Monday, November 12, 2007

The Wallet Thief

New York Times
1 June 1972, p. 45.

Well, Anything Can Happen (And in This Town It Does)

By Michael T. Kaufman

This is a collection of stories currently being told around town. Unlike many events described in stories New Yorkers hear and tell, these actually happened. In each case they were traced to either a participant or first-hand observer. Names have been omitted in some cases because they were not known, in other to protect the innocent, the guilty and the embarrassed. What do these stories prove? Nothing.

On a recent Wednesday morning, a tall, burly insurance salesman was minding his own business, standing by a pole near the center doors of an IRT Broadway local, on his way to work near Wall Street.

As the train stopped at 79th Street, a well-dressed, smaller man entered the car, bumped into the tall man, turned and retreated from the car. The insurance man instinctively reached to his inside breast pocket, realized his wallet was missing and, as the doors were closing, reached out and grabbed the smaller man by his jacket collar.

The doors closed, with their rubber edges around the big man's wrist. The train started, and the man still held tightly to the jacket of the man on the platform.

Suddenly the jacket tore and the man in the car was left holding a few inches of dark blue material. The rest of the way to the office he thought dark thoughts and considered moving from a city where one cannot ride subways without having one's pocket picked.

His mood lasted until he got to his office where, a few minutes after he arrived, his phone rang. It was his wife. She called to tell him he had left his wallet at home. [...]