[an error occurred while processing this directive] ZEPHYR Magazine
                              T H E
                           Z E P H Y R
                  __     M A G A Z I N E
                 Issue #59                9-26-88
            A weekly electronic magazine for users of 
                        THE ZEPHYR II BBS 
                    (Mesa, AZ - 602-894-6526)
                owned and operated by T. H. Smith
                    Editor - Gene B. Williams 
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                            (c) 1988

     My apologies for taking so long to get this new issue up. 
Deadlines have been crushing lately, to the point that I haven't 
had a day off in nearly two months.
     Anyway, I had to do a short article for a particular 
magazine - one that brought up a variety of unusual, but true, 
news stories. Since I was going through my files of clippings 
anyway, I thought, "Why not?"
     So, here we go again.

                      Crime and Punishment?


                        Gene B. Williams

     The United States is a country of laws, some of which seemed 
designed to make us wonder. A law against bank robbery makes 
sense, but how does one explain the reasoning behind the law in 
Ohio which strictly forbids fishing from a bridge while sitting 
on a giraffe? Or the law in Lexington, Kentucky that makes it 
illegal to carry an ice cream cone in your back pocket? One can 
only try to imagine the conditions which caused the legislators 
of Yuma, Arizona to pass a law forbidding the sale of adobe tiles 
and barbeque sauce as authentic Mexican food; and why a law was 
put on the books in Winslow, Arizona which states that you can 
get up to 30 days in jail for laughing at your tostada.

     Sometimes more amusing than the laws are the crimes. 

     A farmer in Minnesota had to place a call to the sheriff's 
office to report a theft. Doing so was a little difficult. The 
call went through just fine. It was the theft that was hard to 
explain. A four foot high stone wall was missing - all one 
hundred eighty feet of it. 
     "It was there yesterday," the farmer said. "When I got up 
this morning, it was gone." He said that he hadn't heard a thing 
during the night, and that the dogs didn't even bark.

     A restaurant owner in Ohio had a somewhat easier time of it, 
but not by much. A burglar had broken in through the back door, 
and had apparently used a crowbar. The only thing stolen was the 
kitchen sink. 

     In Quincy, Massachusetts a man was arrested and then charged 
with the theft of some onions. His neighbor had called the police 
to complain of an overpowering odor coming from Banushi's 
backyard. Upon investigation they found that the man had been 
filching bags of onions from a local produce company. In his yard 
were hundreds of sacks of onions - twenty-two tons in all. 

     Meanwhile, a store owner in London was horrified when a 
woman collapsed just outside. An ambulance attendant diagnosed 
the problem quickly enough. She was suffering from extreme cold. 
She'd tried to steal a frozen chicken by hiding it under her hat.

     A burglar in New Hyde Park, New York, had real troubles with 
what should have been an easy job. He forced an entry into a gas 
station, found the safe, but instead of working the tumblers he 
set explosives to blow off the door. 
     When the police arrived, the only things left were small 
chunks of metal and burned currency. Of the $3200 in the safe, 
"he got away with only a few dollars, if that."

     A Los Angeles thief had even less luck. He broke into a 
building to find some loot. The building was the kennel of a 
training school for guard dogs.
     An armed robber walked into a bank and demanded money. All 
he got was $137, but that seemed to satisfy him. He took the 
money, walked over to the manager and asked to open a savings 
account.     Another bank robber held the teller at gunpoint and 
demanded that she empty the cash drawer. She did. The robber 
looked and saw that his "take" was only $800. He threw the bag 
back at her, screamed, "Just who do you think I am?" and stomped 

     And in still another bank robbery case, the thief ran off 
with his money, but when he got home the FBI was already there 
waiting for him.
     He'd written the robbery note on the back of one of his pwn 
personalized checks, complete with name, address and phone 

     In a somewhat similar case, a kidnapped woman was taken to 
an abandoned house where he abductor demanded money. She said 
that she didn't have much with her but could get more. He let her 
go and gave her his phone number so she could call when she had 
the additional money.

     There seems to be no end to the imagination lurking in the 
criminal mind. One gas station was held up by a thief brandishing 
a python. A convenience store robbed by a man carrying a bag who 
smeared dog excrement on the counter and then threatened to 
spread the rest of it on the clerk. A store in Arizona was held 
up by a robber who pointed a gila monster and demanded all the 
money in the till. And in Osage Beach, Missouri, a man pulled a 
gun and robbed a bait store. To prevent those inside from 
following him, he glued them to the floor.

     Sometimes it's not so much the crime but the reason given 
for it that is bizarre.

     A San Francisco woman was kidnapped. A man forced her into 
his car and drove her back to his apartment. There he forced her 
to wash the dishes.

     In Goleta, California a man was arrested for yelling 
obscenities and threatening to throw a gas bomb at a neighbor. 
During questioning, the man said he was just trying to get to 
know his neighbors.

     As we all know, not all criminals get caught. Others are let 
go for a variety of reasons. 

     The police were sent to arrest an Ohio man, but had to let 
him go. The 50-year-old culprit weighed in excess of 400 pounds. 
The handcuffs wouldn't fit around his wrists, and although they 
could squeeze him through the cell door, the cot was much too 
     The man was being arrested for receiving stolen food stamps.

     A Dallas, Texas man was charged with possession of coco, a 
substance used to make coccaine. However, the clerk who typed up 
the indictment typed it as cocoa. The judge threw the case out of 
court with the comment, "I can't send a guy to jail for 
possession of chocolate, can I?"

     An 11-year-old Ohio boy was under investigation. Five agents 
were assigned to the case. His crime was that of selling fishing 
worms and crawfish in his front yard. His "take" during the week-
long investigation was $4.50, $1.00 of which was made from 
purchases of the undercover officers.
     The case was dismissed when the judge said what should have 
been realized all along. "This is ridiculous!"

     The telephones at a bank were ringing and ringing without 
being answered. They couldn't be. The bank was being held up. 
After the robbers got away with $64,000 the bank manager finally 
picked up the phone. It was the sheriff's department calling to 
tell him that his alarm was sounding.

     Then there are the times when the criminal is caught and 

     A man drew a fine of $33.50 for criminal trespass. His 
offense was that he'd entered a women's outhouse and had crawled 
down into the pit beneath.

     A federal study of mental institutions was being done. In it 
they discovered a Massachusetts man who had been held for 50 
years for painting a horse to look like a zebra. 
     A Kansas man got a sentence of 10 years in prison for 
"assaulting two trees and causing $250 in damage."

     Lest we think that such things happen only in America, a 
hotel cashier in an eastern country was found guilty of 
embezzling $12,000 and sentenced to 865 years in prison. He 
cooperated with the court, however, and his sentence was reduced 
to 576 years.

     In Russia during the reign of Princess Anne, a nobleman 
faced sentencing. She gave him a choice. He could be hanged, or 
he could sit on a next of eggs and cluck like a chicken.

     Not exactly a criminal act but still a matter of law 
concerns driving, and the accidents that sometime result. Those 
involved have to fill out an accident report in which they 
explain what happened. 
     One driver explained, "The guy was all over the road. I had 
to swerve three times before I hit him." Another wrote, "I pulled 
away from the side of the road, glanced at my mother-in-law and 
headed over the embankment." One that must have given the 
insurance company a real headache stated, "The pedestrian had no 
idea which direction to go, so I ran over him." 

     A man in California was about to be denied a driver's 
license. His eyesight was too poor. However, a hearing granted a 
special condition. He can drive when, and only when, "his nagging 
wife is with him." 
     She doesn't drive, but according to the court's findings, is 
such a nag that she constantly points out hazzards. The official 
judgment was that "her mouth is sufficient eyesight."

     And finally, in the "You just can't win sometimes" category:
     A man in Washington, D.C. had been robbed several times. The 
police seemed unable to help, but suggested that he get himself a 
dog. He did. 
     An officer came to investigate the robberies and was 
attacked by the dog. The officer pulled his gun and shot, killing 
the animal - and then cited the man for having a vicious dog.

Until Next Time

     Well, it took a long time to get at least something up for 
all of you. I *think* I have all the deadlines under control, at 
least for the moment, and will spend a few days knocking together 
some pieces that can be used for the magazine.
     Anyway, things are back to normal. Temporarily.

     Incidentally, if anyone here happens to come across any 
unusual stories that can be verified as true, I'd appreciate it 
if you'd drop me a note in mail.

Zephyr Magazine is © Gene Williams. All rights reserved.