Crimes of the century?

I’m not a criminal by nature. I’d be a lousy crook if I ever set out to become one. Just don’t have the proper kahunas or mental deficiency to do it.

Consider this: On a Halloween night many years ago, my brother and I set out to be the cause of an inglorious night of mayhem in our neighborhood. After spending a good chunk of the night skulking around in the dark – and doing nothing – we summoned up the courage to initiate one of the most personally celebrated Jack o’ Lantern grab-and-smash incidents of all time.

That they were the two carved pumpkins sitting on the front steps of our own house didn’t diminish its heinous nature. Not one bit.

And we got away with it too.

When asked, “Why do you rob the front steps of homes, John?” Dillinger replied, “Because that’s where the Jack O’ Lanterns are.”

While I’ll never be the next John Dillinger, I do have my thoughts concerning crime and the committing thereof. I’ve always felt if you’re going to do something bad enough to get yourself thrown into prison, do it big, or don’t do it at all. Murder and any torturous crimes against any beings excepted. Do that and you don’t go to prison – you go to the chair. Otherwise, it’s the dungeon for you.

But for Alcatraz’s sake, don’t embarrass yourself getting there. At the very least there should be personal honor among thieves.

“What are you in for?”

“Petty theft.”

“How petty?”

“Grabbed three bottles of chewable multi-vitamins and snatched a couple bags of Good & Plenty on the way out of a Walgreens.”

“You’re kidding, right?”

“Nearly knocked over a baby in a stroller on the way to the door …”

“Guard! Guard!! I want another cellmate!”

I’m evidently not the only person who feels if one goes bad, one should go big. Say, you check into a hotel and you want to leave with more than bed bugs. Sure, you could make off with a couple towels and the little shampoos, conditioners and hand soaps in the bathroom.

How ho-hum. Remember, think BIG. Like this woman in Florida.

She checked into a hotel in Tampa and checked out with the room’s television, ironing board, iron, curtains, trash can, bedspreads and even a couple of rugs.

It seems the only thing this woman didn’t steal … was the surveillance camera.

Puts a whole new slant on the concept of “Vacancy,” doesn’t it? She left the towels and toiletries for the next occupants. The wimpy ones.

Now, say you have a yen for walnuts. But you have no walnuts. And you have no money. You could go to the supermarket and stuff a bag under your shirt. And then probably get caught and laughed at, all the way to the jail. Or you could back your semi up to the loading dock of a processer and make off with 40,000 pounds of walnuts.

And not once. But TWICE.

According to a report on the website of The Record Searchlight of Redding, Calif., police authorities in Tehama County were notified by a freight brokerage firm that 40,000 pounds of processed walnuts were picked up there but never got to their destination in Florida.

They said the nuts were hauled off up by a man with a “very distinctive Russian accent” driving a white tractor-trailer truck who had all the proper shipping information to take the load.

While police were investigating this incident, they discovered a man and truck fitting the same description apparently also had made off with another 40,000-pound load of walnuts a few days after this theft. This load left a plant in Los Molinos, Calif., was supposed to go to Texas, but never got there.

That’s 80,000 pounds of walnuts. That are worth around $300,000. And that tells you: when Vladimir Putin wants walnuts, Vladimir Putin gets walnuts.

Sure, these incidents are worth their weight in crime, but what about big AND big-time? Well, if you want that, you’re going to have to go to the town of Desna, in the Czech Republic, to find it.

Only you’d be too late, because you’re not going to find it there. Someone already stole it.

Now you ski it, now you ….

“It” is the local ski resort’s ski lift. And not a part of the ski lift – all of it. Right off the mountain. In April, no less. The thief/thieves couldn’t even slide everything down a snowy slope. The steel support structures, three posts, a pulley and a half-mile-long wire rope. Poof. Vanished. Gone without a trace and police left behind, without a clue.

I’m wondering … how do you say “Bravo!” in Czech?


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