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This is the "Thief Story" Page

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¿Dónde Están los Ladrones?
Or, as they say in English, "Where are the thieves?"

This is another less-than-hair-raising story about one of the true adventures of ‘ol Ugly Otter during his stint as a proprietor of a flea market stand in New Mexico many years ago.  He’s not going to divulge the location, or the tribe involved in this story, except to say it was in New Mexico many years ago.  Although this story is true, he does not want to antagonize or embarrass any members of a particular tribe which might otherwise be identified in this story.  While he has often said that 99.9% of the Native Americans he deals with are completely honest, this group of Indians is the exception.  He buys no jewelry from this group, because as far as he knows, they do not make jewelry (or anything else that he is aware of)  

‘Ol Ugly started going to this particular town which was fairly close to an Indian Reservation of which he had no knowledge.  He went to this town for their week-end flea market back around 1991, and sold primarily Indian Jewelry.  The first several times he attended this particular market, he was really enthused - his booth was a very popular place, especially with some of the older Indian ladies who seemed to wear about 8 or 10 skirts and several jackets and coats even during the warm weather.  They were usually surrounded by 3 or 4 youngsters who were aged 5 thru 8, or somewhere in that age group.  

It seemed that the inventory was disappearing faster than the sales would support.  After 4 or 5 trips to this market, it finally dawned on him that someone was stealing his wares!  Who could it be? Those nice, polite grandmothers with their grandchildren?  Surely not.  Yes, it turned out that the children were in school.  The "school" was how to steal from the "white man" and not get caught.  Some of them must have had an  A+ on their grade card!  

I learned later that it was a game with them.  They did not particularly care what value the items had - it was the thrill of getting away with it that counted!  Well, after learning the hard way what the attraction was with his booth, the Ugly Otter got smart.  He tied strings to each and every piece.  When something tried to "take legs and walk off" the string would interrupt the game, and they soon left his booth alone, realizing he was onto their "game".

Then, one day, the Otter was giving a hard sell to a tourist from "back east" when he heard the sound of a jewelry case closing behind him.  He looked around and there stood a 60's year old male member of the tribe, looking innocent, gazing toward the distant mountains.  The Otter noticed at the same time that a $400 bracelet was missing from the case that he had heard close.  Well, what to do?  Call a cop?  Make accusations?  Create a scene?  Or pretend everything was O.K.?

He excused himself from the tourist, and walked up to the tribal member who continued to stare off into the distance as though the Otter was not even there.  The Otter laid his hand on the guy’s shoulder and stared him in the face, and told him, "You know, I would like to be your friend, but it’s very hard to be friends with someone who puts my things in their pocket".   He continued to stare off into the distance for a minute or so, while the Otter continued to stare him right in the face, hand on his shoulder.  Finally, he looked at the Otter, grinned, got the bracelet out of his pocket and handed it back.  He said "Mr. Otter, I was not trying to steal from you - I just wanted to get your attention to see if you would loan me two dollars".  The Otter thought a minute, reached into his pocket and handed two dollars to the guy.  He thanked the Otter and left.  The Otter then went back to the tourist and concluded a sale.  The tourist had witnessed the whole transaction as had the neighboring booth owner.

The neighboring booth owner, it turned out, was half blood in the same tribe as the person who had tried to swipe the bracelet.  He told me, "Otter, I saw what happened and you handled the problem just right".  "You still have your bracelet, no hard feelings happened, and you will get your two dollars back".  "The guy will now lose face if he does not pay back the loan, and you have made a friend when you could have made an enemy". The Otter asked the other booth operator, "Does this mean they will stop stealing from me?  He said, "No, but they will also buy something from time-to-time, as you are now a trusted friend".

It’s good to be a trusted friend.  And a couple of weeks later he got the two dollars back!  And, yes, they did buy things from time-to-time.

A true story from the life and times of the Ugly Otter.

Our Mailing Address is:
1188 Court St, #50
Elko, NV 89801

Phone 775 753 5396

FAX 775 753 4093

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Want to read a true "Wolf" story?
Want to read a true "Thief" story?
No One's Here, We're Gone
Ugly's First Rock Hunting Trip
Trip to a Reservation
"The Great California Show"
A Rough Trip Home!
Bear? What Bear?
A True Story of Lies
Where in the World Are
     Ugly Otter's Customers?

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Our "NO QUIBBLE GUARANTEE" protects you.  No hassles, guilt trips, silly questionnaires, and absolutely no BS! If you do not like any merchandise purchased from us, for any reason,  return it, undamaged,  within 20 days, for a full refund  (this is a refund, not a "Store Credit") of your purchase price  NO QUESTIONS ASKED - YOU ARE THE FINAL JUDGE.  No, you don't need to call us and ask for permission.  Just send it back.  No hassle!