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."
The man was arrested for littering and taken to jail.
A MAN WALKED INTO A CONVENIENCE STORE on Lee Street and tried to buy some cigarettes, a clerk said. He wanted to pay with a $200 bill. The store clerk examined the $200 bill and noticed that it had a picture of President George W. Bush on it. The clerk said he refused the sale, and the man left without the bill. The novelty $200 bill was turned in to police as evidence.
LOSING MY RELIGION
WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?: In Midtown, a middle-aged woman walked up to a police officer and said, "I was trying to warn this man about snakes falling from that tree. Jesus told me there are snakes in that tree. I was only trying to save his life."
According to the woman, the man said the word "pussy" to her. She said she told the man: "I am a holy woman and would not be spoken to that way."
The officer talked to the man. He said the woman walked by several times, and stopped once to "warn me about snakes in the trees, you know, something about Jesus."
The officer asked, "Did you say anything to her?"
The man said, "I was just reading my book. No, I did not say anything to her. But she did come back again and said that if I didn't get off this wall, [the Atlanta police department] will get me off it."
The officer's partner said he had contact with this woman in the past, for mental health problems. No charges filed.
SOUL GAMES: A 30-year-old man said he got home from work and found a checker/chess board in front of his apartment on Piedmont Avenue. A note was taped to the board. It read: "To [the man] from Satan. Welcome to hell. Play with me and you'll see the dead. It's not in your head Satan."
Turns out the game board came from the lobby of the apartment complex.
The man said he didn't know who was responsible for the threatening note/game board. Also, the man said he had been in conflict with evil spirits prior to this incident.
FRY DADDY: A middle-aged woman said someone broke into her apartment on Cleveland Avenue and stole three pairs of women's shoes, 13 packs of Doral cigarettes and two deep fryers with pictures of Jesus on them.
FALLEN ANGEL: A woman on Maywood Drive said her brother was outside her house and wouldn't leave. When a police officer showed up, the brother was bleeding from cuts on his hands. The officer asked, "How were you hurt?" The brother said he was shot in the head, and pellets were in his head, and there was blood on his face. The officer wrote, "I did not see any injuries to his head, nor did I see blood on his face."
The brother said everyone in his neighborhood was shooting at him all night, and they were all out to get him. Also, he said, he had a halo around his head and an angel on his back and that X-rays would prove it. He repeated that he had pellets in his head, and he wanted X-rays to prove it.
Several hours ago, he had a few drinks and smoked some crack, he admitted. Medics examined the man: The only injuries they found were cuts on his hand. He went to Grady Memorial Hospital.
PLEASE ALLOW ME TO INTRODUCE MYSELF: A 37-year-old man said a stranger approached him on Peachtree Street at 3 p.m. and threatened to stab him with a knife until he was dead. The 37-year-old went to his car and called police. An officer arrived. While the officer was talking to the 37-year-old, the stranger cursed and threatened the officer. The officer handcuffed the stranger, and asked for his name. "He said that his name is Lucifer Hell," noted the officer. The officer then asked him his birthdate.
"Old as dirt," replied the man who claimed to be Lucifer.
"While talking to Mr. Hell, he made several threats against my life," noted the officer. Police ran a computer check of the name "Lucifer Hell" and it was not on file. Mr. Hell went to jail.
FOWL PLAY: An undercover cop said a 45-year-old woman flagged him down at Lethea Street and Lakewood Avenue. He said she hopped into his car and asked if he wanted a date. "Yes," the cop said, "how much do you need?" The woman said she needed $1.99 for sex, so she could buy a three-piece chicken meal at Church's Chicken.
The woman was arrested for prostitution.
(Note: The Blotter Diva has been scouring police reports for about a zillion years, and $1.99 for sex is the lowest price she can recall in the entire history of the Blotter. That chicken must be mighty tasty!)
RULES OF ATTRACTION: On Stanton Road, a 24-year-old woman and her live-in boyfriend got into an argument about their relationship. According to the woman, her boyfriend wants her to sleep with other men. But when she said that she would sleep with other men, he got mad and pushed her onto the bed. Then, he slapped her. When the boyfriend calmed down, the woman tried to call police. But, she said, the boyfriend destroyed both of their telephones -- and then fled.
MAKING THE GRADE: A 21-year-old man walked into a high school on Hutchens Street and tried to enroll. A school employee informed the man that he could not enroll in the school. So, the man walked to the front of the school, took off all his clothes and said he would have sex with another man to get into the school. (He offered to have sex with a specific man, not another man in general.)
The school employee was able to put the man's clothes back on and detain him until police arrived. The man was charged with indecency and taken to Grady Memorial Hospital's psychiatric ward.
BABY GOT BACK: On Sylvan Road, a 40-year-old man said he was hanging out in his apartment, playing cards with a few people. One card player was a woman who weighs about 200 pounds. He said this fat woman wanted to have sex with him -- but he wasn't interested. Here's his story of the fat woman's payback: The fat woman got mad and made a phone call. A short time later, a few men showed up and jumped on the 40-year-old man. They beat him, damaged his mirror and wall, and took his cell phone.
Police arrived and took the man to South Fulton Hospital. The man said the fat woman that he refused to sleep with lives in his apartment complex.
BEST NEIGHBOR AWARD: At an apartment on Carlisle Street, a 27-year-old woman went into her bathroom to take a bath. While preparing for her bath, she looked up and saw a large snake wrapped around the bathroom mirror. The woman, along with her family, ran screaming out of the apartment. A neighbor came over and claimed ownership of the snake. The neighbor, a male painter in his 40s, said the snake had been on the loose for weeks. No injuries.
BEST BOOZING AWARD: At about 3 a.m., an officer was on Piedmont Road, near Disco Kroger, when he noticed that traffic was going around a Volkswagen Passat, which was weaving and moving slowly. The officer pulled over the Passat and spoke with the driver, a 42-year-old blond woman from Florida.
According to the officer, the woman said she'd been working at the Gift Mart all day, and she'd had three or four drinks, and she started drinking at 6 p.m. with friends at dinner. Then the officer noticed smoke rising from the woman's body. "When I looked down, I noticed that her pants began to catch fire," the officer wrote. "I immediately began patting down the side of her leg to put the flame out. She stated she knew she was on fire but did not feel it. She stated she was nervous."
The woman was arrested for DUI. On the way to jail, she passed out in the patrol car.
NAiVE HUSTLER AWARD: An undercover officer was working in Midtown. He said a man walked up and offered to perform oral sex -- and the monetary payment would be determined afterward, depending on how good it was. Then, the man offered to change the undercover officer's tire, which was going flat. The man also said they could shower together after the oral sex. The man, age 30, was arrested for soliciting sex.
THAT TAKES BALLS AWARD, PART I: A 52-year-old man tried to perform a circumcision on himself, at his home on Venetian Drive. "He cut his penis, causing a severe laceration," the officer wrote. The man said his insurance company would not cover circumcision surgery. After examining the man, medics said a hospital staff would have to complete the circumcision. The man, who has no history of mental problems, was taken to Crawford Long Hospital.
THAT TAKES BALLS AWARD, PART II: A woman said she went to her dentist's office on Broad Street. The dentist asked if she was following his cleaning instructions for her earlier procedure. "No," the woman said. According to the woman, a dental assistant came into the room and held her down. Then, she said, the dentist operated on her without using painkillers. When the dentist was finished, they let the woman up and asked her again if she was following the dentist's instructions for cleaning.
The woman left the dentist's office and called police.
DON'T-TRY-THIS-AT-HOME AWARD: A 55-year-old woman was walking to her car in the parking lot of an office building on 14th Street. A man pulled out a handgun and demanded her purse, she said. Here's her story of defeating crime: The woman looked him in the eye, threw her purse over her shoulder and said if he wanted her purse, he could come get it. "You should get a job," the woman said. The man put the gun in his pants and said he was just joking. "No, you weren't joking," the woman replied. Again, she told him to get a job.
The man walked away. The woman and her purse were both fine.
CALLING DR. PHIL: A married couple got into a spat at their home on Westboro Drive. According to the husband, it started when his wife asked him to take her out to eat. The husband, 51, said their money was running low and it would be better if they made a meal from the food in the refrigerator. His wife got furious, he said. She grabbed a handgun from the back bedroom and said, "If you don't want to take me to get something to eat, you ain't takin' nobody to get anything to eat." Then she walked onto the porch and shot the front tire on their Toyota Camry. The husband recently had a heart transplant and the "least excitement can cause irreversible damage," according to the police report.
The wife was jailed for assault.
GO TO UTAH, PLEASE: A 41-year-old woman says her husband is following her and making harassing phone calls. The woman says she is married to this man, but it is a false marriage due to the fact that he is married to another woman.
She described her "husband" as having freckles and overlapping teeth. Also, the husband has tattoos of a Native American, a wolf and a Rebel flag.
KEEP IT IN THE FAMILY: At an apartment on Bolton Road, a woman said her boyfriend was angry because she started dating his sister. She said her boyfriend damaged her window -- for the second time. The boyfriend, 29, fled before police arrived.
TRUE LOVE, BABY: A 44-year-old man allegedly tried to steal a box of tampons and a bottle of Advil from a grocery store on Ponce de Leon Avenue. He was charged with shoplifting and went to jail.
REALITY IS FOR SISSIES
PANTS OPTIONAL: A sweaty man in boxer shorts was causing a ruckus in the parking lot of an apartment complex on Peachtree Hills Circle. An officer managed to locate his pants about 100 yards from the man. The officer asked, "Why did you take your pants off?" The man continually talked about 9/11 and how before the events of Sept. 11, things were different. Back then, he said, people did not have names, cars, AIDS or drugs like the ones he was on.
Police charged him with disorderly conduct under the influence. The man admitted he was on "meth."
TROUBLE AT THE GOLDEN ARCHES: A man who calls himself "Kissing Bandit" was causing a disturbance at a McDonald's on Jesse Hill Jr. Drive. Employees said Kissing Bandit simply refused to leave. A police officer had a chat with him. Turns out Kissing Bandit apparently had just been released from the psychiatric ward at Grady Memorial Hospital and deemed healthy.
Finally, Kissing Bandit decided to leave the McDonald's. Police said he walked outside and laid down in the middle of the street, causing cars to stop. Kissing Bandit was charged with "pedestrian in roadway" and taken to jail.
RATTED OUT: Police responded to a call about a man lying in the roadway on Cheshire Bridge Road. The man told police he was kidnapped by flesh-eating people that would defecate rats -- the rats would then become people. Then the man said his name was Joshualamb Getto (which, of course, wasn't his real name). An ambulance arrived, but the man said he didn't need medical attention.
Police eventually identified the man, who is 36. The man was completely sober at the time of arrest.
SMELL THE MAGIC: A 43-year-old woman said someone was emitting a poisonous gas into her house on Meredith Drive. She wanted police to check it out. Two officers walked through her house -- and smelled nothing. The woman insisted that a room smelled like garlic. The woman said she had the same problem when she lived in two other houses. Also, the woman said, the other night after she finished watching "America's Most Wanted," she saw a man wearing a black ski mask standing in the rear of her house. In addition, the woman believes that her former housekeeper left Brillo pads inside the kitchen sink, which somehow caused the poisonous gases.
Also, the woman said she keeps a large bucket of biscuits in the basement, so if there's a nuclear attack, she'll have something to eat. And she has a rifle. She says she sleeps with her bedroom window open and the rifle on the window sill -- and she'll shoot anyone that trespasses on her property.
Police looked around her house -- no signs of forced entry.
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