Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Law & Order: These Are The Stories

In the criminal justice system, there are two — no, wait, there are three — groups.

There are the police who investigate the crime, and there is the district attorney who prosecutes the offenders — and now, there is the condo or co-op Board of Directors who investigate and prosecute. At least that’s what we’re learning from various news reports.

This thrills me in a life-imitates-art kinda way. The alleged art, in this case, is my novel, Outof Order, wherein the Board president is murdered. How does the new prez react? She appoints a committee to investigate. So logical and yet so surreal. . . or so I  thought.

So now we learn that, earlier this year, a jewelry theft mini epidemic hit the building chronicled by Michael Gross in his book 740 Park: The Story Of The World’s Richest Apartment Building. Perhaps, there should have been a bit more stop and frisk on the street. The board suspected these were inside jobs, fired a few employees and hired private investigators. (I mean really, how can you rely on civil service types.)

740 Park is not the only community taking arms against a sea of crimes or at least misdemeanors. Other offenses have less to do with heisted jewelry and more to do with clandestine dog droppings.

The Grande at Riverdale, a condo complex  in Riverdale (NJ) is now  collecting DNA samples of the various little Friedrichs, and Tiffanys and Bowsers residing in the condo. When a dog soils the Grande landscape, reports Kathleen Lynn of, a bit of the evidence will be shippped off to Knoxville (TN), home of BioPet Vet Lab’s  PooPrints service. (Think “broken windows” theory. Who is to say that cracking down on antisocial dog owners today does not ultimately prevent stolen jewelry?)

When a match is determined, the owner will receive a sizable fine. (There’s no word as to whether there also will be a rolled-up newspaper rap to the snout.) The Devon Woods condo in Braintree (MA) and the Chestnut Pointe Condominium Association in Dallastown (PA) are also among those that have turned to DNA testing.

Jewelry and lush lawns are not the only objects of criminal lust. Sometimes, perps simply want the coin of the realm — especially quarters. For example, there’s the Arlington Heights (IL) caper. According to the Arlington Cardinal, “an unknown offender or offenders took coins from two washers and two dryers on the fourth floor of a condominium building.”
We don’t know if this was an inside job. Apparently, there was a clean getaway.

A disturbing pattern emerges. It pains me to say it; but co-ops  and condos are not yet the cloistered edens we so wish them to be. On the bright side, if you are applying for admission to a co-op, be sure to point out any training in forensics you might have. It’s a plus.