Arturo Mendez, Arty as his friends called him, hit the power button on his laptop. The home screen quickly popped up. He clicked a large icon shaped like an old-school padlock with the word “WORK” underneath it. A series of video feeds materialized across the screen. Each feed corresponded to various security cameras his company - Copper State Security - had installed at customer homes and businesses. Usually, these screens would only be viewed when an alarm would go off, suggesting something nefarious might be occurring. Arty would get a page from the security system, and he’d log into the system to check it out. But you see, Arty was what one might call a 21st-century ‘peeping tom.’ Arty had rigged his laptop to remotely access his office’s security systems so he could view video from the comfort of his own home. He didn’t want some random customer wandering into his shop and accidentally catch him in a voyeuristic pursuit.
Today, he’s spotted a couple in an amorous embrace, and the guy in the video was a cop, no less! But just when things were starting to get really steamy, the couple retreated to another room, leaving a trail of pants, shirts, gun belt, etc., behind them. “Damn!” Arty shouts so loudly, it wakes his slumbering basset hound, which begins barking loudly - thinking someone is at the door. Arty quiets the canine and frantically checks the system ID to see where other cameras in the home may be installed. Jankins Lake House, the label at the bottom of the screen reads. He has installed several cameras outside this residence, but there are only four inside this house. One in the foyer, one in the living room, one inside the back door, and the one he’s looking at in the kitchen. He’s out of luck today.
“That’s damn strange,” Arty thinks to himself. He wondered why a tall, attractive blond MILF and a young cop would be making out in that particular kitchen in the middle of the week. When John Jankins had the system installed, he told Arty the home would be empty most of the time. This piqued Artie’s interest even more. He hit the rewind icon, then unchecked the mute button for the audio feed. Most surveillance systems don’t record audio, but Arty has enabled it on many of the more expensive installations he’s done - often without informing his customers.
Arty plays the video back from the moment the couple entered the kitchen. Pretty dull stuff until Arty hears one of them mention something about a sheriff and lying and... Then he hears the name Sheriff Koontz come from the cop. “Whoa! Holy crap,” Arty shouts again. He knows the sheriff all too well. You see, besides being a friggin peeping tom, Arty also likes to imbibe just a little too much. He’s also a frequent flyer with some local escort services.
However, Arty had surreptitiously helped the sheriff obtain video evidence of potential crimes when the sheriff couldn’t get a warrant several times over the years. This collaboration led to the sheriff cracking some difficult cases. This tit-for-tat between Arty and the sheriff had been going on for years. The sheriff kept Arty out of jail on several occasions when he would have otherwise been cited for DUI or solicitation. Both offenses might have cost Arty his bonded status or at least wrecked his reputation in a business where you needed to be viewed as squeaky clean.
With what Arty heard on the video, he felt compelled to alert the sheriff. He ran the tape back again, popped a blank DVD into his laptop, and hit the record button. Then he looked for the sheriff’s private phone number in his cell phone contacts.
To be continued…