In Redondo Beach, Calif., a police officer arrested a driver after a short chase and charged him with drunk driving. Officer Joseph Fonteno’s suspicions were aroused when he saw the white Mazda MX-7 rolling down Pacific Coast Highway with half of a traffic-light pole, including the lights, lying across its hood. The driver had hit the pole on a median strip and simply kept driving. According to Fonteno, when the driver was asked about the pole, he said, “It came with the car when I bought it.”
The record for the world’s worst drivers is a toss-up between two candidates: First, a 75-year-old man who received 10 traffic tickets, drove on the wrong side of the road four times, committed four hit-and-run offenses, an caused six accidents, all within 20 minutes on October 15, 1966. Second, a 62-year-old woman who failed her driving test 40 times before passing it in August, 1970 (by that time, she had spent over $700 in lessons, and could no longer afford to buy a car).
Richard Milhouse Nixon was the first US President whose name contains all the letters from the word “0.” William Jefferson Clinton is the 2nd.
A Hawaiian stamp of 1851 with a face value of 2 cents was the sole reason Gaston Leroux, a Parisian philatelist, murdered its owner, Hector Giroux.
Lawsuits filed by California inmates cost the taxpayers more than $25 million in 1994.
Archduke Karl Ludwig (1833-1896), brother of the Austrian emperor, was a man of such piety that on a trip to the Holy Land, he insisted on drinking from the River Jordan, despite warnings that it would make him fatally ill. He died within a few weeks.
Peter Karpin, a German espionage agent in World War I, was seized by French Intelligence agents in 1914 as soon as he entered the country. Keeping his capture a secret, the French sent faked reports from Karpin to Germany and intercepted the agent’s wages and expense money until Karpin escaped in 1917. With those funds the French purchased an automobile, which, in 1919, in occupied Rurh, accidentally ran down and killed a man, who proved to be Peter Karpin.
When police arrived in Appleton, Wisconsin to remove a woman’s children because of a complaint that she had given her 11-year-old daughter a “swirlie” (Holding her head in a flushing toilet). The woman reportedly said, “I haven’t had a vacation in 13 years, go ahead and take them!”
A reward of $1,000 was offered for information leading to the capture and conviction of a man robbing taxi drivers. The man turned himself in and demanded the reward as a result. He received a 20 year sentence for aggravated robbery instead.
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.
A couple robbing a store caught on camera could not be identified until the police reviewed the security tape. The woman filled out an entry form for a free trip prior to robbing the store.
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.
In 1970, Russel T. Tansie, an Arizona lawyer filed a $100,000 damage lawsuit against God. The suit was filed on behalf of Mr. Tansie’s secretary, Betty Penrose, who accused God of negligence in His power over the weather when He allowed a lightning bolt to strike her home. Ms. Penrose won the case when the defendant failed to appear in court. Whether or not she collected has not been recorded.
A man went in to rob a bank. He demanded the clerk to give him all the money. They told him to go sit out in his car and they would bring him the bags of money. He agreed and went out to his car. In the meantime, the people in the bank called the police. When they got there the man was still sitting in his car waiting for the money and they arrested him.
In South Carolina, an inmate who was paralyzed behind bars says in a lawsuit that Spartanburg County jail guards should have stopped him from doing back flips off a desk in his cell. Torrence Johnson, who is suing for unspecified damages, said recently that he fell and crushed a vertebra while being held in maximum-security in 1998.
R.C. Gaitlan, 21, walked up to two patrol officers who were showing their squad car computer felon-location equipment to children in a Detroit neighborhood. When he asked how the system worked, the officer asked him for identification. Gaitlan gave them his drivers license, they entered it into the computer, and moments later they arrested Gaitlan because information on the screen showed Gaitlan was wanted for a two-year-old armed robbery in St. Louis, Missouri.
Dennis Newton was on trial for the armed robbery of a convenience store in district court 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 have blown your 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 recommended a 30-year sentence.
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 gave the court a forged check. He got his prison term back, plus eight more years.
A man was arrested and charged with the robbery—of vending machines. The man posted bail, entirely in quarters.
A teenager in Belmont, New Hampshire robbed the local convenience store. Getting away with a pocket full of change, the boy walked home. He did not realize, however, that he had holes in both of his pockets. A trail of quarters and dimes led police directly to his house.
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.
Eugene-Francois Midocq, a French thief and outlaw, evaded the police for years, turned police spy, joined the force as a detective, and ultimately used his knowledge of crime to establish a new crime-fighting organization, the Surete.
Tyson Mitchell of Iowa City, Iowa walked into the police station, for some reason that nobody understands, and asked the dispatcher if he was wanted for any crimes. He was and was also arrested, on the spot. But wait! There’s more! The police found several bags of cocaine in his pocket.
Organized crime is estimated to account for 10% of the United States’ national income.
In a stroke of irony, the maximum security prison in St. Albans, Vermont, was responsible in 1996 for sending out public relations brochures enticing tourists to visit Vermont.
A guy wearing pantyhose on his face tried to rob a store in a mall. When security came, he quickly grabbed a shopping bag and pretended to be shopping, forgetting that he was still wearing the pantyhose. He was captured and his loot was returned to the store.
A man robbed a convenience store and ran out with a bag full of cash. He got down the street and realized he had left his car keys on the counter. When he returned to the store, he was promptly arrested.
Eleven days before the statute of limitations was to expire on the Brink’s robbery in Boston, Massachusetts, that netted nearly $3 million in January 1950, one of the robbers confessed and betrayed his fellow robbers.
Spies must always know how to go underground—it’s in the nature of their job. But during World War I, Heinrich Albert, a German operative in the United States, failed miserably at this task.
The guy was carrying in his briefcase plans to sabotage American factories. So what does he do? He takes the New York City subway and manages to leave his briefcase on the train! American agents following him recovered the documents.