’s events in the ‘Deen and beyond. By Suzanne Kelly.


Tally ho! Has the Deen ever seen a fairer summer? It’s not faded out just yet, and the parks are still full of people. Union Terrace Gardens were full of revellers for the Rainbow festival.
The mythical drunks and junkies said to loiter there are as much in evidence as the transparent giant boy who floated over the lurid flowerbed in the Granite Web drawings.

Hazlehead is filled with people, including motorists who don’t give a damn about parking on the grass, as well as thieves who’ve stolen a metal plaque.

More on this and other thefts shortly.

Gerry Jablonski & The Electric Band had a great night last Friday at the Lemon Tree; Techfest has rolled into town with a 20th anniversary birthday party and a programme of events that couldn’t be broader. 

I hope to make it to the talk in Cruickshank botanical gardens on Friday. There was a talk about what to do if there is a zombie apocalypse; I missed this, but it couldn’t have been that much difference from some of the previous administration’s full council meetings.

Alas! I wasn’t quick enough to get one of the limited planetarium tickets, and because of other commitments I had to miss BrewDog’s ‘Science of Brewing’ talk which took place Tuesday.

I consoled myself considerably when I discovered two of BrewDog’s new offerings. A new light beer ‘How to Disappear Completely’ is filled with flavour yet low in alcohol content.  Then there is  ‘Misspent Youth.’  The bar staff told me it was rich, creamy and tasted of coffee and plums. They were right. I’ll be back for more of each soonest.

Alas!  Everything that’s not nailed down, everything that is nailed down, and even the nails are being stolen in City and Shire. The epidemic of thefts all around us is alarming. If the police are recovering stolen goods, I hope they let us know about it, for the news at present is all about the thefts. Metal drain and gutter  covers are going faster than cut-price cider.

Cars are being stolen at a rate exceeding sales of the new Grand Theft Auto V game. One car was stolen twice in the space of a few hours; you’ve got to give those thieves points for daring.

Your more ambitious thief is ripping their employer off, be it restaurant, the council or oil company.  People in supermarkets are treating self check-out lines as optional. People are stealing pets in broad daylight. Your more intellectual thief is plagiarising poetry, and having the nerve to win poetry contests.  Award-stealing poet Allen has had to return a prize; he was caught stealing other poets’ material.  The BBC quotes Allen as saying :-

 “I accept that I did plagiarise certain poems (although it was genuinely not my intention to deceive)”

It’s OK then – he was only stealing, not trying to fool us.  Phew.  Here’s a poem for him:-

Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue
I Think You’re A Tea-leaf

Och Aye Tha Noo. (copyright 2013 Old Susannah)

we all know what great places care homes are

Here in Torry, people have stolen not only drain covers but bricks – and a section of a stone wall. Worse, serial fantacist and idea appropriator Jeffrey Archer has a new book out to boot.

What’s going on? Why is it going unchecked? Who stole the pen I was just using a minute ago? Time for some timely theft-related definitions, as well as one timely definition for good measure.

Old Fashioned Policing: (old-fashioned English phrase) to keep the peace by intimidation and physical force.

Ah, the good old days. There was of course never any crime or social problem in the past, because in those halcyon days, police were not adverse to beating the daylights out of people, or scaring them out of their wits. Ah, the good old days eh?

I was surprised to read the tale of Ross-shire policemen Ovenstone and Kelman, who are in a  bit of muck because of two teenage girls.

The policemen, both in their early 30s decided the girls needed a bit of old-fashioned policing for acting up at a care home. .

Now we all know what great places care homes are, and how every child that winds up in one is no good. Well, the kindly policemen decided to use some initiative. They handcuffed the teenagers, drove them to a remote farm, intimidated them, made them walk without shoes through manure.

Now, if you can remember back to your teenage years, think what it would have been like if two uniformed, weapon-carrying angry policemen handcuffed you and made you do things that were outside of the law. Yes, you would have been scared into becoming a model citizen. There was of course no chance that this harmless escapade would have caused any lasting psychological scars.

Kelman, was given credit in court for bravely saying ‘that’s enough’

Sadly, the courts have taken action against the police.  Shocking, isn’t it. Of course there will be no custodial sentence, because that would serve no purpose. And here Old Susannah was, thinking that the deprivation caused by a jail term, and the message this sent out had some value.

No doubt this logic will be applied in the future to those with and without uniforms equally.

One of the braver cops, Kelman, was given credit in court for bravely saying ‘that’s enough’ at the end of the ordeal. I think he should get a medal. He didn’t stop anything; he was there, but he said ‘that’s enough’. Again, perhaps this logic will extend to those who are accessories to crime. For reasons unknown, Ovenstone decided to leave the police.

No, you just don’t get policing like that any more.

Theft – Pretexting: (Modern English phrase) – to gain entry to premises, to con, to deceive with the intent of stealing.

Hard up for cash? Need a little extra spending money? Why not do what Charles Skinner did, and trick your way into an 80 year-old woman’s house?

Pretend you’re there to do some work (as if you did any work), read an electricity meter, whatever. If your victim’s been dumb enough to let you in the front door, then they kind of deserve to be robbed, don’t they?

An Aberdeen pensioner is now having problems sleeping after Skint Skinner did just this to her, and once in her home stole money from her handbag.

Old people will have lots of money after all, and sometimes they forget they have it (like the hospital patients you hear of now and then that are ripped off by their ‘carers’.  In fact there have been a few thefts recently in the ARI – gold chains, money, etc.; I’m sure this won’t be upsetting to patients and their families in the least.

thieves stole a commemmorative plaque from Hazelhead park

After all, you probably have a good use for the money – like your drug habit. What fun is an old person going to have with their cash anyway? If they wind up injured or emotionally upset, that’s not really your problem is it?

Besides, if you have had a tough childhood, a drug or alcohol problem, then it’s not your fault, and a decent lawyer will get you a reduced sentence, probably with the taxpayer paying.

Yes, pretexting your way into someone’s house can be a nice little earner.

Metal theft: (Modern English phrase) The theft of goods for their metal/mineral content and/or the stripping of metal from property.

Times are indeed tough; the value of metal is shooting through the roof (no doubt the roof’s lead has been stolen from the roof by now). Time to get some tools, a truck, and go nick some metal.

As mentioned, thieves stole a commemmorative plaque from Hazelhead park. Well, if the park is for everyone’s enjoyment, why not theirs?

Rail commutes will have notice no less than 4 recent disruptions on the Aberdeen to Inverness line:  thieves have been stealing the cabling used in the signalling system. To lose copper cables to thieves once is unlucky. To lose your cables a second time is a bit careless. To have your copper stolen a third time begs the question ‘are you paying attention?’ 

Somewhere there are scrap metal dealers who are taking this material in

To lose cabling a fourth time implies incompetence. As to the thieves, well, the cabling is just there for the taking apparently. What’s the worst that could happen anyway? A potential train crash can’t outweigh the need to steal some copper wire.

Somewhere there are scrap metal dealers who are taking this material in. There must be a few clues when people go to sell plaques that are inscribed to the people of a city, or miles of copper wire. But none of these metal yards seem to be coming forward.

ATM Theft: (Modern English Phrase) to steal cash dispensers.

In the old days, the ones cops like Kelman and Ovenstone might have yearned for, a thief would just have waited for an unsuspecting person to use an ATM, and then either make note of their card number, and steal the card later – or just beat the cash withdrawer senseless once they had the money in their hand. These days are gone.

Need to supplement your metal theft income? Get a truck round to an ATM, and just steal the whole thing. In this line of work you get to travel as well – New Deer, Bieldside, Inverurie. Sounds pretty good to me.

Auto Theft: (English Phrase) the theft of a vehicle.

Well, the police do have this covered nicely in our area. Of course cars are stolen, driven  in a stylish stuntman manner, and then often set alight, in one case cheering up some shoppers at a supermarket not long ago.

The police are blaming car owners for keeping car keys in their kitchens.

Car thieves taught admirers and young apprentices how to hotwire cars

Granted, you have to lock your homes and your cars these days. But even if you do this, if the keys are in your locked house somewhere they can be found, then it seems you’re pretty much guilty of being an accessory to any resultant theft.

We did have the exciting Stig Aberdeen Boys Facebook page not long ago; it had hundreds of members.

Car thieves taught admirers and young apprentices how to hotwire cars, how to steal motorbikes and so on. It’s a shame it was taken down, but Facebook decided promoting crime wasn’t something it wanted to branch out into. Shame.

There is No Honour Among Thieves: (English saying) A proverb advising that thieves are not to be trusted.

Well, it does my heart good to say there is always the exception that proves the rule. In a recent court appearance, a noble, brave robber (who had assaulted and threatened his victims and acted as part of a team) has refused to name his co-workers.

The man in question did tell the court he was very sorry indeed for upsetting people and taking their money, but ‘he is the only one going to jail’ for the spate of robberies he and his mates committed. I’d love to tell you his name, but someone seems to have stolen my notes.

For reasons of space, I’ll leave it there. There have been people embezzling from public and private sector employers; people stealing from charities, people stealing from the old and the infirm.

In Torry people have stolen bricks and even a bit of a stone wall. It just goes to show you, when you need to earn some money, there is always a way. (Did I ever tell you about the rich property developer who did a deal with the City over land in Kingswells, and then tried to keep £1.7 million pounds’ worth of profit)?

PS – pet theft is most definitely going on. Be vigilant.

Next week:  more definitions.

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  One Response to “Old Susannah No.133 – Stealing Special”

  1. Twenty years ago I would have felt safer being out and about in Aberdeen at night than I do now, and more than once I’ve experienced the distraction ploy from a robber at an ATM.

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