Criminal behavior ranges from smart to insane

Years ago, when my head was a little more full of hair and my belly a little less full of belly, I was a police reporter. We called it the “cops and courts” beat, and one of the most rewarding parts of the job was following a case from the time the police were looking for a suspect all the way through to a conviction or acquital.

On the flip side, there were few things I hated more than having to talk to the families of those involved in crimes — either those related to the victim or to the suspect. There’s nothing that makes you feel quite as loathsome as approaching a crying mother with a notebook in your hand and asking her how she’s doing.

So, yeah, that job has its ups and its downs, and involves a lot of combing through piles of boring incident reports at police stations, hoping to find something of interest, but it also usually gets you a pretty premium piece of real estate in the paper for your stories when you do get a good one. It also affords you the opportunity to talk with a lot of detectives and other longtime police officers, which often results in some pretty interesting stories being told of arrests in their past.

That was a long, long time ago (keep in mind my earlier hair and belly comments as a handy point of reference), and the most work my notebook gets these days is writing down little reminders to myself as I tend to forget more than I remember. It’s weird how quickly that happens to the mind. One day I could spout out the starting lineups of every Major League Baseball team in 1977 and the next day I couldn’t remember if I brushed my teeth or not, while the toothbrush was still in my hand. I guess I could have just felt the brush to see if it was dry or not, but ...

But I digress.

My point was that I was often fascinated by the stories of these experienced police officers, and how they would range from tragic to hilarity, often in the blink of an eye in the same story. They would tell stories of odd or shockingly stupid criminals, and I find myself today still scouring police stories on the Internet whenever I find some free time.

For instance, I found a story on about a man in western Ohio who recently purchased a gun-storage safe on the Internet. Though I’m not the world’s biggest fan of guns, I have nothing against people who own them as long as they do so responsibly, and this man seemed to be doing the right thing by ordering a 1,000-pound steel safe to keep his weapons away from criminals and children.

The safe, made in Nogales, Mexico, was shipped to the Ohio man, and when he opened it he discovered 285 pounds of marijuana wrapped in 28-pound packages, with an estimated street value of $420,000, according to authorities. It’s a pretty smart way to smuggle, right?

Police said the man who delivered the safe to the customer has been cleared of any wrongdoing, but the driver who delivered the shipment from Mexico to Ohio is missing.

Let’s see ... a guy delivered almost half a million dollars of suspected Mexican drugs, and it did not get to the person for whom it was intended. Raise your hand if you are particularly surprised this man is missing. Anyone?

Of course, we are not exclusive in regards to having interesting or odd crimes take place. According to a story on the Huffington Post’s site, a 23-year-old British man has been banned from every single farm in the United Kingdom, and issued a curfew between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.

His crime? Apparently, he admitted to having carnal relations with a goat.

There wasn’t much more in the Huffington story, so I looked a little deeper and found a story on the Mirror’s site. Basically, they had the same information, but appeared so embarrassed that it happened in the UK that they decided to add a few more tales of overexuberant animal love by adding a few links to stories of Americans having relations with animals, ranging from a cat to a few dogs.

So, apparently this is some kind of global pandemic, and no animal is immune from this. I began to wonder if there is anywhere for these animals to feel secure anymore.

I’d suggest a giant safe, but, well, you know.