You often see it in television cop shows where one small mistake brings a criminal undone.
In my experience as a police officer interstate, I saw several instances where this happened.
One case where a vehicle parked in a No Parking zone led another officer and I to making the largest drug ‘bust’ in the state in 1978.
Perhaps I will write an article on the particular case later.
No Tail Light
It was a quiet night on a country road and I was returning to the station after having completed some enquiries.
I was on my own when I came up behind a sedan with one taillight not operating.
Not a capital offence by any means but I wondered did the driver know so I operated the single blue light we had back then, the sedan pulled over and I went to the driver’s window to let him know he had a tail light out.
I had no intention of writing a ‘ticket,’ it was just a thing country cops do.
The Ghetto Blaster
Two young blokes in the front seats with one of those ‘ghetto blaster’ radios between them and a lass in the back.
The radio looked brand new and the driver said he bought it the same day.
As I’d been looking for a battery operated radio for home for a little while, I asked the driver where he bought it and for how much.
When he said $50, the old brain went into overdrive and my nose started to twitch – I knew these radios were selling new for a great deal more.
When he was unable to produce a receipt, I asked him to step out of the car. When the interior light came on, I noticed there were unopened boxes of electrical goods in the rear.
When I asked him to open the boot, there were more boxes of electrical gear and again, no receipts.
You know the rest, it was all stolen property, I called the detectives and they later took the boys to a shack where they were living which also turned out to be stacked with stolen property.
Across the River
All three were charged, they pleaded guilty, the goods were returned to their owners, the lass received a good behaviour bond and the boys spent 12 months ‘across the river,’ the term used to describe the prison.
Why? Only because a tail light was not working.
We’ve all made mistakes in our lives but fortunately and in most cases, it didn’t end up with us in prison.
Yes, mistakes happen and many have been caught out for something as simple as a blown taillight.
As a believer in Jesus as the Son of God, everyone of us needs to take every precaution not to make mistakes, for example, making gossip or swearing or speaking ill of someone when we think there’s no other Christians around.
John Skinner is a retired journalist who has written ten biographies on famous campdrafting competitors. He was an Australian infantry soldier wounded in Vietnam, served six years as a Police Officer, was CEO of the then Australian Rough Riders Assn (Pro-Rodeo based in Warwick, Qld). He and his wife Marion retired to a small farm 25km south of Warwick 20 years ago. They have three children and now seven grandchildren.