Kerry Hammond Jr., 22, broke into a GameStop store in St. Marys, Ga., at 1:19 a.m. on April 13. He was captured on camera wearing a clear plastic wrapper (of the sort that holds bundles of bottled water) over his head. Even with this plastic “mask,” WJXT reported, Hammond’s face was clearly visible in surveillance video. St. Marys police quickly identified him and captured him on April 17. Hammond already had two active felony warrants for his arrest for burglary and second-degree criminal damage to property.
Beware Of Shadow
In Tokyo, women who have qualms about living alone may soon have a new security option. “Man on the Curtain” is a prototype smartphone app that connects to a projector and throws a moving shadow of a man onto a closed window curtain. The shadow man can be doing any of several different activities, such as boxing, karate, vacuuming, playing guitar or getting dressed.
We’re Out Of Cheetos!
After she crawled through a window in a Monroe, La., home, Evelyn Washington, 29, settled into a warm bath with a bag of Cheetos and a large plate of food. When the homeowner returned from work at 5 pm, she called police, who removed Washington to the Ouachita Correctional Center. She gave the guards an excellent explanation, telling them “an unknown male told her to break into the victims’ residence.”
We’re Out Of Pickles!
On April 4, a homeowner in the Longton area of Stoke-on-Trent, England, returned home to discover a man bathing in his tub and enjoying a cup of broth, according to the BBC. When police arrived, the 36-year-old naked man tried to flee but was caught and arrested. The homeowner complained: “He ate me crisps, had five rounds of corned beef and sauce, ate a jar of pickles, had two ice creams and a can of Coke.”
In October, 1981, Stephen Michael Paris escaped from the Jess Dunn Correctional Center in Muskogee, Okla., where he had been serving a nine-year sentence for drug possession and distribution. Using the name Stephen Chavez, Paris managed to evade authorities until April 12, 2018, when investigators tracked him down, thanks to his mother’s obituary, at an office in Houston where he was working. Now 58 years old, Paris was mentioned by alias in his mother’s tribute. After confirming his identity with fingerprints, the U.S. Marshals Service returned him to custody.
Why They Say, “Stay In Touch”
— Police officers in Warren, Mich., responded to a home for a welfare check on 68-year-old George Curtis, whose relatives had become concerned because they hadn’t heard from him. Curtis had, in fact, been deceased for months, maybe even a year. Also in the home was his girlfriend, who had continued living with his decaying body, which was laid out in a bed. Police transported the unnamed woman to a hospital for a mental evaluation and are awaiting a report on cause of death from the medical examiner.
— In March, Constantin Reliu, 63, appealed unsuccessfully to a court in Barlad, Romania, to overturn a death certificate that his wife had obtained because she hadn’t heard from him for more than a decade. According to The Guardian, Reliu left Romania for Turkey in 1992 to look for employment, but neglected to keep in touch with his family. In 2003, Reliu’s wife, believing he had died in an earthquake in Turkey, argued in court for a death certificate. The case didn’t come to light until Reliu was deported to Romania because of expired papers in Turkey. On his arrival, immigration officers explained to Reliu that he had died in 2003. His appeal failed, and the ruling is final, leaving Reliu in an odd state of limbo. “I am officially dead, although I’m alive,” Reliu told Romanian media outlets. “I have no income and because I am listed dead, I can’t do anything.”
Jaywalking Just Got Serious, Y’all
The city of Daye, in Hubei province China, has installed water sprayers and an electronic screen at a crosswalk to stop people from crossing on a red light. Five pylons were placed along the road April 16, three of which identify offenders using sensors and then spray them with water vapor. Other pylons “photograph people crossing against red lights,” explained Wan Xinqiang of the Daye public security bureau. “A large electronic screen at the intersection will instantly display their photos. … If the equipment works well, we will use it throughout the city.”
Sometimes Buses Are Still Worse Than Planes
Greyhound Bus passengers were frustrated after their trip to New York was delayed by mechanical trouble and navigational challenges. The ride started in Cleveland, Ohio, where the scheduled departure time was 2:30 am. But the bus didn’t leave until 6 am. After crossing into Pennsylvania, the bus turned around, and the driver explained he was returning to Cleveland because of mechanical difficulties. However, the driver missed the Cleveland exit and drove all the way to Toledo before realizing the mistake and heading back to Cleveland.
Phone Call From Beyond
Largo, Fla., detectives visited a dead man at the Sylvan Abbey Funeral Home in Clearwater and attempted to use his finger to unlock his smartphone. Linus F. Phillip, 30, had been shot and killed by Largo police March 23 after he tried to drive away from an officer who wanted to search him. As part of their investigation, police said they needed to access and preserve data on Phillip’s phone. Legal experts generally agreed the detectives had not broken any laws. But Phillip’s girlfriend, Victoria Armstrong, 28, was less forgiving: “Nobody even calling us … to let us know detectives were coming there at all. That is very disturbing,” she told the Tampa Bay Times. “I’m very skeptical of all funeral homes now.”
Take Your Ghost Box Home
A member of the Listowel Paranormal Society in Windsor, Ont., Canada, was surprised when police arrived at his door and asked about a small black box with a red wire protruding from it that had been left at Mackenzie Hall in Windsor. The Windsor Police Explosives Disposal Unit was called to the hall to investigate the box. They determined it was “safe” and not explosive. Society members had recently used the box at the historic building to sweep for spirits. Jen Parker, assistant director for the society, called the box an EMF (electromagnetic field) sensor, and said each team member carries one when they’re looking for ghosts. The society’s spokesperson said there were strong signs of paranormal activity at the hall, especially in the old jail, dressing room and basement.
Harry Potter Burlesque Fundraiser
Springville, Utah, resident Tiffany King has weathered devastating health problems. She suffers from a condition for which the medication weakened her immune system. In January, she contracted pneumonia, which led to a blood infection, and complications forced doctors to amputate both her legs and arms. King, who is engaged, hopes to complete therapy and walk down the aisle with prosthetic legs and arms. That is where a unique fundraiser comes in: On March 17, King’s friends announced “Phoenix Wing Productions Welcomes Harry Potter to Burlesque” — a caricature of the blockbuster movies based on J.K. Rowling’s books. All proceeds from the event on April 20 at the Utah Arts Alliance in Salt Lake City went toward buying King’s prosthetic limbs. “I’m going to work hard,” King said, “because I have a family I need to get back to.”
How To Attract The Police
Timothy Hill, 67, of Grassington, North Yorkshire, England, installed a laser jammer in his Range Rover in order to outsmart speeding cameras. He was so sure of his scheme that he repeatedly raised his middle finger to the cameras — sometimes casually, sometimes aggressively — as he passed. What he didn’t realize, apparently, was that the laser jammer did nothing to hide his identity. When they tracked him down, he was charged not with speeding, but with perverting the course of justice. “If you want to attract our attention, repeatedly gesturing at police camera vans with your middle finger while you’re driving a distinctive car fitted with a laser jammer is an excellent way to do it,” Traffic Constable Andrew Forth said.
Neighborhood Watch Fail
In the seaside village of Lytham St. Annes, England, Douglas Cholmondley Travis, an 88-year-old member of the local Neighborhood Watch, was on patrol Oct. 10, 2017, when he and an 87-year-old watch colleague noticed a van turning into Lytham Park Cemetery. Regarding the vehicle as suspicious, they began taking pictures of it. The driver of the van, Antony James, who was only there to visit family graves, grew angry. He got out of his van to confront Travis, causing a panic. James was knocked down by the Neighborhood Watch vehicle and Travis charged for reckless driving and assault. “This is all terribly sad,” Castle told Blackpool Magistrates Court in late April, as his client is “one of the eyes and ears of the police.” Travis was fined 40 pounds plus court costs.
In Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, the mayor employed a clever way to keep his finger on the pulse of the city. When he goes out, he wears a fake beard so he’ll blend in and won’t be recognized as the capital city’s leader. Mayor Albek Ibraimov told Fergana, a Russian news agency: “I dress in old clothes, take off my tie and I go and look, and see how things actually are.”