Saturday, November 12, 2005

If it weren't for stupidity, the jails would be empty

Guy robbed a bank in Syracuse the other day. Walked in wearing a big fake ZZ Top beard as his only disguise, with his hand inside his jacket in a suggestive manner he made his demands known to the tellers, ran out with a 2000 dollar emergency withdrawl in his hands---couldn't be bothered to bring a bag---dropped the dye pack on the sidewalk, stopped and went back to pick it up, and got to the parking lot where he'd left his car before the dye pack exploded.

Needless to say a guy in a stupidly obvious fake beard turning suddenly red in a spray of dye attracted the attention of passersby who noted the make of his car and the license plate which they were able to relate to the arriving police.

This happened a few days after another guy robbed another bank and had his dye pack explode on him as he ran down an alley behind the bank to catch a cab.

Yes, he hailed a cab. Why not? He had the money.

This one made the evening news.

First guy, ZZ Top, must not watch TV.

Our old friend, Chris the Cop, likes to say, "If it wasn't for stupidity, the jails would be empty."

Sometimes he varies the sentiment and says, "Thank God for stupidity or we wouldn't catch anybody."

Nancy Nall linked to a story last week about a thief who was tripped up by his fashion sense. That is, while he was fleeing from the scene of his crime the gangsta style baggy pants he was stylin' in when he pocketed a bunch of CDs from a record store and ran fell the whole way off his butt to his ankles and he went sprawling.

Nance, who can always be counted on for news of the weird and the dumb, having a good eye for spotting humans at their less than best, also tells the story about a crook who wore sneakers that lit up on the job and then tried running from police in the dark.

As Chris the Cop would say, "Thank God for stupidity..."

Which reminds me that Chris once had to chase down a suspect he only caught because this kid, like the thief tripped by his pants, was wearing baggy pants that dropped on him at an inopportune moment too.

What was different was this kid hadn't actually committed a crime.

Chris was on patrol one day and got a call about a stolen car. This appeared to be an easy case. Guy who reported his car stolen also reported the name and address of the person who stole it. Chris happened to be close to the address so he drove over, arriving just as the stolen car pulled up into the driveway.

The driver got out of the stolen car. Chris got out of his cruiser. Chris said, "Can I talk to you for a minute?" The driver ran.

Chris said something the cops on TV don't usually say even on NYPD Blue and gave chase.

Chris keeps himself in shape, but he was 40 and the kid was 20something and had a good head start. Chris followed him across some backyards but was giving up hope of catching the kid when the kid forgot what he was wearing and let go of the waistband of his baggies.

Chris reached him and put a knee on his back and had him cuffed while he was still lying flat on his face, stunned, probably less from his fall than with disbelief at his own stupidity.

But when he got his breath back he said to Chris with apparently sincere bafflement, "What'd I do?"

Chris reminded him. "You stole a car."

"What car?"

"The car you were driving."

"I didn't steal that car!"


"Who told you I stole that car?"

"The owner, who do you think?"

"The owner told you I stole his car?"


"Wasn't the owner told you."

"It wasn't."

"Couldn't a been."

"Why not?"

"My cousin owns that car. I borrowed it from him."

This conversation took place as Chris was hauling the kid back to his cruiser. When Chris had the kid in the back he radioed the cops who had responded to the original call and who were still with the owner, taking his statement.

Chris told him what the kid had just said.

The other cops told the owner.

The owner said, "Um."

Turns out the owner was the kid's cousin and he had loaned the car to the kid, but the kid hadn't brought it back soon enough to suit his cousin, so the cousin did what he insisted anybody would do in his position. He called the cops.

The police frown on people making false accusations.

They frown harder on people who do this when they have outstanding warrants on themselves when they do it.

The cousin was arrested.

Meanwhile, Chris having been told the whole story, uncuffed the kid and apologized, but he had to ask him.

"If you didn't do anything, why did you run?"

The kid was surprised at the question. To him the answer was obvious.

"You got a gun, man."

Chris patiently explained that this was in fact the reason not to run. The kid shook his head. To most people, the significant fact about Chris would have been the badge on his chest. To this kid it was what Chris wore on his hip.

"You got a gun, man!"

Chris and his family are visiting us this weekend. I'll steal as many stories as I can.


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