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AirTags, stolen purse and a fabulous deputy | Shooting The Breeze


Thanks to Apple’s invention of the AirTag, I’ve been on quite the emotional goose chase this past weekend.

Saturday morning, around 3:30 a.m., I woke up to our dogs barking in the barn and a car’s tires squealing out front on Hall Road. I didn’t notice anything too unusual so I went back to sleep for another 40 minutes. It was the very last day of harvest and I just wanted a few more minutes in my nice, toasty bed before my feet hit the ground.

When I hit the snooze button on my phone, I noticed an alert from Shanna’s Handbag. It said I’d left her behind. I thought the message was strange but since I am at home, I know this is an impossible feat for my purse to grow legs and walk out the long, gravel driveway.

As I hopped into my trusty Ford to head to work, I quickly realized my vehicle had been broken into and the middle console’s contents scattered across my driver’s seat. It’s usually impossible to tell if someone’s rummaged through my stuff during harvest because my truck is a mess. It is filled with coats, jackets, hats, gloves, and a myriad of stained coffee cups.

My stomach did that weird thing when panic strikes and it began to twist and turn and somersault with knots of worry and regret. For the first time in my almost 56 years of life, my purse was stolen.

I’ve been getting better at locking things and bringing my purse inside ever since our horse barn fiasco. But I failed miserably this time. I was out by the freezer, grabbing some chuck roast to give to some of our employees who needed this fine 4-H steer to cook Birria for our end of harvest luncheon. I was going to go back to my truck, parked several feet from my front door, but it was ice cold outside and I decided the meat would be just fine if it sat in my truck overnight.

(Back to the search) I leaned across the passenger’s seat and checked for my purse, which was beneath a growing pile of down and wool jackets and beanies. It was gone. Beneath that pile, I’d placed the chuck roast. It, too, was gone.

I guess they didn’t need my down jackets or wool coats. The chuck roast and my one-of-a-kind Gucci purse I’ve used daily for the past decade and her almost-matching Gucci wallet were a much better find for these characters.

Quickly, I realized my handy dandy AirTag tucked into a small secret pocket could track Shanna’s Handbag. These purse and chuck roast bandits were 1 hour and 20 minutes ahead of me. It’s no surprise the first stop for my gal was the tribal grounds of The Rolling Hills Casino, which presented its own set of problems.

I quickly called Rolling Hills and described my purse. I told them I would arrive in 10 minutes and if they could just keep an eye out. The polite gentleman transferred me to security, who said they were sorry but couldn’t help me without the presence of local law enforcement. Even with my AirTag placing a pin right where my purse was at an exact time inside the casino, he could not help. Irritated, I not so nicely spouted, “Then what good is security if you can’t do anything?”

Helpless, I sat in the parking lot of the casino and called the Tehama County Sheriff’s Department who transferred me to an amazing deputy. I want to give a big shoutout to deputy Thomas for actually caring about me and my overwhelming guilt. He was detailed and thorough and gave me a much needed pep talk that I was not to blame for someone else’s crime.

Deputy Thomas went into action, alerted security to be on the lookout while I created a sound on my AirTag. Sadly, the AirTag was not close enough. As I looked to refresh my AirTag, she was cruising along Highway 99E near Rowles Road, on her way to Chico.

She made a 1 hour and 50 minute pit stop at the Villa Risa apartment complex across from DeGarmo Park in Chico before heading over to an unnamed street near Pleasant Valley High School, where she stayed until police came knocking.

The amazing deputy Thomas had already alerted the Chico Police Department so when I called over there, I didn’t need to repeat the entire story. The kind officer took all my photos, pin drops, and the whole shabang and knocked on the door of several residences. Of course, these fine sub-humans didn’t know anything about anything.

Ironically, just after police left, the farm husband hung out and saw one of the cars leave. I refreshed my Airtag, who was now pinned at an exact location the next block over. Hmmn.

At work, I read the online AirTag manual and upgraded my phone’s operating system. I could now transfer my AirTag to the police (again, thanks deputy Thomas). It was Halloween weekend and the police had more important crimes than a lady’s Gucci purse and a piece of meat, so Detective Shanna and Detective Farm Husband took matters into their own hands.

Sure enough, my phone connected to the AirTag. The screen turned green and a compass directed me with rotating arrows. Fifteen feet to the left, 5 feet, and finally, ‘Shanna’s Handbag found.’  I looked frantically inside the car where my phone pinged. The farm husband whispered, “Your AirTag is under the back tire.”

I’ve learned a few things from this experience. First, if you own tracking technology, know how to use it. Second, let it go and move on. I’m not going to get my purse back. And finally, more people suck because there are virtually no consequences for bad behavior. All we can do is our best and sometimes that just isn’t good enough.