First, a couple of disclaimers: None of these are urban legends as related by your brother’s friend’s uncle’s boss’ wife’s ex-husband. I was in close proximity to all of them. Second, the names have been changed to protect the guilty parties.
These are related in mostly chronological order…
A Stolen Hog
I was about six years old and my grandfather had a pair of truck drivers that provided my first exposure to the “geniuses” that constitute the criminal element. The drivers were a father and son duo that one Saturday morning, took the back seat out of the father’s car and drove to a farm a few miles north of town. Once there, they somehow managed to load a 400 pound hog into the back of the car. Turning around, they headed back south of town to the local livestock auction.
When they reached the center of town, the ham on the hoof in back decided he was no longer interested in a joy ride and proceeded to wreck the inside of the car as only an enraged 400 pound hog could do. The father lost control of the car and slammed into a telephone pole on a street corner. A street corner that was one block from the local police station. Whoops! The hog was reunited with his sty and the guys earned themselves an extended vacation in the county jail.
A Perfect Throw
Friends of my parents had a son that was a few years older than me. He was an ace fastball pitcher in first high school and then at a major university. We’ll call him “George.” George was subsequently drafted by a major league baseball team and spent the first part of the season in their triple A farm club. Then he was called up as a 100 mile per hour reliever to “the show.” He had a very promising baseball career ahead of him, but it was cut short as he couldn’t keep his arm healthy. While he was playing he had his own encounter with the criminal element.
One night, he and the rest of the ball players were supposed to be sequestered in the hotel before the next day’s game. However, at three in the morning, George sneaks out to the local convenience store. He’s the only customer in the store and is in back by the coolers, bent down feeling the glass beer bottles to find the coldest. A robber comes in the front, pulls out a gun, and demands money from the cashier. George looks up, grabs a 16 ounce glass Bud tall boy and fires it across the store into the back of the potential robber’s head. OUCH! It didn’t quite kill him, but he had time to consider during his jail stay that he needed to add an important item to his robbery check list. One, got the gun; two, got the mask; and three, make damn sure there are no major league baseball pitchers in the store.
Knocking Down Trash Cans
In high school, a couple of “ne’er do wells” from my class started making middle of the night runs through town riding tandem on a motorbike. Everyone put their trash out for Wednesday and Saturday early morning pickup. The guys would cruise down the street and the one on the back would stick out his foot and knock over a whole street full of trash cans. What Fun!
Except, after a couple of times of sweeping up trash, one of our local “characters” that lived on a corner dutifully took his trash out late Tuesday night. And right on time, the guys came by to kick it over. Except – –
The guy on the corner had cut the bottom out of a trash can and put it over a fire hydrant. End of middle of the night mischief, end of the motorbike, and almost the end of the two culprits.
The Perfect Smelly “Present” For A Thief
The summer semester in college was over and during the gap before the fall semester started, my roommates and I were left with idle hands and idle minds – perfect environment for the devil’s playground. One of the guys worked part time at a local fish market and brought home twenty pounds of shrimp that had gone past their “best used by date.” The smell was already getting a little bad. We found a sturdy cardboard box that poultry used to be shipped in. We lined it inside with a heavy plastic sheet and layers of aluminum foil, then filled it to the top with the rapidly spoiling shrimp. To contain it as the pressure increased, we wrapped it securely on the outside with nylon filament strapping tape. And then – wrapped the whole monstrosity with brightly colored birthday wrapping paper and added a couple of bows.
We set it out on the balcony for a week to let the August heat “cook it” to perfection and for the decomposing shrimp to build up adequate gas pressure inside the box. One morning early we carried it down and set it on the sidewalk in the parking lot. Then we retreated to our apartment and watched the fun develop with binoculars. A couple of guys walked by, stopped and looked at the package, looked around in every direction, then walked off figuring someone would be down to get the birthday present in just a moment. They returned fifteen minutes later and found the package still sitting there. They looked it over, looked carefully around in every direction, then grabbed the package and took it back to their own apartment.
Sadly, we didn’t get to see the final act of this little morality play, but we could visualize the situation when they cut the box open and the stink to end all stinks exploded out at them. I doubt that they did anymore “porch thievery.”
A Burglar Caught On Camera
First a little background. Back in the film camera days, for a while there were “flashcubes” that connected to the top of the camera. They had four flashbulbs that would fire sequentially every time you clicked the shutter. OK, later in school, we were managing an older small apartment complex. There had been some minor burglary in the area so people were on alert. One night, the elderly retired lady that lived in the ground floor end apartment had just gone to bed. She heard a noise outside her window – then heard the screen being removed – and finally, the sound of the window pane sliding up. During this time she had stayed quiet and unmoving in her bed. When she saw a head poke in the now open window, she grabbed her camera with the four shot flashcube off the bedside table and fired a four photo blinding barrage into the burglar’s face from six inches away. The guy screamed and was temporarily blinded. He took off at a dead run – right into the swimming pool. He managed to get out without drowning and disappeared into the neighborhood.
She called me and I called the police. They developed the film, checked the high school yearbooks and caught the guy the next morning. He in turn ratted out the rest of his little burglary ring.
The Real Winner Of The Drag Race
I stopped at a light near the university campus late one night in my 426 Hemi Charger. A guy in a Pontiac GTO pulled up beside me and blipped his throttle a couple of times as an invitation to a little stop light drag race. I gave him my best shark grin, (the Hemi’s ruled the street and the drag strips – guy was an idiot,) and we waited out the light. It turned green, he dumped the clutch and took off with squealing and smoking tires.
I casually eased across the intersection like a little old lady on her way to church and let him have his moment of glory – –
Because I had noticed the police car pull up right behind him at the light!
A RUN-In With The Police
Many years later after I had retired from my “real” engineering job, I worked at Home Depot. One day we had a “runner.” A guy grabbed a $600 rechargeable tool kit and took off running out the door. As he went out, he looked back to see if anyone was chasing him…
And ran full tilt into the door of a passing police car looking for a parking place! Whoops!
A Karmic Flat Tire
Also at Home Depot – two guys in a pickup in the middle of the afternoon, backed up to a trenching machine on its trailer outside tool rental. They cut the security chain with a bolt cutter, hooked up to the trailer and took off.
We had more cameras than a casino and several people had actually seen them doing it. So we called the police and gave them the truck license number, the truck description, and descriptions of the two guys. The dispatcher then alerted all the patrol units.
A half mile away on the freeway, one of the police cruisers was parked behind some folks changing a tire and keeping traffic from running into them. He gets the alert – looks up – checks the license and description – and the culprits are right in front of him – changing the flat tire on their truck. VERY easy apprehension! By the way, the pickup was also stolen.
The moral of the story is – crime doesn’t pay – except in humor!