Ripping Yarns: Marcel Veldman

It all happened on a nice summer’s day, some years ago in the city of Tilburg. Apparently there was this old school, empty and abandoned, with a beautiful perfect 9-stair handrail inside.  It goes without saying this begged to be skated so on that beautiful summer’s day we ventured to the old building and climbed through one of the broken windows. It seemed some of the local graffiti youth beat us to the punch. After a little walk through the hallway where ‘fuk yoe’ and ‘dennis is a ashol’ frequented the walls we arrived to the stairs and there it was indeed, a perfect 9-stair handrail. Let me tell you, here in the Netherlands, we don’t have many of those. So the session was on, we skated that pretty baby for at least a couple of hours, and everyone got a trick or two. While contemplating what else would be possible, I mean, this was definitely one of those temporary spots that you needed to take advantage of while it was still there.

Suddenly we heard a loud noise, followed by quickly moving footsteps. Everyone looked at each other, not frightened, but still with caution. “You guys, stop, you’re under arrest!” a man who looked like an ordinary security guard screamed as he saw us around the corner. As most of the skaters took a run for it, I couldn’t help but laugh a bit since the poor guy, who was indeed an ordinary security guard, was in no position to arrest us and second, he was holding a flashlight over his head pointing it at us, like in the movies. Only difference, it was broad daylight. As I couldn’t really run anywhere since my whole camera kit was set up, flashes the whole shebang, he ran after the other guys. While the guys broke another window to escape, I heard the guard scream something into his walkie-talkie: “Burglary, two men apprehended (thanks Sebas for sticking with me), four on the run…”

At that moment another security guard walks in, casually. He saw what was going on and wasn’t stressing at all, while his partner was still trying to catch my friends with no positive result. “Hello, it was a nice day wasn’t it, until now,” I told the guard who appeared to be pretty fed up with his overzealous partner, who at this point was checking all the rooms for missing items… Yes the building was still empty. And it had quite a few rooms too. Definitely kept him busy, while Sebas and I were small talking to the other security guard, who was super-mellow, but I guess his partner was in charge. At this point we hear sirens and the police, full of adrenalin, rush in, and we got arrested on the spot. After the dust settled down, they noticed something was odd here for a burglary and usually a thief wouldn’t bring in 20k of equipment. Well maybe when it concerns a bank heist, but definitely not this building, which was on the list of being torn down.

At this moment, we found out later, another friend, Tommy tried to meet up with us and as soon as he approached the building, three police cars came flying down the road and officers jumped out and went straight inside. He thought it was a wise idea to chill on a bus stop bench and see what happened next. Good boy Tommy!

Back inside the building the commotion settled a bit as I got to talk to the officer in charge, explaining the situation to him, while wannabe cop number one was still making a big deal out of it and trying to get us arrested. Clearly he had some kind of heatstroke. Long story short, the police did take us to the police van, but let us go not long after that. “We got a call saying it was a burglary, six people involved and four on the run, I have to tell you guys, we were nervous as hell driving to the scene we did not know what to expect!” the police officer told us, and after a quick call with the district attorney he let us go with a 50 euro fine.

                                                                                                                          -Marcel Veldman




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