Raymond reported in the next morning two hours before the start of his shift as usual.
He quickly decided that there is no advantage to taking time off unless you can call in dead on Monday.
John Kloake, his third shift painting lead handed him a purchase order as soon as Raymond saw him. It was for four thousand dollars worth of tools and materials.
“What the hell do you need this for?” was Raymond’s first question.
Kloake’s response was “Somebody cut the locks off our trailers and took our paint and our tools.”
“Did you call the cops and report the theft?” Raymond asked.
Kloake just looked at Raymond with a deer-in-the-headlights look.
“A crime was committed. Did you call the cops?” Raymond persisted.
“Nope. Never thought of doing that.” Kloake admitted.
“This stuff is all insured but I need a police report before I can file a claim.” Raymond said with a sigh. “Keep the workers away from the trailer and call the cops. I will call the insurance company.”
The bad thing was that third shift paint had lost most of a shift’s worth of work because they had no materials.
The rest of the morning was an avalanche of one crisis careening into the next.
Shortly before lunch Raymond saw a civilian wandering around the work-site. He knew she was a civilian because she was wearing nice clothes; gauzy wraps in vivid, swirling paisleys of turquoise, blues and purples...none of which were the colors he was painting the rooms.
“May I help you?” he asked politely as he was wondering how she had stumbled in, off the street and how he was going to eject her with a minimum of fuss.
“Yes. My name is Margie Kolache and I am looking for Raymond Rojas.” the woman said.
“That is me.” Raymond said, surprised.
“I am the insurance adjuster for the Roux-Lette Insurance company. You filed a claim this morning and I am here to investigate.” the woman said.
Raymond looked at her a little bit more closely. She appeared to be in her mid-thirties and was voluptuous by Sedelia standards. Of course, Sedelia was coming out of a famine so anybody with a BMI over 22 appeared ‘pleasingly plump”. In addition to her gauzy cape she was wearing rectangular granny-glasses and Reebok running shoes.
Margie was efficiency personified as she collected the pertinent information and took photos of the trailer. Then she suggested that they inspect the other trailers that were on-site to verify that none of them had been raided.
Raymond was impressed because it had not occurred to him to check the other trailers. His admiration increased after they determined that the second shift paint trailer had also been broken into, although not as many items had been taken. None of the trailers for the other trades had been broken into.
Margie was making her notes before leaving when Raymond lamented that he could probably expect his insurance rates to go up.
Margie looked up and said, “They were going to go up anyway. The petty thieves are figuring out that there are easy pickings now that Sedelia turned off the security cameras to open up bandwidth.”
“I am going to give you a punch-list of actions to implement. The rate increase will be lower if you give me a call after you implement the actions and I verify that they are in place. Nothing radical. Better lighting, your own security cameras, marshalling the trailers closer together. Those kinds of things.” Margie said.
“The other thing you might want to consider is that this looks like you were being personally targeted. Paint and paint tools are not that valuable for their weight. The thieves would have targeted the electrician trailers if they were motivated by profit. The other thing is that the thieves hit second and third shift trailers...that suggests that they might be first shift people. Thieves are generally smart enough to not throw bread crumbs on the ground that lead directly back to them.” Margie said.
“I don’t suppose you have pissed off any first shift employees, who are not painters, lately.” Margie asked.
Thinking back, Raymond said, “I did fire four, first shift electricians last week. I walked by their work areas shortly before lunch and they had not done a lick of work.”
“Did they have a way to grieve your actions?” Margie asked.
“Not really. I paid them a half day’s wages and canned them. I worked it out with the steward that if I paid them, even if they had not done any work, that he would not contest the action.” Raymond said.
“Well, there you go!” Margie said. “That won’t get your tools and paint back but it gives you a heads-up on who you need to be looking for ‘on-campus’ in the future.”
“Here is my card. Give me a call, any time, day or night if anything comes up. I really want to see and photograph the crime scene before it gets all tracked up.” Margie said. She wrote the case number on the back of the card for him.