Cairo gave us one last mystery/insult just as we were leaving the country. I present it here so you can assist me in solving it.
The setting. When we arrived in Cairo, our friends the Heisses were just leaving. They passed on to us a huge bin full of various toys and useful household goods. It was a mix of things they had acquired for themselves in Cairo, and things that others had passed down to them.
On Saturday, as we were getting ready to pack up and leave, we re-packed the bin and added a few things to it, like our kiddie pool and a small cooler. Jeremy hauled that bin as well as a folded-up portacrib down five flights of stairs to our front entryway, left them there, and then came back upstairs to grab a few more things. The plan was to get a taxi and deliver the bin and crib and other items to the church, where they could be passed on to other families moving to Cairo.
The crime. In the time it took for Jeremy to go up the stairs, retrieve a few more items, and go back down, the bin and the crib had disappeared!
The evidence. The time elapsed between when Jeremy left the stuff at the bottom of the stairs and when he returned with more stuff could not have been more than three minutes. It was probably more like two minutes.
In addition, upon discovering that the bin and crib were gone, he ran outside and went up and down the street looking for someone hauling them away.
The only person he saw was a neighboring building's bowab, and he was not hauling a huge bin away.
The spot where Jeremy left the bin and crib was not visible from the two ground-floor apartments that open onto that landing.
It was fairly early on a Saturday morning when this happened, so hardly anyone was out and about, both on the streets and in our apartment building.
The placement and arrangement of the bin and crib were such that it really wasn't possible for someone to mistake them as free curbside giveaways. They were packed neatly and organized and sitting in our interior stairwell, up a flight of stairs and behind a door from the street.
The suspects. Jeremy is dead-set on the perpetrator being a freaky recluse living in one of the ground-floor apartments who was listening for Jeremy and reached out and grabbed the stuff as soon as he went upstairs. Seriously. Personally, I think this explanation defies Occam's Razor.
The neighboring building's bowab is a suspect, I guess. But Jeremy said that when he saw him, he was walking nonchalantly and holding newspapers in his hands so unless he is great at putting on an act, I think we can rule him out.
Which brings us to our bowab. I really don't like to suspect the guy, but I don't know what to think. He is the only one who would have been randomly walking around the building at that time, and also the only one (besides someone in one of the lower apartments) who would have been able to take the stuff away and put it somewhere before Jeremy came back downstairs (the bowab lives behind the building).
Conclusion. I would love to hear your alternative explanations. Maybe there's something in the above evidence that points to something other than what I've suggested.
The more important conclusion, however, is that although our stuff was technically stolen, we were giving it away anyway. It's just that now it will benefit someone other than who we intended.
And that someone is a thief.