Every so often, there are certain items in the Wauwatosa police incident reports that don't stand out as truly remarkable crimes but are nevertheless noteworthy for their... silliness.
These are the ones that grab our attention because they demonstrate the human capacity for foolish plans and ridiculous reactions.
They are the dumb crimes of the week, and the past week bore us a crop.
We begin with...
You have the right to remain silent
At 9:40 p.m. Saturday, two 18-year-old Wauwatosa men were arrested, one for possession of marijuana and one for possession of drug paraphernalia, after they were involved in a two-car crash at Glenview and Portland avenues.
The teenage driver had pulled out in front of a Milwaukee man on Glenview and was hit broadside. It looked like a simple case of inattentive driving and failure to yield the right-of-way.
But then an unidentified witness stepped up to a police officer to tell him that just after the accident he had heard one of the teenagers say loudly to the other, “We need to hide the drugs!”
The officer asked the teens if they had anything illegal in the car, and one of them said, “Yeah, should I just give it to you now?”
They turned over about half a gram of marijuana, pipes and a grinder.
Like that's not going to draw any attention
At 5:46 p.m. Friday, a 20-year-old Milwaukee man was arrested for theft after he tried to steal a bottle of rum from Buy Rite Liquor, 6002 W. North Ave.
Nothing too unusual about that, except for his method.
In the store with two female companions, he took a 1-liter bottle of Malibu rum off the shelf and, in full view of the store manager, stuck it down the front of his shorts.
The manager instantly told him to put the rum back, but he ran out of the store.
Moments later, he nonchalantly walked back in, rumless, and when confronted, vehemently denied having taken anything. He then left again, this time with a swagger.
However... the police arrived about then, and so did the proprietor of the neighboring Disc Man store, who had clearly seen the suspect jog up on his first sally forth and set the bottle down in front of his shop.
The rum was recovered, and the rum-runner was arrested.
OK, this isn't going to fit in the shorts, so...
For those not in the know, long boards are simply longer versions of the familiar street skateboard. They range from 3 to 5 feet long, and of course they have two substantial sets of wheels, front and back.
The store manager happened to be "off the clock," taking a break sitting in the food court about 40 or 50 feet from his storefront. Even from that distance, he could not miss seeing the suspect pick up a long board, turn his back to the counter, and stick it up the front of his shirt.
The manager wearily got up and stopped the suspect outside the store, demanding the board back. The suspect did return it but refused to wait around for mall security.
The store manager described him to police as bald and with “bad tattoos” and “stretched out earlobes."
With that graphic information in hand, police found the suspect hiding in the woods behind the Best Buy store across from the mall and arrested him.
Going to the well once too often
At 6:04 p.m. Aug. 6, a 36-year-old Milwaukee man was arrested for defrauding an innkeeper and possession of marijuana after he left Bluemound Gardens restaurant, 11703 Blue Mound Rd., without paying for a carryout meal.
A server said she had handed the man his packaged order, and he had turned and walked away, waving off demands to stop and pay for the meal and hurrying away through a tunnel to the adjoining Days Inn motel.
Other restaurant staffers said they were pretty sure the suspect was staying in the motel and that this was the third time he had defrauded the restaurant over a food bill in the same way.
Police described him to motel staff members, who did identify him as a guest, and officers arrested him in his room, with the unmistakable remains of the repast as evidence and, also, about 2 grams of marijuana.
He needs to brush up on his modus operandi
A criminal primer: Successful theft requires a modicum of stealth, discovery obliges a quick and full retirement from the scene, and it's better not to bring unrelated incriminating evidence along for the ride.
At 9:15 a.m. Monday, a 29-year-old Milwaukee man was arrested following a lengthy foot chase after he was seen openly grabbing and stuffing into his backpack numerous tubes of toothpaste at the Walgreen’s store at 2656 Wauwatosa Ave.
He ignored attempts to stop him and left the premises.
Police got a description from store staff and went looking for the man, spotting him just a couple blocks away, sitting on the stoop of an apartment building in the 7800 block of West Center Street.
The man ran when he saw officers approaching and led them on a roundabout chase throughout the neighborhood before finally being corralled in the 2800 block of Lefeber Avenue.
Police counted 18 tubes of Colgate Total toothpaste in the jettisoned backpack they found along the route of the pursuit.
Also in the backpack was a fully equipped intravenous street drug rig, with syringe, cooking spoons, tourniquet, etc.
The suspect admitted he intended to sell the toothpaste, valued at $3.99 a tube retail, to a Milwaukee store owner who would give him $1 a tube for it, and that he needed the money to support his heroin addiction.
'Glock on, Wayne,' or, If this is security, we'll take our chances
And finally, we leave you not with another scofflaw but with a law-abider who perhaps, just maybe, ought not to own a gun and could even consider taking on another line of work.
A resident of the 2400 block of North 111th Street who works for a security service reported Monday that some time the previous Wednesday night or Thursday morning someone had stolen his 9mm Glock semiautomatic pistol.
He said he had left the gun under the front seat of his car, loaded with 13 rounds of ammunition in a 15-round magazine. He said he had the gun with him that day because he meant to go practice at a firing range, but he ran out of time.
He also said he was pretty sure he must have forgotten to lock the car and had in fact forgotten that he had left the loaded gun – which he had bought in March for over $600 – in the car.
Did we mention that he works for a security service? Yes, we did.