A woman holding a child’s hand tells me that she needs to make a call.
“Do you have a cell phone I could use?” she asks.
I answer, “Tell me the number and I’ll dial.”
“No,” she insists. “I’m going to dial it myself. Please.”
But I insist. She relents, I dial, and the call goes through.
I start to hand her the phone, and she screams. Quickly I enter my car, lock the door, and call 911.
I describe this incident to the emergency operator and add, “This seems strange. Was she signaling a partner to abort their plan for a crime?”
Police officers eventually arrive. They listen to me in a desultory way. They do perk up when I suggest that something nefarious might have been in the making.
“Perhaps she was going to run off with my phone, I would chase her, and her confederate was going to steal my car?”
The officers file a report. Eventually, a detective contacts me. “Can you help identify this woman? Your incident may fit a pattern of recent crimes.”