…or at least that’s what the guy who called my dad said.

I was brushing my teeth this morning at 7:25 when my phone rang with a local number.  

“This is the El Paso County Sheriff’s office.  Is this Joanna?  Are you alright?”


“Are you able to speak freely?”

“Yes, I’m at home with my husband.  We’re getting ready to go to work.”

“Can you verify your parents’ address?”

Well, I know they’re on Ford Drive, and there’s a 1, 4, and 5 in the address, plus an additional one of those, though I can never remember which.  I just turn left at the red mailbox when I go over there.  I guessed, and Berck said, “That’s not their address!”  As noted before, I have a hard time remembering numbers, even with the police.

The dispatcher didn’t seem to care.  “And you’re okay? Your father called us very upset and said someone called him and said he was holding you at gunpoint and was demanding money.”

I looked outside.  An inch or two of snow had fallen that night.  There weren’t even any recent tire tracks on our ally.  Nothing but rabbit footprints outside.  “No, there’s no one here but us.”

“Okay.  We’re going to see if we can get the caller to meet us somewhere to drop off the money and see if we can get this resolved.  Can you verify your address?  We’re sending a deputy to make sure you’re okay.  You said you were getting ready to leave for work.  Can you stay at your house until the deputy either arrives or contacts you by phone?”

We waited 45 minutes.  I spent the time sending an e-mail to my office manager saying I’d be late and then shoveling the driveway.

Berck finally insisted I call the Teller County Sheriff and see if we could go to work.   The dispatcher said she had no idea what I was talking about, that El Paso County Sheriff’s office hadn’t contacted them, but if they did, she would let them know that I had checked in and was fine.  She added, “Oh, yeah, that’s a scam that’s going around.  We got three of those last week.”

I’d called Dad to let him know I was fine and sent both him and Mom text messages, in case they were still talking to the police and couldn’t answer.  Dad texted me back and said he’d call in a little bit.

When I did talk to Dad, he said he’d dropped Mom off at the airport to fly to Mobile this morning.  A number he didn’t recognize called his mobile phone.  He thought there was a possibility that it was the airline, so he answered.  A guy with what sounded to him like a Latin accent said that there had been a horrible accident involving a relative and did he have any relatives in town.  Dad said he had a daughter.  Then the guy said that he had a gun but that he wouldn’t hurt me unless Dad gave him money.  While they were talking, Dad had put his phone on mute and called 911 so the police could hear the conversation as well.  A deputy also showed up almost right away.

That’s about when I got my call.

The caller eventually demanded that Dad go to Safeway and wire him money.  So he’s probably not even in the country.

Then Mom texted me.  She had just landed in Dallas and wanted to know what my text message was about.






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