Reader HungryInHalstead writes in with workplace drama:

Dear Lt. Pike,

Recently I’ve switched to a gluten-free diet due to several health issues- diabetes, gout, joint pain, you name it. I drive 33 miles out of the way every week to buy bread and groceries from the only gluten-free store in our zip code. Typically when a coworker snags candy or an apple out of the fridge I don’t mind, but several of the gluten-free cupcakes have gone missing and I’m pissed.

I would like your advice on two fronts: first, please send me any suggestions you may have for discouraging the theif, and second, if that fails, I will need ideas on how to catch them in the action.

I am hoping your decades of campus police work will pay off, and you will be able to advise. As you know, gluten allergies are exploding across the country, and in some cases can be fatal. People mistake them for fatigue or illness, but most people just can’t process bread/wheat/gluten, even many glazes and condiments…

Please help with any advice asap!

First, please stop talking about your gluten allergy. It’s mostly made up and boring to hear about. I would rather watch a 24-hour continuous drum circle with my hands tied behind my back than listen to another god damn retelling of the intricate details of someone’s gluten “allergy.” Second, thank you for distinguishing between police work and campus police work, I needed another dig after the weekend I’ve had. Third, if you want to discourage someone from stealing your lunch, my suggestion would be pepper spraying them until their eyes bleed. Or pepper spraying the food until it would cause the theif’s eyes to bleed. Fourth, and finally, catching a perp red-handed is tricky and takes years of training, honed skills, mental and physical dexterity… but you can leapfrog all of that by investing in some pepper spray and just flashing it around the office, and hinting that you will be watching who takes what from the fridge from now on.

Hope this was helpful,

– Lt. John Pike



  1. Lt. Pike, I’ve heard about this globalization thing. How do you suppose we bring jobs back to America so that these darn protesters can get a fair shake making umbrella handles?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Dear Lt. Pike —

    You recently recommended to the writer who was having a problem with coworkers stealing gluten-free snacks “investing in some pepper spray and just flashing it around the office, and hinting that you will be watching who takes what from the fridge from now on.”

    What exactly is the point of “just” flashing it around the office? That’s the kind of lenient, anything goes attitude that’s wrong with law enforcement today. What’s wrong with actually going ahead and spraying all of the coworkers in their eyes until they bleed? If they haven’t stolen the gluten-free treats, they’ve done something wrong!

    I hope your superiors take a hard look at your namby-pamby, touchy-feely attitude toward law breakers and…. OHMYGOD, MY EYES, MY EYES, CAN’T… can’t… breathe…

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