Stolen valuables, stolen stories

When I was 18 years old I moved to Tucson, Arizona. I didn’t bring very many possessions with me, but I did have a special bag that I used as a purse. It was an army camera bag, a hand-me-down from my older sister. It was unique and funky and worked perfectly for me. But the most special thing about it was a charm chain that I sewed onto the outside of it. It had special trinkets from all the people I loved. It had a yellow rose from my mom, a silver locket of hair and other little anchors to family and friends. Also, in this bag I kept every single piece of identification I had. My passport, my social security card, my birth certificate, as well as my driver’s license were in this bag. I’m sure you know where this story is going.

One day I stopped by my friend’s house in South Tucson to pick something up. Thinking I was just running in for a minute I left the windows down and left my purse in the front seat, an arm’s distance from the window. I was really only a couple of minutes but I was gone long enough for someone to steal my precious bag. I drove around for hours looking for it, hoping that someone just stole the contents and threw the purse out the window. Unfortunately, I never found it. Lesson learned.

My thief was what Matthew Dicks would call a “smash & grabber” only he didn’t have to smash. Matthew Dicks is a Connecticut author that I just discovered. I LOVED his new book, Something Missing. It’s all about a thief who steals only what people won’t miss. A roll of toilet paper here, a can of beans there. He has grocery lists and goes to his “client’s” houses and collects items. This book was so much fun because Matthew Dicks goes into great detail explaining exactly how the thief does it. There are three very suspenseful parts of the book where I could not put it down.

For some reason I get creeped out by murder mysteries (I know many of you love them and I’m sure there’s good reason!) but I do love suspense. So my suspense books usually end up being about the milder crime of stealing. Here are some fun thievery-themed items you can borrow from the library (as long as you bring them back!):

Worth repeating: Something Missing by Matthew Dicks (FIC DIC). Again, really great suspense, but also funny, interesting, even has a love story too! A great Connecticut author!

Theft: A Love Story by Peter Carey (FIC CAR). An interesting story about a man, his relationship with his brother and a lady who steals art. They work together to create a heist.

Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella (FIC KIN). A light story about a young woman, Lara, who is haunted by her Great Aunt’s ghost, Sadie. Sadie wants her to steal back an old necklace. Lara ends up finding some other family secrets and stolen art.

Audra recommended Perfect by Marne Davis Kellogg (FIC KEL). I took it home but haven’t had a chance to read it yet. It is about a former jewel thief turned detective who has to find the thief who stole the Queen’s jewels.

Museum of the Missing: A History of Art Theft by Simon Houpt (364.162 HOU). This book was really interesting to me. In the back is a Gallery of Missing Art which describes many different art thefts and has pictures of each of the paintings or sculptures. The most recent from 2006 and the oldest one missing in 1934.

We have many DVDs involving theft and heist. Here are some fun ones in our collection:

My Best Friend (FOREIGN DVD MY): A French film about a man who tries desperately to find a true friend. His test is asking his friend-to-be to steal something for him. Funny, sweet and different.

Inside Man : Denzel Washington and Jodie Foster star in this mysterious bank robbery movie with an unusual motive.

The Curse of the Jade Scorpion: A Woody Allen movie wherein a man gets hypnotized to steal. Woody plays two different characters.

Small Time Crooks: Another Woody Allen movie wherein he and his wife cover a bank robbery by opening up a cookie shop.

Fun with Dick & Jane (COMEDY DVD FUN): A down-on-their-luck couple turn armed robbers in this screwball comedy.

Oceans 11, 12 & 13 (ACTION DVD OCE): These are three different movies with suspenseful and fun casino heists, robberies and museum thefts.

Jesse Lee Harmon is the bookkeeper/library assistant and is currently humming the soundtrack for Oceans 11 (CD SOUNDTRACK OCE).

4 thoughts on “Stolen valuables, stolen stories

  1. So happy to hear that you enjoyed the book, Jessie! Many, many thanks for the more than kind words. My next book, UNEXPECTEDLY, MILO, will be out next year. Hope you enjoy just as much!


    Matthew Dicks

  2. Great post! Sorry about your bag getting stolen, though. I, too, was a victim of a like crime many years ago and lost my climbing gear at a time when I was an “economically challenged” student. Another movie that’s fun and about stealing is Take the Money and Run, a classic mockumentary by Woody Allen, who plays Virgil Stockwell: “After spending 15 minutes with her I knew I wanted to marry her…… After 30 minutes I had totally given up the idea of stealing her purse.”

  3. Jesse: loved your bag, so sorry you lost that important part of your whole being!

    When my daughter was in the early grades in Mayfield, NY, she set her jean jacket down by the tree on a hot day. Somebody took it home and some mother didn’t send it back to school.

    It had treasured badges on it, including one that her trucker dad had given her. I am sure this didn’t help a sweet little girl trying to do right in the world; another piece of innocence lost!

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