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Told about Mabie's claims that he captured Boone on video, the Warehouse 1 employee said, "Yeah, we know. We've already talked to the police."
The Pitch requested an interview with Jacoby.
"I'm going to be straightforward with you on this: probably not," the woman said. "But I will leave your name and number and why you're calling."
Jacoby never called. The Pitch called again in early December, but Jacoby didn't return that call, either.
Two days after catching on video a man who looked like Boone, Mabie is driving into the industrial park near his warehouse when his cell phone rings. It's his sister-in law, telling him that Kansas City's Public Works Department is picking up the signs he posted in medians and next to his brother's used-appliance store near I-435 and East Truman Road.
Mabie floors it for the interstate and swings off on the East Truman Road exit. He spots the city's white truck and a woman in a rain poncho uprooting his signs. Mabie pulls onto the shoulder.
"Boy, they've got a bad day for you to do this, don't they?" Mabie says.
"Yes, they do," the worker says.
"Do you know who made the complaint?"
"It's an anonymous complaint."
Mabie is pretty sure he knows who ratted on him.
"As soon as you leave, can I put them back out?" Mabie asks. "Or am I going to get in trouble?"
The woman tells him that whoever complained will just call again, and she'll be back out to pick up the signs.
"Can you tell them it was a skinny blond-headed guy?" Mabie jokes.
He is neither skinny nor blond. His hair is short and dark, and his waist is wide. But the guy is all energy. He hops out of the car, runs to retrieve his signs and throws them in the back seat.
Mabie breezes onto the interstate and exits on East 23rd Street. The light is red. Mabie throws the car in park, jumps out, runs to the trunk, and grabs two new white T-shirts and a sign from the back seat. He runs across the grass, stakes the sign and runs back to the car — all before the light changes.
Mabie loops back onto the interstate and heads toward Front Street. He needs to find some homeless people.
It's a rainy midmorning in October as Mabie drives along 23rd Street and spots a man in a wheelchair, parked in the median near the stoplight. Rain is pouring down on him. Mabie flips a U-turn.
"You wear this T-shirt?" Mabie asks as he hands the man a shirt and $5.
The T-shirt reads, "New Pallet Rack Cheap."
"Yeah," the man says with a strained voice.
"Put it on. I'm gonna be back later. If you're wearing it, I'll give you some more money. There's $5. Make sure you put this on, OK?"
"All right," the man says. "Thank you."
"Put it on right now. I'll be back in a little bit."
Mabie sees another homeless man under the I-435 bridge. He pulls under the bridge and rolls down his passenger window.
"Come here, buddy," he says to the gray-bearded man. "Here. Wear this. Wear this T-shirt, OK? And I'll be back later on, and I'll give you some more money. But you've got to be wearing this T-shirt."
Mabie drives away. As he heads for the highway, he spots the man in the wheelchair trying to put on his new T-shirt.
Mabie knows people might think he's exploiting homeless people. He thinks about this. He thinks about it often. He wonders if it's wrong to pay these men to be walking billboards for his business. But he says he's gotten to know them. He likes them.