Thursday, September 2, 2004
SMOOTH CRIMINAL…Suddenly Squid has a newfound respect for those petty office thieves who limit their larceny to highlighter pens and paperclips. Last week, Monterey County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Augustin Rodriguez at his home in King City. His crime? According to the Sheriff’s major incident report, “theft of currency (coins) from newspaper racks situated throughout Monterey County.” The victim here is The Californian, and according to the paper’s own audit, Rodriguez made off with $50,000 over the past three years. That’s 200,000 quarters, totaling about 2,500 pounds. That’s some heavy-duty pockets, Squid thinks.
Squid can see it now: Rodriguez, at breakfast, with his co-workers. “Don’t worry about the tab, guys. I’ve got it. Jingle-jingle.” Or around the office: “Need change for the Coke machine? Where’s Rodriguez?” And Squid bets Rodriguez never had to worry about scrounging laundry money from under the couch.
But as if the robbery wasn’t enough, it turns out Rodriguez was—gasp!—a former Californian employee. Yup, he was hired in October 2001 to maintain newspaper racks and collect revenue from South County locations. Apparently someone forgot to tell him that he wasn’t supposed to keep the coins he collected.
Sheriff’s deputies booked Rodriguez into the Monterey County Jail, and set his bail at $10,000. Now, were Squid a bailiff, Squid would be very suspicious of anyone who tried to post bail in quarters.
CLEAN HOUSE…Squid likes to spend Squid’s weekends trawling the Monterey Bay for kelp sales, or, as you land-dwelling vertebrates call them, garage sales. And last weekend, Squid found the mother load: the state of California’s garage sale, held Aug. 27 and 28, in Sacramento and on eBay, to liquidate surplus government-owned material—which included an autographed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger poster. (Squid knew it—ex-Gov. Gray Davis was a Terminator fan.
“There were hundred of large crates filled with government-owned goods that were just sitting here for years, gathering dust,” said Fred Aguiar, the state and consumer services agency secretary. “Everyone, every once in a while, has to clean out their garage—the State of California has never cleaned out its garage. The Governor has made it very clear, let’s get this cleaned up.”
“Eliminating surplus property is just one way we can work together to clean out the cobwebs of government,” Schwarzenegger said, in a very manly e-mail announcement. “I am calling on Californians to participate in this historic opportunity to help us eliminate the excess.” Whatever. Squid bets the Governator just wanted a little extra spending cash as he heads to New York for the Republican National Convention.
Some of the other garage sale items include office furniture, computers, monitors, old TV sets, baseball cards, 14K gold chains, a DeWalt cordless drill with lots of accessories, 74 used money clips, a rare Tiffany & Co sterling silver pocket knife and a Ford Mustang.
Squid, however, walked away with a lawn gnome and a fondue set.