(This all happened last Friday, but I've just got around to writing it up.)

I'd been dropped off at home by a friend, having decided to bunk off work early. The streets were pretty much deserted and it was about half past three in the afternoon. Who would have guessed what dastardly deeds would be being committed at such an innocuous hour of the day?

I had to go to the local Post Office to pick up some books that had been left there, so I got changed and headed out.

Only a few metres away from the front door of my flat is a T-junction, and I noticed a guy, sat on a mountain bike, giving me the oddest look. Being the antisocial guy I am, I gave him a return stare, and since I had to go down the road he was on, happilly crossed over towards him. As I got closer, I noticed that he had a friend that was half hanging out of a car door, and that there was an unused bike next to them both. It seemed a bit strange, and I walked between the two, thinking nothing more of it - still being given a bewildered, intense look from the guy on the mountain bike. It was only when I'd passed these two that I realised what was going on - they were nicking the car stereo, and were going to escape on their bikes - surely a work of evil genius in their tiny minds. I continued walking until the curve of the street obscured me from view, and waited for them to leave. When they'd made their getaway, presumably to get over to their dealer's house, I walked back - sure enough, there were wires hanging out from the car's disembowelled dashboard.

So I telephoned the police ASAP, and they eventually turned up in about twenty minutes’ time - and I found myself describing the guy I'd seen, as far as I remembered him. I'd not committed his face to memory, since I hadn't realised he was a thief until it was too late. But I did walk within a yard or two of him. That's pretty close.

The next day, I had to go to the police station. I was now the Star Witness. And the only witness, obviously. The police had a database which we used to go through a series of photos of previously arrested guys, to see if I recognised the scoundrel. I didn't, but it was certainly interesting - I've never seen so many scallies and chavs in all my life. It was all wispy moustaches and tracksuits. But no stereo thief.

So it seems the guys got away with it - the description I gave wasn't really recognised by the PC's I talked to, and I doubt they have left fingerprints. But there may be a happy ending to this, since they're clearly dumb enough to steal in broad daylight on a fairly busy street, and be a bit too unconcerned about people (like myself) seeing them. I don't know what good it was to have someone act as a lookout, if all they did is just look at me funnily as I watched them get up to their tricks. So I doubt they'll last too long on the streets.

It did have a side effect of me wanting to go a little Travis Bickle, though. There's too much broken glass on the streets here, and maybe it's time for a real rain to come...

Okay, maybe I won't go vigilante. But I can dream. I’m still quite amazed and disgusted at the sheer audacity and antisocial actions people can do with scant regard for others. Bastards.