Monday, November 24, 2008

Suit Yourself

Lots of modern technology available to those in law enforcement these days. Lots of it. Did I say lots? I meant lots and lots. And apparently the German police want nothing to do with it. No, they seem to have their own secret weapon in the fight against crime. That's right. Tree suits. Wait. What?

Apparently, over there in Germany in Bochum in North Rhine-Westphalia, there had been a bunch of burglaries in a short period of time. Now, the details on all of this are a little sketchy, just so you know that I'm not leaving anything else. (Please. Me? Leave something out?!), but according to Bild, "A passer-by had earlier discovered bin bags containing laptops, clothes and tools for breaking in. It was immediately clear what it was – a burglar’s lair!" Now, it doesn't tell the reader what the passer-by was passing by, nor does it mention how one who is just 'passing by' discovers all of the 'bin bags' (which I am assuming is fancy European talk for 'trash bags') filled with loot. It also leaves out the most important item, that being that apparently in Germany they still use the term 'lair'. But you now know as much as I do.

The passer by alerted the cops to the lair loot, who then had to come up with a way to nab the bandit. (Bild tries to make this sound just as exciting as it can be, but it's not all that exciting to begin with, so the noble effort falls a little short.) The article says, "Inspector Michael L. (27) was keen to catch the crook red-handed. He said: “I discussed with my colleague how we could camouflage ourselves in the forest. Then we discovered the suit in a mail-order catalogue and bought two for €100 each – out of our own pockets.” "

The suits to which Michael L (shouldn't there be a little disclaimer that says "Not his real name" and then a shadowy silhouette?) refers to are tree suits. Suits that look like trees. Trees that are really suits. Tree suits. Yes, those tree suits. Wait. Huh? Behold! Tree suits! Suits that look like trees!

I don't know if I'd call that a "tree". It kind of looks like vertical pond scum. I guess the German trees are of the rather mossy variety? It's certainly not what I think of when I think of "trees". But hey, what's going on over there in Germany, anyway?! What the heck kind of a catalog do y'all have just lying around with tree suits for sale in it? What else is for sale in that catalog? Flower suits? Suits that look like big bees? Gingerbread men? What kind of a catalog is this?!

Well, we never find out any more about the catalog. Next thing we know, the cops have donned the tree suits and they now look like trees. Then they waited in the forest with the other trees that were not suits. And they waited. And they waited. And they waited. All the while? Correct, wearing the suits of trees. But again, not looking so much like trees as they did just outdoor green stuff (as you can clearly see, or not see, from the photo below. They're in there!).

Finally, after eight tree-like hours, they heard a car approach. According to someone (again, Bild, not all that great with the details there, folks.) “As we jumped up from the ground, we were immediately attacked. But we were able to overwhelm and arrest the man.” OK, well, in defense of the criminal, you guys are kind of lucky to be alive. Personally, if I'm in the forest (regardless as to whether or not I'm going to my lair for my booty of hidden stash) and suddenly some trees start coming at me? There wouldn't be a calm resolution to the situation, I'll tell you that right now! If I found myself in the middle of an episode of "When Arbors Attack", I'm going to grab the nearest ill-begotten bin bag and hope that I had stolen an axe at some point during my crime spree. I can't say I blame the guy for "attacking".

Turns out, the guy was from Romania and only travelled to Germany just to do the burglarizing. (Geez, talk about a commute. Must have been rather profitable. At least, more profitable than pilfering other people's belongings in your own country. This is why we need border enforcement everywhere!) No word on why he chose to hide everything in a German forest rather than take it back to Romania. And really, no word on why they had to wear tree suits in the first place. Couldn't they have just, oh, I don't know....hid in the forest? It seems like they knew just where he was going to show up (albeit eight hours later, but still, I doubt it was coincidence.), so couldn't they have just planted themselves (pun intended) behind a rock or a potted palm or something and waited? Why the suits? Just to be fancy? People don't like a show off.

So what have we learned from this? Not much, which is kind of the problem. When you read a story and then you end up with more questions than you had when you started (and if you're me, that's a heck of a lot of questions), that's not exactly stellar journalism. It's annoying is what it is. Come on, Bild guys! I know you can do better, so I'm willing to give you another shot. The next time that law enforcement personnel are dressing up in suits they get from some mystery catalog (which probably has something to do with porn) in order to nab some forest bandit, try and do a better job of making sure that you've reported on all angles of the thing. Most importantly, what the heck kind of a catalog was that.

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