We sat in a courtyard in the middle of Tallinn’s old town. The courtyard is 5 metres wide by 20 long with cobbled paving. The only shop left open is the cafe bar where we are sitting having an evening drink.
The cafe is popular with about half of the 20 tables occupied. It is not surprising as it has been a sunny day. Everyone is relaxing having a beer after a day seeing the sights, like us.
Helen and I laugh quietly as two woman get up to leave, they walk slowly and uncertainly, with every step they try to place the tip of their 4 inch heels on a flat part of the rounded cobble ground. The shoes are ridiculous given that most roads within a mile are made of same rounded cobble stones.
A few moments pass and then I notice that the courtyard noise has lowered slightly; something has caught the attention of the other tables. Something unusual is happening, out of sight?
The talking has stopped; the men are sitting more alert! Everyone’s attention is focused on a couple entering the courtyard.
The couple enter the courtyard the man is leading the woman by her wrist. He is six foot two, dark complection, well built. The woman is 6 foot tall, blonde, thin. No she is not being led, more marched. His right hand grips her right wrist in a forceful and unnatural way. The grip, body language and everything else about the situation has the cafe’s customers concerned. There are looks exchanged between customers unsure of their next action or inaction.
I recognise the woman, she had been sitting by herself at the table behind us a few moments ago. She entered sat at the table, checked the menu and then left.
A waitress approaches the pair; she attempts to defuse the situation. The pair are Russian; the waitress does not speak Russian.
The man changes his grip on the woman; he is now holding both her wrists locked together in his large right hand. She is upset and he is aggressive and argry. This distresses the waitress and customers more. All attention is on the incident but no one knows what to do!
Another customer sitting at the corner table speaks in English; she could understand the Russian pair.
“He is accusing her of stealing; of theft.”
He is now on his the phone. The accused also has her phone to her ear. Her wrists are still clamped but he has allowed to make a call. They both talk in a foreign language.
The waitress also goes inside for a moment to call the police and returns a moment later.
The waitress talks to the pair with the aid of the woman on the corner table. She gets the woman to sit at an empty table and the man to unhand her; he reluctantly does but sits 50 cm away blocking any possible exit, while still being able to see the entrance.
She empties her bag; protesting publicly that she has not taken anything. Her bag clearly does not contain the item but it could easily have been passed to an accomplice.
The next fifteen minutes pass with no sign of the police. The crowd is slowly disappearing; finding it convenient to leave quickly, as soon as their glasses are emptied.
The attention of the crowd is still focused on the entrance to the courtyard. Why have no police turned up? What if their calls were not to the police? Who will turn up? What will happen next? Is it best to leave?
Finally, two officers then enter the courtyard. We are relieved, the crowd is now more relaxed yet still watching. The first officer questions and ID’s the pair. The second officer standing slightly back listens and watches ready to back up his colleague if anything happens.
She empties her bag again protesting that she has not taken anything. The police leave with the pair. We shall never know what was stolen. Or if she was involved. The police will probably never know either as clearly she no longer had or possibly never had the stolen item.