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Law & Order: Parma
In 1986 I worked as a salesman
at Pi Keyboards & Audio in Parma, Ohio. The store was well known for
specializing in the latest synthesizers and pro audio equipment,
well before synthesizers became mainstream.
One day, another salesman, Frank
Vale, took a call from someone in Erie, PA that was trying to sell a
used Emu Systems Emulator II keyboard sampler. At the time, this was
still a current product selling for over $8,000 new.
The price the seller was asking
was so low, that Frank assumed the Emulator had to be hot. Frank
told the seller that he was very interested and made an appointment
to have the guy bring the keyboard to the store. Immediately after
hanging up, Frank called the Parma Police and informed them that
someone was coming in to the store with what was likely a stolen
A half hour before the
appointment time, three Parma cops showed up in plain clothes (jeans
and t-shirts). Their police revolvers were stuffed down the front of
their pants. The cops acted like customers, browsing keyboards
throughout the store. The entire time I could feel my adrenaline,
knowing that there were armed law enforcement running a sting
operation while I was in the same room. I wondered if the suspect
might have a gun, as well!
When the guy showed, Frank said that he needed
to take the Emulator in the back to have our repair tech inspect it
on the bench before it could be appraised. In the back, Frank got
the serial number and confirmed that it had been reported as stolen.
Frank came out and gave a slight
nod to the undercover cops who then immediately drew their guns and
arrested the suspect. The guy was stunned. How could he have been
setup so easily? Donít do the crime; if you canít do the time!
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