The dude who robbed the 7- Eleven wore a blood red hoodie over a dark brown coat with a worn Carhartt logo on the front.

Tattooed along the right side of his neck sat Tweety Bird, smoking a blunt while wrapped in razor wire — clearly your suspect is a fellow with deeply rooted issues involving Saturday morning cartoons.  

Put that in your report, Scooby. It might be important. 

The culprit’s eyes were Windex blue, his hair a dusty blonde. According to the video, he’s left handed, walks with a limp and experiences a slight stutter while doing stressful things, such as demanding money and vape juice from a harried store clerk. 

Mark LaFlamme

In video captured outside the store, our boy is seen fleeing toward Oak Street on a bicycle: a blue Schwinn with a banana seat, it was, with tassels and honky horn. Boy, you don’t see those very often anymore, am I right? Our report is getting pretty fat, indeed. 

Video from a bank a block away shows our Stick-em-up-Stewie ditching the bicycle between buildings on Holland Street. The horn let out a loud, angry HONK when he dropped the bike, causing our hero to jump three feet and possibly pee a little bit. Hilarious! We should totally meme that. 

By now police are on the case. By now, they’ve seen abundant surveillance video footage and they’ve shared some of it on social media. The tips are rolling in. And by “tips” I mean “about 200 local people who can directly identify the moron with the Tweety tattoo who robbed the 7-Eleven of 48 bucks and eight bottles of clove-flavored vape juice.

A couple cops, already bored with this lame excuse for a caper, will head to this master criminal’s apartment to bring him in. 

“You have the (yawn) right to remain silent,” they will tell him. “Anything you say can (yawn) and will (yawn) be used against you in a court of law.” 

When the case goes to trial, it will take the jury six minutes to convict — they’ve seen the videos, after all. And it will only take them THAT long because the court was providing jurors with Cibo sandwiches that day and by milking the case long enough, they got another round of free grub. 

“We find the defendant (yawn) guilty, your honor,” the jury foreman will say, bits of that chickpea salad sandwich sailing off his lips and landing on the court reporter. 

Case closed. The robber will be sent off to cool his heels in prison, but so brief and boring was his heist, the jailers will actually forget he’s there and our boy is free to walk right out the front gates if he so pleases. 

I’m not saying that ubiquitous video took the fun out of small time robberies, but come on. Don’t you kind of miss the days when the composite sketch was really all a gumshoe had to go on? Didn’t that preserve the mystery just a little bit?

Back in the day, whenever robbers were afoot, I would pace like an expectant father around the police station lobby, waiting for a sketch artist to finish his work.

“Is she ready yet, Sarge? I gotta get that sketch in the morning paper, see? Because sketches sell newspapers, you dig? Nyah! I’m talking this way because it’s 1990 something, see, and that’s how we do it.” 

Sometimes the completed drawings were works of art. The sketched faces looked like completely ordinary people (a troubling number of them looked like me) who may or may not be familiar. 

Others were horrifying. We’re talking about hideously misshapen heads, massive staring squid eyes and gaping mouths that looked like the express lanes to Hell itself.  

“Police are on the lookout,” I would write in my news story, “for a grotesquely deformed goggle-eyed creature last seen trying to eat Jacques Cousteau in the darkest fathoms of the deep ocean.” 

I supposed those sketches depended a great deal on the quality of descriptions provided by witnesses. I suppose it depended, too, on how drunk the sketch artist was that day. But the fact is, waiting for those sketches to be produced was part of the glee of covering robberies and related high jinks. When they were hot off the sketch pad, your first reaction was either “Holy crab apples! I know this guy!” or “Holy ravioli! Ain’t this the little girl who spun her head around and spat green stuff on the priest?” 

And of course, there was always the fun of waiting for the suspect to be arrested so you could compare his mugshot to the earlier composite drawing. Sometimes they were dead on and an appreciative public would have to hand it to the sketch artist. 

“Wow,” we would say around our bar stools and water coolers. “I can’t believe Duke’s Get-n-Go was actually robbed by Linda Blair!” 

But now we have video where what you see is what you get. There are no delightful gray areas in video footage. The only real fun to be had is in hoping that the face revealed in the video belongs to someone you know — wouldn’t it just be darned fun if it was your snotty neighbor’s kid who was stupid enough to knock over that adult book store? THAT would put an end to her bragging, boy Howdy. Just peel that “My kid made the honor roll” sticker off your car, Gladys. Your boy is going to the hoosegow. Nyah! 

And of course there are those store owners who have stubbornly refused to upgrade their cameras, leaving them with creaky, oversized security equipment from an era when break dancing and the Walkman were all the rage. 

You know the kind of footage I’m talking about. Even at close range, the suspect will appear blurry and fuzzy and just all around vague. Was there even a suspect at all? Couldn’t that just be a piece of lint on the camera lens? Nice going, store owner. Might as well throw those cameras in the dumpster and hire a full-time sketch artist to drunkenly draw miscreants. 

All things considered, my hat is off to our friend Stick-up-Stewie with his Tweety ink and that sweet Schwinn beneath him. He may be dumb as a stump and just a terrible stick-up man, but at least we can see him clearly and his horn is nice and loud. 


Mark LaFlamme has been a reporter for the Sun Journal longer than some of his editors have been out of high school, but he’s still happy to be here. He can be reached at [email protected]

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