Patty Mills sat behind the wheel of his rented SUV, parked inconspicuously in the parking lot of a strip mall in Lubbock, Texas. Astros cap on his head and sunglasses obscuring his eyes, he read the local paper with amusement.
“BED BATH & BEYOND BANDIT STRIKES AGAIN!”
Beneath this urgent, front-page headline was a picture of an underwear-clad Patty running out of a Lubbock-area Bed Bath & Beyond with a towel in each hand, his mouth a twisted grin of satisfaction.
He laughed a little to himself. That was a fun one. The thrill of almost getting caught was almost as great as thrill of all those towels. Bath towels. Hand towels. Beach towels…
He shivered with anticipation. This was the last BB&B in the area. They were on high alert for his appearance. He folded up the newspaper, adjusted his cap, and got out of the car. As he walked to the entrance of the store, he noticed two security guards posted at the automatic doors. Paying them no heed, he entered.
It was an off hour. The visible employees were all at the registers. Still, to avoid raising concern, he spent several long minutes inspecting the kitchen doodads. But the security present at the entrance didn’t seem to extend to the store itself. Casting off all pretense, Patty walked with purpose to the towel section.
He concealed himself amongst the shelves, as he had done in so many locations before. Just as he was getting ready to enjoy his first towel, he heard a voice.
Patty turned around and tried to run, but a strong and familiar arm held him fast.
“Patty, you’ve got to stop this madness!” It was Tim Duncan.
“How did you find me?”
“Your excuses about visiting your sick grandma in Australia didn’t fool me. I knew, as soon as I saw the headlines, that it was you. Who else in Texas loves towels as much as you? I see how you get around them. I’ve been chasing you around Texas for a week now. Many times I’ve arrived at a Bed Bath & Beyond only to find swarming police cars and crying victims. But I’ve got you now. We’re going home.”
With that, Tim marched Patty out of the store. An employee smiled at them as they left.
“Did you find everything okay?”
Tim answered. “Yes, I found everything I was looking for. Thank you.”