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Departments : It's a Jungle Out There

Sweet Talk and Handcuffs

Wily cops don’t need much to outsmart some crooks.

June 01, 2003  |  by Commander Gilmore

Cops in Recklinghausen, Germany, got a phone number for one of their most wanted felons, but it was for a cell phone. So they asked each other, "How can we nail this guy down to a location?"

A young female detective overheard this and devised a plan. She sorta flipped her hair, took several deep breaths for that breathless ooh-baby voice, and dialed up the dude. First she asked to speak to some girl, and when the suspect told her it was a wrong number she breathed something like, "Oooh, but you sound nice. Are you cute?" The game was on.

Within minutes, talkin' some sweet-talk the way her fellow detectives had never heard her talk before, she had a date with the crook, for that night at a club in town. Sure enough, he showed up on time, shaved, showered, slicked, and foo-foo'ed to the max.

Just to make sure Dangerous Dan didn't pose an unnecessary hazard to innocent club crawlers, the happy couple were "coincidentally" met and joined over the next few hours by "friends" of hers. When the two were surrounded with about a dozen cheerful pals, on a signal, all the smiles went bye-bye, the big guns came out, and it was explained that the jig was up.

A police spokesman said that while the drinking and dancing were done on the public dime, the operation was necessary and "In any case, it was purely professional." Not bad duty. Where do I sign up?

If Only This Worked with Drugs

A couple of pretty sharp cops in East London, South Africa, scooped up a slack-jawed lackey who was a good physical fit for a purse snatcher. The problem was, the victim couldn't make a positive ID, and a patdown for loot turned up zero. They couldn't make a more "intrusive" search without more cause, and it looked like the grinning jerk might take a walk on this one. Then they remembered that besides the lady's cash and credit cards, the thief had stolen her cell phone, an item that brings big bucks on the black market.

They asked the lady for her cell phone number and dialed it. That's when the suspect's groin started ringing...and his smile faded.

We guess that in South Africa, anybody whose crotch chimes a merry tune can legally be subjected to one of those "intrusive searches." We just hope they put on long rubber gloves before they went crotch mining.

Watch Where You Step, Crooks

The last thing Jacob Smith, 26, had on his mind as he ran from that off-track betting parlor in Queensland, Australia, was steppin' in a big pile of dog poop, but he did it. Then it did him.

With a sheet over his head for a disguise and pistol in hand, he ripped a bag o' swag from the cash-rich parlor and took off in his tennie sneaks. He might have noticed the distinctive aroma of dog droppings later as he was tossing the sheet in the trash, but apparently it didn't bother him enough to junk the shoes, or even clean 'em. Bad move.

Hot on the case was Sgt. Alan Piper, a senior scientific investigator. Without the squooshed dog poop present, Piper couldn't have gotten shoeprints off the sidewalk. But the poop made them stand out clearly enough for a positive match if they could just find the right Cinderella suspect. Piper also took a sample of the poop pile itself, and it's a good thing he did.

When Smith was eventually run down as one of the "usual suspects," it was easy enough to prove his shoes matched the prints found at the scene. But the clincher was Piper's analysis of the poop from the scene, crossmatching it with the doo-doo still clingin' in the treads of Smith's shoe.

"It's not rocket science," Piper told the press. "It's as plain as the poo on your shoe." He testified that not only were both poop samples from the same dog, but chemical analysis showed both samples were from the same day, the same pile, the same "relief cycle." It was good enough for the jury, and good enough for a sentence of ten years and ten months. Hey, Smith, sometimes you step on the poop, and sometimes the poop steps on you, pal.

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