1. Brian's First Mugging

    brian on 2004.05.11
    at 02:22 am

    Basically it went down like so. I was walking around the Lechmere Canal, about half way from the mall to the train. I saw two black teens, probably no older than 15 loitering in the darkest section of the wide brick walkway. The walk way isn't terribly dark, honestly. I wasn't too far behind some other woman, but there was apparently no one behind me.

    They started towards my walking trajectory. One faster than the other, as to get on either side of my path. My instincts at that point sounded the alarm. That's not right. My liberal side kicked in "Don't stop walking because they're black. They're dressed cleanly, although very urban, that doesn't mean they're going to do anything. Lots of people mindlessly walk into people's path."

    At this point they were on either side of me.

    "Yo. Give me your wallet"

    "Hey now, come on. Stop it." I say as I try to push by.

    "No, man, wallet, give it up." He restates. It feels more like they're just going to try to bully me. I don't see any weapons. Maybe I can just walk through them.

    "Knock it off." At this point I'm paraphrasing everything, cause I don't remember the words, just the motions and images.

    "Give it up, man. I'm serious." At this point, I see the glimmering blade of a buck-style pocket knife, about three inches in length being held into my gut with light pressure. "Give me your wallet."

    "Alright, alright. There's no need for any of this. Can I just give you the cash, keep my license and stuff?" I attempt to reason with teenage assailants with a knife.

    "Yeah, yeah." Go figure.

    I whip out the cash and hand it over.

    "What else you got in there?" Referencing my bag. Shit, I think.

    "Nothing, I don't have anything else." I try to say as exasperated and pathetic as possible.

    One guy reaches in and see my phone, pulls it from the bag.

    "Oh, come on." I say. "Give that back, what do you want that for."

    "He's going to call the cops if we give it back." One says to the other.

    "Why bother?" I reason. "They'll never catch you anyway. I'm not going to call them. No point."

    "OK, give it to him." The fat one with the knife, the ring leader, says. Skinny one gives it back. Go figure.

    "What else you got?"


    "OK, don't be calling the cops now."

    I get out of there promptly. Honestly surprised. Not so bad for being "violated." Is this the feeling of violation? Why did they do this? They didn't look like typical thieves. They were dressed cleanly. They probably wore those clothes to school. They weren't thorough, and almost polite. I must have been lucky with a couple of rookies. Their whole life of crime ahead of them. They were probably a little scared, too. But as the street would teach, they hid it well. You never show weakness.

    I walk quickly to the train, and get on with little delay. I didn't call the cops, rather back to the store so they could alert mall security. I wasn't concerned too much with the police, as I was with preventing this from happening again that night to someone else. Security could do that. Their presence alone deters. People, attention deters. But, the cops would likely not catch them, unless they were really stupid and hung around there.

    When I got home, there was a message from the store that the police responded to their call instead of Mall Security. The cops usually have a presence in the mall. They want me to call them directly a file a report, because despite my description has passed along by the store, they can't file a report with anything less than a first hand description. I haven't called yet. I'm debating as to whether its even worth it.

    Mugging seems like such a nice word. Armed robbery with a deadly weapon is pretty fearsome. It turns out that this is one of the most common offenses in this area of Cambridge, in fact the biggest other than vandalism. But the analysis doesn't make me feel any better, because I and some many others have to walk that path twice daily.

    What an odd last month: get an awesome new job, treat yourself to a cool new bike for commuting. Have a great time in California training for two weeks, come back, next day find out my Grandfather has unexpectedly passed away. Work my first few days at the fun new job until driving 600+ miles in two days for the services. Hurt your back in at the service carrying stuff. Come back to work, can't ride the new bike thanks to the back injury, enjoy another few days of work, and then get mugged on the way to the backup transportation. Whenever you get a high point, there's life looking to knock you back down.

    Posted in: Recent Events


    Comments (12)

    1. smeg said on 2004.05.11 at 12:02 pm

      I've been through a period of good, followed by a period of bad too, strange how it works out that way!

      Personally, I'd file the report, if it causes the police to increase their presence there, or even just adds to the number of reports which makes them decide they should do something in 6 months, then it's helped the next person they mug. They may have been rookies now, but who knows how many times they may try it again.

    2. Diosa said on 2004.05.11 at 12:07 pm

      File the report

      You were really lucky!! I'm glad you weren't hurt.

      File the report. Yes they were rookies, but they got away with it. That makes it extremely tempting for them to try again, and the next person may not get away physically unharmed.

    3. Bruce said on 2004.05.11 at 03:47 pm

      With any luck, their next victim will be carrying a firearm to defend himself.

      You can thank your pro-gun control legislators for making it EXTREMELLY cumbersome and difficult to obtain a permit to carry a firearm in Massachusetts.

      Gun control disarms only those members of society inclined to follow the rule of law, creating a population of unarmed victims.

      And why the hell would you not call the police? Nothing like enabling criminals to run rampant by ignoring the problem then asking what wouuld drive people to act that way.


    4. Jose Anes said on 2004.05.11 at 06:09 pm

      File the report!

      File the report! It is your duty to fellow citizens. By filing the report they may allocate more funding for the police.

      As for the pro-gun comment. Although off-topic, I tend to agree with that poster.

    5. Anderkoo said on 2004.05.12 at 03:09 am

      I have to admit that I wrestle with this feeling a lot myself when approached by or approaching "urban" youth. Like you I try to focus on how they are dressed, not their race or ethnicity, but in his case clothing was not a good predictor. I guess the fact is that crime is going to happen, and who gets mugged is often just a game of statistics. Even if you carried a gun, what are you going to do, pull it out every time you felt somewhat threatened?

      I've never felt that stretch between the T and the mall to be dangerous, and I'm disturbed by the police statistics showing otherwise. I think I'll be more careful around my neighborhood (Riverside) -- though again, it's hard to think of concrete things you can do to prevent this kind of crime. Sounds to me like you handled it real cool, about the best anyone could have.

    6. Bruce said on 2004.05.12 at 11:10 am

      I hope you don't consider a knife pressed against your stomach as being "somewhat" threatening.

      Every day, people in this country use firearms in acts of self-defense. Anyone issued a permit to do so understands that deadly force, or even the display of the potential to use deadly force is justified only in cases where your life is at risk.

      It is a fact that crime is going to happen, just don't expect me to roll over and play the helpless victim.

      As far as things you can do to prevent crime - you can petition your legislators to pass "shall issue" legislation relating to the issuance of permits to carry firearms.

      Even if you choose not to carry a firearm to protect yourself, the bad guys won't know that.

      As it is, they know who's unarmed and will take full advantage of the situation.

    7. The Dane said on 2004.05.12 at 04:15 pm

      File the report, please.

      Please file the report.

      About 15 years ago a friend of mine was mugged in a similar situation. He was actually able to stave off the muggers being of somewhat questionable moral reputation himself. Because of the situation he never filed a report and enjoyed telling the story to the patrons of the bar he frequented. Several weeks later while sitting behind a cheap draft he watched a report on the news about a fellow who was shot to death in the same location he was mugged. It was the same kids that mugged him they were, 17 and 18, years old.

      To this day he wonders if he had called the cops if that guy would be dead and those kids would be in prison.

      Please file a report.

      As far as the “Urban Youth” issue goes everyone has prejudices. Your liberal prejudices got the better of you in this case. Think about it, “Don’t stop walking because they’re black…”

      You’re defensive radar was already up; it had nothing to do with the fact that they were black. If it was two guys in suits approaching you in the same manner it would have made you feel the same way. We have instincts for a reason and we should listen to them.

      The media has made a lot of, “Every time I walk down the street women clutch their pocketbooks because I am black.”

      Think about that for a moment too. This person perceives it is because they are black. To the woman it might just be the way the man is walking down the street.

      I’m a 6’ 3” white guy. I also have a fairly dour expression when I am deep in thought. I also walk very fast. I have seen woman pull in their pocketbooks in when I walk by like that as well. Is it because I am white or because I might be seen as a threat because of my size, speed, and demeanor?

      The bottom line is when your gut tells you something like that, listen to it.

      You also absolutely did the right thing by giving them your money. In my old neighborhood people used to carry two wallets one of them with a ten dollar bill. They called it “mugger money”. Hopefully yours was a once in a life time experience.


    8. Brian said on 2004.05.12 at 06:06 pm


      And as an addendum, the officer said that area isn't high-crime. But it's been happening fairly often in this side of Cambridge

    9. Joe Malones said on 2004.05.14 at 10:10 pm

      Next time they'll take for your life, just for kicks. Better smarten up Libby.

    10. Sean said on 2004.05.18 at 03:43 am

      Even this close encounter with reality hasn't seemed to penetrate your mind. Sad.

      In any case, ethnicity, race, color, dress mean nothing. Trust your instincts. If you thing you are in danger, then respond appropriately.

    11. Ollie said on 2005.07.03 at 11:29 am

      MY STORY

      hey everyone i dont know when this website was last updated.. anyway im 14 i live in australia :) i got mugged yesterday by a bunch of cowards. A pack of 18 year olds were following me and my friends up a main road at 4pm. I noticed it being full suspisious.. 2 behind and one trying to get infront of us and crossing over the road. we got cornered.. i knew what was happening, my friends were shocked tho. Anyway they asked my mate for his stuff he handed over his empty wallet.
      My situation was similer to the one that brian expirenced.. i tried same techqniques.Sorta. I said they couldnt have my stuff and he tried grabbing my wallet from my pocket i told him off and said.. look ill give you my money Okay U dont need my wallet or any of that. my phone is shit and doesnt take simcards so it culda goten canceled the same day but watever. i gave him half of the the money and i was about to get the other half but he became all snatchy and tried to grab it i held on to it and he did aswell.. i Found someone stadning across the road and i called for help from them. they thought i was joking tho .. mmm damn. Anyway he was full pethetic and said “hes got my wallet” out aloud. i said he was pethetic and he pushed me back. I grabbed him and pounded into his face :) he then got my in the face as well. i have a black eye and a fractured nose hooray!. Anyway i tackled the bastard and took my wallet off him, also i winded him. The lady came over and helped he got away with $10.. haha.. i hope his friends give him a hard time for being beaten by a 14 year old :D anyway thats my story.. im feeling pretty vunrable at the momment tho bcause these kids are local and they move in a big pack. CAN NE 1 GIMMIE SOME ADVICE TO AVOID THIS SITUATION OR EVEN IF THEY TRY TO GETREVENGELATER ON HOW TO DEAL WITH IT. Cyaaaaa, Ollie :D

    12. jake said on 2005.07.19 at 11:25 pm

      Sorry to hear that Ollie. I don’t really have much advice other than I would defintely report the incident. It could possibly create enough pressure on the other kids to leave you alone.

      Can anyone else offer some advice for Ollie?

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