The names are changed for the usual reasons, and I freely admit the story isn't exactly true, but it's close enough,
So there was this guy, John, an in-law of an in-law of mine, who had his bass boat stolen one recent spring night. The crime upset him. In Oklahoma, few crimes were as heinous as depriving a sportsman of his boat, particularly in the springtime, when one had only a short time to get ready for the bass fishing tournament season. John noticed the boat had disappeared early the next morning as he was leaving for work. Right away, he reported the missing boat to the police, but had little hope of ever seeing it again.
After a day at work and still mourning his loss, John commenced his own private neighborhood watch. That evening before dark, while hidden by the curtains and observing the street through his living room window, John noticed an unfamiliar pickup cruising by. It traveled slow and the guy inside looked suspicious, so John ran out the front door, got into his truck, and chased the guy down.
Several blocks later, the pickup pulled over, and John asked the guy why he was driving so slowly through the neighborhood. The guy apologized and said he was having some personal problems and was just aimlessly driving around to think about them. He didn't realize he was bothering anyone and was truly sorry. John, having had problems like that once or twice himself, apologized, saying he may have over-reacted because of his recent loss, and told the guy the sad story about his stolen boat. The guy said a few consoling words, and they separated, each going his own way.
Back home, John had second thoughts. A piece was missing from his boat. It had broke last fall, and John had removed it so he could take it to a buddy's shop to be welded back together. John wondered whether the guy in the pickup came by during the day to look for the missing piece. John hadn't asked for the guy's name, but he had some vague ideas about the guy's identity.
Vague information, but enough to describe the guy to John's father-in-law James who happened to be campaigning for the job of County Commissioner and had shook hands with nearly everyone in town. James didn't know the slow driving guy with personal problems, but one of James' friends did. At least, the friend knew the name and about where the guy lived.
Next day, the County Commissioner hopeful drove through the guy's neighborhood and immediately spotted John's boat in a driveway. With the missing piece, it was easy to identify. There were two boats in the driveway. The guy's pickup was parked along the street in front of the house. It looked like he was home.
James parked a few houses down the street and used his cell phone to call another friend, a city policeman. The fellow was off duty, but agreed to come over and check the boat's registration. Interestingly, on the trip over in his police car, he got a radio call about another stolen boat. Another irate fisherman.
Kathy requested that I edit out some humorous, but potentially embarrassing, details here so I'll just say the policeman identified the boat and arrested the thief.
While this was in progress, the owner of the second stolen boat showed up to claim his boat. James introduced himself as the one who found the stolen boats and asked for the owner's vote next November. Later, there was family discussion over a new slogan for the campaign, "Give me your vote, and I'll find your boat."
So the story has a happy ending for all--except perhaps for the thief, who should have known better, and a yet-to-be-determined number of black bass.