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January 16, 2010

Weird Crimes

Weird Crime

by Nancy   Go to fullsize image

On the crime blotter this morning, there's a headline that somebody broke into a local high school and stole . . . a meat slicer.

Perhaps the oddest part of this story is that somebody felt the need to alert the media, and local television stations are reporting it.

As a mystery writer, I'm of course delighted to hear about this kind of crime. It provides fodder for amusing subplots and character background.  Really, who steals a meat slicer?  And why?  What news producer felt this story should be a big lead?  The imagination just takes off like a rocket, doesn't it?

Also this week is the story of the hairdresser who shot her dissatisfied customer in the "rear upper thigh" during a scuffle because the customer was going ballistic about an unflattering hair weave.  At her sentencing, the hairdresser was astonished to learn that her .38 is considered a "deadly weapon."  The local newspaper quoted her as saying about her customer:  "That 38 caliber didn't even take her down."

So today, let's share small town crime.  I, for one, need inspiration for my book in progress.  Anyone?


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Well, the first thing that occurs to me with the meat slicer is Corpse Disposal.... but that's just how my mind works.

The hairdresser reminds me of a class I attended for Concealed Carry Licensing. One of the students, a woman, held forth on how she "understood" Clara Harris, she'd have done the same thing (run over her cheating husband three deliberate times), and that's how it should be. During a break, said woman was on her cell phone, practically screeching to someone, that she had to FIRE A GUN to get her license to carry it. She actually was expected to go out ON THE RANGE and SHOOT A GUN?? My eyebrows climbed to the back of my skull, I got the instructor off to one side, and suggested he reconsider giving her a certification.

Not quite sure what happened, but after the lunch break, she was no longer there.....

The newspaper from a nearby small town recently reported about a taco being stole from a home. Nothing else was taken, just the taco.

Gee, William, you're a hard act to follow :o) People in my neck of the woods steal the usual things-TVs, PC's (the UI lost 5 just last weekend, from a locked admin office)cars. Not a big market for tractors or combines, too hard to conceal, y'know? But working in retail has taught me that customers will walk out the door with an already read newspaper (ours are now behind the counter) or magazine, will open a magazine to get the "free" CD out, and will decide they need to have the cute neckalce that comes with the bargain classics without buying the classic.Shrink, as it's called in the trade, is a big problem...which is why those awkward plastic tags are on coats and dresses and there are magnetic bar codes on books, CDs and DVDs. And how do you protect produce? Ever 'sample' a grape? Theft. Still, it amazes me that people can and do get away with it even with the precautions. (We caught a kid sitting in a chair near the cooking section calmly removing the stickers from manga while his 'partner' tried to distract a clerk.)Me? I couldn't take anything without turning beet red and broadcasting it on my face.
And I never did understand why people steal headstones from cemeteries. Unless they need a doorstop, the information on the rock isn't useful to anyone else but the original user.
Happy foggy Saturday all. :o) Go Saints!

Two come to mind...

Police blotter reported a break-in. A stick of wood was stolen. EXCUSE ME???

The other was a naked man who held police at bay with a can of whipped cream.

I loved reading the police blotter!

I could write a book...

My ex-law partner used to tell the story about the guy he defended in his early days who was charged with felony breaking and entering. Seems the guy pulled his pickup around the back of a rich doctor's house one night, broke in, and started hauling stuff out to the truck. He was doing pretty good until he discovered the bar, where two bottles of Dom Perignon were chilling in the mini-fridge. And that's where the cops fond him the next morning.

So my partner got court-appointed to the case and decided to demand a probable cause hearing (a preliminary hearing to determine if there's enough evidence upon which to proceed to trial). The doctor got up and testified that he and his wife came home, found the defendant passed out in front of the bar, and immediately left to call the cops. My partner, thinking that maybe it would mitigate the seriousness of the offense, asked if they'd gotten everything back, and the doctor said yes, they'd recovered the stereo and the TV and the golf clubs back from the truck, but that they were missing a pair of dress shoes...at which point the doctor looked over, stood up in the witness box and yelled 'Hey! That son of a bitch is wearing my shoes!"

They pled out soon after.

Then there are the multitude of stories about a particularly inept thief who went by the name of Teak. One night the cops were called out to the local jewelry store because someone had smashed the front display window with a brick. The cops investigated and called the manager, who came down and didn't find anything taken. The cops left to file their report, and the manager stayed to wait for the glass guy to come fix the window. While he waited., the manager went to the back to get a broom to sweep up the broken glass...and found Teak asleep in the broom closet.

Some people just aren't cut out for a life of crime.

There was also the local perv that used to go the the library and wait for an attractive woman browsing the stacks. He'd go down the other side and wait for her to pull a book out to look at, at which point he'd remove the book opposite, take out his privy member, and insert it into the space. I'm pretty sure they canceled his library card.

Soooo.....I still say the most mysterious crime was the day before Christmas. Our factory closed at noon and a big pig roast dinner with the yuca and black beans followed. I always thought it was a small deal considering how hard those ladies sewed all year but it was still appreciated and they each got a box of chocolates and cookies.
The owners then had a huge Christmas eve party that evening for their friends at their home. Very La-de-dah!
They had purchased 20 lbs of shrimp from the Jomara Fish Market across the street and put in in the factory refrigerator that morning. The managers all had a small fridge in their office but this was too much shrimp to put in there.
Cleaning up and time to go when ACK! the shrimp had vanished!!!! How in the hey ho anyone did it is still a mystery. I mean we're talking 20 pounds of shrimp.
And yes the Gazette put it in the police report and the owner posted a reward for information leading to an arrest.
Hope they weren't allergic to shellfish!
Just saying.
And yes there was a lot of cocktail sauce left over.

Oh my, I'm enjoying these laughs.

We at Seattle Mystery Bookshop, on the 2nd of January, had one of our huge plate glass windows smashed in, scattering glass everywhere.

The thieves skipped all the books, the stereo, the computers. They made off with $16.08 in spare change. And our hidden Frito money, totalling maybe four bucks.

I worry about today's criminals, but I'm thankful it wasn't worse!

There was a wonderful line in an episode of THE WEST WING that I paraphrase without shame all the time:

"There's no amount of money, manpower, or technology that can equal the suspect you're looking for being stupid."

Got to love it....

Some friends had their home broken into recently, which they discovered upon arriving home from a trip, late at night. They were able to keep the kids from figuring it out (nine and six, although the nine-year old kept saying "something is weird here"), despite the back door hanging open.

The mom noticed something was weird when she found herself thinking she must have cleaned the kitchen unusually well before they left, then realized that their blender and toaster were missing. Her husband went into their office and was stunned to see that their copier--a HUGE machine--was gone. The burglars must have been in the house for a long time, because all the drawers were opened slightly, but they couldn't find much else missing.

More than once crooks have tried to remove soda machines from convenience stores, and at least once, an ATM machine. Can you imagine trying to get rid of THAT evidence? And how stealthy, to drive around with one of those machines in the bed of your pickup. Duh.

Friends in Minneapolis had a pair of pet iguanas that apparently scared off a burglar -- jewelry was scattered in the bedroom, just as if someone might have been startled (the iguanas loved to jump on guests' shoulders). I have the story on my Frog & Friends CD.
All crime is stupid really. I used to tell students the cautionary tale of an acquaintance who was a world-class forger, top-notch, the best . . . and what did that get him? Prison, of course, because eventually he would always get caught. If he had put equal time and talent into something legitimate, he would have had repeat customers, referrals, pension plans . . . .

Well, this may not be the most bizarre or strangest crime, but the local police in my town are stumped by the mysterious "shoe burglar." He--or she--has apparently been helping him/herself to free footwear since 2003.


I'm still cracking up (ever pondered where that saying came from? The mind boggles ...)over the taco!

At last years Oktoberfest celebration in town person or persons unknown stole the pickup truck, trailer and 20 kegs of imported beer meant for the celebration.

Strange logic.
While working security for a grocery store close to the airport I was totally amazed to watch a flight attendant from British Airways conceal a potted cactus and an oscillating lawn sprinkler in her flight bag! I mean, that mf sprinkler was 20" x8" X7"!! The store manager & the cop thought she must be a friend of mine & we were playing a prank on them LOL. Nope!
When we all quit laughing I asked her WHY those things? She said that she'd bought a cactus before and it died (she was over watering it) the sprinkler? She had bought one of those too, but the threads wouldn't fit her hose in the UK!! (I told her to take it to a UK hardware store & get an adapter)
Weirdest on the PD was when one of our local burglars was found dead on his front porch (neighbors thought he was just passed out drunk, so he ended up laying there about 20 hrs before we were called) We said,'he's dead', EMTs said he was dead & were figuring a heart attack, till they went to move him & there was blood. Uh oh! ME checked & said small caliber gunshot wound, mostly bled internally. But when & where was he shot?
A couple weeks later the mystery was solved when the talking started in the bar.
Seems that the same night the burglar died, there was an attempted break-in in the venue south of ours. The lady yelled, her nephew that lived with her grabbed his .22 pistol and popped a round at the guy as he ran away! The guy stumbled but kept running.
Made it over a mile before he died on his porch!

My office is across the street from a lovely hotel (Pres. Clinton occasionally stayed in said hotel when he was in town back when). It is a grand old building (occasionally featured on 'Private Practice' tv program when they want to show the red brick exterior), with long hallway upstairs and downstairs lined with doors into doc offices, looks like Dashiell Hammet would have loved setting his hard-bitten detectives in the wood-lined interiors. Seems that there is a ring of thieves that hang out around the hotel, waiting for unthinking tourists to leave their cars unlocked when they run into the lobby to register and find out where to park. Said thieves apparently come into our building when the pickings at the hotel are slim. I turned from the top of the stairs towards my office last week, and saw someone standing at the door very like an unusually tall Roomba or ancient dog that had come face-to-face with the wall and didn't know what to do next. I spoke to the person, who was wearing at least three coats with hoods, and they turned and walked somewhat robotically down the hall away from me. I couldn't resist following, and said to the retreating back, sincerely, 'Did you have an appointment with me? I'm sorry if I kept you waiting.', to which the individual replied without looking up, in a woman's somewhat weathered voice, 'Appointment with YOU? Ha!' and kept walking.
Although this was undoubtedly either one of the thieves (my door was locked) or a homeless person, something about her comment just makes me laugh every time I think of it.

Laraine, your "very tall Roomba" comment cracked me up!

And I know exactly which building on "Private Practice" you mean! I'm surprised it's a hotel, though.

Karen, the redbrick building is the actual doctors' offices building where my practice is, and it always amuses me to see the pretend doc actors milling around on the sidewalk under my window when they are filming those segments. It is across the street from the hotel.
Glad you liked the Roomba image--it is that sort of 'bumped into the wall and now don't know where to go' energy that I observed in the perhaps would-be intruder.

Great site, and very interesting...

It's so nice to have you do all of the research for us. It makes our decision making so much easier!! Thanks.

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