All illustrations by Tray Butler
"Crime doesn't pay" -- what a crock. Crime has been paying my rent for years. I'm knee-deep in bloody murders, jewelry heists and half-dressed hookers. Not only that, I profit from nutcases who call themselves "Lucifer Hell" or "Kissing Bandit." Week after week, baby.
See, I write the Blotter. A weekly wrap-up of depravity and sin bubbling up from every street corner of Atlanta.
My job is to scour police reports for bizarre nuggets and wacked-out weirdos.
Many people like to believe that they are civilized. That society has, you know, evolved in some fashion since Paleolithic times.
But underneath that thin veneer of civility runs a percolating torrent of feral desperation and blissful madness. Hence, the Blotter.
One factoid to keep in mind: People in the Blotter are not guilty of anything. Yet. Our justice system sorts out guilt. People in the Blotter generally are: 1) accused of a crime; 2) witnesses to a potential crime; 3) or victims of a potential crime. In other words, nothing's been proven in court yet.
That means more than legal-eagle jargon. Because we're all just a few degrees away from winding up in the Blotter. Face it, there are a few goofballs in your life. All it takes is one run-in with your crazy Uncle Wilbur, one questionable choice on Match.com and whammo -- here you are.
So let's get on with it. I've scoured my files for the most flipped-out fruitcakes, the grittiest hooligans and the sleaziest scoundrels. Here are the unhinged lunatics in their raving, bark-at-the-moon moment of glory. Here's the Best of the Blotter, the championship of circus freaks roving the madhouse streets of the ATL.
STUPID PEOPLE HALL OF FAME
A WOMAN FROM MAINE boarded a plane at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. While onboard, she went to the restroom. When she was finished in the bathroom, she lit a match to conceal the odor. But you can't light a match on a plane anymore without getting law enforcement, er, up your ass. The FBI was notified by radio. A police report was filed. (Blotter note: Next time, think Lysol.)
AT LENOX MALL, security guards said a man walked into a department store, grabbed a Girbaud suit, rolled it up and left the store.
A few minutes later, the man walked back into the same store. Now he was wearing the suit that he allegedly just stole. Security guards stopped him. They said the man took off the suit and ripped it up -- then he poured ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise on the suit.
Again, the man left the store. This time, security guards caught him.
AT ABOUT 1 A.M., A MAN CALLED POLICE from his apartment on Peachtree Road. He said a burglar was holding a gun to his head. Police raced to his apartment, where the front door was partially open. The caller was sitting on the sofa, watching a porn video. He wasn't wearing any pants -- or underwear, for that matter. The man said there was no burglar in his apartment, and in fact, he made up the story. Police noticed several crack pipes on the living-room table. The man, 41, went to jail for reporting a fake crime.
AT HARTSFIELD-JACKSON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, a store employee said a man stole a DVD player and put it in his carry-on bag. Police approached the man, who then returned the DVD player to the store. Police searched the man and found $15,481 in cash. The DVD player is worth about $300. (For those of you who despise math, this dude apparently had enough money to buy 51 DVD players, with enough left over for drinks on the plane.) The man, age 20, was charged with shoplifting.
AN OFFICER saw a 49-year-old man approach several people outside a hotel on West Peachtree Street. "I decided to stop [the man] when he followed a family of six to the corner ..." the officer wrote.
The man said, "I'm going to work, officer, at the Underground. I ain't got time to talk to you."
Then the man took some paper from his pocket and threw it on the ground. "Don't litter," the officer said.
The man picked up the paper. The officer tried to tell the man why she stopped him. Again, the man threw the paper on the ground, saying, "Look, I've got to find a job, just let me go to the Varsity to look for work."
"Pick up the paper," the officer said. The man picked it up.
Then, he threw the paper to the ground (for the third time). The man said, "Ah, lady, get back into your car and cruise on. You are holding me up from finding a job cooking chicken at this place on Ponce de Leon."
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