This blog covers everything except sports and gardening, unless we find a really good link about using dead professional bowlers for mulch. The author is a StarTribune columnist, has been passing off fiction and hyperbole as insight since 1997, has run his own website since the Jurassic era of AOL, and was online when today’s college sophomores were a year away from being born. So get off his lawn.

Posts about Crime

Most unnerving headline of the day

Posted by: James Lileks Updated: March 30, 2010 - 3:12 PM

 The article doesn't say if he won.

Miscreant Roundup

Posted by: James Lileks Updated: February 23, 2010 - 12:54 PM


Highlights from the metro police blotter, compiled by Susan Hilliard.


If you two don’t quiet down I’m going to TURN THIS CAR AROUND:

Suspicious vehicle. Someone called police to report a vehicle apparently stalled on Cain Road and County Road 30. An officer located the vehicle and found that a mother had pulled over to discipline her two boys. The officer reported everything was fine after speaking with the mother and the boys.

This would make an excellent OnStar ad.

Ma’am, this is OnStar, we see you’ve pulled over by the road.

What? Who is this?

OnStar, ma’am.

Onstahr who? Tom Onstahr? From High school? Why are you speaking through my car? How did you get this number?

Ma’am, this is OnStar, the automotive assistance service. Our satellites show you’ve pulled over. Is there a problem?

Yes there is a problem because Gavin won’t stop hitting his little brother with a book and telling him it’s a super book-gun which is just ridiculous in the first place and in the second place I don’t approve of guns and he knows that.

Ma’am, is it a book that transforms into a gun, or a book that fires bullets, as in a James Bond weapon?

How should I know? I don’t understand how a drinking straw can be a Calgon Light Sword, or whatever it was -

Ma’am, that would be a Qui-Gon Light Saber. It’s a character from Star Wars.

Fine, you know so much, you make them shut up. Here. Talk to them.

Children in the backseat! This is OnStar Command. Cease your quarrels or we will use our space lasers to vaporize your ship. Do you doubt my power? Behold, as I turn the door locks on . . . and off . . . and on again. Fear me! Now shut up and let your Mother drive.

Thank you, Tom.

No problem, Ma’am. Have a nice day.


 What does a guy have to do to get deported around here?

Immigration. Police responded to a call from a man on the 3400 block of River Rapids Boulevard NW. wanting to turn himself in to immigration officials. An officer found the 22-year-old man, who did not speak English. The officer found an employee from a nearby store who could translate. The man said he did not have a visa or passport and wanted to return to his native El Salvador. The officer called immigration, but the office was closed because of the federal holiday. The jail would not accept the man unless he was charged with something. The officer gave the man the phone number for immigration and customs enforcement so he could call himself the next day.


Police! Is there anything they can’t do?

Assist the public. A 41-year-old man from the 2000 block of Hamel Road called police to report that he was having problems with his thermostat going to air conditioning. An officer was able to override the thermostat and get the heat to stay on. The man was advised by the officer to contact a heating company if the problems persisted.

Later that day, furnace technicians were dispatched to a report of a prowler, and three Qwest techs were called when a house caught on fire.



You’ll have to speak up, I’m on a cellphone in Cancun. What’s up?

Animal call. At 8:57 a.m., a neighbor complained about a dog outside a residence in the 2000 block of Vienna Lane that had been barking for more than three hours. The dog owner was reached. The dog accidentally had been locked outside. The owner promised to come home to let the dog in.

Miscreant Roundup

Posted by: James Lileks Updated: February 4, 2010 - 12:23 PM

Selections from the latest crime report, complied and written by Susan Hilliard.


Ah, the fragrant tang of snowblower exhaust mixed with a gallon of bad blood:

Neighborhood dispute. A man called police to his home in the 11200 block of Terrace Road NE. because he said his neighbor continually blows his snow into his yard and onto his privacy fence. Police spoke with the neighbor, who the report said declined to change his behavior and requested a ticket. The police issued a citation for littering.


I know what you’re thinking, punk. Did he puncture six balloons, or seven?

Disturbing the peace. Someone called police to report hearing seven gunshots fired in a hallway in the 1800 block of 105th Lane NW. Police set up a perimeter and entered the building. Officers found broken balloons in an entryway and believed that to be the cause of the sound heard by the caller.


A matter of opinion:

Assist fire. Police responded to a report of a smell of natural gas coming from an apartment in the 1100 block of 52nd Avenue NE. Police did not detect the odor of natural gas, but did detect the smell of dead fish.

So it’s all subjective, then? You report gas, you get two guys whose noses have been skewed by too much smoking and bad cologne, and that’s it?

Hey, guys, where are you going? What about the gas?

Sorry, pal, we think it’s fish.

Fish? It’s rotten eggs! Sulfer! Gas!

 Really, you think so? To me it’s more like the smell of an ancient outhouse, and maybe cardamon. Call us back if things start to get explodey, 'kay?


I suspect the messages will change form, and hue, after a while:

Unwanted messages. An officer received a report from a woman who lives in an apartment complex and said someone had been leaving messages for her in the snow outside her window. The previous night someone had drawn hearts in the snow.


The Spirit of the Season:

Unwanted visitor. An officer received a complaint from a woman who said her mother had arrived for Christmas and was now refusing to leave.

Without the backstory it's hard to judge, but given that the call came in 3 days after Christmas, Ma could make the point she's owed a bit more. Nine months, maybe. 


Maybe he’ll sign now:

Domestic. Police were called to a home on Village Road regarding a domestic dispute. A woman was upset with her husband because he would not sign divorce papers. She threw hot pepper into his eyes, slapped his face and threw a glass bowl at his head, police reported. The woman was arrested and charged with domestic assault and fifth-degree assault.


All cars be advised, be on the lookout:

Miscellaneous. Police were called by someone on the 1500 block of Howard Avenue who wanted to report the disappearance of a television remote.

Note the phrasing: wanted to. I suspect he was dissuaded. "Sir, if you could get down on your knees and look beneath the sofa?"

"What do I sound like, someone from CSI? You guys are the experts!"

"Sir, if it's not under the sofa, you may try the space between the sofa cushions."

"Oh, so this is like one of those bomb-defusing movies where you talk me through it, huh? Cool. Okay . . . I'm putting my hand down the cushions . . . I feel something. It's long, and plastic. What next?"

"Sir, grip the object and draw it out."

"Slowly, right?"

"The velocity is not important right now. What's important is getting the remote out."

"Right, before the batteries go dead. Cool. I'm cool. Okay . . . got it! I have the remote! Say, do you think - hello? Hello, you there?"


Miscreant Round-up

Posted by: James Lileks Updated: January 22, 2010 - 2:37 PM




When your number’s up, there’s nothing you can do to protect yourself:

Theft. Police were called to the parking lot of a store on the 13600 block of Martin Street NW. A woman told officers she had noticed a suspicious vehicle so she placed her purse in the trunk of her vehicle while she ran inside the store. When she returned, the purse was gone.

One small problem:

She had left the vehicle unlocked and someone entered it and pushed the trunk release, the report said.

Details, details.

So I’m guessing he didn’t use the plow blade:

Good samaritan. Near County Road 42 and Canterbury Road, a Scott County snowplow driver stopped to report an injured deer in the middle of the road. He got out and moved the injured deer to the shoulder and got back into his truck. The deer then ran off into the woods.

Happy ending! I’m glad. But again we note one of our favorite phrases:”Good Samaritan.” Yes, yes, we all know what it means, but since there actually is an ethnoreligous group - to use the term Wikipedia employs - called the Samaritans, the phrase suggests that there’s something a bit dubious about Samaritans in general." Let me tell you a story about someone who was a Samaritan, yea, but a good Samaritan.”

So I’m guessing this wasn’t Simon Delivers:

Vandalism. Police responded to a complaint at a home on Weston Ridge Parkway, where someone had thrown eggs, syrup, cereal, pizza and dog feces at and around the home. Obscene comments were written on the driveway. Police cited four juveniles for littering and referred them to juvenile court.

Be on the lookout for Octomom:

Theft. Police were investigating the theft of over $600 worth of baby formula from Rainbow Foods. According to police, a man ran out of the store with a shopping cart loaded with baby formula and then threw the items into a waiting car at 3:39 p.m.

What's more, oshifer,  this is Earth, in the solar system, in the galaxy Andromeda:

Accident. Officers arrived on the scene of a crash at the intersection of 170th Street and Cedar Avenue, where they found that a vehicle had been stopped at the intersection, waiting for the light to change to green, and a second car had rear-ended it. The driver of the rear vehicle was arrested for drunken driving. When the officers asked the driver if he knew where he was, he looked at them and said of course he knew where he was -- he was in Golden Valley and on his way to Plymouth.

The address: Apple Valley. Nine more blocks and the guy would be in Iowa. 

The Age of Ashtrays

Posted by: James Lileks Updated: January 12, 2010 - 10:34 AM

The other day I was going through the photo archives, and came across a picture of a dead guy on the sidewalk outside the bank. It was a 1984 Sunday magazine story, tracking a bank robber through his last desperate days. Great piece. It had a picture from a previous robbery, with an interesting detail:




Friday the 13th, indeed. A few weeks later he made the mistake of robbing a bank where an off-duty cop banked, and when the cop came in and saw what was going on, he drew his gun and told the guy to stop with the robbing, already. The robber fired, the policeman fired, and the miscreant was dead on the sidewalk outside. His last words were “Why did you have to do that.” Because you were robbing a bank at gunpoint? I don’t know, it’s possibly pertinent.


Anyway. Some details. This poor woman, standing dead still and no doubt terrified. Also: what’s the machinery behind her? Bank stuff, the likes of which civilians today are unaware.




Then there’s something you just don’t see anymore: enormous ashtrays.




One for every teller’s window. In case you had to ash while you were conducting your business. Wonder how long it will take until no one even recognizes what those were for.


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