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A Nomad's Notes: Let me tell you about my July

It sucked.
It started out well enough. I took awesome photos of fireworks for work and I gave a fun presentation on evangelical Christianity at my Unitarian Universalist church. Everything was going quite swimmingly until Monday morning, July 9.
I was at the courthouse to cover the plea of John Edward Ward, who raped and impregnated a child and didn’t seem to have any true remorse in the matter. The victim in the case is braver than I could ever be.
But being the journalist I am, I got to the courthouse quite a bit early. I was warned it was probation day, so it would be packed. I waited in the lobby with a bunch of other people until I spotted my friend Cammie Bellamy from the StarNews. We were confused about when we could go into the courtroom, but finally we were able to get ourselves into the alcove between the lobby and courtroom 5 of Superior Court. I remember seeing Brunswick County sheriff’s Detective Ed Carter, who used to be the greatest when it came to providing us with information on fraud cases. Now a bailiff, he’s still the greatest, but for different reasons. But I’ll get to that in a minute.
The courtroom was so packed that Cammie and I had to stand for a bit before finally being given a seat. If you’re looking at the courtroom from the judge’s chair, I was sitting on the left side of the room in the front row close to the little swing door. Essentially, I was right behind the lawyers, and could be seen by everyone else.
So when there was a 15-minute recess and I went to the restroom, I left my drawstring bag and my laptop in the seat because I’d done it before and who would do something so dumb as to steal something in courtroom where cameras are ever-present to capture all the action?
Someone would — and did.
When I look back on that day, I don’t recall seeing him, although it was a blur. But apparently, in the three minutes or so I was gone, someone awaiting sentencing decided to go over and take my wallet.
But I didn’t realize my wallet was gone until right after the plea hearing ended. Afterward, when went to the restroom again, I dumped the contents of my drawstring bag onto the counter. Everything was in there except my wallet.
I ran to Ed and told him I’d left it in the courtroom, but when I went back to look it was gone. Two lawyers asked me what I was looking for, and when I told them they both sort of laughed. One of them said, “If it was in here, it’s looooooong gone.” It reminded me of the time I got lost in Sydney, Australia and was sobbing on the bus, and these two ladies kept laughing at me. It doesn’t feel great.
So that night I neglected everything else but searching for my wallet. I retraced my steps all I could. I went back to the gas station that I’d been to Sunday night twice, and even checked an outdoor trashcan there with the help of a nice couple who didn’t judge me at all, despite how gross it was.
That night I even looked around the courthouse grounds without getting too close and getting in trouble, and the next day I returned to get warrants I needed for work and to file a report. Sheriff’s Capt. Brian Chism was awesome and patiently took all my information. He thought I’d probably misplaced it, and that’s what I was hoping, too.
But when I finally decided it was time to call my bank and cancel my cards, I found out someone who wasn’t me had tried to use them (and failed, ha!) at a Shell gas station in Wilmington. I’d tried to keep myself together until then, but learning my wallet indeed had been stolen, I cried on the phone with my bank at least twice.
As I was canceling my cards, my phone overheated for 20 minutes, so I had to wait to call back, and a rock hit my car windshield.
When I got back to the office that Tuesday, I was on the phone canceling cards and crying. It wasn’t because of the cards or even the wallet itself (though I loved that wallet). I cried because I had jewelry with sentimental value in it. In the zippered part of my wallet I had a pair of earrings my mom had gotten me and the hieroglyphic necklace of my name that I’d gotten in Egypt. If you’ve read my previous columns, you know how much I love Egypt.
That Tuesday night, I texted Ed to let him know the situation and later on he called me and let me know we could check the footage in the courtroom to see what had happened. He said he’d already caught two people stealing from his courtroom since he started as a bailiff in April. “Nobody steals from my courtroom,” he’d said.
Now I bounce back pretty quick when I’m down. After I got off the phone with Ed I had a renewed sense of hope that even if I never got anything back, there was a chance for justice.
And even by the next day I was already making self-deprecating jokes about the whole ordeal. I still am.
My hopes for justice were answered about a week later or so, when Ed called me on the phone and said he was drawing up felony warrants. A voice in my head said, “Wait a minute. If he’s drawing up warrants then he obviously knows who did it.” So after a few minutes I asked Ed and he said “Oh yeah, we know who did it. We got him on camera doing it.”
The allege culprit was finally picked up last week on the felony charges. I’m curious to see what the outcome will be. I had coins in that wallet — no cash. The only “cash” I had was a fake Star Trek $50 bill my friend had given me for Christmas. Joke’s on you.
So far I’ve only recovered one credit card that a nice woman named Jamie from McKim and Creed in Wilmington said a man brought to her office a few weeks ago. I went and got the card the next day, even though it’s useless.
And I hope to have normal vision again soon. That’s right: July was so stressful for me  it caused swelling in my left macula. It’s not really noticeable and is incredibly minor, but the doctors said it was either a result of taking steroids or intense stress. I take no ‘roids.
So when Aug. 1 rolled around, I bid July a goodbye and good riddance. It’s nice to start over fresh.
I’m doing well overall, and I know I have no right to complain. My situation is nothing compared to what Ward’s rape victim has had to endure. But having your wallet stolen still sucks. It’s not like a walk in the park with rainbow kittens and unicorns made of chocolate. I still hold out hope that someone, somewhere, comes across my silver and gold Egyptian hieroglyphic necklace and finds a way to return it to me.
So here are some valuable life lessons, kiddos: don’t leave your stuff alone, no matter where you are; make copies of or write down somewhere the information on the cards you keep in your wallet, and, most importantly, don’t steal — especially in court of law.

Lindsay Kriz is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or lkriz@brunswickbeacon.com