It must be opposite day, because a rather unorthodox crime has left people condemning the victim and praising the criminal.
It all started with a simple mistake. Last Monday night, 48-year-old Mike Maisonneuve of Port St. Lucie left his firearm as well as several other valuables in his unlocked car. If that sounds like irresponsible gun ownership, then you’re probably thinking the same thing that went through the head of one would-be thief.
Maisonneuve returned to his car Tuesday morning to discover that he had been robbed. His throwing knife, sheathe, .40 caliber pistol and gun magazines had been stolen from his unlocked vehicle. Maisonneuve then phoned police to report the crime, but when he turned back to his house he discovered that half of the crime had already been solved.
Sitting next to the front door was a plastic bag. The bag contained Maisonneuve’s gun and his knife, but 30 cartridges were missing. The bag also had a note from the thief. One side of the bag read “LOADED GUN Unlocked car = STUPID!!” and the other side of the bag read, “LOTS OF Children in area.”
Talk about a slap in the face. First you get robbed, then the robber is so angry at your negligence as a gun owner that he decides to lecture you about it.
Port St. Lucie police spokesman Master Sgt. Frank Sabol agreed with the not-quite-thief.
“Leaving your car door unlocked with a loaded weapon in there and a knife, it’s just a recipe for disaster…” he said. “If you take away the opportunity and if you take away the items, then you pretty much eliminate the crime. If the gun wasn’t in the car, if the car was locked, then this crime wouldn’t have occurred.”
Maisonneuve neighbor, 76-year-old Melvin George, similarly wasn’t thrilled about the news. He added a few harsh words of his own against Maisonneuve’s, “I have my grandkids come by. Having a loaded gun is no good, no good. That guy should be spoken to.”
Well, the good news is that he’s already earned a firm tsk-tsk from a thief. But here’s the question: did Maisonneuve get the message or, as our parents would always say, did it just go in one ear and out the other?
“I learned a lesson, a valid lesson” Maisonneuve said. “I should not carry a loaded firearm in my car. My mind’s been other places the last week or so. I thought I locked my car. Apparently I didn’t.”
Florida law describes stealing items from inside a vehicle as a first-degree felony, so the thief could face charges of armed burglary. Police are currently looking for suspects.