It could happen to you: Criminal goofs from around the country — We can’t make this up

Compiled by Phil Caruso

Drug dealer puts police on hold to conduct some business
CLEVELAND (AP) — Police in Cleveland say a man called 911 because he felt he was in danger — then asked the dispatcher to hold on while he made a drug deal. Police Lt. Thomas Stacho said Feb. 3 that Alejandro Melendez was arrested after the call and was charged with possessing cocaine.

Police said Melendez called 911 late Jan. 31 and reported that two men with guns were watching him.

Police records show he hung up, so the dispatcher called back.

Melendez answered and asked the dispatcher to hold on, but the dispatcher could still hear what was being said.

A voice can be heard on the recording of the call saying: “What you need? A 10-pack? You need a 10-pack? All right.” Police say “10-pack” is slang for a bundle of heroin.

The dispatcher called police, who found Melendez at the location he gave, had the dispatcher call his cell phone again, and said they found cocaine in his trousers.


The Sleeping Bag Bandit
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Authorities said a man wearing a sleeping bag as a cape and carrying a screwdriver as a weapon tried to rob someone in the parking lot of a Gainesville business. Police said a 46-year-old man approached the intended victim early morning on Feb. 1 and asked for money.

When the man refused, police said the man threw off the cape and pulled the screwdriver from his waistband. The other man quickly ran into a store and called 911.

The suspect was arrested a few blocks away and charged with attempted armed robbery. He was being held on $20,000 bail.


An early-morning drive
MOUNTLAKE TERRACE, Wash. (AP) — Police knew something wasn’t quite right after they spotted a man driving a piece of construction lift equipment down a street at 3 a.m. on Jan. 28. The man, who apparently had been drinking, was in the lift bucket of the Genie Boom with an unopened six-pack of beer and a bag of beef jerky when police pulled the vehicle over. He was clocked at 2 mph.

At first the 29-year-old man told police he was just going to the store. But when they asked him why he was in the bucket on the lift, he said he was delivering the $20,000 piece of construction equipment on a dare from a stranger he met on Craigslist, according to a police report.

The Everett Herald reported the lift apparently had been taken from a construction site.

The man was jailed for investigation of theft.


A new look for court
CHICAGO (STNG) — Decked out in a purple suit coat and purple shoes, David B. Johnson appeared before a judge in the Markham courthouse in January on his 13th charge of driving on a suspended license.

At that Jan. 23 hearing, Judge Christopher Donnelly sentenced Johnson to 10 days in jail beginning Feb. 6. The judge also sternly warned him not to drive his car before then.

Johnson donned his purple fedora and full-length fur coat and walked out of the courthouse to his purple 1988 Cadillac. The dashboard of the immaculate four-door sedan had a placard that said “PIMP PLAZA” and the rear spare-tire cover was stenciled “Mister Oldskool.”
Johnson pulled out a feather duster — purple, of course — and cleaned off his car for about five minutes.

Then he drove away — with a bevy of female onlookers hooting and hollering to him, said Steve Patterson, a spokesman for Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. When Johnson pulled onto a street outside the Markham courthouse, Cook County Sheriff’s Deputies stopped Johnson’s car and arrested him.