One of the joys of watching crime dramas on television or in the movies is the cat-and-mouse game often played between a brilliant criminal and the detectives who eventually get out in front of the evil mastermind through a combination of hard work and a bit of cleverness of their own.
The more ingenious and insidious the bad guy is, the better for the viewer. Think Hannibal Lechter, or the assortment of cartoonish super-villains in the James Bond franchise, or even the anti-hero main character in something like “Dexter” — we are often drawn to those criminals who present a clear conflict to the good guys through their wicked ways and strategic maneuvering.
On the other hand, sometimes idiocy has its own place in the entertainment chain.
Take Gary Harding, for example. The 26-year-old Connecticut man has been known to law enforcement officials in the area for some time, according to a Reuters story. When investigators were looking at surveillance video of a carjacking at a grocery store earlier this month, Harding was identified as the likely suspect. And, for the record, that same vehicle might have been used in a bank robbery a few days after that carjacking, so suffice it to say that authorities were interested in having a conversation with Harding.
Since Harding was currently under probation, police hatched a plan to set up a phony probation meeting with him to try to apprehend him. Harding reportedly took the bait, and showed up to the fake meeting, only to find himself face-to-face with members of the New Haven Police Department.
Oh... one other little nugget I should have mentioned. Harding apparently showed up to the meeting in the SUV he is accused of carjacking.
“Thank God people aren’t always very bright, it really does make our jobs a lot easier,” said New Haven police spokesman David Hartman. “Not only to make the apprehension, but then to also have the main piece of evidence delivered right to us ... that was icing on the cake.”
Of course, the fun doesn’t always stop with the arrest.
According to another Reuters story, police with the Bonner County (Idaho) Sheriff’s office responded to a call from a couple last week that accused 42-year-old Staci Spence of dousing them with pepper spray. The story didn’t say whether or not there was an argument between Spence and the couple, or if Spence maybe won an NFL game and mistook pepper spray for Gatorade and was simply celebrating by dumping it on ...
But I digress.
Regardless, police reportedly found Spence to be “highly intoxicated, kicking and fighting and screaming profanities.” She was arrested, put in the back of the cruiser and taken to the county detention facility for processing, according to police.
It was at that time, when police got Spence to the detention facility, that they reportedly noticed their suspect had been up to some less-than-desireable behavior in the back of the patrol vehicle. Police said she gnawed though the upholstery and foam cushioning of the back seat of the car.
The story did not say if Spence swallowed any of the car’s interior, spit out the damage as she tore it apart with her teeth, or if it badly needed some pepper (spray).
Of course, Spence is not the only suspected criminal who has a “taste” for crime. Jonathan Stempel reported earlier this week that a New York mortgage broker, Frank Tamayo, was the middleman in an insider trading scheme — where Tamayo is alleged to pass information from a prestigious New York law firm to a third party that could certainly prove profitable for the people who used it.
According to police, Tamayo would scribble down stock symbols onto a napkin, meet the third party connection, one Vladimir Eydelman of Morgan Stanley, at Grand Central Station, and eat the napkin after Eydelman memorized the stock symbol.
Tamayo reportedly has been cooperating with authorities (which is how they know about him eating the evidence, as opposed to waiting for the evidence to reveal itself and then sending in a rookie officer to retrieve it), and has agreed to forfeit more than $1 million, the contents of two brokerage accounts and a 2008 AudiQ7. He faces up to 20 years in prison on multiple fraud counts.
Hopefully, for authorities, Tamayo is not a fitness freak.
You see, a Reuters story based out of Phoneix tells the tale of inmate Wade Cole Dickinson, a personal trainer who was locked up in an Arizona detention center on a 24-year sentence on charges including fraud, trafficking in stolen property, drug possession and illegal possession of a firearm.
According to authorities, Dickinson climbed a 10-foot basketball hoop in the yard of the facility, jumped onto a security fence and took off for the greener pastures of freedom.
Well, freedom or Vegas.
He was recaptured more than two months later at an apartment in Las Vegas, according to authorities, and is waiting extradition back to Arizona, and marshals are trying to find out who gave Dickinson assistance during his escape.