Busted! Real Stories of Genuine Absurdity May/June 2024

Golden retriever wearing a policeman hat

James L. McClinton, Ph.D.

A pooch pirate…better than a cat burglar… A doorbell camera captured the moment when a Tennessee homeowner’s package was stolen from their front porch. A woman in Tennessee who was waiting for an Amazon delivery learned that the package she ordered was taken by an unexpected porch pirate. The homeowner received an E-mail notice from Amazon stating that one of her packages had been delivered. She then reviewed her doorbell app which showed the thief committing the crime – her neighbor’s dog. Much to her amazement, the neighbor’s dog scooped up the package and fled the scene. She and her husband rushed outside to retrieve the package. “We had ordered my son new basketball shoes that he needed that day, so it was very alarming,” she said. She and her husband found the box completely shredded and the athletic shoes had a few bite marks. (My dog ate a whole bag of Scrabble tiles, so I took him to the vet…no word yet…)

That’s odd, you don’t look like a 16-year-old girl… A Texas man is accused of trying to sneak on board a flight by taking a photo of another passenger’s boarding pass. Authorities say he was caught because the flight was full and he didn’t have a place to sit. He boarded the plane and a flight attendant helped him get to the lavatory in the front of the plane. After everyone else boarded, he moved to a lavatory in the back of the plane. When he exited, the plane had started to taxi – he told a flight attendant that he was in seat 21F. There was already somebody in seat 21F, a girl traveling alone, and the flight attendant confirmed that she was a ticketed passenger. When the crew searched, his name was not found in any database. The plane returned to the gate, where waiting officers reviewed surveillance footage from the boarding area and saw him taking pictures of several passengers’ phones and boarding passes when they weren’t looking. He then used his phone as a boarding pass to get on the plane. (Next up…having your picture attached to the ticket.)

Is it time to start using a dumb phone again?… Sheriff’s Office deputies in Baxter County, Arkansas, responded to a report of a robbery at a house in Mountain Home. Two men had pounded on the front door of the house a half hour before midnight. When the homeowners opened the door, they were confronted by two masked men with guns. The residents didn’t have cash, so one of the robbers said he’d take PayPal. One of the victims sent $120 while held at gunpoint and the men fled. Investigators simply traced who the recipient account belonged to and arrested two 19-year-old men the next morning, charging each with three counts of kidnaping, aggravated robbery and burglary, and theft. (Paper trail? What’s a paper trail?)

“Hey, thanks! Can I get a few more cards for my friends? Say, ten or 12?”… A 30-year-old Canadian man is facing a half dozen charges after trying to boost his drug dealing business by handing out “free samples” of cocaine. Police say officers patrolling a downtown casino on Christmas Eve became aware of a business card which had been handed out to casino goers. The cards included the name “Alex Lee” and had a small baggie of suspected cocaine attached. Investigators tracked down the suspect via his Alex Lee alias, gathering evidence and eventually identifying his vehicle. Police subsequently pulled over a 2020 Toyota Tundra, arresting the driver. Officers searched the truck as well as his home, seizing almost 60 grams of cocaine portioned into individual packages, a digital scale, $1,280 in cash, and the Alex Lee business cards. (By any chance, did this guy visit the White House a few months ago?)

I was wondering why I saw that photo of a radio tower on a milk carton… An Alabama radio station was forced to go silent after thieves stole their 200 foot radio tower and other equipment from a building. When WJLX radio station sent a landscaping crew to the site, they discovered the 200 foot radio tower was gone. When a crew member called the station’s general manager to break the news, he was in disbelief. “What do you mean the tower is gone? Are you sure you’re in the right place?” He said there were wires all over the ground and the tower was gone. Not only was the radio tower stolen, but a nearby building was also vandalized. The thieves stole every piece of equipment from the building, including a transmitter. The radio station has filed a report with the Jasper Police Department. At this point, officials are still lacking information which they need to conduct a full-fledged investigation. (Did a competing radio station suddenly appear overnight in the next town over?)

Who told Barney to take the bullet out of his pocket?…A Florida sheriff’s deputy confused a falling acorn for a gunshot and responded by unleashing a hail of bullets on his own patrol car while a man sat handcuffed inside. The deputy with the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office shot up his vehicle after the acorn struck the hood. His female partner also opened fire on the vehicle after he yelled, “Shots fired!” The handcuffed suspect inside the car was not struck by any of the rounds fired. The deputies responded after a woman had reported that her boyfriend refused to return her vehicle and sent her threatening messages. While the female deputy spoke with the woman, the male returned to his vehicle to grab some papers. As he was walking past the vehicle, the acorn fell and struck the hood. He convinced himself that he’d been hit by a bullet, then dove and rolled dramatically on the ground, firing his service weapon. Later in the interview, he was shown video of the acorn falling on his car. He asked the investigator, “Acorn?” The deputy has since resigned. (The squirrels were packing AKorn-47s that day.)