Many moons ago a couple girlfriends and I were faced with a dilemma. We believed a friend’s wife was having an affair. Outraged but intrigued, we realized we had a couple options: we could mind our own business or we could do something about it. Being stupid, young and bored, you can guess what we chose.
After much planning, which we found disturbingly exciting, we decided to act and met up one night, dressed in dark clothing because all spies need to stay incognito, right?
So when the alleged cheater got off work, we tailed her, careful to keep an unnoticeable distance. All those detective programs paid off because she had no clue we were 3 cars behind her. Spying was an exhilarating adrenaline rush. That feeling, however, quickly dissolved into heartbreak when we followed her to her boyfriend’s home.
It was then that we decided our friend needed to know because once a cheater, always a cheater. So what seemed like fun and games was far from it. Sometimes when spying, you discover things you’d rather not. And that brings me to my latest attempt at being a sleuth.
A friend of mine, who we’ll call Kate, has an elderly brother we’ll call John. John suffers from dementia and lives in a retirement community where he met who we’ll call Bernice, aka The Vulture. Next thing Kate knew, she was gunning for John’s riches.
Bernice, in 4 words, is a conniving little thief. She has John more confused than ever to where he’s now talking marriage. John is very thrifty with his money, so when their banker called Kate (who is on John’s account) to say the couple had been in to withdraw a boatload of money, Kate took action and Bernice was served a restraining order.
I then called my friend Leanne, an ex-investigator, to research Bernice. Turns out she has an alias and no work history yet she lives in a $4000 a month retirement home and moves a lot. Very Interesting. Fortunately the bank red-flagged John’s account but that hasn’t stopped The Vulture. We’re told she’s defying the restraining order by sneaking over to see him at night, continuing her quest to convince him she loves him while planning to swindle him out of his life savings before getting the heck out of Dodge. She needs to be caught in action!
Enter my cue to get back in the spying game…
So with restraining order in hand, I staked out John’s floor one night around the time Bernice purportedly visits him. I pretended to be on the phone in the dining room with a perfect view of his door. After a while, I felt someone watching me from the hallway and when I looked up, it was John! He stared at me for the longest time. Uncomfortable, I smiled and waved. He smiled back with no clue who I was. I continued pretending to be on my phone until he went to his room. Bernice never showed.
A couple nights later I sat in a different place, positioning myself behind a giant pillar so as not to be easily seen yet still have a view of John’s door. I had an explanation ready, if asked why I was there; a good spy comes prepared.
Now don’t get me wrong; nothing happened that night either. Kate found out John was upset going over his credit card statements and noticed huge charges. He’s beginning to distrust Bernice, who we learned had left town to visit her daughter. Interesting timing, don’t you think? So the saga continues but hopefully with a happy ending for John because The Vulture has been served a subpoena to appear in court next week!
The retirement home social worker will be a witness, along with John’s banker and stockbroker. I hope this seemingly habitual thief gets her comeuppance so she can’t scam another unsuspecting man. But it may be too late; she’s already been seen dancing with someone at another facility.
Ironically, my daughter conveyed her fears about me giving everything I owe away to others besides her last night. She said she doesn’t want to inherit anything (I don’t quite believe her), but she doesn’t want to see me get ripped off. I told her that if that’s the case, she should never leave me completely alone and not be checking in regularly when I am older – especially if I have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease or start to exhibit signs. One of the worst elder abuse cases I had, a woman in her late 80s got ripped off for over $10K and didn’t want her family to know because she feared being put in a nursing home, and the thief relied on that fear, thinking she’d never tell anyone. We need to value people as they age because, sadly, they become targets for heartless, money-sucking parasites like “Bernice”, and loneliness and memory loss make them easy prey. I hope Bernice is gone for good.
Pingback: A Despicable Human Being | Now Don't Get Me Wrong