Just outside of the entrance of Skyline Bank last week, I watched a man dismount his bicycle and carefully lock it before doing his banking business.
When he walked out, I noted: “I guess you’re new here in Floyd.”
“Moved here a couple of months ago,” he said. “How did you guess?”
“You’re locking your bike.”
“Where I come from, if you don’t lock something up, it will be gone, even if you’re only away for a few minutes.”
“I hope you will find that’s not necessary here,” I said.
As a motorcyclist, I often see bikers from out of town enter the Blue Ridge Cafe or another restaurant here carrying their jackets and helmets instead of leaving them with the bike on the street or in a parking lot.
Then I see a pickup truck running unattended on a cold morning outside of Express Mart while its owner gets a tenderloin biscuit and coffee. He’s a long-time Floydian, either a native or a resident who learned the ways of life here in the country.
Many homeowners seldom, if ever, lock their doors. Keys often remain in cars parked outside. Those numbers, sadly, are dwindling.
Thefts are rising in the county. I see it in police reports and while covering Circuit Court each Tuesday of the month. Home and auto break-ins appear more often than before on court dockets. Some of the thefts come from those who need money to pay for drugs. Others just need money. Others are just criminals.
Smartphones are a target of those who even lift them from the pockets of those who use them. Perhaps that’s why some shapely young ladies keep their iPhones or similar smartphones in the back pocket of very tight jeans. Try picking that pocket could lead to a slap…or worse.
Several years ago, a young man and his girlfriend decided they wanted a stone carving of a dragon from the lower part of our front yard. Floyd County Sheriff’s Deputies kept the case open for nearly two years before locating it in a backyard near Check. The guy who stole it gave it as a gift to his girlfriend’s mother.
Before that theft, our tractor, riding lawn mower and other pieces of equipment sat near our house with keys in the ignitions. No more. Now they are kept locked away. So are our car keys.
Other residents tell similar stories. A theft or learning of a theft from others turned them into Floyd County residents who now lock doors, cars and sheds.
Testimony in trials before Floyd County Circuit Judge Marc Long reveals a strong connection between drug addiction and theft. Several of those charged say they stole items or cash to pay for the drugs.
Too often, a drug addict will steal from family or loved ones to get money to get more drugs.
After drugs, financial problems too often leads to theft.
Felony embezzlement of taxpayer funds sent the county’s assistant treasurer, Kristie Dawn Turman, to prison. Financial issues were cited in court.
As we are seeing, such thefts used to happen elsewhere but now also occur here in Floyd County.
For those who get convicted and sent to prison, it gives a whole new meaning of “living on Floyd time.”
(Updated after original posting to add information and tighten the focus)