So much for a life of crime

  The Puppy with Harlana and Ken Steppe.

The Puppy with Harlana and Ken Steppe.

You have to hand it to the little puppy. Some guys are just born con artists. I’ve seen a lot of them in my day, but I’ve never seen anyone pull a con off better than he does.

First, he conned Amanda in the Long Lake office into thinking he was just a run-of-the-mill sweet little puppy. He had her completely convinced. You can see it on her face. He conned her right out of a place to crash for a couple of nights. And she wasn't the only one! 

  Amanda falls right into The Puppy's trap.

Amanda falls right into The Puppy's trap.

He even had me going for a while. I figured his act would collapse under the pressure building on him as the time for his handoff to higher authorities approached, but you couldn’t tell. Oh, he’s a smooth operator. He kept the cute puppy act up right to the end. He poured it on. If you were there, believe me, you would have fallen for it, too. He could put on a puppy act and not even make it look like he was acting. Roo was the only one who saw through him.

I can be hard when I have to be, though, and because of the publicity The Puppy’s case received here at Your Home for Yellow Dog Journalism™, his fate was sealed and I was prepared to turn him in.

Well, the Puppy was handed over in the parking lot of a La Quinta motel in Fort Smith, Arkansas this evening. 

Harlana and Ken Steppe drove 800 miles from Indiana to Oklahoma to take custody of The Puppy. Their last dog, a Husky who lived to 17, passed on four years ago. Harlana has thought about getting a dog ever since, but held off until a few days ago, when she prayed for one. The next morning, she awoke, as every other American did, to the spectacular news of the Puppy’s dramatic capture in a traffic chase in Mansfield, Arkansas. After a lengthy telephone interview, in which the corrections officer in charge of The Puppy’s sentencing asked personal questions about housing, finances, exercise, and so on, I was convinced that The Puppy would be lucking out if he was sent to this minimum-security facility instead of the SuperMax where guys like him usually wind up. I guess I went soft on this one — I didn't even mind that The Puppy got his second chance. Harlana said that if we held off until today — Thursday — her husband could take a couple of days off work to make the drive with her. If necessary, she was willing to make the 1600-mile round trip to collect him herself. Thanks to how thoroughly The Puppy had everyone conned into putting him up, we could wait until today.

The first thing I noticed about Harlana and Ken was that they obviously never learned Lesson #1 about rudimentary police technique. It’s like they never saw an episode of Law & Order. What’s the first thing you always do? You pull the tried-and-true Good-Cop-Bad-Cop act on them. Harlana and Ken were more of a Good-Cop-Good-Cop couple. Without the cop.

The Puppy had them snowed from the start. Now, they’re all holed up in a motel in Fort Smith, Arkansas tonight, just like Bonnie and Clyde, ready to drive to Indiana tomorrow. 

All I can say is I’ve never been as glad to hand a prisoner off. Even if it did take me about half an hour to say good-bye to him. 

That little guy really scored. I told you he was good.

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