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Law/Police/Crime
A dispute between two young girls escalated into an online fight between the mothers. The mother of one of the girls posted an ad on Craigslist offering sex with men, and listed the phone number of the other girl's mother as the contact. Twenty-two people called the number. The woman has now been charged with aggravated harrassment. [Newsday]
Categories: Advertising, Hate Crimes/Terror, Law/Police/Crime, Social Networking Sites
Posted by Alex on Mon May 11, 2009
Comments (2)
There's a report of a pigeon drop scam in which the scammers approached a woman at an ATM and tried to convince her to buy a diamond (that was supposedly such a bargain that she'd easily make a profit if she resold it). But in this case the scammers got tired of haggling with her and eventually just grabbed her money and ran. Which means that the scammers are now guilty of grand theft. [Mercury News]
Categories: Law/Police/Crime, Scams
Posted by Alex on Fri Apr 17, 2009
Comments (6)
One of the mysteries of law enforcement in the age of YouTube: Why do people proudly post videos of themselves engaged in illegal acts? They're just begging to have the police come knocking on their door. So anyway, the latest example of video self-incrimination involves two Domino's employees who created a prank video showing one of them farting on the food and sticking it up his nose as the other one laughed and egged him on. They posted the video on YouTube and it promptly went viral. Domino's then fired them (the two had to see that coming). One of the two emailed the company a groveling apology: “It was fake and I wish that everyone knew that!!!! I AM SOO SORRY!” Nevertheless, Domino's is still planning to press felony charges against them. The video has now been removed from YouTube, but Consumerist still has a copy of it posted. [NY Times]
Categories: Law/Police/Crime, Pranks, Videos
Posted by Alex on Thu Apr 16, 2009
Comments (4)
Mythbusters did an episode on the urban legend of a bullet being stopped by a Bible (or a Zippo lighter). They found that a hardcover book of at least 400 pages might stop a bullet, but anything less (including a Zippo) didn't have a chance. Nevertheless, police in Sao Paulo, Brazil are saying that the wad of cash a woman had stuffed in her bra slowed down a bullet enough to save her life. I'm sure the woman is very lucky, but I suspect the cash had nothing to do with her good fortune.[Yahoo!]
Categories: Law/Police/Crime, Urban Legends
Posted by Alex on Wed Apr 15, 2009
Comments (13)
The term Neighbor From Hell seems an appropriate one for Julie Rank-Earley. Her neighbor once filed a police complaint about her, resulting in a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct. Instead of letting the issue drop, Rank-Earley decided to up the ante by subscribing to hundreds of dollars worth of pornographic magazines in the name of her neighbor. Her neighbor simply complained to the police again when she started getting all the bills. Now Rank-Earley is sitting in jail. [Dayton Daily News]
Categories: Law/Police/Crime, Pranks
Posted by Alex on Tue Apr 14, 2009
Comments (1)
It's safe to use the bathroom again. Two weeks ago a New York man said he was robbed in a bathroom stall in the Atlanta airport. He was just sitting there, doing his business, when two men poked their heads "over the top of the stall," pointed a silver handgun at him, and demanded his wallet. Police have now determined the robbery report was a hoax. [AJC.com]
Categories: Law/Police/Crime
Posted by Alex on Mon Apr 06, 2009
Comments (2)
Police say that a man, alone in a car, drove up to a teller window at the Lone Star National Bank in Texas. He slipped the teller a note. Exactly what it said has not been revealed, but it caused the teller to hand him an undetermined amount of cash. He then drove away. At no point did the man display a weapon.

Big Gary asks: But if you just say, "Give me money," and you don't display a weapon, and you aren't in any position to hurt anybody, it's not really a robbery, it's a gift, right?

I don't think so. I'm pretty sure it's illegal to lead a bank teller to believe you may be trying to rob the bank, even if you're joking or make no specific threat. (Though specific laws probably vary state by state.) After all, how does the teller know you're not serious, or that you don't have a bomb wired to you?

In the April Fool's Day Database I record a case from 2006 in which a 57-year-old woman walked into a bank on April 1st and handed the teller a note that said, "I'm here to take money." It was a joke. She was there to withdraw money (legally) from her own account. Nevertheless, the police later tracked her down and charged her with disorderly conduct.

Banks are kinda like airports. All potential security threats are taken seriously. Even jokes.
Categories: Law/Police/Crime
Posted by Alex on Wed Mar 18, 2009
Comments (11)
Police in Grand Forks, Michigan North Dakota report that people are finding fake parking tickets on their cars that direct them to go to horribleparking.com to view information about standard parking regulations. When they visit the site, a virus is downloaded onto their computer.

It's not clear what the virus does, but it seems like a pretty elaborate way to infect someone's computer. Also, an expensive way. Printing fake tickets and paying someone to distribute them has to cost a lot more than sending out emails. Link: Grand Forks Herald.
Categories: Law/Police/Crime, Scams
Posted by Alex on Thu Feb 05, 2009
Comments (6)
Two cases of illegal immigrants finding unusual methods of sneaking into countries have recently been in the news:

Case #1: U.S. border police found 13 illegal immigrants inside a fake Budweiser beer van.

Case #2: British authorities found four illegal immigrants hiding inside a 32-foot-tall fake Christmas tree in the back of a truck. The tree was made of aluminum and nylon, and had been ordered for a town center display.
Categories: Law/Police/Crime
Posted by Alex on Wed Nov 26, 2008
Comments (1)
On June 4 Steven Decker of Muscatine, Iowa sold a white powder to an undercover agent. He said it was cocaine, but it wasn't. It was fake cocaine. In the eyes of the law, this doesn't let him off the hook. He's being charged with "delivery of a simulated controlled substance" and is looking at up to ten years in prison and $50,000 in fines.

I'm sure Decker is not exactly a boy-scout, but being charged for selling fake cocaine is a curious concept. Added irony: he was selling a simulated controlled substance to a simulated controlled substance buyer.
Categories: Con Artists, Law/Police/Crime
Posted by Alex on Tue Nov 25, 2008
Comments (10)
Classmates.com told Anthony Michaels that former classmates were looking for him. If only he would upgrade to a premium membership, they would put him in touch with his school buddies. So Michaels paid the money. Then he discovered that no one was looking for him. Now he's brought a class-action suit against classmates.com for deceptive advertising.

There's a fine line in advertising between what's legal and what's not. "Puffery," which is defined as making exaggerated claims that the average consumer would never take literally, is legal. Example: "You'll love it!" However, making specific, factually misleading claims is illegal. For instance, you can't claim that a product regrows hair if it doesn't.

Classmates.com seems to be on the illegal side of that line, so I predict they'll end up paying out money in this suit.
Categories: Advertising, Law/Police/Crime
Posted by Alex on Thu Nov 13, 2008
Comments (15)
Police in Port St. Lucie are on the lookout for a cross-dressing purse snatcher who accidentally dropped a condom filled with water after grabbing a 74-year-old woman's purse. He had been using the condom as a fake breast. That's weird enough. What I can't understand is why he was using a water-filled condom. Wouldn't a regular balloon have worked better?

Though questioning the fashion decisions of a cross-dressing purse snatcher is surely an exercise in pointlessness.
Categories: Body Manipulation, Fashion, Law/Police/Crime
Posted by Alex on Thu Sep 04, 2008
Comments (6)
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