The excited gardener told the police officers he had seen a man wearing a black mask in the courtyard of the nursery where he had just arrived for work.

It was early morning, daylight was just breaking. The officers approached the nursery quietly and cautiously, after advising Communications they were investigating a possible burglary in progress. The curious gardener peered from across the street.

Both officers observed a dark figure dart away into a forest of small trees at the same instant. They drew their weapons and approached the front gate. One officer, covered by the other, tried the gate handle. It was locked. He called. There was no response from within, just dead silence and darkness.

The police sergeant arrived on the scene within minutes. Following the briefing, he made the decision to evacuate the occupants of the adjoining apartments, then to force entry into the nursery office where the intruder was holed. The gardener had advised them the office was also the living quarters of the nursery owner. This could be serious. Perhaps a robbery? Rapist? Hostages? They had to go in; there were no other alternatives available. Innocent lives could be in dire jeopardy.

The sergeant prepared for the confrontation in much the same way a matador prepares for the moment of truth. A single mistake could bring serious injury or worse. His portrait could hang from the board room wall of the P.O.A. office. It took only a few minutes to put on his S.W.A.T. combat gear and load the entry shotgun.

All was in readiness as they forced the front gate, clearing the courtyard first before moving on to the nursery office/home door. Not a sound was heard, except for the heavy breathing of the officers and the thump of combat boots.

A knock at the front door went unanswered. They quickly forced the front door open and secured the front room. The hallway and other nursery offices were cleared in the same manner with the same results… Nothing.

The last room at the end of the hall was to be the final objective. The officers were tense and perspiring. If anything was going to happen it would be in this last room.

With trigger fingers firm and jaws taut, the officers exploded into the room and, again, nothing. The burglar had managed to give them the slip, but how?

One officer, covered by the others, carefully opened a storage room door and peered inside. He jumped back, startled, as his eyes met those of the burglar.

“OK, pussy, We have you covered. Come out with your paws up!”

The lieutenant and captain didn’t think it was very funny when they were notified by Risk Management that the owner of a once black, champion show cat, who had, overnight, turned completely white, was suing. Then there was the cost of an antique door and psychotherapy treatments for pussy. Plus, the cost of new carpeting when the poor thing had lost complete control believing that terrorists had smashed into his home.