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By Jordan W. Charness

Peter was amazed. Peter was thrilled. Peter was enthralled. So was the rest of his family: they were all in New York City for the American Memorial Day holiday and Peter had reluctantly taken his family to visit Times Square and the Empire State Building on Saturday night. Peter’s recollections of Manhattan were based on his visits many years ago when it was one of the murder capitals of the world and was dirty and dangerous.

Peter had heard that the city had been cleaned up by Mayor Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, and that it was now reasonably safe. Times Square had been modernized and was now all a-glitter with neon and multistory video screens. There was a Toys “R” Us in Times Square and there was even a Disney store on 42nd St. near Broadway. His family wanted to see the sights, and Peter, ever the obliging father, agreed that the city was probably safe enough now for a family visit.

The family loaded into the minivan at 7:30 in the evening for the short drive from Long Island to Manhattan. They decided to visit the Empire State Building prior to visiting Times Square so that they could get an overview of the city. Peter was amazed at his good fortune in finding a parking place on 5th Ave. right across the street from the Empire State Building. He carefully locked the minivan and went inside to join the 90-minute wait for the elevator to the observation deck.

After spending a good three hours inside one of the seven modern wonders of the world, the family returned to the minivan and drove to Times Square. Once again they were fortunate enough to find parking on a main street in the area. They had a great time looking at the bright lights of the city and Peter was ready to admit that his former impression of Manhattan was outdated; it’s really seemed to be a clean, safe, sparkling city. It was only on the way home that he realized that disaster had struck.

While driving back out to Long Island, his eight-year-old daughter Talia complained that she could not find her CDs. Her mother was sure that they had been misplaced or even left back at Grandma’s. The older daughter then noticed that her makeup case and some silver necklaces were gone as well. Further investigation showed that DVDs and wireless headsets for the built-in DVD player were also missing. Oddly enough, so was a toothbrush and a hairbrush along with several other items. The car had been broken into while they were in Manhattan and a selective thief had stolen certain items from the car while leaving others behind. The thief even tidied up and locked the doors on his way out!

Fortunately they were insured and would be able to recover the replacement cost of the stolen items – or so they thought.

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