February 21, 2010

What did the burglar look like?

  Edward the happy homeowner is awakened by the sound of a door closing. It’s the middle of the night. Edward grabs a flashlight and heads downstairs but by then whoever closed the kitchen door is gone.
  No, wait — there’s a guy in the driveway. He throws two filled pillow cases into the back seat and closes the door. All the movement in the driveway activates the motion-detector security lights and Edward gets a good look at the burglar before he climbs into the front seat of his car and drives off.
  Soon after that the cops arrive. Edward gives them an approximate inventory of what he thinks was taken. When a detective arrives, Edward hands him a hastily-drawn sketch of the burglar.
  “I got a brief look at him when the lights in the driveway flipped on,” Edward says to the detective.
  Before daylight, police have arrested a suspect and telephoned Edward to come down to headquarters to view a lineup. From among five men, Edward picks the suspect out of the lineup with no problem.
  Not only do police now have a positive identification, they’ve also recovered two pillowcases filled with articles from Edward’s house.
  There’s also a bonus! When the cops inventory the suspect’s car, they find other items, some of which are easily identified as property stolen in other burglary cases. Before this case goes to trial, police are able to close more than a dozen burglaries committed during the last six months.
  All this is possible because Edward, the homeowner, was able to spot the perp and make a rough sketch. Well, the sketch wasn’t really rough. It was more like a professionally-drawn sketch of a real-live criminal suspect.
  Is Edward an experienced sketch artist? You can bet your next three paychecks on that. I guess I forgot to mention, Edward is a sketch artist for the local police force.

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