Some leaf collectors collected more than just leaves in Bethesda, Md., Monday: They scooped up a resident’s unattended personal belongings as well.
Jim Winkler and his daughter had been transferring some belongings from one car to another when they briefly left some of the items unattended on Winkler’s lawn. In a flash, the leaves were gone and so were the Winklers’ belongings.
“So I walked up there and asked them, ‘Did you guys take stuff?’” Winkler said. “They all denied it. So as we’re walking to leave, my daughter looks over and the guy is wearing her daughter’s scarf and earmuffs.”
Four police officers responded to the report of suspicious leaf collection and interrogated the collectors. They said they thought it was abandoned property or trash, so they collected it.
In addition to clothing, they took a $1,500 laptop computer and several bottles of wine.
“A $1,500 laptop would be a stretch to be garbage,” Winkler said. “But if they would have just said that, it would be all over. ‘Here’s your stuff back, mister, we apologize.’ But they all deny it, and she sees the guy wearing her daughter’s clothes.”
The Winklers got everything back, no charges were filed, and the leaf collectors continued collecting leaves.