It was one night while lying in bed that Cyrus got an idea. He had been approached by two sales men earlier that day who were selling novelty items. Not interested in the product, Cyrus spoke to one of the men as the other went into several stores in the strip mall plaza. Cyrus wanted to know the background of the men. There was obviously someone instructing them as to where to sell, what to sell, and how to manipulate people into buying. He found that it was essentially a pyramid scheme. He asked the gentleman he was talking to.
“I see your concern; however I must say that we are a legitimate company. Employees go out and sell products that they make a percentage of.”
“Where does the rest of the money go to?”
“My boss makes money off of everyone in her group, she has six people under her, so she makes a ten percent commission from us. Her boss has four more people under him, and he takes a ten percent commission from them. His boss is the CEO and founder of the company within the province of Alberta. Called Top Heat, the management team took over a warehouse where we meet at six o’clock in the morning six days a week and sell until five in the evening. The purpose for meeting early is to get the sales people excited and in a positive mood. We exchange pitches to strengthen everyone’s selling skills and we sip on double doubles from Tim Horton’s brought by our bosses. By seven o’clock, there is a meeting to emphasize selling, and to congratulate all top sellers from the day before. We disperse into zones created on a map, and those who have a vehicle often do road trips to towns within a few hours driving distance. I’ve been on one road trip and sold out during that time.”
“What do you do with your stuff when you are selling?”
“We bring it to the entrance of the company, and we sell in a bunny hop method.”
“We alternate stores when we come across a strip mall or buildings. There’s always someone with our stuff so that it does not get stolen. That happened once before, and the sales people had to repay what was stolen.”
“What do you sell?”
“Anything and everything. Right now we are selling childrens art sets, glass chess sets and coupons for an aesthetic company.”
“And you pack it all into boxes and carry them on a dolly?”
“Yep. One box for each of us. Are you interested in the company?”
“Just the business plan. I don’t want to work for them.”
“Would you be interested in a glass chess set?”
“No. Thanks though.”
“Come on. Twenty bucks.”
“Sorry. It was nice talking to you though. Good luck with your sales.”
“Yeah, thanks.” He looked disappointed and turned away. Cyrus went to a coffee shop and was lost in thought about Top Heat. He could begin a company like that as well. The thought stuck with him all day.
That night, Cyrus had a burst of creativity. He thought that he could build a pyramid scheme for himself. He would hire four guys, and have them break into vehicles. He would supply the tools needed, blank keys, slim jims, and gloves. The more he thought, the stronger in merit his idea became. He could get a couple of guys, give them the supplies, have them break into vehicles, and take the merchandise to him where he would sell it.
The roadblock that Cyrus saw and forecasted was where to take the stolen products. He went to the pawn shops on the newly revamped major road in the west end. He wandered into one particular shop and asked to meet with the manager.
“Are you here for the job position?” The young man behind the counter asked.
“No. I just need to see the manager.”
“Okay.” The seventeen year old went into the back and called for Porter. Porter came out, taking a plastic glove off and throwing it into the garbage.
“What can I do you for?”
“I was wondering if you would like to grab a coffee?”
“What’s the occasion? You would be a perfect fit for the shop. You’re polite and that goes far. No need to butter me up.”
“I have a proposition. Please, let’s grab a bite to eat. There’s a hot dog stand at the end of the block.”
The two talked about how the pawn shop was doing amidst the big ones a few stores away from the little shop.
Once at the stand, Cyrus bought two dogs, two bags of chips and two cans of pop. They sat at a bench in the little park like area behind the hotdog stand.
“I am questioning your motives as to why you would want to buy me lunch.”
“Okay. Here it goes. I am starting a bit of a business-“
“Legit or not?”
“Not. In this business, I will come into a lot of materials and I need a place to sell the merchandise to. I approached you because you have a great little business and I would hate to see it go under.”
“Thanks for your concern.”
“Yes. Anyway, I need a place to sell stuff to where they won’t raise their eyebrows over where it came from.”
“You want me to sell it.”
“Well, I would love to help you out, but every once in a while, the cops check out my store. They ask where I get my items as it is blatantly obvious that some are hot.”
“Don’t worry about that. I’ll get the heat off of you. My bro is a cop. I can tell him to have his buddies back off.”
“So this agreement. You want to sell me stolen items so that I can sell them?”
“Sounds like a deal.” He reached his hand out and attempted to shake Cyrus’ hand. “You have mustard on your hand.”
“Oops.” Cyrus wiped his hand with a napkin and stuck his hand out again. They shook hands.
“When are you bringing stuff in?”
“Why don’t we say Sundays and Wednesdays?”
“Closed on Sundays, but I would be willing to come in for a few hours to evaluate and price new items.”
“Deal. Thanks for the arrangement.”
“Thanks for lunch too.”
“No problem. Have a great day.” Cyrus walked with the pawn shop owner to the shop, and went to his truck. He got home later that day and called his four buddies to come over.
Everyone sat in Cyrus’ living room. He owned a house in the west end; it was left in his parents will when they died in a rock climbing accident in the United States. The five sat in the deep leather couches and drank bottles of beer and munched on chips and salsa.
“This is how it works. You four work for me. I give you tools to break into vehicles, and you bring me the items. I sell them and give you money.”
“You know the pawn shops get checked by the cops, right?”
“Taken care of. When you guys want, you can ‘employ’ a few guys under you and make a commission from their stolen items. When they want, they can employ more. See how it works?”
“A pyramid scheme?”
“Aren’t those illegal?”
“What we are doing is illegal you moron.” One of the guys said.
“Oh. Yeah, right. Sorry.”
“Here you go, as promised.” Cyrus gave everyone a backpack filled with tools. “The shaved key will get you into any BMW. Remember, I’m looking for sell-able items. Stereos, iPods, radar detectors, CD’s, cash, laptops. You guys get the point?”
“Yeah.” The four echoed.
“Get busy. We start tonight.”
The guys finished their beers and left the house. Getting into their vehicles, they pulled away and began to stalk the city. One of the men from the house, Sanford, drove down the main street, heading north. He saw red and blue lights flashing behind him, and swore. He put the backpack in the back of the car and the police officer came to the window.
“Just to let you know, you have a brake light burnt out. Have you been drinking?”
“I had one beer.”
“Okay. Have a good night.”
“Thank you officer.”
“Get that light replaced as soon as you can.”
Breathing a sigh of relief, Sanford drove away. He was still feeling nervous, a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach. He reached the north side. It wasn’t the wealthiest place to go and there was a lot of crime there. The police wouldn’t notice another thief, he thought. Parking in the back of a grocery store in case he needed to run and get to his car with the advantage of little light, Sanford got out of his vehicle and slipped into the bushes by the store. He crept around and peered into cars parked along the street. At the second car, Sanford saw what he thought was a laptop bag. He took the shaved key and opened the door. Sitting in the front seat was a lap top, and there was a stereo system which he detached and shoved in the backpack. He looked in the back seat to find a portable DVD player with a box of DVDs. Swiping those as well, Sanford slipped back into the shadows and made it to his car. He dumped the items into his trunk, and closed it as he went out looking for more stuff. He rationalized his theft by saying that he had no money, and this job would give him cash.
Further down the street, Sanford peered into a truck and saw a stash of CDs. He used the slim jim to get into the car. He put the CDs and a satellite stereo system in his bag. He closed the door as a set of headlights shone on him. Sanford walked quickly away and the truck followed him. A man rolled down the window.
“Hey, did you just get out of my truck?”
“I think you are lying.” With that, the door opened and a large man jumped out. Sanford ran. “Call 911 on this guy.” He said to the driver of the truck as the driver followed Sanford.
Sanford was quick and disappeared into the bushes. The man followed him, and lost him in the thickets. Sanford hid as he heard the police siren. There was conversation where the officer asked the man what the thief was wearing. He indicated that he was dressed in jeans and a black hoodie. The officer took out his flash light and stepped into the bushes. By this time, Sandford had reached his car. He started the car and kept the lights off until he exited the parking lot.
“Whew.” He said as he made the drive across the city to Cyrus’ house. It was one in the morning when Sanford rang the doorbell. Cyrus answered and helped Sanford bring the items into the house. “I almost got busted man.”
“I was pulled over when I left here but the cop let me go. I went to Giant Grocery and parked behind the store. I went through the bushes and onto the street. The second vehicle I broke into had some stuff, and as I was getting out and leaving it, the owner pulled up in another vehicle. They chased me and called the law. I managed to get away though.”
“So I’m thinking that I know a few people who would want in on the action.”
“Set your party up and I can meet them and explain my business plan to them.”
“How much do you think you will get for that stuff?”
“Probably a good amount. Pay day is tomorrow when you bring more stuff in.”
“Awesome. See ya.”
“Have a good one.”
As he went to the door, another one of Cyrus’ guys came in. He held a few electronics and a bag of CDs. He went into the house and put his stuff on the table with the other items. “Wow, is this from one person?”
“Yep. Sanford. He did well tonight.”
“I didn’t get that much.”
“It’s okay, you will get your cut.”
“Tomorrow when you bring more stuff in.”
“Okay. See you tomorrow.”
Cyrus waited until the last of his crew came in, at about two in the morning. He brought in some brand new work clothing and heavy duty work boots. “This is great. Thanks.”
“Tomorrow when you bring in more.”
“Have a good one.” The man left the house.
The next day, a Sunday, Cyrus met with Porter and got nearly three thousand dollars for the one nights worth of work. He had five guys, and so he gave each one four hundred, giving himself a profit of one thousand dollars.
The next few days were much the same, he was getting thousands of dollars’ worth of stolen items in one night. On his Sunday drop off, Porter told Cyrus that he couldn’t accept any more stuff, that he was full and didn’t want people getting suspicious. Cyrus knew that day would come when he was taking in three thousand a night, for three nights. He took his last payment and handed the boys what he had made. He thanked them, and told them that they no longer had a job. Disappointed, they left Cyrus’ house and went their ways.
Two days later, as Cyrus woke up in his bed; there was a knock on the door. He threw on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt on and opened the door. Two uniformed police officers were standing at his door step. “Can I help you?”
“We have a warrant for your arrest. Please turn around and put your hands on your head.”
“What is this about?”
“I didn’t break into any car.”
“We’ll let you speak to the detectives about that.”
Cyrus was taken downtown and put in a holding cell. He was to see the judge about the freedoms he would afford to him. Two hours after the strip search, Cyrus was taken to a judge. The judge maintained that he was connected to a string of robberies in the city, but gave him the benefit of the doubt and released him. He was to be on house arrest, and can only leave the house to buy groceries and other appointments. A curfew of eight o’clock was proposed. Cyrus nodded and was taken back to the cells. He was given his shoelaces and sweater with a cord in it. After being let out of the police station, Cyrus called Sanford.
“Hey, can you come pick me up?”
“Where are you?”
“I was told that I was charged with being an accessory to car thefts. They let me go pending a court appearance later in the week.”
“Okay. Be there in a bit.”
Cyrus waited and was soon picked up. He got a ride home where he unlocked the door and went into the house. “What am I going to do?” He asked out loud.