This past year, following the news was more exhausting than usual. Those in political power have finally melded reality TV and politics, and now each day lurches forward in nightmare time. Are we going to war with a country our leaders can't locate on a map? Will you lose your healthcare, and be forced to visit a disgraced former doctor running an ersatz clinic in the woods behind a Jiffy Lube? Welcome to a world where you can't tell what's a New York Times article and what comes from The Onion.
Yet despite the overall terribleness of 2017, it was actually a very good year for dumb crimes — the kind of In Cold Blood-brutality meets America's Funniest Home Videos-crassness that our country does best. Here's a quick roundup of most WTF crime stories of 2017 — at least those that happened outside the White House.
Police in Marion County, Florida pulled over 26-year-old Pattreon Stokes for speeding this summer. After they apparently smelled marijuana, they searched his car, allegedly finding a bunch of drugs — specifically, meth, crack and heroin — and money. They took him into custody, but when they arrived at the station, the money had vanished.
It was a short-lived mystery. Money started falling out of his backside, in the form of $20 bills, like he was some kind of gastrointestinal ATM. According to a Facebook post from the Marion County Sheriff's Office, "After a necessary but undesirable process for everyone involved, MCSO Detention Deputies located $1,090.00 in U.S. currency hidden in Stokes' rectum." Stokes received one charge for his rectal magic trick, as well as a litany of drug charges.
In the "epic parties" department, a priest at the Vatican was caught by police in a big gay drug orgy. Neighbors were sick of the noise and the "steady stream of young men" visiting Monsignor Luigi Capozzi's apartment, so they called the police.
According to the Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano, members of the Pontifical Swiss Guard — the Vatican's police force — arrived at the scene mid-orgy, where they found a group of nude men rolling around on the floor in the throes of pleasure. Though gay sex isn't illegal in the Vatican City, drugs are, and Capozzi was arrested.
The priest was serving as a secretary to cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, who heads the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts and advises the Pope, so this is sort of like the Da Vinci code but with way more dongs. Capozzi was reportedly sent to a convent outside of Rome to repent, and his position was replaced.
In March, 31-year-old Jeremy Putman dressed up as The Joker (to be specific, the Heath Ledger interpretation) and wandered around Winchester, Virginia — a sleepy town outside Washington, D.C. — while, police say, carrying a big sword. This kind of distressed locals, who perhaps felt threatened by the menacing clown with the sword, and the local emergency dispatch center received multiple calls about the cosplayer.
Police arrested him — not for the sword, but for wearing a mask to conceal his identity, which is apparently illegal in Virginia. Putman's lawyer claims that he actually wasn't carrying a sword, and that he was merely "walking around town minding his own business."
Generally, when being interrogated by police, it's best to keep your mouth shut unless you have a lawyer by your side. But maybe there's another way to get out of trouble.
Sean A. Sykes, Jr. — a 24-year-old resident of Kansas City — was riding in a car in which police found drugs and two handguns, so he was taken in for further questioning. When a detective asked Sykes about his address, he "leaned to one side of his chair and released a loud fart before answering with the address," the detective wrote in his report about the interrogation. The barrage of farts continued, and according to the detective, he "continued to be flatulent and I ended the interview."
Though he was not charged, Sykes was pulled over two months later. Police allegedly found crack and a stolen gun in his car, and it seems likely that he won't be able to fart his way out of trouble this time.
One of the weirder stories of the year was the assassination of Kim Jong-un's half-brother, Kim Jong-nam. While making his way through Kuala Lumpur International Airport, he was confronted by two women — one of whom was wearing a sweatshirt reading "LOL" — who sprayed him in the face with a VX nerve agent. He died 20 minutes later, before he could make it to the hospital.
The strangest part of the story, though, is that the women later said they thought they were taping a comedy prank show. They were paid to spray a few other men in the face with water earlier that day. Apparently they were unsuspecting assassins. In October, they pleaded not guilty in Malaysia, and potentially face the death penalty.
Over on Long Island, 26-year-old Arielle Bonnici was snagged by cops back in May for marijuana possession. A few months later, she had to show up for the court summons. Court appearances are super boring. But you know what would help that? More weed.
So according to police, Bonnici rolled up to the station, cutting off undercover cops while talking on her cellphone on the way in, parking in a spot featuring a "P.D. Parking Only" sign. Not exactly the smartest move, but to be fair, she was allegedly super fucking high. When cops confronted her about her illegal parking spot, a huge cloud of pot smoke puffed out of the window. Maybe she was just holding all of the smoke for a friend?
She was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Again. And has to appear in court. Again.
A man in Ridgecrest, California, attempted to rob a home by sneaking in through the chimney, in a move known as the "reverse-Santa." Keith Schultz climbed into the chimney, but that's as far as he got, as he severely misjudged its width.
Desperate for help, his female partner in crime allegedly tried to break into the house to help him, which police believe triggered the home's burglar alarm. She then called the police for help, before escaping into the night. Meanwhile, firefighters pried Schultz free from the chimney. He was taken into police custody, where he posed for a mug shot covered in soot, a headshot that could surely get him cast in a local stage production of Oliver Twist.
A robber in Chicago faced the ultimate punishment when he shot his own dick, according to the Sun-Times.In October, 19-year-old Terrion Pouncy held up a hot dog stand with a gun in the West Pullman neighborhood on the city's South Side, shortly after 6 a.m. After snatching the cash, he made a break for it, and his gun accidentally discharged into his junk.
One of the problems with committing crimes at night is that it's hard to stay up so late, as one suspected robber in Abilene, Texas, found out. Kanyoni Sedekiya, 20, allegedly got into an argument with his roommate. According to authorities, he eventually took out a gun, tied him up and held him hostage, demanding money.
But Sedekiya couldn't stay awake. At around 4 a.m., after he dozed off, his roommate escaped and got help. Police returned to find Sedekiya and arrested him. He was held on an aggravated robbery charge with a $60,000 bond.
It's apparently a common problem, as two people in Yakima, Washington, were also caught sleeping in front of the storage unit facility in which they had just allegedly robbed. Remember to take a nap before your crime spree.
Earlier this month, Justin Thompson was a 29-year old on the run from the law in Scranton, Pennsylvania. There was a warrant out for his arrest for aggravated assault and harassment charges, stemming from an incident in September. So when officers showed up to search his 26-year-old girlfriend's house, Thompson hid in a crawl space, apparently doing his best impression of John McClane in Die Hard.
Unfortunately, the crawl space couldn't support his weight, and Thompson crashed through the ceiling, landing in the kitchen, right in front of the cops who were looking for him. Worse, they tacked on a charge of endangering children because he nearly landed on some kids.
Topics: Best of 2017