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The Flooded Superstore

posted May 14, 2016, 5:13 AM by Viktor Zólyomi   [ updated May 14, 2016, 5:13 AM ]
The following article by Jonathan Parker was originally published in the Con City Times.

A burst pipe at the Onn Lee Megastore in Downtown Con City turned the lives of customers and employees upside down. The pipework in the basement gave in and completely flooded the underground parking garage, forcing customers to leave the building on foot and in a foul mood.

"I'm gonna sue these bastards," an angry customer said about the management of the superstore after leaving the flooded building. "Not only do I have to come back for my car later and have it cleaned out and repainted, I have to walk two whole blocks to get back home. I am never shopping at this dump again!"

The shops in the basement level of the shopping center were also flooded, causing millions of dollars worth of damage to goods.

"It's bad, but we can fix it," said Oscar Lee, the owner of the Onn Lee Megastore. "This is a sturdy, modern building that was made to withstand the elements. We just need to pump the water out, replace the electrics, apply a new paint job, and the superstore will be as good as new."

Traders renting space in the basement of the Onn Lee Megastore tend to disagree. In particular a branch of ConComp Electronics operated within the shopping center, selling computers of all shapes and sizes, as well as smartphones. They appear to be among the biggest victims of the flood.

"The destruction of our desktop computer stock is a terrible blow," said a representative of ConComp Electronics named John Simpson. "We kept those in the cupboards below the desks because they're heavy. All of them got submerged, and now they're full of mud and rust. But what happened to our mobile computing merchandise, the stuff that remained as dry as the desert... That was even worse."

During the flood the power was cut in the building but the backup generators housed in the top level kept the emergency lighting and the security cameras in operation. The cameras recorded how a middle aged man remained in the building after the evacuation and entered the sports store on the third floor. There he picked up an inflatable boat, a pump, and a paddle, which he carried with him to the stairs leading to the basement. He inflated the boat and used it to navigate the flooded basement level.

He quickly found his way into the ConComp Electronics shop where he removed all the tablets and smartphones from the shelves and piled them up in the inflatable boat. He pretty much cleared out the store, then moved on to explore the entire basement and successfully raided a tobacco shop for cigars and a liquor store for three bottles of Scotch.

He took his loot back to the stairs where he calmly unloaded, then deflated the boat and piled his spoils into it and used it as a carrying bag. He went back to the sports store where he picked up a hang glider and made his way to the roof. He assembled the hang glider and tied the stolen merchandise to the control bar, then launched himself over the roof and glided out of the view of the security cameras.

"We never found the bastard," said Jefferson Masters, the Chief of Security at the Onn Lee Megastore. "He knew where all the cameras were in the streets and avoided them like the plague. No idea where he landed. Police never found the hang glider, either. Guy must have disassembled it and took it with him. It's almost like he planned the whole thing."

While maintenance crew have found no evidence that the flood was caused by deliberate sabotage, they have yet to rule out this possibility. For this reason the Con City Police Department is looking for the unidentified thief with great effort. Despite having captured his face on camera, police have no clue about his identity and are referring to him as "Inventive Guy."

Meanwhile Oscar Lee is trying to make a claim from his building insurance. The Lawson & Lawson insurance company has so far refused his claim, with an explanation that the insurance policy "did not cover for flooding of the premises if that was caused by faulty or sabotaged pipework," and stated that they were more than willing to amend the policy to cover for such events "in case they happened again in the future."