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Construction Work Gets Really, Really Boring

There were a number of complaints from the library on campus that a middle-aged man was coming into the library during the afternoons and following young coeds around among the book cases, occasionally touching their arm or leg but always standing very close and breathing erratically.

     We got a number of calls and arrived in time to chase the suspect into a shopping center across the street from the university. He just seemed to stay about a block ahead of us. Finally we had a victim who had endured the suspect's company for as much as 30minutes and we decided to do a composite. The sketch developed by this witness looked like a drawing of Joseph Stalin. But one of the librarians said she had seen the suspect for several seconds as he fled the building the day before and thought she could provide a better description.

     Without benefit of the FBI catalog of facial features the composite was developed and the patrol division took it to several of the construction sites on campus. At the first site someone said, "Oh, that's old John Doe, he works for the Fortune Co." And sure enough it was old John Doe, who admitted using the wonderful library on campus but knew nothing about any contact with any coeds.

     The problem was there really wasn't a crime the guy could be charged with and have the expectation of success in prosecuting, so the District Attorney's people made him a offer he couldn't refuse and everybody lived happily ever after as so often happens.

     Several times I have noticed that a traumatized victim with lengthy contact with a suspect will not be as good a witness as a clear headed witness who has split second contact. Anecdotes do not a rule make.

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