Friday, July 13, 2007

DC Confidential: Fighting Crime One Expensive Bottle at a Time

Okay. Say you're an upwardly-mobile yuppie-boomer family living in an expensive townhouse in Washington DC's once-again fashionable Capitol Hill area. You've invited some of your closest upwardly mobile friends over for a summer barbecue. The evening is winding down, and some of the guests have left when, all of a sudden, a crazed thug opens your back yard gate from the alley. Brandishing a gun, he threatens a 14-year old girl in the party and demands money. A terrifying moment for sure. What the hell do you do now?

"We were just finishing dinner," Cristina "Cha Cha" Rowan, 43, told the man. "Why don't you have a glass of wine with us?"

The intruder had a sip of their Chateau Malescot St-Exupery and said, "Damn, that's good wine."

The girl's father, Michael Rabdau, 51, told the intruder to take the whole glass, and Rowan offered him the whole bottle.

The robber, with his hood down, took another sip and a bite of Camembert cheese. He put the gun in his sweatpants.

Good move, Cha-Cha. Why didn't Buffy think of this first? The French Paradox in DC? We won't keep you waiting to discover what happened next as innovative social justice flowed freely:

"I think I may have come to the wrong house," [the man] said before apologizing. "Can I get a hug?"

Rowan, who works at her children's school and lives in Falls Church, Va., stood up and wrapped her arms around the armed man. The four other guests followed.

"Can we have a group hug?" the man asked. The five adults complied.

The man walked away a few moments later with the crystal wine glass in hand. Nothing was stolen, and no one was hurt.

The stunned guests eventually called the cops, but the dude was gone. An empty crystal wineglass, sans fingerprints, was discovered later out in the alley.

Just another tranquil evening in the District. But say, this could be the start of something big, a novel way of fighting crime. Introduce crooks to the finer side of life. Wonder if they'll start serving wine and cheese at state pens next? With results like this, you gotta give it some thought, right?

Original story appeared this morning in the Washington Post.

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