Columbia City/Mon Aug 30/4:30 pm Officer Derek Ristau reports: "I was working uniformed patrol in the city of Seattle. At approximately 1630 hours, I was dispatched to MLK Way for a report of a purse snatch. The suspect was described as a black male, long braids, dark T-shirt, last seen running southbound on foot. I arrived in the area and observed suspect running southbound, across Graham Street, into a parking lot.
"Two witnesses stated a male matching his description was seen running into the restaurant... Officers went inside, and the suspect was located in the men's bathroom stall. He matched the description of the male who was seen running into the parking lot and the suspect description given on the original call. He was breathing heavily and had beads of sweat on his forehead.
"I escorted him to the ground and placed him in handcuffs. While we were by the [restaurant] doors, witnesses immediately identified him as the suspect. Victim also immediately identified suspect as the one who stole her necklace. Suspect was placed into a patrol car and transported to the South Precinct.
"I searched around the bathroom and located a necklace in the bathroom trash can. The necklace was located in between the trash bag and plastic can. It had a broken clasp and had dark black hair stuck in the links. I took custody of the necklace. I spoke to victim at the scene. She positively identified the necklace as belonging to her. The necklace was taken to the South Precinct and subsequently placed into evidence. I transported her to her residence to change her clothes. She wanted to change because she became so scared during the incident that she urinated on herself.
"After changing, I transported her back to the South Precinct to take a written statement. While inside her apartment, victim showed me an exact identical anklet version of the stolen necklace. She stated they are both from Ethiopia.
"We arrived at the South Precinct, and I typed a statement as victim spoke. She stated she exited the bus and saw suspect walking toward her. She stated he looked very angry so she attempted to move out of his way. He was looking at her purse, and when he grabbed on to her necklace, she attempted to pull her shirt over her neck to protect it. While they were struggling for the necklace, suspect pushed victim to the ground. Victim fell into the street. This is a major arterial with a high volume of traffic. Victim let go of her neck and necklace because she was afraid she would get hit by a car. The necklace came off of her neck. Suspect grabbed the necklace, placed it into his pocket and ran from the scene southbound.
"Victim immediately identified suspect as the suspect. She recognized his hair being long and twisted. She recognized his black T-shirt and jeans having designs on the back pockets. Victim declined medical attention. She had a red mark on the right side of her neck."
With that, I conclude the necklace-crime series (in which four necklace thefts were reported in a single week earlier in midsummer and then an officer remarked a month later that another incident was the latest in a series of necklace thefts). Clearly, it's an exploding fad among young, urban/suburban males and it seems to have no other motive than the sick thrill of being cruel to a total stranger. But what makes society work? Not being kind to your relatives or those you know. No, that's not how it works. Complex human social systems have succeeded over other types of social formations because of an extraordinary form of kindness: the fellowship among strangers.