The Bank of England, arguing before the U.K.’s Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards in October, warned against limiting the bonuses that bankers have come to expect from their lucrative deals — because that might encroach on their “human rights.” The bank suggested it is a human rights violation even to ask senior executives to demonstrate that they tried hard to comply with banking laws (because it is the government’s job to prove violations).
A young woman accosted by a robber on Washington, D.C.’s Capitol Hill in October told the man she was a low-paid intern — but an intern for the National Security Agency, and that within minutes of robbing her, the man would be tracked down by ubiquitous NSA surveillance. She said (reported the Washington Examiner) the man just “looked at me and ran away [empty-handed].”
A 29-year-old cafeteria worker at Sullivan East High School in Blountville, Tenn., swore to police on the scene in October that she was not the one who took money from a co-worker’s purse, and she voluntarily stripped to near-nakedness to demonstrate her innocence. “See? I don’t have it,” she said. Moments later, an officer found the missing $27 stuffed in the woman’s shoe.
Katarzyna Dryden-Chouen and her husband, Clive, busted in a London police raid last year with a marijuana growing operation that had netted an estimated equivalent of $450,000, insisted to a jury in October that their massive haul was not for sale but for “personal” use — in that they worship the Hindu god Shiva, and truly believed that the world would end soon and that they needed a sizable offering to burn. (Actually, the jury bought it. “Distribution” charges were dismissed, but the couple still face jail for their cultivation activity.)
The Seattle City Council voted in October to seize a waterfront parking lot by eminent domain from the 103-year-old owner after negotiations to buy the property on the open market broke down. The state is funding a six-year tunnel-digging project in the area, and the city has decided it needs the property for not-yet-specified uses — except that in one part of the property, the city said it plans to operate a parking lot.
Larry Poulos was stopped on an Arlington, Tex., street in September, bleeding from a head wound and complaining that he had just been robbed by two men. A friend of Poulos later corroborated that, but police also learned that the money Poulos had been carrying was the proceeds of his having robbed a credit union earlier that evening. He was treated for his wounds and arrested.
In November, Sweden’s National Housing Board, in charge of building codes, ordered the country’s famous Ice Hotel in Jukkasjarvi (built anew annually out of fresh ice blocks) to install fire alarms. “We were a little surprised when we found out,” said a spokeswoman (who acknowledged that the hotel’s mattresses and pillows could catch fire).
Least competent criminals
Lawrence Briggs, 18, was arrested in Marshalltown, Iowa, in November after he walked out of a Sports Page store with $153 worth of merchandise he did not pay for. Moments earlier, he had filled out an application to work at Sports Page, and when surveillance cameras exposed him, managers called him in for an “interview,” and police made the arrest.
Troy Mitchell, 47, was arrested after allegedly robbing the Valley First Credit Union in Modesto, Calif., on May 14. While he was standing at the teller’s window, another employee of Valley First saluted him (“Hi, Troy”) because he remembered Mitchell from April 3, when he had applied for a car loan.