My favorite 4th of July memory has absolutely nothing to do with fireworks, ice cream, the American flag, parades, etc.  It doesn't have anything to do with family or friends, BBQ's or Booze either.  My favorite 4th of July memory has to do with attempted shoplifting.

With special emphasis on the word attempted.

You see, during my illustrious Twelve year + radio career, I did spend just over a year OUT of radio.  Considering that I have no real world skills, only trivial knowledge & the ability to turn any conversation in a childish innuendo, I didn't have many career options outside of  this business. 

My wife, then my girlfriend, frowned upon the idea of me "hookin' " .  So with that chapter closed, naturally I turned to busting shoplifters for a Corpus Christi department store.

I had over Thirty video camera monitors to play with every shift.  Plus I had a little authority.  I think they hired me more to act creepy and intimidate the "team members"  (team members = new speak for Employees) than to bust actual shoplifters. 

On July 4th, 2002, I was angry.  I wanted to spend the Holiday night with my Wife.  But Nooooooooooo, I was forced into working.  Unfortunately, teh retail industry depends on holidays such as Independence day to have these massive, blow-out sales events. 

Now I could bore you with a lot of stories of fighting people of $65 worth of stolen merch, almost getting stabbed with a loaded syringe and lots of stories of sadistic, former prison guard partners.  But I won't.  But Iwill give you just this one story.

I was eye-balling ayoung man, approximately Seventeen years old, as he was nervously looking around in the shoe department.  The particular store that I worked for, carried some fairly high dollar athletic and dress shoes, so this was always a high theft area.  That's why we stationed  one of our best cameras there.

His eyes were looking around suspiciously.  I saw him select his shoes of choice.  What always seemed strange to me, was the fact that the shoes he walked in with, on his feet, looked nice.  They were semi-new looking,  Addidas cross-trainers.  But he must've preferred Nike, because that's what he selected. 

Most shoe theives just put their old shoes in the box and walk out in the new ones.  But this guy was greedy.  He wanted the new ones and to keep his old ones too. 

Fate taught him a lesson that night.  I was happy to be the instrument of learning.

I knew exactly what he was doing and exactly where he was heading.  So I stepped out of my tucked away, little monitoring room, slipped into the store and pretended to be thumbing through some clothes on a rack. 

Remember, A Loss Prevention guy is not a security guard.  So I wasn't wearing a uniform.  Half of my job was actually just to blend in with other shoppers.  So I looked natural, even if it was women's clothing I was thumbing through. 

I watched him stop and nervously look around one last time, then he picked up the pace.  His walk went from leisurely to brisk.  From brisk to frenzied.  Then finally, a sprint through the door sensors and towards the parking lot.

All I had to do was simply step out and yell BLAAAAAAAAGHHH!!!! 

So I did.

The guy looked as if he was gonna poop his pants.  He might have.  In the midst of of his fear, he tossed the shoe box up in the air and started to run.  So already, his "old" pair of shoes was gone.  All mine.

From there, the chase was on.   This is just about the only time that a grown man, not playing in the NFL, can relive the glory days of his Linebacker past.

It was like a bad dream.  I was inches from getting this dude.  Just couldn't real him in.  But as I chased him though the parking lot, towards the highway, he kicked out of his stolen shoes.  I can only assuming this allowed him to run faster. 

At this point, as I had been instructed, I let him go.  The tape later revealed that he ran barefooted all the way across both lanes of S.P.I.D.  and disappeared.

Anybody that's ever been to Corpus Christi knows how ridiculous that is.  S.P.I.D. ?  Really?  YES, really.  He was truckin' too.

So there's got to be a lesson here.  He may came in with nice shoes, to steal a pair of what he thought were nicer shoes.  And left with....No Shoes at all.

Irony, Sweet irony.