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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Random Acts of Crime: Snapshots

December 22, 2011
Taylorsville, Utah

   Three male roommates were drinking at their residence when one of them shot at a mouse. The bullet missed the rodent and sailed into the bathroom where it hit one of the drinkers in the chest. He survived, but when police and emergency personnel arrived at the house, they found a 13-year-old girl hiding in a basement closet. The 34-year-old roommate not involved in the shooting has been charged with sexual offenses related to the underage girl.

December 23, 2011
Port Richey, Florida

     When a 52-year-old man drinking in a bar ran out of money, he ducked out of the gin mill and robbed a nearby Wells Fargo bank. The robber returned thirty minutes later and picked up where he had left off until the police entered the bar. The cops recovered the bank's money and hauled the suspect off to jail. A surprising number of banks are robbed by people who are drunk.

December 2011
Los Angeles County

     Burglars have been breaking into high school band rooms and stealing tubas. A high quality tuba costs $5,000 and up. Used tubas can go as high as $2,000. The black market for hot tubas has been created by the popularity of Mexican dance band music that features brass and woodwind instruments anchored by the tuba.

December 8, 2011
Breckenridge, Colorado

     After Royal "Scoop" Daniel III went missing in April 2007, authorities discovered that the well-liked and respected Breckenridge attorney had run off with $1 million of his clients' money. On December 8, Border Patrol agents arrested Daniel as he tried to cross into Mexico by foot near San Diego. The missing attorney had been living in Acapulco where he had been working as a translator.

December 2011
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

     Reverend Bartley Sorensen, a 62-year-old Catholic priest in possession of thousands of pornographic images of 5 to 10-year-old boys, has been charged with state and federal crimes related to child porography. A parish employee at the St. John Fisher Church in Churchill had called a child abuse hotline after seeing the priest looking at child pornography on his computer. A search of Father Sorensen's church office produced 5,000 images on three CDs. Ordained in 1976, this priest, before coming to St. John Fisher in November 2011, had served in three parishes and a hospital, all in western Pennsylvania. One can only speculate how many times this priest, having come under suspicion during his long career, had been moved on to new assignments. This information will probably not be revealed, especially if Sorensen pleads guilty.

January 10, 2012
Jefferson City, Missouri

     Alyssa Bustamante pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in connection with the October 2009 death of 9-year-old Elizabeth Olten in the small town of St. Martins, Missouri. Bustamante told the judge she had stangled, stabbed and cut the neighbor girl to know what it felt like to kill someone. At the time of the murder she was 15, had never been in trouble with the law, and was a good student. Two years before the murder Bustamante had tried to kill herself.

January 9, 2012
Fayetteville, Arkansas

     At ten-thirty in the morning, 73-year-old Betty Davis walked into a bank and told the employees that a man wearing a ski mask had taped a bomb to her ankle. This man had entered this woman's home and taken her and her husband hostage. He had tied up the husband and sent her to the bank to withdraw $10,000 from her account. The building emptied out quickly. The police arrived, and members of the Bentonville bomb squad removed the device that was not a bomb.

     The police rushed to the Davis home where they found the husband tied up but unharmed. The suspect had fled in the couple's pickup truck. The police found the stolen vehicle abandoned in a park a few miles from the house. A few days later, the cops arrested 60-year-old Paul Lewis Bradley. The suspect faces charges of burglary, robbery and kidnapping. Bradley had planned to meet Mrs. Davis at the bank where he'd collect the money, but when he approached the scene, the place was crawling with police.

     In August 2003, in Erie, Pennsylvania, a group of criminal idiots committed an equally boneheaded bank robbery when they wrapped a real bomb around the neck of a pizza delivery man named Brian Wells. The bomb went off shortly after Wells left the bank, killing him in front of police and a TV crew. If Paul Lewis Bradley had been inspired by the Erie pizza bomb case, he is one stupid criminal.  

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