Friday, June 1, 2012

A 'lil detective work in the sun!

God watches all things at all times and if you are willing He will allow you to be a part of what He is doing in the lives of others around you…get this!

We arrived into Key West late Saturday night and were so very ready to hit the pool early Sunday morning! I had prayed for God to use me to touch the lives of others however He wanted to this week. This made me nervous as I prayed these words, but my heart truly is to be used by God regardless of how uncomfortable it may be at times. It is always worth any discomfort I may initially feel and His blessings far outweigh the discomfort!

Here’s the scoop…

I got to the pool on our first morning at the resort and the entire area had already started to get packed out. After all, it is Memorial Day weekend. I sat my bag on the ground in hopes a couple of chairs would soon open up. Shortly, this gray-headed guy began moving his things over a couple of chairs that made two chairs available to me. Super nice guy he was! He was a smoker and was even so kind to walk away from our area so not to bother us with his cigarette smoke. He kept us informed of all the freebie stuff going on like popsicles available at the concierge everyday at 2 p.m. etc… In spite of his super nice demeanor, I began noticing that he was always getting up and down never to stay in one location for very long. It was like he had ants in his pants! I started to watch him through my dark sunglasses to try and figure out what he was doing. He certainly had the appearance of a lurker.

To my left there was another family at the pool with a baby so they were quite busy entertaining their little one. They were up and down a lot from their chairs. I guess you could call me a “people watcher” of sorts. Traveling around over the years has made me more sensitive to who is around me, and what they are doing for my own safety. I don’t even think about it anymore, it just happens.

After several hours of soaking up the sun, I was taking my last dip in the pool before going to the room. Greg and Kayla were down at the beach and I was also waiting on them to return. Again, I observed the gray-headed man standing up next to the water’s edge reading the newspaper. I thought to myself how odd that looked and wondered why he would just stand there instead of getting comfortable in his chair. He didn’t even have a toe in the water. S-T-R-A-N-GE! I then looked up a few seconds later to find this man seated on the chair that belonged to the family with the baby. I watched him cover his legs with the newspaper and reach into a bag that was left placed on the chair. There was some obstruction to what I was able to see, but it had the strong appearance of this man taking something from the bag. He placed the newspaper on the ground and promptly walked over to his chair. He grabbed his messenger bag and placed a towel over his legs and the bag opening while he placed something inside. I almost could not believe my eyes as I was watching a real theft take place and I was positioned right in the middle of it with a birds-eye view! I immediately swam like crazy to the ladder because I thought to myself; I need to get a picture of this dude so I can report him! I swam like a mad woman to climb out the ladder to get my camera and snapped a great picture of the man’s backside as he was exiting the pool area. I then thought…now what?

Soooo, I grabbed a pool waitress and reported what I witnessed to her and she went to get the resort security. In the meantime, the lady returned to her chair that had been the “victim” in all of this so I informed her of what I had observed. She checked her bag and sure enough…her wallet was gone! At this point, he had only been gone from the scene under 5 minutes. Resort security came over to gather information and walk the grounds after viewing the picture I managed to snap from behind. Within 10 minutes, Key West Police Department was notified.

Claire was the name of the young lady that got her wallet stolen. Claire, her brother James, and myself walked up to the general manager’s office to await the arrival of the Key West PD to file a police report. In the meantime, Claire started notifying credit card companies to report stolen cards. She was on the phone with Bank of America and in real time they were able to give her an address of where the guy had just attempted to withdraw money from an ATM machine. The police went immediately to the area of Bank of America and with the picture showing his clothing were able to detain him for questioning until we could identify him as the same man who had in fact been inside the resort moments earlier.

Key West PD drove Claire, James, and Myself to the scene and had us each identify whether or not this was the guy we had witnessed at the Casa Marina Resort by the pool. Without any doubt at all…this was indeed the man! Needless to say, on day one of my vacation I was not expecting to be cruising around with the Key West police!

While I had a few moments alone with Claire and James, I shared with them how my husband is a pastor and usually we are in church on Sunday morning. I shared how I had prayed just this morning for God to use me in some way to make a difference in someone’s life today. I told her this was how He had chosen to use me. They were both very appreciative and blown away at how “easy” this entire thing had went down from start to finish. I believe the word Claire used is “miracle”. Indeed it was a miracle that someone would see such a crime, report it, and catch the guy in a matter of about an hour total. I would say…”miracle” led by the divine hand of God would be right!!!

This was Claire’s last day at the resort. She and her family were leaving Key West in a few hours to make the drive up to Miami to catch a flight home to Ohio. We talked for a bit after the entire ordeal was over and she gave me a big hug goodbye and once again thanked me for my help. She was even so sweet to have a gift basket delivered to our room at the end of the day full of Key Lime goodies to enjoy on the rest of our trip. She wrote the nicest card of thanks to me and also said she would NEVER ever forget me! I just hope she thinks more about how God used me than me☺

If you have ever thought that walking with the Lord was a bit humdrum; look out because He might just have you rolling with the 5-0! I’m not EVEN kidding!

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