crime family

Scary Clown on Venice Beach

My sister and two of her kids were in Los Angeles over the weekend to watch the Premier Lacrosse League All Star Game. After picking up her rental car, first thing they did was hit up Venice Beach near Santa Monica pier. She was having a good time with her boys when four helicopters (at least one police) showed up, and surrounded what she described as a scary clown guy that had been in a slow-speed police pursuit. Although he attracted a crowd, my sister said it was frightening and she wanted nothing to do with the action. It took a while but eventually an officer followed the man onto the beach, waited for more officers to arrive and they arrested the man.

Full story after the jump.

advertising crime humor

ShamWow Guy in Prison

Vince Shlomi, the phenomenally successful television pitchman for products like the ShamWow and Slap Chop, was arrested at a swank Miami hotel last March after a violent confrontation with a prostitute.

From The Smoking Gun:

MARCH 27 – Meet Vince Shlomi. He’s probably better known to you as the ShamWow Guy, the ubiquitous television pitchman who has been phenomenally successful peddling absorbent towels and food choppers. Shlomi, 44, was arrested last month on a felony battery charge following a violent confrontation with a prostitute in his South Beach hotel room. According to an arrest affidavit, Shlomi met Sasha Harris, 26, at a Miami Beach nightclub on February 7 and subsequently retired with her to his $750 room at the lavish Setai hotel. Shlomi told cops he paid Harris about $1000 in cash after she "propositioned him for straight sex." Shlomi said that when he kissed Harris, she suddenly "bit his tongue and would not let go." Shlomi then punched Harris several times until she released his tongue.

For those of you that are not familiar with Vince:

[Vince with Slap Chop – YouTube]

Here he is peddling the ShamWow:

[ShamWow – YouTube]

I’ve saved the best for last. Guess what he’s doing now that he’s in prison?

[Shamwow Guy in Prison – CollegeHumor]

crime environment

Exxon Valdez 20 Years Later

dead whale from Exxon Valdez oil spill

Last Tuesday marked the twenty-year anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil disaster that polluted 2000km (1200 miles) of Alaskan coastline.

Most people assume that Exxon followed through with the many promises to clean it up and pay out proper restitution to those who were damaged by the accident. Investigative reporter Greg Palast says those assumptions are wrong.

Twenty years later, the oil is still lingering in the environment, Exxon has whittled down its court ordered fees by billions, it’s rigged the system to actually collect some of that money back, and to top it all off, many rightful claimants are dead.

Two years after the spill, Otto Harrison, General Manager of Exxon USA, told Evanoff and me to forget about a fishing boat for Uncle Paul. Exxon was immortal and Natives were not. The company would litigate for 20 years.

They did. Only now, two decades on, Exxon has finally begun its payout of the court award — but only ten cents on the dollar. And Uncle Paul’s boat? No matter. Paul’s dead. So are a third of the fishermen owed the money.

article crime

The Untold Story of the World’s Biggest Diamond Heist

In February 2003, Leonardo Notarbartolo, was arrested in connection with a break-in to a vault two floors beneath the Antwerp Diamond Center. The thieves were thought to have made off with an estimated $100 million worth of diamonds, gold, jewelry, and other spoils.

Wired News shares the incredible story:

The vault was thought to be impenetrable. It was protected by 10 layers of security, including infrared heat detectors, Doppler radar, a magnetic field, a seismic sensor, and a lock with 100 million possible combinations. The robbery was called the heist of the century, and even now the police can’t explain exactly how it was done.

The loot was never found, but based on circumstantial evidence, Notarbartolo was sentenced to 10 years. He has always denied having anything to do with the crime and has refused to discuss his case with journalists, preferring to remain silent for the past six years.

Until now.

The video is great, but the article delves into the captivating details.

crime family

Argentine Mugging Attempt

My brother Gary is down in Argentina this month taking photos and visiting old friends. Today a couple of hooligans, about 15 or 16 years old, tried to rob him. He punched one of them in the face and then made a run for it when they pulled a knife.

Read his story.

crime friends

Woman Loses Finger in Pit Bull Attack

Kelli’s parents have a friendly Irish Setter named Riley. A couple months ago, while taking a walk with Kelli’s mom, their family pet was attacked by a vicious pit-bull. Despite attempts to separate the attacker from Riley, by hitting the wild dog, she was unable to get him to release his clamped jaws.

Luckily a woman driving by in a van saw the incident and helped to separate the two dogs, finally getting Riley into the safety of her vehicle.

Suddenly a man appeared in a blue sports car, claimed the dog as his brother’s, and apologized for neglecting to keep him in control.
Riley with StichesLong story short, after a vet bill of a few hundred dollars (that Kelli’s folks paid themselves) and some minor cuts to Kelli’s mom’s hand, Riley has healed up and the only lasting damage appeared to be psychological.

Today the Medicine Hat News has reported another attack on the same street by a dog of the same description. This time not only did the dog attack another dog, described as a small Shih Tsu, but in the scuffle the dog bit off a woman’s finger.

See the article after the jump:


The Lost Camera Situation

Using digital technology is a great way to share life’s little adventures. A digital camera, a flickr account, and a blog are pretty much all you need, to show off those great vacation photos from Hawaii.

You don’t even have to actually take your own pictures. That’s sort of what someone named Judith decided she was going to do. She went on a trip to Hawaii and things were going great until she lost her very expensive camera.

However, since Flickr is full of pictures from Hawaii, she decided to create a trip journal with the pictures of strangers who had taken similar photographs. Things weren’t great but she was making the best of a bad situation.

But then something unexpected happened! Things were great again because she was contacted by someone (from Canada I might add) who had found a camera which fit the description perfectly.

But then things were bad again because the people with the camera decided they’d rather not do the right thing after all. (Can I just mention how embarrassing it is that they are from Canada?)

The Internet mob is raging and they want names, email addresses and police action! Judith has decided to refrain from publishing personal information but that doesn’t mean she’s not still trying to get her camera back.

And if that weren’t enough, check out this weird twist over at BoingBoing “some guy claiming to be a “lawer” (sic) is “threatening legal action” against Corry Doctorow for publishing the story. Apparently, the so-called barrister doesn’t know the difference between “libel” and “slander” nor does he apparently consider the part of the libel statute that requires that a plaintiff be referenced in a way that is identifiable to be a factor.

The reporters have started leaving comments on Judith’s blog asking for interviews. I predict that this is a story we’ll be hearing more about, and I hope that the crummy people change their mind and give back the camera. It’s the least they could do after making us Canadians look so bad.


Berkeley Laptop Theft

A Berkeley professor explains the terrifying consequences that will soon befall the student that stole his laptop:

“I have a message for one person in this audience and I’m sorry the rest of you have to sit through this.

As you know my computer was stolen in my last lecture. The thief clearly wanted to betray everyone’s trust; it was after the exam. The thief was smart not to plug the computer into the campus network. But the thief was not smart enough to do three things.

He was not smart enough to immediately remove Windows. I installed the same version of Windows on another computer; within 15 minutes the people in Redmond Washington were very interested to know, why it was that the same version of windows was being signaled to them from two different computers.

The thief also did not inactivate either the wireless card or the transponder that’s in that computer. Within about hour there was a signal from various places on campus which allowed us to track exactly where that computer went and every time that it was turned on.

I’m not particularly concerned about the computer but the thief who thought he was only stealing an exam is presently… we think… probably still in possession of three different kinds of data, any one of which of which can send this man… this young boy actually, to Federal prison. Not a good place for a young boy to be.

You are in possession of data from $100 million trial sponsored by the NIH for which I am a consultant. This involves some of the largest companies on the planet. The NIH investigates these things through the FBI — they have been [..] notified about this problem. You are in possession of trade secrets from a fortune 1000 biotech company — the largest one in the country which I consult for. The Federal Trade [Commission] is very interested in this. The Federal Marshals are the people whom handle that. You are in possession of proprietary data from a pre-public company planning an IPO. The Securities and Exchange Commission is very interested in this and I don’t even know what branch of law enforcement they use. Your academic career is about to come to an end. You are facing very serious charges with the probability of very serious time.

At this point there is very little that anybody can do you for you. The one thing that you can do for yourself is to somehow prove that the integrity of the data which you posses has not been corrupted or copied. Ironically, I am the only person on the planet that can come to your aid because I am the only person that can tell whether the data that was on that computer are still on that computer. You’ll have to find a way, of hoping, that if you copied anything you can prove that you only have one copy of whatever was made.

I am tied up all this afternoon, I am out of town all of next week. You have until 11:55 to return the computer and whatever copies you’ve made to my office because I’m the only hope you’ve got of staying out of deeper trouble than you or any student that I’ve ever known has ever been in.

I apologize to the rest of you for having to bring up this distasteful matter. But I will point out that we have a partial image of this person. We have two eye witnesses to the transponder data. We are going to get this person. Thank you.”

crime Disney life

T I Double Geh Errrrrr

There is a mother that is suing a Walt Disney World worker accused of groping her 13-year-old daughter while dressed as Tigger.

I asked Anna-Maria what she thought about the possibility it was an accident since she has actually tried on some of the Disney costumes.

She says that, “[While wearing the costume] your vision is greatly, greatly reduced. Furthermore, the suit is not just one layer. You have, generally, an under layer of padding followed up by a fur costume with large mittens on your hands that are often three times your regular hand size.

I tried out many costumes. One was a cat costume, the cat from Pinochio and the sleeves go almost all the way to the ground on them so your hands are covered.

Your feet are the same, you have shoes on followed up with a big fur boot, or depending on the costume a giant rubber shoe or boot.

Also it’s so hot in there you don’t function properly. You’re biggest concern is getting enough oxygen. Definitely not groping someone — although I could be wrong. But I don’t think you could even think about that in that costume. It’s like a pure mental exercise just to stand wearing the costume.

If it was one of the face characters, Santa Claus, Aladdin I could see it. But those other costumes are just unbearable.

I danced for half an hour in one and I was gasping for oxygen. Even when I just tried it on I began to sweat and breath heavily as if I had just run a marathon completely untrained.”

So when I asked her one more time if she thought the accused was truly innocent she replied, “Do you think a fat kid with asthma being chased by a pack of wild dogs could think about that? Because that’s what it’s like being in one of those costumes with parents and kids trying to run you down. You are in survival mode.”

About a second after publishing this post I discovered this AP News Story. It turns out “Tigger” was acquitted earlier today.

The acquittal came less than an hour following a three-day trial during which the defense attorney for Michael Chartrand donned a Tigger costume in an effort to show jurors how difficult it is to maneuver and see in the outfit.


Chartrand’s defense attorney has contended that the girl’s mother was merely after money and planned to sue Disney. The mother also claimed Tigger touched her breast during the visit to Disney World last February, although no criminal charges followed her allegation.

crime Politics

They’re Calling It, "The Mother of All Canadian Political Scandals"

Yesterday’s Auditor Generals report revealed a situation in Ottawa so serious and shocking as to be without precedence in our country’s history. All other previous scandals (yes, we’ve had lots of them) pale by comparison.

“This is just such a blatant misuse of public funds. It is shocking… Words escape me,” Auditor General Sheila Fraser told a news conference Tuesday.

“This wasn’t just a matter of missing documentation or bending the rules. These methods were apparently designed to pay commissions to communications agencies while hiding the source of the funds.”