Regular readers of this blog, and my thanks to both of you, know there are some people who should just be taken to a nice, quiet, place where they can do no harm. Some may not mean ill unto others but they just can’t stop themselves from being a human wave of destruction. Others are evil to the core. Either way they don’t really benefit humanity. Amuse us? Yes. Amaze us? Often. Benefit? Not so much. They are the kind of people who woefully confused by difficult concepts such as capitalization. They can’t tell the difference between “Helping your Uncle Jack off a horse” and “helping your uncle jack off a horse.” And, I assure you, there is a HUGE difference. I won’t even bother with things like punctuation and homonyms. I might make their brains explode. Then again …… Oh, never mind.
Be that as it may, as much as I should be jaded by this gig, I find new things every day to astound me. For example, a lady in Arizona, another state where the gene pool is drying up, tried to hold up a minimart with an exploding penguin.
Sometimes the best reporting comes straight, no chaser, directly from the cops. As the Yavapai County, Ariz., Sheriff’s Office reports with a straight face:
On November 23, 2011, at approximately 6:15 PM, Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a reported robbery at the Chevron Station in the 2700 block of Highway 69, Dewey-Humboldt. The Chevron employee stated that a female entered the mini-mart with her right hand concealed under her sweater, claiming she had a bomb, and demanding cash from the register. …
Just after 7:15 PM, deputies located (Andri) Jeffers at her home in the 2900 block of North Kings Highway West, Castle Canyon Mesa. Jeffers was confirmed as the suspect initially by the surveillance photo and also identified by the clerk. Jeffers admitted to her participation in the robbery. Deputies learned the item she held under her shirt was a toy penguin. She was arrested and booked at the Camp Verde Detention Center for one count of Attempted Robbery.
Well, Chumley …. no, that’s too old to be funny any more. Just out of curiosity, in a state where even grammar school kids are packing heat, is a toy penguin really your best choice of weapon?
Okay, so she’s an evil idiot. Let’s move a little further west to meet a clueless one. San Jose police responded to a very scary bomb scare.
An exercise buff caused a ruckus at a San Jose, Calif., post office when he showed up to mail a package donning a mask and a weight-packed vest, gear he says is part of a so-called “CrossFit” workout.
Long Hoang, 29, was at the post office Tuesday simply to mail a package of calendars that had been sent to him by mistake. Struggling to jam the package — which just barely fit into the mailbox — down the chute, Hoang had no idea he was the subject of calls to authorities about a suspicious man who ran up to the mailbox wearing what looked like a gas mask and a bulletproof vest. After he managed to get the box down the chute, Hoang jogged away, continuing on with his workout.
A bomb squad and firefighters showed up. Authorities closed down nearby streets, reported CBS 5 in San Francisco. Investigators, using a robot, detonated the box of calendars Hoang had been trying to send to its rightful recipient.
When the story hit local news outlets, Hoang started receiving phone calls, The San Jose Mercury News reported.
“My friends kept messaging me, Is this you? Is this you?” Hoang, a nursing student who lives near the post office, said. He called police Tuesday evening to clear up the confusion.
“The guy said he was wearing a cardio mask,” Sgt. Jason Dwyer told The Mercury News. “It was his cardio day, and he was trying to lose weight.”
Hoang said he has been following the CrossFit exercise regimen for about there months. The elongated mask he wears over his nose and mouth makes breathing difficult, to simulate high-altitude training; his black vest holds 10 pounds of weights.
The workout is “this really creative combination of weight lifting, gymnastics and rowing,” Hoang told The Mercury News. “It was like straight out of a movie … Some of my friends are telling me, ‘Hello? 9/11? Anthrax? Blah. Blah. Blah.’ And I’m just thinking about my finals and staying in my own little zone.”
Memo to Mr. Hoang; those cardio suits cost serious coin, it would be a shame to get it ruined with lots of bullet holes. Maybe some time at a local YMCA would benefit you and all your neighbors.
Fortunately not all of our stories today involve explosives. Some people, like Peter Theado, just bomb out of life.
Police officers in Amherst, Ohio, on Tuesday arrested a Lorain man they say tried to steal an Amherst police car.
The incident happened outside the police station just before 7 p.m. while an officer was leaving to check on a car crash.
According to a news release from the Amherst Police Department, the officer noticed a man sitting in the driver’s seat of police car 107 with the doors locked. Officers tried to unlock the cruiser’s doors but were unable to remove the man from the car.
Police said the man, 38-year-old Peter Theado of Lorain, used the computer inside the cruiser and the police radio to ask dispatch how to put the car in gear. Theado told officers he wanted to take the car out on “patrol” to protect the people of Amherst, the news release said.
He then told police that he wanted to be a police offid two cer but was disappointed that he couldn’t get the car in drive, Amherst police said.
The police department said the cruiser was not running at the time. The keys were inside, but the car had a security system.
Theado was charged with criminal trespassing, attempted grand theft, obstruction of official business and unauthorized use of a police computer. He was taken to the Lorain County Correctional Facility.
See kids, this is why the nice police people make you take all those tests before they give you a gun and a four wheeled weapon. I told you it wasn’t just some malicious quirk.
But our last story, from Florida naturally, combines all the elements. It has both stupid and evil. It is, if you’ll pardon the expression, DA BOMB!
North Miami police arrested two women for trying to put an evil spell on their boss.
Yes, you read that right.
For two Florida municipal employees, an alleged plan to cast a supernatural spell on their boss was anything but super.
Due to some supposedly mystical birdseed and a janitor who blew the whistle on the seedy hex, one employee has been fired from her post at the North Miami Police Department and a recommendation for termination is pending for the other.
Veteran police officer Elizabeth Torres and office manager Yvonne Rodriguez’s curse was to take place in August amid budget cuts and planned layoffs, but they never got past the planning stages.
“We were looking at a reduction in staff of about 9.4 percent, so everybody was on edge,” North Miami Police Department Public Information Officer Mark Perkins told msnbc.com. “The two employees were conspiring to place birdseed in the city manager’s office to get him to leave, the belief being that if you sprinkle birdseed around it, it will make the person – any person- want to leave.”
But since they didn’t have access to City Manager Lyndon Bonner’s office, the two approached a janitor, hoping they could recruit her to sprinkle the seeds, which they later told investigators is a Santeria ritual.
Esther Villaneuva, the janitor, was working her night shift on Aug. 29 when Torres and Rodriguez approached her with a container full of seeds, according to the department’s internal affairs report. It was the first time Villaneuva had ever had a conversation with the two women, Villaneuva said. Torres told her to “just take a little bit of the birdseed and spread it,” according to the department’s report. Villaneuva said no, expressing worry about the security cameras monitoring the office, and also whether something bad could actually happen to the city manager.
Torres allegedly told her, “No. Nothing’s going to happen to him. He’s just gonna leave. It’s just going to make him leave. Don’t worry, nothing bad is going to happen to him.”
Torres even allegedly told her that she had used birdseed in her own house in the past, and it had resulted in her son and daughter going away for a couple of weeks.
When Villaneuva asked Torres why she didn’t just spread the birdseed herself, Torres told her she didn’t have an excuse for being in that part of the building at that time of night.
Villaneuva refused the request and told her boss, prompting an investigation that eventually led to Rodriguez, the office manager, getting fired last week.
“The police officer has union protection, the office manager does not, so technically, the police officer still has not been terminated, although recommendation for that is pending,” Perkins said. Officer Torres will go to court for her appeal on Monday, he added.
Both maintained the plot was harmless, according to transcripts in the internal affairs report, which the North Miami Police Department released Wednesday.
‘Nothing malicious … a superstitious practice’
Torres, who has worked as a North Miami police officer since 1987, told investigators, “I want to clarify that it’s nothing malicious and nothing intended to hurt that person. Just, just it can be viewed as either a superstitious practice or a religious practice in the Santeria religion … This is something I was raised with as a child, all these superstitions and this quasi-religion.”
Rodriguez initially denied involvement in the plot, department spokesman Perkins told msnbc.com, and was fired for “conduct unbecoming.” She has worked for the department since 1996.
“The second time, she told the truth,” he said. “If you work for a police department, that’s not an option.”
According to the report, Rodriguez said she didn’t provide accurate information in the first interview because she “wasn’t the initiator of this whole ordeal” and she feared getting in trouble.
Santeria is an Afro-Caribbean religion centered in Cuba that became more widelyt practiced in the U.S. and other nearby countries, particularly following the 1959 Cuban revolution, according to the BBC. The religion is revolves around relationships between humans and spirits, who followers believe will help them in their lives if appropriate rituals are carried out.
And despite what Torres said about birdseed, University of Miami Religious Studies Profess Michelle Maldonado told Miami’s WSVN.com, “In Santeria, you can’t just spread birdseed and make the supernatural do what you want it to do.”
Actually, in any world, religious or otherwise, not that many people are terrified of birdseed. Irritated, maybe, if it’s all over their chair. But not terrified.
Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG AM 1280, every Thursday morning around 9:10!