The mall security had just implemented a new security system, which allowed overhead observation of customers and their activities. In the mall, there was one tall tower, in which one or more guards were posted. These guards, from high above, were capable of seeing everything that went on down below them. For security reasons, the part of the tower where the guards resided, at the top, had darkened windows. That way, customers were unable to determine if their activities were being observed from guards. From the booth at the top of the tower, the guards on post were capable of controlling all of the security mechanisms in the store: they could close and lock doors, rotate and use security cameras, alert police and fire departments, the works. If a thief was observed from one of the guards on post, they would immediately call and tell the other guards, that were located throughout the store and equipped with radios for receiving messages. The average response time to a theft was 30 seconds to 1 minute.
And, as with new security systems, there are also new personnel. One of the new guards was Frank. To some of his superiors, he seemed mouthy. "You gotta look over these systems," the captain ordered to him. And Frank responded, "Why? Someone gonna try to steal them, too?" The only time that Frank worked was at night, and he worked alone in his booth. Not only did he work at night, but he worked late into the night, covering the shift of 11:00 PM to 7:00 AM. Though this shift was very busy in the first 3 hours, it died down very quickly to a few coke-addicts, some runaways, and partially delusional insomniacs. Yes, the mall was pretty much bankrupt of customers. Frank had preferred this shift because of how there was so little going on at night, at least part of it anyway. There were, in fact, numerous times where Frank had gone to sleep for a few hours, unnoticeably. It was not noticed because he was the only guard at the top of the tower and it was late night. However, shoplifting increased at night, and this was noticed by his superiors. One night, he had a conversation with the guard captain.
"Yes, sir?" he greeted him.
"Well," the captain said, taking has hat off, focusing on the ground, pacing around somewhat, partly looking concerned, "It looks as though shoplifting has taken a drastic increase, but only on your watch." And as the captain sat back in his chair, reclining somewhat, he said, "Do you know what might be causing this?" It seemed as though he had trouble saying this, and that he felt content now that he had stated it.
"I'm not sure," Frank lied.
"Well," the guard captain said, "If shoplifting increases, you're off my staff. That's only how the rules are. I'm sorry to tell you this." They both nodded at each other respectfully, completely lying to themselves and each other. Perhaps the guard captain was sincere in his manners, but Frank only portrayed some image that would note him as a respected officer. So, the fun nights of playing solitaire and falling asleep drooling on the controls were over for Frank. He started observing the shoplifting, and he even made a few calls to the boys downstairs to pick up people for stealing. Everything started to go fine for three weeks, until...
Kevin walked into the store at 4:30 AM on a Wednesday night, but just another night where hunger doesn't cease for this squatter. Kevin had been living on the streets for 3 months, stealing for food, or sometimes just panhandling. He was outfitted with "No Bull" faux leather, 14 eyelet boots that went past mid-shin, as well as a trench coat. In a way, he seemed quiet, but that -- coupled with his outfit -- made his demeanor perfect to scaring those who saw him. At this time, though, it barely was noticed. As well as stealing or panhandling, Kevin managed to get food from dumpster diving. He walked into the mall, at this late hour, in hopes of making an easy score. The reason why he had run away from home was because of the abusive parents he had been living with. Years of drunken, intolerable violence had simply become worse and worse for him. One night, his father had struck him, and the rage and fury filled him up so fast so powerfully, he struck back, knocking his father unconscious. The only thing he could do was run. And that's how his life has been for months.
Kevin walked into one of the stores, under observation by Frank. It was a department store. Naturally, Kevin went looking for the good food that would keep him alive and well, and was easily concealable. Without raising the slightest bit of suspicion, he was capable of slipping a loaf of bread under his trench coat. He walked to the counter, with the same expression of nothingness on his face as he walked in, and he walked on by. As he was passing the exit of the department store, the electronic piece of plastic on the package of the loaf of bread tripped an alarm. Immediately, Kevin took off to the exit on the department store, remembering he saw a door to the outside back there. As he ran by customers, he was speeding as fast as he possibly could. Frank was observing this all the time, and had locked the doors, as well as informed the other guards of the activity. "Yeah, we got a thief in Food-Go... Looks like he's heading to the back of it." By the time Kevin reached the back of the store, he ran into the back exit door, thinking it would open automatically as the doors tended to do. As he ran into the exit, the loaf of bread he had under his arm fell out onto the floor. He got up from his fall and started banging on the glass of the window. Frank was watching this the whole time, seeing that it was only a loaf of bread that the thief desired. Kevin turned around, and he saw the customers around him. They were not afraid of him, but rather they were looking at him with shocked faces, as his own was lined with these expressions of hopelessness and panic. The customers continued to stare at him, some of them building up into a crowd, and he could see the guards that were rushing to him. Somewhat afraid of being in their spot light, he backed up away from them, and inadvertently hit and knocked over a stand that had been displaying sunglasses. The bang produced from the stand had struck Kevin's heart like a hammer. He quickly got to his knees, almost crying, and started picking up the sunglasses and putting them back on the stand, muttering between the tears "I'm sorry, I'm sorry..." Realizing the futility of that, he got off his knees and just pressed his back against the exit door, seeing that the guards were coming closer.
The guards finally got to the exit door. It was open; there was a loaf of bread on the ground with scattered sunglasses, but no thief.