Now that more than a week has passed, there is increasing evidence that my wallet is someplace on the bottom of Napeague Harbor. As I described last week, a group of us had been clamming, and that was the last I had seen of it. Or at least I think so.
Another possibility is that I had left it in my car overnight and some person unknown took advantage. Police warned about that this week. East Hampton headquarters issued a reminder that we all should lock our vehicles all the time — even in our own driveways — to stop the rampant thievery. I should know; some winters back it happened to me.
I’d have to look it up, but I would say it was about March, well after midnight, when I got up to let a whining Lulu the dog out for a pee. Waiting at the door for her to return, I noticed that the cab light in my pickup truck was on. Assuming that I had left a door open, I went over, barefoot and in boxer shorts.
Getting closer, I saw a man — with a notable “Caesar” haircut and oversize coat — rummaging through the center console.
I yelled that I was going to kill him, and, as he ran down the driveway toward the road, pulling his drooping pants up so his legs could move, I heard him say, “Oh shit, oh shit.”
The man jumped into the back seat of a small car that had been waiting just off the pavement. As the driver rapidly backed up to get away, I had the bright idea that I would rip the car’s license plate from its bumper. Yeah, that did not work, but it did give me a momentary good view of the plate number.
The cops caught up with the car in East Hampton Village, and by the time I arrived in a town officer’s cruiser, they had the suspect handcuffed and seated on the Star office front step.
“Yeah, that’s the guy,” I said.
As it turned out, the man, from Mastic, of all places, had been in trouble with the law before and one of the town justices sentenced him to six months in jail. From the police evidence room I eventually got back my digital camera he had taken. By that time I had a replacement, so I gave it to one of the reporters here.
I’ve been pretty good about locking up ever since, but maybe not quite good enough. Word to the wise.