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Edna Benz Store Detective
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Edna Benz Store Detective
Elderly woman tough as nails
James J Alonzo
Disabledveteran Viet Nam
|AUTHOR'S OTHER TITLES (12)
A Missed Love (Short Stories) A missed love that occurred during the Viet Nam War [2,782 words] [Drama]
A Son Is Born (Agent Orange) (Short Stories) Son is born with physical problems from father's exposure to agent orange [2,475 words] [Health]
An Attempted Mugging Of An Old Man (Short Stories) Old war vet faces a young mugger [845 words] [Crime]
Ghosts Of Viet Nam (Short Stories) Ghosts in viet nam [925 words] [Mind]
I Was Told I Was Wrong To Go To Viet Nam (Short Stories) Soldier arrives home and is told his war service was wrong [853 words] [Relationships]
Mr. Whiskey Viet Nam (Short Stories) Soldier has a imaginary friend [1,223 words] [History]
Nurses In Viet Nam, They Served Too (Short Stories) Nurses served in viet nam and deserve respect [800 words] [History]
Saving Sarah (Short Stories) Cop save Sarah's life at risk of his own [923 words] [Drama]
Seeing Eye What??? (Short Stories) Blind Nan stop by the cops for driving blind [1,096 words] [Humor]
The Viet Nam Experience (Short Stories) Trying to understand PTSD from War [800 words] [Health]
When One Becomes Aware Of Their Mortality (Short Stories) When ne becomes aware of their mortality [606 words] [Health]
Woman Attempts Suicide (Short Stories) Woman attempts suicide and runs into a cop who try but looses his patience [1,043 words] [Humor]
Edna Benz Store Detective
James J Alonzo
(store detective years)
(C) James J Alonzo
One of the most interesting characters that I ever worked with was Edna Benz. I had just got a job as a store detective at a company called Wm.Hengerer. This store chain was a very high end dry goods store that had one motto , "if you are going to sell it, sell it expensive".
I had got back from duty in Viet Nam, went and live in the mountains of Northern Idaho for a year sabbatical from the war. I learned nothing in Idaho except how to cut trees down, to live off the land, grow my hair long and a beard. My family wanted me to go back to Buffalo, so I needed a job, and I went down to apply at Hengerers. As I was walking through the down town store* looking for the personnel department, I spotted two young women wrestling with another rather large woman, putting handcuffs on her, telling the large woman she was under arrest!
I walked over to the clerk near by and asked,
"What's that about?"
"Oh those two women, they're store detectives, and they caught a shoplifter." **
I was immediately hooked, that's what I wanted to do, so I asked where do I apply? I was given instructions on where the security managers office was and went there. There I met Timothy Murphy, filled out an application, and was told to come back two days later.***
Two days later I was hired, and had to start a 30 day training period with the other store detectives. Murphy has explained to me that shoplifters had to be followed (since they didn't have any of the new fangled cameras that stores later would start using.) and shoplifters had to be observed stealing by the store detectives. Murphy had started a undercover operation where there were ladies dressed as secretaries, hippies, (me), minorities, all to fool the thieves to steal in front of his squad. These store detectives at time would have police officers in plain clothes working with them.
My first training session was to be with Edna Benz, and I was to meet her at the West Seneca Mall. I had heard a lot of stories of this woman, that she was 5' tall, and 63 years old, and that she average five arrests a day.
That she would wear wigs, one day she would dress like a a nun, another she would wheel around in a wheel chair, another as a blind woman with a white cane. Other times, because she is so short would hide in the clothing racks. They told me she was the best and was like a pit bull! I asked Murphy,
"What does she look like?" I asked.
"Don't worry," Murphy said laughing, "She'll find you."
The next day I went to train at the West Seneca mall. Not sure where exactly the store was located, I entered the mall's middle entrance, the mall had over 100 stores or restaurants, and at the center concourse I checked the mall map.
As I was doing this I heard someone running towards me, from my left and I spotting him, he was a tall black man. As he was running towards me, he ran with a very poor posture with his stomach out and head pulled back. But what really made it strange was he had very expensive knit Pants clutched in both hands. As he ran, his hands and arms were pumping up and down accented by the clothing in each hand.
Looking closely as he ran by me, I noted that he was a dark color African-American, 6'4", 200 lbs., but I also noted there was a set of white arms wrapped around his neck. The white arms, I was to learn later, belong to one Edna Benz, who was hanging on the perps back with her athletic shoed feet firmly planted in the small of his back. She was jerking his neck trying break his back or to make him fall!
I ran after the two of them, and when catching up, I threw my shoulder into the perps side knocking both the perp and Edna 'ass over tea kettle!' He went down and Edna like a true gymnast tucked and rolled, landing on her hands and knees facing the perp and I. As I am handcuffing the perp, she shouts,
"He's mine!" She shouts out, "He's mine!"
"Relax lady," I said to her, "I was just helping!"
"I don't need your help! I had him! Who are you?"
"I'm the new trainee." I replied. Realizing this had to be Edna Benz.
She looked me up and down, like she was buying a new vehicle, then said sarcastically,
"You might do okay. But don't ever try to steal one of my perps again!"
I knew this was going to be a cantankerous relationship.
*Wm. Hengerers at the time had five stores, one down town, and in four main suburbs.
** Women in 1970, in law enforcement was uncommon. If they did work in law enforcement, they were placed in administration type jobs.
***When Murphy hires he has a complete background check done on the applicant. Murphy had contacts with the police and FBI, since he was criminal justice teacher at Buffalo State College,
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© 1973 James J Alonzo
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