Keep Watch

Read this featured blog post by Pastor Tony Rea

Keep Watch


I Can (series)


A very special thank you to Pastor Dan, or should I say, Narcotics Officer Casey for filling in for me the last two weeks allowing me to take a short blog writing sabbatical. As you might imagine, Terese and I spent the down time in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, visiting our grandkids Audriana and Giovanni, along with Tony and Natalie of course. We had a wonderful time! 


Reading Pastor Dan’s guest blog the last two weeks reminded me of the time my partner and I went undercover for a special assignment. This was the only time in my 10-year police career that I did not report for work in uniform. For this assignment we drove an unmarked car and wore plain clothes. At the time, I was a huge fan of the popular TV police drama series, “Hill Street Blues” (never missed an episode). So I decided to dress really cool like Michael “Mick” Belker. 


We were assigned to the Detroit Medical Center, now located in midtown. The DMC included Children’s Hospital, Detroit Receiving, Harper, Hutzel, and a few others. It was our responsibility to maintain high visibility within the hospital complex and do our best to keep the medical healthcare workers protected. Keep in mind, in the early 1980s the DMC was located right in the middle of a saturated, violent crime district. 


Late in the summer of 1982, a rash of UDAAs (unlawful driving away of an automobile) began to take place in the DMC area. At first the cars were being stolen during the night hours; but within a few weeks, the cars were also being lifted in the middle of the day. How dare anyone steal a car in broad daylight! 


Typically, cars in the 13th Precinct were stolen and then stripped for the wheels and tires. With the high number of cars reported stolen, my partner and I made the car thefts a top priority. Even though we were working the area diligently, we were not making much progress. Finally, after four cars went missing in the same night, my lieutenant gave the green light for us to go undercover. 


The undercover assignment proved to be the right decision, and we ended up stopping the string of car thefts. Unfortunately, we never made an arrest; the bad guy slipped right through our fingers. This may sound obvious to you, and maybe you would have solved the case way sooner than we did; but come to find out, the cars were being stolen by a tow truck company. That’s right. The tow truck driver would pull right on up to the car and, in a very nonchalant manner, put the car on the hook and then drive away…just like that. We finally figured it out and stopped the tow truck after we watched him tow a car. The problem was that one was a legitimate tow; he was hired for the job. We had no evidence, so we couldn’t charge him with a crime. But after questioning him and telling him we were onto him, the UDAAs stopped suddenly. 


Looking back, it’s hard to believe we missed it. We pulled the special assignment in the first place because we were good at sniffing out car thieves. My partner and I made multiple stolen car arrests, and we usually got our man. But truth be told, we were expecting something else, a much different scenario. We were convinced cars were being stolen in the conventional way...with a man (or woman) breaking into the car, getting behind the wheel, and driving off. This time around it was different; and I have to admit, the whole tow truck scheme took us by surprise. 


Matthew 24:42-44

Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.


1 Thessalonians 5:4-6

…you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. 


Beginning Sunday, September 13, Pastor Chris and I will be teaching a series on the End Times. We will be talking about the second coming of Jesus and the importance of being spiritually ready. We do not know the day or the hour of this glorious event—even Jesus said so. However, the last thing any of us want is to be taken by surprise.