Our weekly roundup of cockeyed criminality continues, this time with extra inebriety.
Many people enjoy a cocktail now and again. But what happens when things go from tipsy to trashed?
Perhaps we can answer that by inspecting the case of a man with the musical name of Nikolaus Trombley, who hails from East Lyme, Connecticut (population 5,966).
Mr. Trombley, 22, was intoxicated (colloquially, “squiffy”) in the wee hours of April 28, according to a post later the same day on the website of WTNH-TV 8.
As do so many in that condition, Mr. Trombley decided he needed a little nap. Displaying the ingenuity characteristic of someone deep in his cups, he broke into a trailer behind East Lyme High School and scavenged for keys to the school.
This makes perfect sense: who does not long for the occasional nighttime lie-down in a classroom that, by day, is populated by the cast of Lord of the Flies?
The deeply potty Mr. Trombley had not yet found the keys when he came upon a motorized lawnmower. Displaying the logic characteristic of someone smashed half beyond repair, he decided to go for a ride.
He undertook a three-mile excursion to the home of his parents, where he lives. There, still pixilated and displaying the selflessness characteristic of someone boiled as an owl, he mowed his parents’ lawn.
Evidently he intended to return the mower to the school. Instead, displaying the languor characteristic of the fully sozzled, he abandoned it near the intersection of the charmingly named Boston Post and Spring Rock roads.
We pause here to note that many Americans look askance at those who joke about motoring while tiddly, and for good reason. Driving drunk is very dangerous. No one in the whole wide world should do it, ever.
That said, we wonder if punishment for the bibulous Mr. Trombley will be mitigated by the fact that, when driving a stolen mower whilst blotto tip to toe, he was thoughtful enough to landscape his parents’ home.
If so, it might set an interesting precedent. One day we may see sentence reductions for drivers who, for instance, cart elderly women to and from the grocery store, lugging their bags and conversing pleasantly—and do it while sloshed to the gills.
WTNH-TV reported that Mr. Trombley “is facing charges,” but did not say what the charges are. This kind of monumental journalistic oversight explains the American public’s waning faith in the Fourth Estate.
And so, alas, we shall never know if the pie-eyed Mr. Trombley is at the flashpoint of a massive shift in the American legal system or is just another late-night tippler who gets drunk and clips grass.
Let us take a moment to note that serious addiction is no laughing matter. It can drive fraught folks to take desperate measures in order to support their habits.
Some even rob pharmacies, something that has happened a handful of times in the past six months at Fred’s Drug Store, on Ingalls Ave. in Pascagoula, Mississippi (pop. 23,677).
According to an April 13 report on the website of WLOX-TV-13 (“Biloxi Gulfport Pascagoula”), the Fred’s bandits favored Lortab, a synthetic opiate generically known as hydrocodone bitartrate.
(As a favor to scientifically inclined readers, we add that the drug’s chemical name is 4,5α- epoxy-3-methoxy-17-methylmorphinan-6-one tartrate (1:1) hydrate (2:5), and that its structural format is C18H21NO3• C4H606 • 2 ½ H20 M.W. 494.50.)
A Fred’s Drug Store pharmacist sensibly named Mac Clark devised a clever way to foil future painkiller purloiners: he filled a large Lortab jar with beans.
“Kidney beans, like you’d use to make beans and rice,” Mr. Clark told WLOX. “I didn’t have any rice to put in there.”
The fact that even in dire times Mr. Clark exhibits this level of wit suggests that he is a man of great intelligence, wisdom and charm. Or perhaps he is whacked out of his skull on pharmaceutical-grade opiates.
(Note to our libel lawyers: We’re kidding. We have no doubt Mr. Clark is a man of unimpeachable moral fortitude.)
As it turns out, Mr. Clark’s ruse worked. In the early hours of April 13, a burglar who broke into Fred’s wound up stealing the bean-filled Lortab bottle.
Investigators later spied a blood trail leading from the building. They surmised that the thief, who has not been caught, might have cut himself during the heist.
The situation is not without irony. Lortab is a painkiller. The robber was in pain. Alas, he had filched a painkiller jar filled with kidney beans.
It is troubling to think that being duped might have made him so angry that he failed to realize he had half the makings of a fabulous plate of beans and rice, a gulf-region favorite.
These are the grim consequences of crime. Children—and crooks and drug addicts—the world over would do well to take note.
“A robbery suspect who escaped from a Buffalo [New York] police station by slipping out a back door while handcuffed to a chair has been apprehended after he was spotted riding a bike with the cuffs still on.”
This lead of an April 27 Associated Press story is mystifying in the extreme. How does one ride a bicycle while handcuffed—indeed, while handcuffed to a chair? And is this how people pass the time in Buffalo (pop. 279,745), “The City That Has No Motto”?
Happily, the story explains that police took a man with the statesmanlike name of John Caesar into custody April 26 to question him about a robbery at the Anchor Bar. (That’s the restaurant, as it happens, where Buffalo Wings were invented, a landmark moment in gastronomical history.)
Displaying the prudence characteristic of law enforcement agents across the land, police handcuffed Mr. Caesar, 58, to a chair. Displaying the craftiness characteristic of alleged criminals across the land, Mr. Caesar took a powder while so fettered.
Alas, he was apprehended the next morning, the AP reported, “on a street corner,” riding a bicycle while still cuffed.
Here’s what baffles us: how did Mr. Caesar manage to extricate the chair from the handcuffs but not himself from them? Indeed, how did Mr. Caesar manage to dart out of a police station cuffed to a chair in the first place? One imagines a great deal of clattering.
Sadly, these and other questions go unanswered in the AP story, a dispiriting turn of events.
Perhaps the reporter was a wee bit beery, and in his slightly slopped state he simply figured that the art of conveying details is highly overrated.
If so, this would make him an old-school reporter of the highest order, a species fast approaching extinction. We think it well worth the effort to preserve these specimens in their natural habitat: hunched over the bar in a dark saloon, a fedora clamped to the head, a racing form clutched in one hand and a whiskey in the other.
To hell with saving the whales. Save the cockeyed correspondents!
Dave Ford is a San Francisco writer whose work has appeared in Spin, The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Examiner, SF Weekly, The Advocate, and a host of other periodicals. He writes the blog First of All, and is a certified yoga instructor who teaches at various venues in his home city.
Illustration by Bion Harrigan. Bion Harrigan keeps his head firmly planted in the clouds and has done so since the earliest days of a youth misspent idly daydreaming, reading Mad magazine, and drawing scary monsters and super creeps. He continues to spend an inordinate amount of time daydreaming and drawing at his home in Maplewood, New Jersey.
Other dudes, who, previously, have been “in the news”: