posttrib
BUMPY 
Weather Updates

My kind of criminals

CamerBruce W.

Cameron, Bruce W.

storyidforme: 15927483
tmspicid: 1610947
fileheaderid: 613641

Updated: November 2, 2011 2:57PM



I’ve always thought that I’d make a pretty good police officer, except maybe for the danger part. I have a rare medical condition that makes it difficult for me to risk getting shot, so probably I’d have to be one of those officers who work in “do not shoot” areas.

Here’s the sort of police work at which I’d excel: Two men were recently arrested in New Jersey for breaking into a police van. They were pretending to be apprehended in order to take goofy photographs of themselves. They discovered, though, that once they were in they couldn’t break out. Finally they had to call 911, whereupon they were arrested and put back in the van.

Thus was born the phrase “criminal stupidity.”

Or how about the 21-year-old man in Detroit who wandered up to watch police demonstrate a new computer-driven felon-location program? He asked the officers to show him how it worked, handing over his driver’s license so it could be entered in the system. They keyed in the data, determined the man was a wanted felon and put the cuffs on him. There, that’s how it works.

In other words, I like it when the crooks pretty much arrest themselves. What I wouldn’t be especially good at is being a detective on one of those forensic shows.

Detective (sniffing a rock): It appears the murder weapon is actually a chunk of a meteor that fell in France in the 1600s. Our suspect will be middle-aged, fond of Bordeaux, a collector of vinyl records, and he recently gave up smoking. Oh, and this isn’t his first murder. Check the records for killings in Bermuda last fall.

Me: Gee, all that sounds really complicated. Why don’t we just park the police van with the doors open and see if he climbs in?

I am much more fond of the criminal from Colorado Springs who held up a liquor store with a shotgun, was given all the cash, and who then wanted a bottle of booze but was refused because he didn’t look 21. The robber handed over his driver’s license, got the booze — and was arrested when the clerk gave the address from the license to the police.

So, as a police officer, I just wouldn’t want to be called to the scene of a crime where the crook wasn’t thoughtful enough to leave his contact information so we could keep in touch. And I especially don’t want to do the kind of police work that isn’t pleasant.

Detective: Here’s the body.

Me: Gross!

Detective: We can see that the victim was strangled.

Me: You can’t make me look at it.

The only time I might be willing to look at a crime scene is if the victim and the perpetrator are the same person, which was the case in Grand Rapids, Mich., where a man fleeing a store with stolen knives tripped and accidentally stabbed himself.

Me: I think the guy with the wounds did it.

Detective: You’re so good at this!

I picture the FBI calling me in to handle their difficult cases.

FBI: The bank robber left his driver’s license, but other than that, we have no real clues.

Me: I think your suspect is 6 feet, 1 inch tall and weighs 205 lbs. He’s probably, oh, 28 years old — but he’ll be 29 on the 13th of next month. If I were you, I’d check 201 B Oak St.

FBI: You’re so good at this!

I found several references online to bank robbers leaving their driver’s licenses at the bank, plus my favorite: a San Francisco bank robber who tried to hold up a Wells Fargo bank by handing over a badly misspelled note written on a Bank of America deposit slip. The bank teller refused the note, saying he would have to go to a Bank of America branch to do his holdup. The teller called the police after the robber left, and they arrested him — standing in line at the Bank of America.

If there’s a department of dumb criminals, then that’s where I should be assigned as a police officer. I’m so good at it!



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.