Category Archives: Weird Crime

Picture me in a Lamborghini, midair

People always ask writers: Where do you get your ideas? I promise you one thing: I try not to get my ideas from action movie cliches. But if I did… this is how the story would turn out.

Yesterday I linked to a weird news tidbit out of New York City:

From that article:

CBS News reports that a Diablo was found “on fire and unoccupied” on the Jersey side of the bridge, near one of the westbound toll plazas. The police are now searching for the driver, because someone who can’t be bothered with trying to rescue a $200,000 Italian sports car from total destruction is clearly up to no good.

Of course they were. A thriller writer could not think otherwise, which is why I tweeted the story. In response, fellow twitterer (and friend of this blog) ChaosNexus got into the spirit of the story. Things developed from there.

Perfect. Imagine me sailing through the air in a flawless swan dive. In slow motion. For the full effect, picture all that with “O Fortuna” from Carmina Burana playing:

“He was very well wedged in there.”

Start the week with a sampler of the bizarre. All these stories feature food-and-drink related incidents. Mmm, taste the weird.

First, Dan sends a link to this story:

Woman accused of stabbing man with squirrel.

[P]olice arrested a woman early Christmas morning after she reportedly stabbed a man with a ceramic squirrel in an argument over beer.

Ah, with the added context it makes perfect sense.

Second, another crime story Dan calls “comfort food:”

Brother arrested in fight over peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

The victim told police that his brother, Jerome Davis, “made three peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and ate them in the living room. Within the next hour, the suspect made another three of these peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, bringing his total consumption of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to six. This angered the victim.”

You gotta stop at five. Five, man.

Next, Fake cop flashes buttocks, wants IHOP meal.

A server asked Skytta if he had money to pay for his meal, to which Skytta replied, “No, but I am a cop, and I get food for free.”

The report said Skytta, 55, then pulled an OPD insignia patch out of his wallet.

The server told Skytta police pay for their meals at IHOP and he wouldn’t be getting any free food. … [Skytta] then dropped his pants and exposed himself to the server and customers, the report said.

The best part?

Skytta was still at the booth when police arrived.

Finally, Rescuers use olive oil to extract naked man from washing machine

Police had to use olive oil to free a naked man who became trapped in a top-loading washing machine.

The unctuous intervention was part of a 20-minute rescue operation mounted in Mooroopna, Victoria, to pry the man from the hiding place he had planned to use to surprise his wife.

“He was very well wedged in there and we were concerned for his health and wellbeing,” Shepparton police sergeant Michelle De Araugo told Shepparton News.

‘‘It was just a game gone wrong. It would be fair to say the gentleman was very embarrassed.”

Olive oil. So good for what ails you.

Street scenes: Austin


Because everything rocks in Austin, attorneys should too.

And here are a few legal cases in the news. Maybe one of these people could use a rockin’ lawyer.

8 Charged in $45 million High-Tech Heist. And two of the guys posed for a photo with $40,000 of the cash the authorities say they were laundering.

Florida Man Escapes Police, Is Mauled by Alligator.

And finally, courtesy of the mighty Kitsap Sun: Man angry at neighbors goes on bulldozer rampage in Washington State.

UK folks: I might be on TV tonight

Ben Earl

In February I spent a day filming an episode of a new prime time TV show featuring magician Ben Earl. The show, Trick Artist, premieres in the UK tonight. Here’s Channel 4’s blurb:

Ben Earl is a master of sleight of hand and deception – the ultimate trick artist.

Ben has spent the last few months in an old warehouse in London devising four special programmes based on themes that fuse deception and mind-blowing stunts.

This first show is all about crime. Ben invites a select group of people to join him as he attempts to catch a speeding bullet, goes to prison to perform astonishing sleight-of-hand tricks with ex-convicts, teaches an audience member how to pickpocket, and finds himself leaping from the top of a moving car…

I’m sworn to secrecy about what the show entails. In fact, until I watch it I won’t know for sure whether my segment made the final cut. But I can tell you the episode involved some crime writers getting tricked by the trick artist. And I had a blast.

Ben Earl: Trick Artist
Friday 26 April 9 p.m.
Channel 4

Update: The show kept the stunts but edited out the three crime writers who originally took part in one of the sequences. So viewers got to see a “stolen” car get crushed and dropped from a crane at an auto wrecking yard, but they didn’t get to see my reaction to it. C’est la vie.

It always comes down to monkeys

… And to Kitsap County.

Here are some April 1st headlines that are not April Fool’s jokes.

First up: Germans Seize Justin Bieber’s Monkey. And that’s not a euphemism for naughty hijinks; they actually seized a monkey.

Canadian teen heartthrob Justin Bieber had his pet monkey Mally confiscated when he arrived with the animal at Munich airport, officials and media reports said Saturday.

Customs officials put the capuchin monkey in quarantine on Thursday because the 19-year-old pop sensation was unable to present the necessary documents for importing a live animal.

The monkey has requested asylum.

Next up: Forget Ukrainian Killer Ninja Dolphins. The new threat is squid bombs.

An unexploded bomb was found inside a squid when the fish was slaughtered at a fish market in Guangdong province.

The stall owner, who has been selling fish for 10 years, told the newspaper the 1-meter-long squid might have mistaken the bomb for food.

Mm-hmm. Suuuure.

Third: Today’s a travel day for me. I’m off, once again, to central Texas, where there’s no possibility I can be attacked by an explodey squid or an infected Bieber-monkey, or… what’s that you say? North Korea has plans for me?

Kim Jong-Un’s Latest, Unbelievable Threat: Bombing Austin, Texas.

Yippee kay-yay.

So I’ll leave you with news from the vortex of weird crime. The Kitsap Sun reports: Undelivered Mail Unearthed at Ex-Mailman’s Property.

SEATTLE (AP) — A Belfair contract mail carrier who was fired in 2010 for burning undelivered mail had held on to much more — 159 tubs buried in a trench on his property at Belfair, according to recently unsealed court documents…

A Postal Service employee living with Farrell told the Fox Island Post Office postmaster she had seen Farrell and two other people burying mail in a 5-foot by 30-foot trench, a Postal Service agent told the court.

The woman told investigators one of Farrell’s associates used a backhoe to dig the trench, which the men then filled with mail Farrell had been storing in sheds on the property.

“In 2010, Farrell was sentenced to 130 hours of community service for burning thousands of letters that went undelivered because he spent his day in a tavern.”

And yes: these final three stories would all have worked out better if Justin Bieber’s monkey was in charge, instead of squid-stuffers, Kim Jong Uh-Oh, or a drunken mail-burner.

Now I’m off to Texas, where the stars at night are big and bright — let’s hope not explosively bright. Yeehaw!

“I do not wish to consent to this arrest at this time.”

Ah, Florida. What would the USA do without you?

“Attila Szoradi didn’t have a Florida driver’s license and wasn’t interested in getting one.”

Szoradi provided a laminated card that said “United States Constitutional Right to Travel,” as well as a white card with the sedan’s VIN number, issued by the “Kingdom of Heaven,” according to a Pasco County Sheriff’s Office report.

“Deputy Sweeney decided to place Szoradi under arrest on charges of possessing a fictitious license and a counterfeit license plate. He asked the driver several times to exit the car.”

“I do not wish to consent to this arrest at this time,” Szoradi replied.

That didn’t go over so well either.

Man presents license, registration from “Kingdom of Heaven.”

Today in Crazytown: Editmania edition

How many ways is the world going nuts today?

First: Dear cops… Next time a driver tells you the squirrel in his shirt is eating him, pay attention.

Deputies: DUI driver had squirrel in his shirt.

According to an arrest report, Warren Michael III produced the squirrel to show the deputy.

And because I have vowed never again to write about an animal in peril and then leave its fate uncertain:

After Michael’s arrest, the pickup and squirrel were released to Michael’s girlfriend.

Next: Think I’ll avoid the Philadelphia airport.

Airport error: Officer trying to unload flight attendant’s gun accidentally fires it.

The flight attendant, who works for Republic Airlines, has a permit to carry the weapon and that she was cited only for taking the .38-caliber revolver through security. The police officer was temporarily taken off patrol duty.

“She will go back to training for handling weapons.”

Well then, everything’s dandy.

And finally, news that could turn my sons into doomsday preppers:
Global Bacon Shortage ‘Unavoidable’ Next Year, Says U.K.’s National Pig Association.

Crazy, I tell you. It’s a crazy world.

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right

My son’s birthday was yesterday. He sent me a link and asked me why I didn’t get him this party treat to celebrate his special day.

Evil Clown hired for stalking, threats and a pie in the face.

“An ‘evil’ clown who stalks and threatens kids is being hired by parents as a birthday treat…”

Dominic Deville stalks young victims for a week, sending chilling texts, making prank phone calls and setting traps in letterboxes.

He posts notes warning children they are being watched, telling them they will be attacked.

But Deville is not an escaped lunatic or some demonic monster.
He is a birthday treat, hired by mum and dad, and the ‘attack’ involves being splatted in the face with a cake.

‘The child feels more and more that it is being pursued,’ said Deville. ‘The clown’s one and only aim is to smash a cake into the face of his victim, when they least expect it, during the course of seven days.’

Why didn’t I hire the Evil Clown to attack my son? Because that would be insane, and cruel, and terrifying, and if I did so, a sinkhole would open in my back yard and swallow me and my soul entire. Sorry, honey — you’ll have to make do with cards and presents.

In other party-related news, yacht club weddings just aren’t what they used to be.

“‘They’re in love. They’re doing everything in their power to make it work,’ busted mom Darlene DeIorio, 45, told the Herald last night though tears. ‘I’m going to be there for them no matter what. My heart is so broken. I’m sad for them.’”

Why is Darlene sad?

Wedding bash ends in handcuffs.

Danvers cops showed up and found a surreal scene: Wedding guests yelling, screaming and rolling around on the ground in a pig pile. At one point, police said, the groom’s mother, Darlene, attacked the bride’s mom.

“On the way to the station, police said, Darlene turned her wrath on them and said some pretty hurtful things about one of the officer’s mothers.”

Hey, Evil Clown: there are some wedding guests in Danvers who deserve to enjoy your services.

Staged Kidnapping: Like a Nightmare Thief in the Night

In my novel The Nightmare Thief, an adventure company stages mock kidnappings during role-playing games. Players pay for the privilege. They warn the cops ahead of time. They know the kidnapping’s coming, and that it’s only make-believe.

But that’s not the way it worked for a bunch of kids at one Pennsylvania church.

Church Stages Kidnapping of Youth Group.

Teenagers at the Glad Tidings Assembly of God Church in Middletown, Pa., were surprised when they attended a youth group meeting at the church on March 21 and were ambushed by what seemed to be real kidnappers.

Adults, including an off-duty cop, brandished weapons and put bags over the heads of the children, ages 13 through 18, and forced them into a church van. The group was driven to the home of an assistant pastor, who was presented before the group with a seemingly bloodied and bruised face, according to Dauphin County District Attorney Fran Chardo.

One of the adults used a real AK-47, though the gun was unloaded.

Yeah, the men came in screaming and waving an actual Kalashnikov at the kids before they shoved them to the floor, tied them up, bagged their heads, dragged them to a van, and drove them to a basement where they were isolated and interrogated. The kids didn’t know the kidnapping was fake. And their parents were not informed of the church’s plans.

The church leaders who organized the fake hostage situation later told law enforcement that the event was meant to be a lesson to the children on how Christians are persecuted in places around the world, but the “educational” event may actually constitute a crime.

At the very least it constitutes stupid, deliberate cruelty. The church “leaders” (I use the term as snidely as possible) did everything possible to convince the teens this was an actual kidnapping. They wanted them to experience real terror and a genuine fear for their lives.

Camouflaged men screaming in a 13-year-old’s face while waving an AK-47 at her. This isn’t education. It’s sadism.

As a parent, I’m horrified. And if this is modern Christianity in action, God help it. Somebody fire these bullies.

This is the world that we live in

It’s baffling out there. Things that confuse and amaze me:

Wouldn’t this man’s prowess with the electric saw merely prove his fitness for a job?  Austrian saws off own foot to avoid work.

And here I thought Easter was about chasing the Easter Bunny into a trap with sticks and dogs. Easter Egg Hunt canceled because of aggressive parents. “Organizers of an annual Easter egg hunt attended by hundreds of children have canceled this year’s event, citing the behavior of aggressive parents who swarmed into the tiny park last year, determined that their kids get an egg.”

I thought Spinal Tap had taught everybody: If you’re going to stuff your jockey shorts, use a cucumber.  Man arrested after “abnormal bulge” in underpants. “Police allegedly found nine stolen credit cards, a loaded firearm, about 180 ecstasy tablets, about 28 grams of amphetamines and a large amount of cash hidden down the man’s pants.”

Why was nobody fighting for Trisha Yearwood? Country Music Debate Leads to Hammer Attack. “An argument about country music stars Reba McEntire and Loretta Lynn escalated into a domestic dispute that has Savannah-Chatham police looking for a man believed to have attacked two people with a hammer Tuesday.”

Never, in years of owning pets, has this happened to me. What am I doing wrong? Businessman’s snake vomits cash.

And finally: Yo quiero tacocopter. I need this service. How do I petition the FAA to let tiny robot drones deliver to tacos to me?

Tacocopter Aims to Deliver Tacos Using Unmanned Drone Helicopters.

(Thanks for most of these links to the inestimable Dave Barry. There’s much more at his blog.)

Headlines of the day: Flaming grooms, smoking publishers

I keep up with weird crimes worldwide so you won’t have to.

First, the jerk of the year, matrimonial department:

Bridegroom jailed for committing arson at his own wedding.

“A bridegroom who tried to burn down his wedding reception venue has been jailed for six years.” Max Kay, 37, became so angry that the the Peckforton Castle hotel refused to let him run a bar tab that he tried to burn it down — with a hundred people inside.

Second, what may be the year’s most creative, or desperate, attempt at getting published:

Feds intercept pot shipments to publishing house.

MARCH 21–Two shipments of marijuana destined for the New York City offices of a major book publisher were intercepted this month by federal agents after postal workers detected a “suspicious odor” emanating from the Express Mail parcels, according to court records.

The packages, containing a total of more than 11 pounds of pot, were bound for St. Martin’s Press, which is headquatered in the landmark Flatiron Building on lower Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

“Both packages were addressed to ‘Karen Wright,’ which appears to be a fictitious name…. Apart from seizing the marijuana–which, depending on its quality, could have had a street value approaching $70,000–federal agents do not appear to be seeking to determine whom at St. Martin’s was expecting to receive the pot.”


Today in Weird Crime: Mercury, cannons, sharks

Today’s top crime headlines:

“Young mum’s bizarre mercury ‘plot’ to poison ex-lover.” The idea to pour mercury from a thermometer into his drink, she says, came to her in a dream, and wasn’t real. The prosecution has pointed out that she spent nine months researching mercury poisoning on the Internet.

California man arrested after girlfriend killed by cannon blast. Really.

Knife-wielding kite surfer defeats Red Sea sharks. Okay, this isn’t a crime story, but it’s still the headline of the week.

Faced with rising waves and approaching nightfall the Gdansk-born Polish kite surfing champion and instructor sent out his first SOS signal, but it took nearly 40-hours for the Saudi Arabian coastguard to find him.

Lisewski — who became the first person to kite surf across the Baltic Sea last year — survived the ordeal with help of energy drinks, some water, two energy bars and a trusty knife to fight off sharks up to six meters (yards) long.

“I was stabbing them in the eyes, the nose and gills,” Lisewski told Polish state news agency PAP.

And just when you think it’s safe to go back in the water.

(Thanks to Gregg Hurwitz for the last two links.)

“A vicious fight involving vodka and supermodels.”

That got your attention, didn’t it? But there’s more.

Monaco royal hurt, former club owner charged in celebs’ NYC bar brawl.

Yes: spoiled, battling royals.

“Grace’s grandson left in a pulp after celebs’ Meatpacking melee.”

A vicious fight involving vodka and supermodels at a Meatpacking District nightclub sparked a royal beatdown that landed Monaco’s Prince Pierre Casiraghi in the hospital, The Post has learned.

The attack on the 24-year-old son of Princess Caroline and grandson of Grace Kelly came during a late-night confrontation between the prince and his playboy pals and former Manhattan club owner Adam Hock at trendy Double Seven on Saturday, witnesses and law-enforcement sources said.

But there’s even more.

Hock, 47, had been partying with friends — including Double Seven owner Jeffrey Jah, hairdresser-to-the-stars Joel Warren and catwalk stunners Natasha Poly, Valentina Zalyaeva and Anja Rubik — when Casiraghi strolled over to their table with shipping-scion pal and Paris Hilton ex Stavros Niarchos III and two other men at around 2:30 a.m., witnesses said.

Members of Hock’s group said the prince and his entourage “were being completely obnoxious,’’ insulting the models and swigging from a $500 bottle of vodka on Hock’s table.

A Greek shipping magnate’s son who’s Paris Hilton’s ex, a hairdresser-to-the-stars, and a club owner named “Jah.”

This wasn’t a brawl. It was the sequel to Zoolander.

Cop: “Who punched you?”

Playboy (looking pulpy): “Jah.”

Cop: “What are you, German? I know you got punched. I asked, who?”

Playboy: “No. Jah!”

Cop: “Stop messing around. Did you get punched or not?”

And, as my son has astutely pointed out, “coverage of ANYTHING with supermodels makes perfect sense.”

“Man Fire-Bombs Taco Bell for Meatier Chalupa”

30 bizarre taco-related crimes.

The datelines on these stories range from Alaska to Florida, but as far as I can tell, none are from Kitsap County. (Though Vancouver, Washington is in Clarke County, along the swirling edge of the vortex of weird crime.)

I can’t decide which story is the strangest — maybe, “Sleeping Florida man arrested in drive-thru, offers cops taco as I.D. from inside burning car.” Or “Woman in court for trying to sell baby at Taco Bell.”

And I am taken aback by the number of arrests for taco-throwing. Who throws tacos? Tortilla chips, sure — they’re like corn-based ninja throwing stars. But tacos? What are you going to do, fling your lunch and run away while your victim shrieks, “My hair! The shredded lettuce and cheese, it’s in my hair! Get it out!”

Also: I am now very hungry.