The Case of the Purloined Junk Trailer

The search for some of Dad’s bowling exploits brought this amusing memory from 1984 to mind. The article featured here – the last two paragraphs – doesn’t begin to tell the story of The Case of the Purloined Junk Trailer.
We had a small trailer, filled with junk and both tires flat as a pancake, parked behind the little apartment I was living in behind my parent’s house. One night, my Dad being out of town, I headed over to the main house to check in on Mom and my two siblings when I noticed something amiss. After a minute it hit me – the trailer was gone.
So, I called the cops, we looked in the alley where the trailer had been parked and saw the marks of the flat tires dragging in the dirt. They took a report and I figured that was that.
Two nights later, at 1 a.m., there’s a knock on my door. Outside are two really scuzzy-looking guys with badges, undercover cops with the OPD drug unit. They wanted to know if I had a photo of the trailer.
Being the family shutterbug, I actually had one and showed it to them. They took one look, nodded, and said: “That’s it. We’ll be back with your trailer in a couple of days.”
Sure enough, two days later, an Odessa PD Sgt. pulls up in an OPD pickup with trailer in tow, tires inflated, and still filled with junk. She hands me an inventory to check off and I go down the list.
Boxes of junk. Check.
Small couch. Check.
Carburetor. Check.
Old stereo. Check.
Basketball backboard. Check.
Two bags of marijuana and one bag of heroin…

EXCUSE ME???????

I look up and immediately say: “Those are definitely NOT mine.”
She smiles: “I know, I just wanted to see the look on your face when you got to them.”
I reply: “You know, even if they were mine, I damned well wouldn’t be dumb enough to say they were.”
Turns out Mr. Pena was a known drug dealer and had stolen the trailer to hide his drugs in. Good idea. No one would dig around in that mess.
His mistake?
He parked the stolen trailer in his driveway for all of Odessa to see. Including the two undercover cops who drove by his house and spotted the freshly reported stolen trailer.
That isn’t the actual trailer above, over time I’ve lost the photo, but the size is about right.

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