Crime Wave Rocks Ipswich


Crime Wave Rocks Ipswich

“The Outsidah”

Home Is Where the Crime Is
Doug Brendel

I feel badly that Robin Crosbie, our new Town Manager, arrived to start her new job just as all of Ipswich was being shocked and rocked by a massive crime wave. Well, not exactly all of Ipswich; mostly just outer Linebrook. Actually just the vicinity of Randall Road. Or to be precise: my house.
And I guess I shouldn’t refer to it as a “massive” crime wave. Maybe “wave” isn’t right either. I can’t really be sure about the “crime” part, to tell you the truth.
But I do know this much: My garbage can is missing.
In the relatively short time I’ve lived in Ipswich, I’ve gathered that we don’t really seem to have a serious crime problem. The police log in the weekly Chronicle is mostly entertaining. People sometimes seem to lose stuff if they don’t lock their cars. There’s the occasional out-of-control daughter and the intermittent loose cow, but these aren’t criminals. Especially not the cow.
Yet when I arrived at my home on Thursday, garbage pickup day in my neighborhood, I found myself at the scene of a crime — either this, or I had just missed the Garbage Can Rapture. Yes, my garbage was gone, as usual. But the garbage can I’d left it in was gone too.
It was a standard-issue 32-gallon garbage can, not a specialty garbage can or a collector’s item, not a vintage garbage can or a garbage can signed by a movie star. I don’t believe “The Outsidah” has any fans crazed enough to steal the columnist’s garbage, let alone his garbage can; and just to make sure, I never did glue a big photo of myself to the side of it.
Still, someone seems to have decided that my garbage can — of all the garbage cans in Ipswich — was pilfer-worthy.
It’s possible that this incident was the result of a particular brand of road rage. Perhaps after our fine Ipswich garbage collectors emptied my Rubbermaid Roughneck, they sent the lid sailing like a Frisbee — inadvertently, I’m sure — and the can itself rolling down Linebrook Road — unintentionally, I have no doubt. Then, perhaps one or more drivers, guiding their vehicles through our 25-mph neighborhood, doing about 40, had to dodge my garbage can as it lolled about on the asphalt. Perhaps someone had anger management issues, and stopped their vehicle, and got out, and chased my rolling garbage can, and caught it, and dragged it back to their car, and stuffed it into the back seat, and proceeded to drive red-faced, huffing and puffing and muttering curses, toward their intended destination.
I’m no police detective; I don’t know how the crime was committed. All I know is that I came to be, in the earliest days of the Robin Crosbie regime, the victim of a senseless crime.
We tend to pin our hopes on a new leader, and of course this can lead to disappointment. Some folks seem to be a little disenchanted with President Obama, for example. A certain number of Massachusetts residents seem ready to throw Scott Brown under the Elizabeth Warren bus. When Ms. Crosbie arrived to take over the helm of our fine town, it never occurred to me that her new Administration would be associated with such an upsurge in lawlessness over such a broad swath of Ipswich, stretching from my mailbox all the way over to my honey locust.
Not that I blame the new Town Manager. Not at all. I like her. I met her briefly last week, when our paths happened to cross. Criminals are perhaps taking unfair advantage, sneakily striking while the new TM is still getting her bearings, still getting moved in, still figuring out what she needs for her condo. Like a garbage can, maybe.
Wait, no — I don’t mean to suggest there’s any correlation whatsoever between the arrival of the new Town Manager and the virtually simultaneous disappearance of, uh…
On the other hand, if you happen to get invited over to her place, look around a bit and see if she has a dark green 32-pound Rubbermaid Roughneck, the kind with a matching green lid — also, check for a series of blackish scratches under one handle, where I accidentally crashed my Honda into it in the garage.
And then let me know.

Contact Doug Brendel, author and minister, at


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