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How I Got Caught Not Kidnapping Reigh Boss

Tabloid frenzy fuels city’s “If you see something, say something” culture.

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The bus ride through the idyllic heart of Park Slope went smoothly until we lurched to a stop at Third Street. I was bringing my 4-year-old daughter to her hippie-ish pre-pre-K. After several minutes, a kind-faced police officer with a Magnum, P.I., mustache climbed on, glanced around, and hopped off. Odd, I thought. Another officer, trying to look nonchalant, peered in through the window, and I realized he was looking at me. Odder. The other passengers fidgeted impatiently. Magnum stepped back on the bus as my daughter told me about the nice policeman who’d once given Mommy directions. “Sir,” he said, “please step off the bus.” I looked at my daughter—a pale, blue-eyed, blonde girl—and remembered the tabloids. I realized they suspected she was kidnapped Reigh Boss.

Soon we were standing on the sidewalk, and two police cars had joined Magnum’s traffic-cop golf cart. Six or so officers surrounded us. Magnum took my I.D. and asked my daughter’s name, where we were going, and what school she went to. I nervously rattled off the answers. My daughter, having exhausted any goodwill earned by the directions-giving cop, sobbed in my arms. Magnum ran a check and filled me in on how I got nabbed: A concerned citizen had seen us and called the cops (I found out later that the informant was a fellow B67 passenger); he even played the police bulletin, giving my daughter’s description. We’d have to wait for his supervisor to arrive and formally clear me. Residents strolled by, marveling at the tawdry, fit-for-Fox scene.

The supervisor eventually showed up, apologized, and said she hoped I understood, as this was a serious matter. When I bristled and asked through clenched teeth if it would be as serious if the missing girl weren’t on the front pages of the tabloids, a nearby officer brusquely informed me that I was still “under investigation.” Then, finally, I wasn’t. As we walked away, the supervisor called out a final warning: “Don’t be surprised if this happens again.”

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