Genuine proof that crime does not pay

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 7, 2004

Being in the newspaper business, I read crime reports on a daily basis.

While I genuinely feel that anyone who knowingly commits a crime can be classified as "dumb," I always get a kick out of reading the various postings of "dumb crook news" on the Internet. In this sense, the "dumb" is not their choice to commit a crime, but the manner in which they were caught. Here are a few entries I stumbled upon in recent weeks.

Wrong number

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An Oklahoma woman dialed a wrong number and ended up under arrest after she tried to set up a drug deal with her former parole officer.

Patricia Michel was arrested on suspicion of the unlawful distribution of a dangerous controlled substance at her home in Durant, Okla.

Michel called her former parole officer, Doug Canant, on his cell phone by mistake, thinking he could help set up a deal where she could acquire methamphetamines.

She told Canant she did not have money to buy drugs because she was waiting for her U.S. tax refund but wanted to exchange one type of drug for another.

Acting on Canant's tip, a drug task force sent agents to Michel's house and set up a deal. She handed over two pills that were controlled substances and instead of getting drugs, she got arrested.

"I am a bit of a joker, so I was playing along," Canant said of the telephone call. "She thought she was talking to her local drug dealer."

Easy identification

An accused robber in West Virginia left behind a piece of hard evidence at the scene of the crime - his wallet.

According to authorities in Comfort, W.Va., Terry Lee Romine held up a convenience store. Investigators say Romine ordered a slice of pizza, then told the clerk he had a gun and demanded cash.

He is accused of grabbing the cash register after the clerk had trouble opening it.

The clerk says Romine crashed into the wrong door before finding his way out. The clerk then looked down and saw the suspect had forgotten his wallet on the counter. Deputies busted Romine a short time later.

Major 'slip' up

In a similar case, Ronald Paul McAllister, 43, allegedly robbed a Bank of America branch in Tulsa, Okla., in January. During the incident, a teller said McAllister, said "Don't do anything stupid, lady," during the holdup.

Moments later, as McAllister fled with his loot, he forgot to take his holdup note with him. It was written on a withdrawal slip with his name on it, making it easy for police to track him down.

Juror goes to pot

A juror was arrested after officers noticed he was trying to carry marijuana into a courthouse, police said.

The man was trying to re-enter the Charleston County, S.C. Courthouse last month when he was asked to empty his pockets before going through a metal detector, police said.

Officers saw him pull out a small plastic bag containing a green, leafy substance. He quickly shoved the bag back into his pants and pulled out a bag of peanuts.

Police said the pot-carrying juror, identified as Jimmy Andre Thompson, had about 18 grams of marijuana worth about $90.

This is your brain on drugs

A Chalmette, La., man was arrested after calling the sheriff's office to complain he had been ripped off attempting to trade a microwave oven for crack cocaine.

Joseph Bulot, 32, was booked on a misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia after he showed a sheriff's deputy a crack pipe he said he had used to smoke what turned out to be fake cocaine. He said when he took the drug home and tried to smoke it, he discovered it was bogus.

Bulot invited a deputy into his apartment to see the fake crack and pipe. The deputy tested the substance, which had no traces of cocaine.

These are just a few examples that prove crime does not pay - especially if you have no common sense.

Shawn Doyle is managing editor of The Ironton Tribune. He can be reached by calling (740) 532-1445 ext. 19 or by e-mail to shawn