It’s like my own personal episode of COPS every night.

A newspaper-thing that’s always intrigued me, ever since I was younger, is the cop briefs.

Don’t even deny they intrigue you as well. If you haven’t read them for entertainment value, you’ve read them to see if anyone you know was arrested. They’re vicarious sordidness, aren’t they?

Cop brieffffffs! (Don't Google "cop briefs" unless you want to see a lot of men's underpants, my friends.)

Cop brieffffffs! (Don’t Google “cop briefs” unless you want to see a lot of men’s underpants, my friends.)

Oh, in case you don’t have these where you are (doesn’t everyone have these? I’d assume yes, but you know what they say about assuming…) cop briefs are those quick little blurbs in the paper that say something like “John Doe, 46, of Somewheresville, was arrested by state police on Saturday at 1:02 a.m. He was charged with lewd lewdness, crazy loudness, and public urination.” Things like that.

One of my (many) jobs at the paper is to put certain things online immediately, as soon as they’re proofread. Major stories, some wire stories that we think people will be interested in, and the cop briefs. Cop briefs are *very* popular around here. (I don’t know if it’s just around here. I think they’re probably popular everywhere. People are alike all over. Somewhat nosy.)

I almost immediately realized that the cop briefs were both the funniest and saddest things I would be reading at the paper.

Things that seem surprisingly popular around here, so much so that they’re probably 75% or more of our cop briefs:

  • heroin-related crimes (heroin is HUGE around here. Apparently locals really enjoy riding the horse. Who knew?)
  • Meth-related crimes (cookin’ the meth, yo, cookin’ the meth)
  • drunk driving
  • domestic violence
  • child molestation (yes, I know…shudder)
  • petit larceny
  • check forgery

SIDE NOTE: There is a 50/50 split at work of people who say “petit” (just like it looks – “pet it”, like you would do to a cat, specifically, Dumbcat, who ALWAYS wants petting) larceny and who say “petty” larceny. I’m in the latter camp – too many years of French classes drilled the latter pronunciation into my head. But the “pet it” people are as adamant about their choice as the “petty” people are. I find this fascinating.

ANOTHER SIDE NOTE: We have a road here named “Gotham Street.” How would you say that? I’d assume, based on the world’s consumption of Batman-related things, you’d say “Gaw-thumb”, right? Nope. Here, it’s “Goe-thumb.” This makes me laugh. Like, a lot.



So. Most of the cop briefs are for the things above. It’s gotten so second-hand that I’m all “ho-hum, another trailer exploded because they were cooking meth in it.” The domestic violence and child molestation ones bother me, I’m not going to lie. I don’t know if I’ll ever get inured to those. I think if the day comes that I am, I’m done. Roll me up and throw me in the sea.

My favorites, however, are the petit larceny ones. Specifically, the FUNNY petit larceny ones. Yes, yes. I know. Stealing’s not all that funny. But when you’re hanging your hat on dark humor, you take it where you can get it, you know?

There was…

  • the man who bought a bunch of crap at Walmart with counterfeit $100s, got caught, got arrested, got an appearance ticket, then THREE DAYS LATER got caught AGAIN for trying to buy MORE THINGS with a counterfeit $100. (Vitamins. He was trying to buy vitamins at the drug store.) This time, the cops were all “yeah…think we’ll keep you” and he had $50,000 bail, or something. We were all, “Hee! You know he’s saying ‘oh! $50k? I HAVE THAT! Do you take $100s?'”

    Ben Franklin disapproves of your shenanigans.

    Ben Franklin disapproves of your shenanigans.

  • the woman who decided she HAD TO HAVE the Keurig from her hotel room, so she put it in her bag and was all “gonna gooooo now” but got caught (not sure how…but based on future info, I’m guessing it was just poking on out of her bag, she doesn’t seem the brightest) and when the cops showed up she had a PLETHORA of wee bags of meth on her. Now, my thought: if you’re packing, like, MULTIPLE bags of meth? Probably don’t also steal the Keurig from your hotel room. You can buy one from your meth money later, and you want to keep a low profile, you know? You don’t need that Keurig right now. No. You don’t. Put it down. PUT IT DOWNNNN.

    "If it's in the hotel room, it's mine, right? I'm just going to take this, then. Thanks. DO NOT CHECK MY POCKETS FOR CRACK COCAINE."

    “If it’s in the hotel room, it’s mine, right? I’m just going to take this, then. Thanks. DO NOT CHECK MY POCKETS FOR METH.”

  • the guy who got arrested at his home for stealing something but then resisted arrest, and then his mother got arrested for trying to stop the cops from arresting him, and then SHE resisted arrest as WELL, and then his BROTHER tried to stop the cops from arresting his MOM and then resisted his OWN arrest. So, we’re three for three, then. Good show, folks.
  • the woman that got arrested for stealing a Dr. Pepper and some Cracker Jack from the convenience store. That one just made me sad. It was less than $4 of stuff. I kind of wanted to find her and give her $5 and tell her to keep the change.
  • The woman that just walked right out of the grocery store with something called a “mega meat savings pack.” This one was kind of the best, because the reporter who was on cops that night was on the phone with the police station, and we overheard him say, “I’d like a little more detail about this petit larceny of the ‘mega meat savings pack?'” And Coworker R. and I (BTW, I’m quite convinced Coworker R. and I are siblings separated at birth) at the exact same time said “Mega meat savings pack?” and got the giggles. And then the poor reporter was trying to hold it together while he was talking to the cops, but it was like on “Saturday Night Live” when everyone gets the giggles and no one can behave. Church-giggles, is what it was. And when he got off the phone, he was all “YOU GUYS” and I was all “MEGA MEAT SAVINGS PACK!” and even now I can’t say that without laughing like a looney.

    MEGA meat! We seriously discussed for like 20 minutes how she hid this to get it out of the store. Like, in her bra, or what?

    MEGA meat! We seriously discussed for like 20 minutes how she hid this to get it out of the store. Like, in her bra, or what?

  • The couple that got arrested for stealing a shopping cart filled with camping supplies from Walmart (Walmart gets stolen from, on average, 47 bajillion times a week…ok, I’m exaggerating, it’s like 47 KABILLION times a week) and then after listing all the things that were stolen, like “Sterno, a tent, tent poles, marshmallows, an inflatable mattress” it also listed “sexual lubricant.” Heh. Well, I guess the point of couples camping is that it’s (turn your eyes away, kiddos) fucking in tents. Or maybe they had some other campy use for that lubricant; I don’t really do outdoorsy well, so I couldn’t begin to tell you. Like, maybe it keeps away bears, you don’t know.



Probably the best, though, which was NOT petit larceny related, was the chick who foiled a kidnapper.

YES! A man called the cops, and said “someone tried to kidnap my ladyfriend in front of the convenience store!” so the cops were all on red alert and ran over and took statements and there was a lookout for a black SUV with a couple of nefarious white guys in it, and the woman was all “I left the store, they tried to pull me into their SUV, I fought ’em off with my sweet ninja moves” (I might be making that part up a little, but it was something to that effect.)

Everyone on our Facebook page, when we posted the story, FREAKED OUT. “Why are the cops hiding something from us?” “It’s like they WANT us to be kidnapped!” “FIND THESE EVILDOERS!” “CASTRATE THEM WITH RUSTY GARDEN SHEARS!” (Again, I might be making that part up a little.)

There was no news for a day or two…then the truth came out.

So, the chick had a job interview across the street from the convenience store. She and her boyfriend showed up early. Because she had time to kill, she proceeded to get very drunk (…yeah, I don’t know, either) and then she somehow lost her boyfriend in the convenience store. Convinced he’d left without her, she went in the parking lot, angry at him. When he came out looking for her, she was all, “YOU ABANDONED ME. And…um…because you did that, SOMEONE TRIED TO KIDNAP ME. I hope you’re HAPPY, Frank.” (His name wasn’t Frank. Like I remember his name. Please.)

So the boyfriend, who wasn’t (I’m assuming) drunk, was all, “babe, I was just inside this convenience store, how did you lose me? And more importantly, WE GOTTA CALL THE COPS ABOUT THIS KIDNAPPING.” And, mired in her web of drunken lies, she said, “Um. Yeeees? Yes, sure we sure do. Those dirty kidnappers who totally tried to kidnap me just now heh heh I’m not even lying at all even a little bit.”

The cops then broke her down after intense questioning (I’m guessing “intense” was just they looked at her seriously and she was all “OMG I AM SO SORRY” and started crying, she’s not really the criminal mastermind type, is she?) and she was charged with wasting police resources and reporting a false claim and inciting a riot. I made up that last one because it sounded cool. And, I have to assume, she did not get the job, probably. Unless the job was “professional drunken parking-lot kidnap liar,” in which case, she NAILED the interview (and I’m guessing there wasn’t much competition.)

As you can expect if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, I totally crack up over these kinds of stories. And I tell ALL my coworkers about them. “DEAR COWORKERS!” I say, and proceed to tell them the latest transgression in a VERY dramatic reading, which I like to think is appreciated by all. (Or, if it’s not, they’re too polite to tell me to shush it.)

What have we learned?

If you do something stupid, your name’s going to be in the paper. THAT IS SO EMBARRASSING!

(Also, just an FYI, we have computerized archives going back to the 80s. So don’t be thinking I won’t look you up and see if you were ever in the cop briefs. I SO WILL. This is like the next step in Googling one’s date. Newspaper-archive-searching one’s date. I am not going out with someone and then finding out after I’m head-over-heels he deals meth out of his nasty meth-trailer. I also, by the way, researched my apartment to see if it was a murder house. What, like you wouldn’t. It was never a murder house. But it WAS a drug house in the 90s. So if I find any little packets crammed in the corners, I’m going to probably not eat those, then.)

So…probably don’t do stupid things, my little gumdrops. Or someone, somewhere, is laughing HYSTERICALLY at you at the copydesk of a paper with their amazing coworkers they love more than all the cheese in the world. (ALL the cheese. And there’s a lot of cheese in the world, is how much those coworkers are loved.)

Thus endeth the lesson.

(Oh, and I guess also bring K-Y jelly camping? I don’t even know about that one.)

About lucysfootball

I'm not the girl with the most cake. Someday. SOMEDAY. View all posts by lucysfootball

26 responses to “It’s like my own personal episode of COPS every night.

  • ScorpionGlow


    This is all considered “important news” in small towns, but apparently elsewhere as well. Honestly, I’ve never been interested in any of it.


    • lucysfootball

      People LOVE these things. They tell us all the time that we cover the cops better than any other local media. (Yay us!)

      I like them for the funny factor. And when I recognize someone’s name (which happens more often than you might think, since I’ve moved closer to where I grew up!)


  • becomingcliche

    There’s so much to love in this post, I don’t even know where to start. The Batman caption made me nearly choke on my carrots.


  • lindat1219

    Glad I’m not alone in my love of cops-related tell-alls! Those, and obituaries. I’ve found as I’ve hit–ahem–middle age, I’m drawn to the age and cause of death of strangers. Morbid? Maybe. Entertaining? You bet!


    • lucysfootball

      I like to know the cause of death of people, as well. Fewer and fewer obituaries are actually saying that, I’ve noticed. Just “long illness” or “short illness.” But someone the other day had “after being struck at home” in his obituary, and we didn’t have an article in the paper about it, so I was SO CURIOUS. Who struck this person? What was going on? SUCH a Scooby-Doo mystery, that one!


  • Andreas Heinakroon

    Interestingly, we don’t ever publicly name people arrested or convicted over here; it’s all “man in his 40s” or “teenage woman”. In Britain they do though. Hmm, I wonder if that’s a Common law system thing? Name and shame?


    • lucysfootball

      But ANDREAS! How will everyone know when they walk the streets that they are a VERY BAD BADGUY if their name hasn’t been in the paper?

      I’m not sure what the rationale is. It’s always been like that here. I think once it’s on the record, your name is up for grabs by the public, so it gets published. (I don’t know if just anyone off the street can go in and see the police records, but news organizations can, anyway.)

      SHAME SHAME WE KNOW YOUR NAME! Now stop peeping in windows, weirdo.


  • Mer

    Hee! Thanks for the laughs, lovely! I’m so happy to peek into your world via the blog, which is not at all an admission of wacky voyeurism, so please don’t report me.


    • lucysfootball

      You are SO WELCOME! And as long as you have your pants on and no one complains, you can voyeur away! (Aw, I’ll give you some leeway. You don’t even need to be wearing pants. I mean, who am I to cramp people’s internet-surfing style?)

      I really do have a fantastic job. It makes me laugh so much. It should be illegal, how much fun I have!

      Liked by 1 person

  • Charleen

    Huh, I guess I’ve only ever heard it spoken and never seen it in print… I always just thought it was “petty larceny.” And if I saw “petit larceny” in print, I would have assumed it was something totally different and never made the connection.

    (Kind of like the time I finally realized the word I’d always heard as “muh-cawb” and the word I’d always seen as “macabre” were the same word. This was… oh, I don’t know, five years ago? Maybe less?)


    • lucysfootball

      OMG YES! Charleen, I thought for YEARS it was “petty larceny,” because it’s just a small thievery! So it’s petty! And then I saw it in print and realized, it IS a small thievery, but FANCY! It’s PETIT, it’s so fancy!

      There are so many things like that, I can’t even tell you. It’s what happens growing up an avid reader, I think. I read so many big words before hearing them spoken that I didn’t put two and two together on a lot of them until I was older. I still remember telling my dad someone had moved to “Ar-Can-Ziss” and he was all, “what?” when I was probably 6 or 7, and I ended up having to show him on a map, and him laughing so hard and explaining that yes, it DID look like “Kansas” with an “Ar” in front of it, but “Arkansas” was actually pronounced very differently. Things like that always used to trip me up!


  • grrgoyl

    I suppose it’s a blessing that some criminals are so dumb. Gives the cops an easy day (and I’m sure they’re laughing just as much down at the station).

    It is cool you’ve got the inside track to such stories. As a medical transcriptionist, I get to type reports on sometimes very tragic and bizarre medical situations, but probably not nearly as often as the Cop Briefs.

    As a screaming liberal, I approve of theft from Walmart. After all, they steal from the taxpayers on the daily with their food stamp-subsidized employees, so it’s only fair.

    I’m so glad you love your new job! Everything happens for a reason, yadda yadda yadda.


    • lucysfootball

      I do wonder if the cops are laughing, or if they’re just frustrated to have to deal with such idiots. They’re probably glad it’s not a VIOLENT crime, I guess. It’s safer for them.

      SO many Walmart thefts! And we have an equally large Target and Kmart, so it’s interesting most thefts are from Walmart (or maybe it’s just that the thieves at Kmart and Target are better at it?)

      I do love my job. The work’s great, but the people are what make it. They are some of the best humans I’ve ever met.


      • cynthiaw

        Here, it seems to be Walmart, Fiesta (a grocery store), Kohl’s that get hit all of the time. I don’t know if they have extra awesome security, extra dumb crooks, or what.

        One of our local PDs runs a Facebook page and the put the shoplifters’ names and pictures on FB once a month. They also have been known to photograph someone while they’re being arrested and put them on FB. I’m not really sure how that works – it seems like they should have to be convicted first, but I guess that all arrests are public record and up for grabs.


        • lucysfootball

          Ooh, the police are shaming people! Wow, I’ve never heard of that! Yeah, I think if you’re arrested, it becomes public record, even if you’re found innocent. (We recently had someone accused/arrested for a sex offense who was a bit of a public figure, and everyone was up in arms about how, if he’s found innocent, this will have ruined his life anyway…and I see the point behind that, you know? Even if he didn’t do it, people will always have that nagging “what if” in the back of their minds.) It’s a fine line to walk.


          • cynthiaw

            Yeah, it’s kind of messed up. For example, we’re all sure that O.J. Simpson is a murderer, but what if he isn’t? Then his whole life has been completely messed up over something that he didn’t do.

            Of course, the stuff that he’s done since then kind of makes it hard to believe that he could possibly be innocent.


            • lucysfootball

              I wonder about that sometimes. How many people in prison are actually innocent, but just got railroaded (or were advised to plead guilty because their lawyers knew they couldn’t win.) I know police (and lawyers, and judges) are often very eager to get the conviction…and juries often don’t understand the “beyond a reasonable doubt” part of their job. I’d like to think most people are behind bars for a reason…but I know there are so many mistakes, and it worries me.


  • Sara (Turning Pages: Of Books and Life)

    Hey! I just found your blog and the fact that this was the first post I saw guaranteed you a new follower. That and the fact that your cat is wanted by the mob. COPS, while sometimes cringe-worthy and sad, is often hilarious. We don’t have a COPS brief here (maybe the Crime Blotter is the same thing but it’s not a regular feature), so I have to get my fix of stupidly hilarious criminal stories from COPS. My favourite is when they refuse to identify themselves and then the cops find their ID in their pants and then they deny that they own the pants. “These aren’t my pants!” – Did this ever work for anyone? Anyway, thanks for the giggles!


    • lucysfootball

      Aw, hi! And thank you! (And Dumbcat says hello, as well, from his mob hidey-hole!)

      COPS always makes me laugh. I don’t know who these people are or why they think it’s a good idea to act this ridiculous. (I also used to love Cheaters. I don’t know if that’s even still on, but those people were HILARIOUS. If you can ever find that, definitely check it out. It’ll make you laugh so hard!)


      • cynthiaw

        My husband used to be a police officer and every time that we would watch COPS or any law enforcement related show, I’d be all “NO WAY – people do NOT really act like that!” And he’d be all “that’s nothing!”.


  • earthandink

    I’m not allowed to read the cop briefings. I’m a nervous nelly. I hate the idea that people are making meth. I become convinced they’re going to move next to me and blow me up. Blowing up is not a way I want to go. I reject it entirely. But this is how my mind works.

    I’m not meant to work in the news biz. Obviously.


    • lucysfootball

      There’s a lot of crime here for a relatively small town, it’s true. I reassure myself that I live in a safe part of town (for the most part) and I’m somewhat in the know to what’s going on out there (and very suspicious – that’s what all that cop brief reading will do for you! We’re ALL so suspicious over there!)

      I am so strangely energized by the entire newsroom situation. I love it so much! I wish I’d realized how much I’d love this twenty years ago and I could have started that much sooner!


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