Wednesday, May 5, 2010

“Don’t shoot, I’m only the photographer!”

On a slow news day, while post processing images and listening to the police scanner, a report came across that a Silverdale Bank was just robbed. Unfortunately for the bandits, a car buyer who was looking over cars next door, noticed a man running from bank, jump into a waiting vehicle that sped off. He was able to provide the Sheriffs Office with the cars’ description and license plate number, which turned out to be a Tacoma address. Now, if you’re going to rob a bank, don’t do it on the Kitsap Peninsula as there are only about three major roads leading off. Highway 16 and Highway’s 3 North and South. Figuring since they were Tacoma residents, I’d start my search oh Highway 16. Sure enough as soon as I reached the highway entrance traffic was starting to back up and I knew they must have been pulled over a mile or so up the road.

It’s helps to know you’re the area you cover and the many roads leading throughout the county. More than once, instead to taking the most direct direction to and from an assignment, I’d take a different route. This was three-fold purpose, gave me more mileage to claim on the expense form, a chance to maybe find a feature or two along the way and this besides, this method helped me learn my way around South Kitsap area. I knew that if I drove down a road-paralleling highway 16, eventually, I would run into the police action. Looking for the flash of the blue blinking lights, I stopped on a county road just below where the cars were pulled over, grabbed my cameras and headed up the embankment.

Upon reaching a barbed wire fence I realized that I needed to go back down to car, open the trunk, grab a pair of pairs so that I could uncouple the metal bands holding the wires in place onto the fence post. Once done, I placed a branch between the wires, climbed through and proceeded my way to the top.

By the time I reached the highway and from the sound of branches cracking underneath my feet, the officers, thinking I might have been one of the robbers’ companion, who was giving themselves up, had their hands on the gun handles ready to draw. All I could say way, “Don’t shoot, I’m only the photographer!” The robber, who was being cuffed, glared and barked, “Don’t take my picture!” One of the deputies, whom I knew well, said, “Son, you got more things than worry about Jim taking your picture.”

Sometimes, in cases such as this, it helps to have a sense of humor to ease a tense situation. Besides, I bet it gave the deputies a funny story to spread throughout the sheriffs department.