Theft leaves blind man angry and shaken
July 21, 2012 9:00PM
Updated: August 23, 2012 10:44AM
Most men wouldn’t feel as comfortable carrying a fanny pack as Gary Jones.
But Jones, who has been completely blind for 32 years uses one to carry “all his essentials.”
Besides his I.D., cash, credit cards and checkbook, Jones also keeps a talking watch, talking thermometer, some paper and tools so he can write notes in Braille.
One Friday evening last month, Jones returned to his home on Marion Street in Joliet and took Cuddles, the friendly guide dog he’s had for six years, to his back yard.
Jones brought Cuddles back inside a few minutes later and went to bed. He woke up the next morning and prepared to take the train to Chicago. Everything was routine until he reached down to his bedroom floor and was unable to feel his fanny pack in its usual spot.
You don’t have to be visually impaired to imagine Jones wondering if he’d set it somewhere else — maybe left it on the kitchen counter or the other dresser?
“I tore this place apart, looked everywhere but couldn’t find it,” he said. “And then for some reason, I’m not sure why, but I called my credit card company.”
The financial report indicated some of the contents of Mr. Jones’ fanny pack had been very busy overnight, buying nearly $400 of fuel and cigarettes at area gas stations.
Jones believes it was when he and Cuddles were outside that someone walked in the house and took it.
Detective Tim Powers was assigned the case and went to review the surveillance video from the gas stations. Unfortunately, one of the cameras wasn’t working and another store had an employee who was less than enthusiastic to help the police.
“Even though they aren’t required to, most businesses are very good about letting (investigators) see their tapes,” Powers said. “But someone who can access the system has to be there and has to know how to burn a DVD.”
By the time the owner learned Powers had been leaving messages asking for surveillance video, the footage had already been recorded over.
While stranger things have happened, it appears whoever ripped off Jones has gotten away with it.
While having money stolen is wrong, Jones has been more concerned with the aggravation of replacing his cards and having to monitor his identity.
He’s also taken steps to try and feel safer in his own home.
“The part that’s really galling is someone must’ve been watching to know my routine, know where I keep my stuff,” Jones said. “It’s shaken my sense of security.”
Jones started to offer this interviewer with his opinion on the crook who ripped off a blind guy, but decided to hum as a substitute for vocalizing words that could not be allowed in print anyway.
But I think we’d all agree without hearing the specifics.