Caught On The Rebound

An unnamed light-footed thief in Geraldton, Australia, was leading local cops on a merry steeplechase between homes and through backyards when he almost — but not quite — gave ’em the slip. Pursuing officers were pretty much out of breath and draggin’ when their suspect came to a high fence and vaulted over it. They were right on his heels, but it looked like the game was over and he would get away.

To their amazement, as they skidded to a halt, he came flyin’ through the air back over the fence and almost landed in their arms. He had jumped directly onto a family’s backyard trampoline, and it bounced him right back the way he came. Officers were more than happy to keep bouncin’ him all the way to jail.

A Twist On An Old Cliché

Over the years we’ve seen so many near-duplicates of this story that we stopped commenting on them: Dad, Mom and the kids pile into the family station wagon and toodle off on vacation. Somewhere along the way, little Fergus or Frannie get left behind at a gas station or rest stop, and the family blithely motors on for an hour or so before they notice the absence of a single screechy voice and come up one noggin short in a hurried head count. But this one has a different, modern high-tech twist.

Back in June, this vacationing family was toodling through Tennessee, with Mom at the wheel while Dad snoozed in the back of the van. Mom stopped to refuel at a gas station near Memphis, and of course, the mob of munchkins leaped out to raid the convenience store for various liquid and semi-solid sugar-bombs. Mom finally corrals the critters, herds ‘em back aboard, and sets a course for the sunrise. For the next 100 miles, no one notices that dear ol’ Dad ain’t snoring in the rearmost seat anymore.

Yeah, he’s back at that gas station, running outta coins placing calls to their cell phone, which is ringin’ unnoticed amidst the rock-concert-level cacophony of the van. He had stumbled out to use the bathroom while the kids were stampeding and missed Mom’s “all aboard!” call.

So how did he finally get his family’s attention? He enlisted the help of a clerk to post his plight to Facebook! Of course, they got that! Well, you’ve just got to check Facebook every 15 minutes, 24/7, don’tcha?

File This Under “Creative Sentencing”

When school buses stop to drop off kids, you know the drill, right? Out pop the “No Passing” signs, the big red flashers start blinkin’, and you’re supposed to halt until the munchkins are safely distributed, and the lights and signs indicate you can proceed. But sometimes this takes a few minutes, and you’re a really, really important and busy person!

We’re presuming that’s what 32-year-old Shena Hardin thought. She had an alternative plan, though. Since it was unlawful to pass that school bus while driving on the roadway, she just swerved wide and drove by — on the sidewalk! To her dismay, a cop objected to this maneuver.

True, she could have hired a lawyer and claimed she didn’t do it. That should have given her at least a 50-50 shot at exoneration in a Cleveland court. But there were a few problems. For one thing, it wasn’t the first time — or even the fifth time — she had pulled the same sidewalk-driving stunt at the same location, pulling around the same school bus. The driver was ready for her, and took video of the incident. He had also tipped Cleveland PD, so there was a cop waiting to witness her act — and stop her before she reached the end of the block.

Ms. Hardin was fined, her license was suspended, and she was sentenced to stand at that location, facing traffic, wearing a large sign reading “Only an idiot drives on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus.” We think passing motorists won’t have any problem figuring out who the idiot is.

Did You Check The Sky?

He looked around and didn’t see any witnesses. But Gary Haines neglected to look up. At the moment he was hooking another man’s trailer to his own truck to steal it, the trailer’s owner was watching him from a couple of thousand feet overhead.

Private pilot David Zhenter’s flight plan just happened to go directly over his home in LaBelle, Fla., and as he passed overhead, he glanced down. There he saw a strange truck in his driveway.

Circling around and making a lower flyby, he saw Haines in the act of hooking up his trailer and hauling it away. It was easy to keep Haines in sight, and Zhentner called the Glade County Sheriff’s Office, keeping them informed of Haines’ progress as deputies zeroed in. Haines was handily taken into custody and charged with grand theft.

Anyone else betting that Mr. Zehntner did a little wing-waggin’ victory pass over his home airfield before he landed?

We Knew This One Was Coming

Regular readers might remember our reporting on the case of Samuel Cutrufelli. He’s the guy who broke into the Greenbrae, Calif., home of 90-year-old World War II vet Jay Leone, mistakenly thinking the former exotic car collector would have piles of cash on hand. He didn’t. When Leone reached for a hidden handgun, Cutrufelli shot him in the face, then pointed his gun at Leone’s head and pulled the trigger. It didn’t go bang because he was out of bullets. Jay’s gun wasn’t, and the slug in his jaw had really ticked him off. Jay shot him multiple times.

Cutrufelli has now filed a lawsuit claiming that Leone “negligently” shot him. Apparently he feels that since he ran out of bullets after shooting a 90-year-old guy in the face, shooting him was unnecessary, and probably rude and damaging to his self-esteem.

Unfortunately, this happened in California. We await the results with bated breath, but not much hope for justice.

Procuring Evidence

When Florida Highway Patrol officers hit the party lights and pulled 68-year-old Leslie Newton over for driving like a carnival clown, it didn’t take ’em long to develop the suspicion that he may have been involved in an unreported accident. The front of his vehicle was smashed up, and a piece of a traffic sign was embedded in his skull. They also suspected he might be intoxicated — like, to the point of being unaware his noggin was holding evidence.
By Commander Gilmore

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SI March 2013

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