Criminal or not, you need fresh underpants

Categorized as 12/01/08 Goshen News column

Being a survivor is a good thing. And that’s what we are, having survived a five-hour road trip with seven people packed like mackerels in a tin can.

Any mother knows that when the children are out of school, the crime rate spikes. Suddenly, her police blotter reflects a flurry of activity with reports of muggings, thefts, and other misdemeanors.

Traveling down the highway with the three oldest squished together cheek by jowl was risky, we knew. Sure enough, there were hollered reports of punching and hitting from the back seat. To make matters worse, the portable DVD player we take on trips to forestall infanticide and homicides wasn’t working. The natives were definitely getting restless, and the side-to-side rocking of the van was visible proof.

Now, I’m not one to buy into the philosophy that thinking only happy thoughts will make your troubles vanish, but really. Sometimes the only thing left to do is to close your eyes, stick your fingers in your ears, and retreat to a happy place that doesn’t involve any two-armed assaults.

Unfortunately, the end of holiday break doesn’t mean this mama can let her guard down. Oh, no. Not with a two year old busily engaged in felonious activities. His current rap sheet includes stripping ornaments off the Christmas tree and making his mark everywhere with crayon, pen, and pencil. In fact, the other Saturday when the CLEO (Chief Law Enforcement Officer) was supposedly on duty, he decorated the front cover of my brand-new Beth Moore book, coming in especially heavy on her teeth.

How that child manages to find writing instruments is beyond me. For awhile, we stored the drawer that held the pens on the top of the fridge, and he still found things to write with. If I ever needed to find the proverbial needle in the haystack, he is definitely the guy I would send in.

Whenever I go to take his mug shot, however, he grins, sporting a row of little white teeth, blue eyes, a dimple, and rooster tails. I’m sorely tempted to drop all charges, but I know I’d better frisk him and confiscate his tools or there will be more artwork appearing.

In an effort to better understand how the criminal mind works (or doesn’t), I did some research and found a number of true-crime stories that make the aforementioned hooligans look like geniuses. What follows is the first in a series called, “What were they thinking?!”

According to KUTV in Utah, a heavily disguised robber wearing a pair of underpants over his head tried to rip off a concession stand at a charity golf tournament. This is, as a reporter pointed out, about the lowest thing you can do short of kicking an orphan with a golf cleat. After wrestling the thug’s knife away, the clerk alerted two nearby golfers who chased him down in a golf cart. This certainly gives credence to mom’s admonition to make sure you’ve got clean underwear on whenever you leave the house.

When you’re facing a charge of auto theft, the last thing you want to do is to hand the prosecutor another nail for your coffin. You know, like showing up for your court date in another stolen car. That’s exactly what one criminal mastermind, who had already been charged for stealing a $125,000 Porsche, did. Naturally, the police were suspicious when he showed up in a Lexus. In addition to a second vehicle theft charge, he was also slapped with an animal cruelty charge, thanks to the Yorkshire terriers in the back seat of the stolen vehicle. Maybe this guy was dropped on his head as an infant. Yeah, that explains it.

If you’re going to be a cop impersonator, you shouldn’t begin your career by pulling over a real cop. That’s exactly what one policeman wannabe did, according to the AP. This is about the dumbest thing you can do short of licking a pump handle in the winter to see if it’s cold.

Let’s say you’re a lobster thief and you need a place to hide the loot. Where, exactly, would you put them? The AP reports that a man in San Diego was caught emptying lobster traps. His hiding place? His pants. Now, unless he was wearing iron underwear, this doesn’t bode well for his chances of carrying on the family name. Actually, maybe some family names really shouldn’t be perpetuated, if you know what I mean.

Yes, there sure are some dumb crooks in the world, but you aren’t one of them. Knowing that should give you an extra jolt of confidence and self-esteem as you head into your work week. But please, before you go, change your underpants.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *