Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The campaign for criminal of the year starts early

Although we are barely into January, we already have three leading candidates for worst criminal of the year.

First we start in South Africa, a land known for its staggering crime rates. But collective practice doesn't always make perfect -- at least not for a Pretoria man who walked into a police station last weekend and declared his cell phone had been stolen at gun point. When the detective dialed the phone's number to see if it was still live, it rang in the complainant's pocket. The flummoxed man claimed he had given the officer the number for his other phone, but after it was discovered the serial number on the ringing phone matched the serial number on the allegedly stolen phone, Mr.-Would-Be-Insurance-Frauder was arrested for perjury.

For our second nomination we go to Hell's Kitchen. While the notorious Manhattan neighborhood is no longer the bastion of criminality its name suggests, that's no excuse for James O’Hare and David Daliai, who are both 65 and old enough to have lived through the more colorful days. Yesterday the two friends briefly brightened Hell's Kitchen's fading mottle by attempting the most unusual of crimes: Wheeling, via an office chair, their recently deceased roommate and his 355 dollar social security check into a Pay-O-Matic check cashing store.

But instead of the opulent house party and desirable female company a certain film suggests awaits such ghoulish schemers, the two men were promptly arrested. The police have yet to figure out what crime to charge the duo with.

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