I’ve been a city cop (Police Officer) for over 20 years and I can’t tell you how many times I pulled out my weapon on the bad guys. I lost count just during my rookie year alone working at the Port Authority Bus Terminal next to Time Square in New York City back in 1994 thru 1996.
Back then, no one was robbing anyone over camera phones, smart phones, cell phones or iPhones…but the homeless and thieves did try to break into Pay Phones as often as they can. Guess you can say they turned them into the first ATM machines, just for them of course.
The crime back then were mixed from shootings in the area, guns, drugs, car jacking’s, sidewalk hustling games, drunks, homeless, prostitution inside the men’s restrooms and the empty stair wells inside the terminal. Pimps were forever trying to pick up runaways from the Grey Hound Bus waiting area, and I can’t even tell you how many times we answered shoplifting calls from the surrounding stores.
The list is long but I want to make a point with the story. The first year alone I was attacked by hustler harassing the tourist by drawing pictures of them for free, at least that’s what he told them at first. He would do a fast sketch and then convinced them to pay whatever they thought it was worth.
Now some would pay a couple of dollars while others would just smile and walk away…and he would follow them throughout the station till they paid. This went on for a while till one day I received the call on my radio that their was an aggressive pan handler harassing the passengers in the Grey hound bus waiting area inside the Bus Terminal.
I walked down the steps into the waiting area where I saw the person fitting the description by the news stand in the middle of the waiting room. Not to be noticed, I lowered the volume of my two-way radio not to scare him off and observed him for several minutes.
At first, he looked harmless sitting on a folding chair drawing. But then he gets up and started walking around till he found his pray and do his thing. I watched him approach a woman and started drawing while standing in front of her. I could see she was nervous and that was enough for me to approach him and escort him out of the Bus Terminal.
First there is a sign that clearly states No Trespassing and that you must have a valid bus ticket to be waiting inside or must be waiting for a passenger to get off any busses that arrives. So, I made it very clear for him not to return and to go outside and draw.
He packed up his stuff , folded up his chair, smiled and told me to have a nice day and left like a gentlemen. All was good…or at least that what I thought. Because with in the hour he returned, and this time he had no intentions of leaving …he had other plans….I just didn’t know I was going to be part of it…