On Saturday morning (April 24) I awoke to find that someone had gained access to my garage and had tried to steal my vehicle – a disreputable ’93 Explorer. I mentally kicked myself for not arming the car alarm, and for leaving the passage door into the garage unlocked. The yard is pretty secure, with the gate to the outside lane locked, a high fence and lights on sensors. Enough to deter thieves, but it was still careless to leave the car and the garage unlocked.
I was suspicious that someone had even bothered to try to take this vehicle. It wasn’t a pro because they used tools from my own toolbox to screw with the lock. It wasn’t a regular thief because bikes, camping gear and other articles were untouched. It wasn’t random because the car was not visible from outside – someone would have had to jump the gate to get into the yard to see it through a window. Someone had tried to steal it when I was parking on a parking pad at a neighbour’s place last year. The Explorer was stolen once last year – by n. and some of his street pals when he ran away last August. They drove to Kenora with some idea of going to Jan’s family cottage at Minaki, and had returned and cruised around Winnipeg for a day before abandoning the car.
I dropped in on n. at the hotel later in the morning. We talked about plans for the week. He was speaking favourably about going to a meeting on Monday with his social worker to see about a foster placement that will give him some training towards independent living. I said that Claire was leaving for Vancouver, which would give me the opportunity to bring him home and have dinner here once or twice without starting a major argument. I tried to make a plan for Sunday. I said I needed to know if he was coming so I could shop, but he hedged. I told him about the car. I told him the latch on the back gate had been shifted by someone climbing over the gate – the way the latch shifted when he used to sneak out of the house last summer when he was living here but running on the streets at night. I told him I found a leather bracelet in the car. I speculated that one the guys he had been hanging out with last summer had come back to see if the car could be taken. I told him the car alarm would now be on all the time, and the garage locked front and back. No reaction from n.
I called him on Sunday at noon but he was gone for the day. I checked with the worker at the hotel Monday afternoon. I asked if n. had gone to see his social worker for the meeting about the placement. The worker said n. had been awol on Saturday evening. He had turned up early on Sunday, and had disappeared for the day and had been awol Sunday night. He had turned up on Monday morning but taken off again and missed his meeting. As usual, I couldn’t reach his social worker. I had to call Jan in the afternoon to talk about some of our separation issues, and she said n. had called her with a story – he had a ticket to Edmonton and a job lined up in Edmonton but needed food money. She had not agreed to meet him and had not given him any money. This isn’t the first time Edmonton has come into his stories. In January, after he had been on the street for a while, he came in to CFS care and went to a group home. He bolted after a day, and tried to get money for a trip to Edmonton to see a dying friend.
I have heard that there is an urban legend among street kids in Winnipeg about a mallrat culture at the West Edmonton Mall.
I checked in with the worker at the hotel in the evening. N. was still gone. He had received his allowance on Friday but had spent it on his friends. I think that’s code for buying drugs. N. was still awol. N. called me at 6:15 this morning. He said he had been at the hotel last night but had not stayed in his room. He assumed I knew about Edmonton. I said I had heard about that. I wanted to know where he was and he wanted to know why. He asked for money and I said no. I checked with the worker in the room. N. was absent all night, and had showed up at 5:00 AM and taken something from his room and then taken off again.