I HATE being used.
A local business owner experiences major damage to his equipment, caused by a customer being a little reckless with a borrowed car.
The customer, who has actually just committed a petty theft beforehand, actually stops and talks to the on-site employee before leaving in his friend's car.
Nobody calls the cops. Hey, it happened on private property; they don't have to.
Some weeks later, my P.D. receives a DVD from the local business owner, who has reviewed his very-cool digital video system that stores on his computer hard drive and off-site, and has burned the DVD of the entire incident, including the theft, in full color, from three different camera angles.
The case lands in my hands. I investigate, find the ne'er-do-well customer, deal with the theft, and get a statement from him.
I also file an accident report for good measure. I don't have to do this; the accident occurred well over a month before, on private property, and is essentially a civil manner. But I think that the business owner might appreciate that his police department is going the extra mile, and I spend the extra time and effort it takes to put together a perfect accident report, and distribute copies to the case file, the state crash reporting bureau, and eventually to the business owner.
The business owner files a public records request for the official police report. Fine.
The business owner asks for help in locating the owner of the borrowed vehicle. Fine.
The business owner asks for help in getting the insurance company's attention. Fine.
I eventually get a call from the business owner, stating that he is terribly sorry, but that the date on the DVD is off by 3 weeks. So, the date that I had put in the case report, on the criminal charge information, and on the accident report-- all is wrong. He takes me back to his office, and shows me the rather high-end computer system, to prove to me that the date on the camera management software is incorrect, and he has NO idea how to change it; he'll have to call tech support.
As an aside, he happens to mention that the insurance company insuring the borrowed car has brought to his attention that the insurance policy was only started a week AFTER the date that I had documented. But that's okay, he assures me, since I had put the wrong date on the documentation; I should have listed a date three weeks later, he explains. But it's not my fault, he's quick to explain-- it's the camera system's fault.
I ask him when was the last time he had changed the date on the camera system.
Never! He proclaims.
I gently inform him that the date as it sits on the camera system today is actually 3 weeks later than today's date. That error which he is presenting to me right now would have caused me to put a date three weeks later than it occurred. In fact, the error "proves" that the accident occurred three weeks before the date I observed on the DVD.
If date of the accident was X, and the error on the system was Y, then he is claiming that the error is X - Y, when the demonstration that he's showing me is for X + Y.
He looks flustered, and explains that there have been "power surges," which must have caused the problem. The system was X - Y BEFORE, but now it's X + Y.
Oh. So it's just varied its date by 2Y.
Just all of its own.
And Mr. Business Owner, who is savvy enough to install the digital surveillance system, mark three time tracks, and burn them onto a DVD, and administer the computer system in so many other ways, doesn't know how to adjust the date.
Now, if I were skeptical, I might just think that he had moved the date three weeks to try to get me to change the date of the accident record, to get the insurance company to accept his claim.
Yep, that's what I'd think.