Cameras are everywhere.
If you're a law-abiding citizen who keeps his or her nose clean, this shouldn't matter. If you're a law-abiding blogger or radio host tasked with finding reams of daily content, this is a great thing.
If you're a petty thief disguised as a frumpy, middle-aged neighborhood mom, this is a terrible thing. With iPhone cameras, there is essentially surveillance around every corner, surveillance that captures not only the crime itself but the denial, the lying and the confrontation afterwards.
So over the Fourth of July weekend, a couple of stout, fortysomething female beach-goers found this out the hard way. For the goods, we go to a shore somewhere in the state of Florida (which was a -350 choice on the Vegas big board for the state in which this video footage was shot).
As you will see, to the naked eye from a distance, the scene looks innocent enough -- a couple of ladies wrapping up a day at the shore having a little trouble taking down their portable fold-up canopy thingie. Totally logical. Hell, it's damn near camouflage. Why would anyone think a crime is being executed in this video?
Unless it's your shit that they're trying to jack, right?
Okay, on the Internet awesomeness scale, this rates roughly a 153 on a scale of 1 to 10. This is just fantastic. Here are my favorite highlights from this glorious 62 seconds of footage:
0:09 -- When asked by the owner, "Is that yours?" the one in the red bathing suit says, "Yeah, but we don't know how to do it." Because why would someone who owns a tent that they had previously put up know how to disassemble it? That would be crazy!
0:19 -- The feigned flabbergasted-ness of the hefty gal in the orange shirt is priceless. "Wait, THIS IS YOURS?!?" And on cue, both of these criminals knew exactly what to point at to feign the "honest mistake." Translation: They've done this before.
0:30 -- Orange Shirt pointing at kids' toys saying, "Wait a minute..." as if she were suddenly coming to the realization, "Hey, this isn't our stuff...you're right..."
0:47 -- "Put the goddamn camera down..." This is the part where the cameraman is somehow made out to be the bad guy for filming these two specimens committing a crime.
The whole thing ends on film with the woman in the red bathing suit slapping at the camera and beginning to possibly assault the owner of all the items, which was probably not the smartest thing to do considering he was ready to sweep all of this ugliness under the rug.
The footage ends there, but the owner of the items, the cameraman, who identifies himself only as "Rich," told Gawker about what happened after the phone camera was turned off. (WARNING: You will laugh out loud at parts of this.):
We were enjoying a great family day at the beach. My sons needed a nap. We were staying a block from the beach and decided to walk them home, and leave our chairs and canopy set up. I've been to New Smyrna Beach a thousand times and felt it was safe enough to do so. We were gone for about an hour and a half. My dad is a local and mentioned that Beach Patrol may pick up items that are left alone. I was skeptical but volunteered to check.
My sister, Lib, offered to join as I was walking out the door but I told her I'd take care of it. From the boardwalk I was dismayed that I didn't see my canopy set up. Then I spotted our chairs loaded up in our beach cart with two women (attempting) to break down the canopy. I ran down the ramp to the beach and pulled out my iPhone to share what I was seeing with my wife and sister back at the house.
If I were to judge a book by its cover, theft would not have been my first thought. I honestly thought they were being neighborly because NSB is Mayberry on the beach. I was surprised when they said it was theirs and stuck with the story. They were grasping for straws by saying my oldest son's beach toy belonged to them. I offered to let them move along but the one woman "was not making it slide."
Her partner aka Tankini threatened to "take that camera and put it in the grass." There wasn't a blade of grass in sight so you know she meant business. She slapped at my phone, scratching the screen with a ring. I thought it was hilarious that this lady that was clearly in the wrong was actually coming at me. I did not intentionally stop the recording.
What followed was pure gold. I continued to back up as we went around the canopy frame. In the most bizarre moment she gnashed her teeth, lunging at me with an open palm and said, "I'll grab your dick!" I appreciated the offer but didn't feel the chemistry was there.
The two then said they needed to call "Pat", which may or may not have been the androgynous SNL character. He or she was going to apparently clarify what they were doing with my stuff. Lady in Red said, "We need to get a phone, but not his. His phone is tainted." They then scurried off towards the parking lot.
I couldn't believe what just happened. I messaged the vid to my wife and sister back at the beach house, just the video without a message. The way the video ends I can now understand their concern. They told me they got in the car immediately and called the police right away. My wife, sister, and niece arrived a few minutes later, Beach Patrol a few minutes after that.
I explained that nothing was taken and the "assault" didn't warrant filing a police report or pressing charges. The Beach Patrol Officer explained that this never happens in New Smyrna Beach, which I agree with wholeheartedly. The 4th of July holiday brought out large crowds of beachgoers and a few bad apples had less than the best intentions. We've definitely learned that you shouldn't leave your belongings unattended, even in Mayberry.
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Dammit, why can't videos like this have "Deleted Scenes"? How much would you pay to see the "I'll grab your dick!" scene?
Kudos to Rich for not pressing charges and allowing the Internet to mete out the punishment. You two rapscallions are hereby sentenced to a lifetime of shame via viral sharing of this video, punishable by people pointing at you and laughing at you anytime they see you at New Smyrna Beach.
Court is adjourned.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.