LICENSE TO STEAL
Two Kentucky men tried to pull the front off a cash machine by running a chain from the machine to the bumper of their pickup truck. Instead of pulling the front panel off the machine, though, they pulled the bumper off the truck. They panicked and fled, leaving the chain still attached to the machine, their bumper still attached to the chain, and their license plate still attached to the bumper.
IN THE BAG
A "tourist," supposedly on a golf holiday, stood in line at the customs counter. While making idle chatter, the customs official thought it odd that the golfer didn't know what a handicap was. The officer then asked the tourist to demonstrate his swing. He did - backwards. A substantial amount of narcotics was found in the golf bag.
MADE FOR TV
Guns For Hire, an Arizona company specializing in staged gunfights for Western movies, got a call from a 47-year-old woman who wanted to have her husband shot. She was sentenced to four years in jail.
DO YOU ACCEPT CREDIT CARDS?
A Texan convicted of robbery worked out a deal to pay $9600 in damages rather than serve a two-year prison sentence. For payment, he provided the court a forged check. He got his prison term back, plus eight more years.
YOU MEAN ME?
A pair of Michigan robbers entered a record shop nervously waving revolvers. The first one shouted, "Nobody move!" When his partner moved, the startled first bandit shot him.
A man in Orange County Municipal Court had been ticketed for driving alone in the carpool lane. He claimed that the four frozen cadavers in the mortuary van he was driving should be counted. The judged ruled that passengers must be alive to qualify.
THIS WOULD BE ME
The judge called the case of People vs. Steven Lewon Crook. The bailiff opened the door to the holding cell and called, "Crook, come forward." Five of the prisoners entered the courtroom.
LEARN YOUR LESSON
When asked for her occupation, a woman charged with a traffic violation said she was a schoolteacher. The judge rose from the bench. "Madam, I have waited years for a schoolteacher to appear before this court," he smiled with delight. "Now sit down at that table and write 'I will not pass through a red light' five hundred times."
AHH, THAT'S BETTER!
A judge in Louisville decided a jury went "a little bit too far" in recommending a sentence of 5,005 years for a man who was convicted of five robberies and a kidnapping. The judge reduced the sentence to 1,001 years.
OOPS! I BLEW THAT ONE!
A lawyer defending a man accused of burglary tried this creative defense: "My client merely inserted his arm into the window and removed a few trifling articles. His arm is not himself, and I fail to see how you can punish the whole individual for an offense committed by his limb." "Well put," the judge replied. "Using your logic, I sentence the defendant's arm to one year's imprisonment. He can accompany it or not, as he chooses." The defendant smiled. With his lawyer's assistance he detached his artificial limb, laid it on the bench, and walked out.
STEAL THE RIGHT THING
When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on a Seattle street, he got much more than he bargained for. Police arrived at the scene to find an ill man curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline and plugged his hose into the motor home's sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges, saying that it was the best laugh he'd ever had.
BRAINS FOR SALE
A woman was reporting her car as stolen, and mentioned that there was a car phone in it. The policeman taking the report called the phone and told the guy that answered that he had read the ad in the newspaper and wanted to buy the car. They arranged to meet, and the thief was arrested.
LIKE HEAVY, MAN
David Posman, 33, was arrested recently in Providence, R.I, after allegedly knocking out an armored car driver and stealing the closest four bags of money. It turned out they contained $800 in PENNIES, weighed 30 pounds each, and slowed him to a stagger during his getaway so that police officers easily jumped him from behind.
The Belgium news agency Belga reported in November that a man suspected of robbing a jewelry store in Liege said he couldn't have done it because he was busy breaking into a school at the same time. Police then arrested him for breaking into the school.
BATTLE OF THE BULGE
Drug-possession defendant Christopher Johns, on trial in March in Pontiac, Michigan, said he had been searched without a warrant. The prosecutor said the officer didn't need a warrant because a "bulge" in Christopher's jacket could have been a gun. Nonsense, said Christopher, who happened to be wearing the same jacket that day in court. He handed it over so the judge could see it. The judge discovered a packet of cocaine in the pocket and laughed so hard he required a five-minute recess to compose himself.
NEXT TIME USE A SPELL CHECKER
Clever drug traffickers used a propane tanker truck entering El Paso from Mexico. They rigged it so propane gas would be released from all of its valves while the truck concealed 6,240 pounds of marijuana. They were clever, but not bright. They misspelled the name of the gas company on the side of the truck.
NOT ALL THERE
Oklahoma City - Dennis Newton was on trial for the armed robbery of a convenience store in a district court this week when he fired his lawyer. Assistant district attorney Larry Jones said Newton, 47, was doing a fair job of defending himself until the store manager testified that Newton was the robber. Newton jumped up, accused the woman of lying and then said, "I should of blown your [expletive] head off." The defendant paused, then quickly added, "-if I'd been the one that was there." The jury took 20 minutes to convict Newton and recommend a 30-year sentence.
R.C. Gaitlin, 21, walked up to two patrol officers who were showing their squad car computer equipment to children in a Detroit neighborhood. When he asked how the system worked, the officers asked him for a piece of identification. Gaitlin gave them his driver's license, they entered it into the computer, and moments later they arrested Gaitlin because information on the screen showed that Gaitlin was wanted for a two-year-old armed robbery in St. Louis, Missouri.
In Springfield, Mo., in June, Vernon Wayne Richmond, 18, stood up in court to give the details of his crime as part of a plea bargain to cocaine possession. Richmond said he found cocaine, put it in his pocket, and then was arrested by police after a Wal-Mart guard detained him. Unfortunately, Richmond had misunderstood which of his cases the plea was for. Actually, the district attorney was prosecuting him for an earlier arrest for having cocaine in his car and was unaware of the Wal-Mart arrest.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE $2000?
Army military policeman Daniel Christian Bowden, 20, was arrested in June at the Fort Belvoir (Va.) Federal Credit Union as he attempted to deposit almost $3,000 cash into his account. A teller had called police on Bowden because she recognized him as the very man who had robbed the credit union of nearly $5,000 two weeks earlier.
GUN SAFETY? NOT!
In September in Wichita, Kan., police officers staking out a convenience store inadvertently unnerved two men parked innocently at an adjacent liquor store. According to police, a 19- year-old man in the car had a gun and thought that since police officers were nearby, he ought to get rid of it, but in the process of pulling it out of his pocket, he accidentally fired one round, which hit him in the leg, went through the front seat, and hit the companion, age 20. According to police Capt. Paul Dotson, the officers on stakeout, who had until then ignored the liquor store, had their attention engaged by the gunshot and the gun owner's limping out of the car and throwing the gun over a fence. The shooter was charged with illegal possession of a firearm, and his companion was treated at a hospital and released without charges.
PLEASE ARREST ME
Carlos Manuel Perez, 21, was jailed in Anniston, Ala., in October after a series of missteps that almost begged for his arrest. He stopped in front of a local government building in a stolen car, which had no license plate. His intention, he told the first person he saw, was to inquire about getting a non-photo identification card, since he was not carrying a driver's license. That first person happened to be Sheriff Larry Amerson, in uniform. When pressed for ID, Perez produced a social security card with the name Matthew Nowaczewski (though Perez has a dark-skinned Hispanic complexion). He also produced a birth certificate under that name but with some information erased and rewritten in pen, including his birthplace of "MiSSSissippi." Said Amerson later, "I know we're from Alabama, but we're not that stupid."
TELL THE TRUTH, SON
A 17-year-old motorist was cited for driving without a license in Springfield, Ill., in September. When stopped, he gave the name "Johnny Rice," but police got tough with him when he was unable to spell "Johnny" in any of the conventional ways. His real name, he said then, is Dyvon D. Stewart, and after an inquiry of the car's owner, police learned that Stewart had legitimately borrowed it and that despite the false name, he was not wanted by police on any other matter.
OKAY, SO YOU'RE A MAN
A 38-year-old man passed away in Jenkins Township, Pa., in November, a couple of hours after going to the home of a friend to see his snakes. According to the friend, the man had playfully reached into a cobra's tank and picked up the snake, and was bitten. Refusing a ride to the hospital, the man said "I'm a man, I can handle it," and instead went to a bar, where he had three drinks and bragged to patrons that he had just been bitten by a cobra. An hour later, he was dead.
WHO WAS THAT MASKED MAN
In February, the Connecticut Court of Appeals upheld the kidnapping-robbery convictions of Michael Carter, thus rejecting his claim that witnesses' identification of him should have been suppressed at his trial. At the time of arrest, according to New Haven police officer Dario Aponte, Carter had proclaimed his innocence but resisted being returned to the scene of the crime so witnesses could see him, asking Aponte, "How can they identify me? I had a mask on."
LAY THAT PISTOL DOWN, BABE
In November in Annapolis, Md., during a celebration of Gregory Johnson's 32nd birthday, his cousin Darwin Derwood Coates, 21, tucked a .22-caliber handgun into the waistband of his trousers and accidentally shot himself in the groin. As guests tried to assist Coates, Johnson relieved him of the gun and stuck it in the most convenient place he could find, which was the waistband of his own trousers. The gun fired again, striking Johnson in the buttocks. Both men were hospitalized.
This page was last updated April 16, 1998.
Some material taken from News of the Weird.