Category Archives: police

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.)

When we got to the Scene of the Crime there was five police officers and three police cars, being the biggest crime of the last fifty years.

Here we are at Friday. Update (days later) on my TOTAL ADVENTURE IN WHICH I LEFT THE HOUSE AND MET REAL-LIFE PEOPLE! No one got murdered or WAS murdered, first of all. I know you were wondering. Oh, what’s that, you weren’t wondering, because obviously, since I’m writing this, I’m still alive? How do you know I’m writing this and it’s not my DOPPELGANGER, huh? Totally blew your mind, right? I know it. I mean, I might have doppelgangers. MULTIPLE doppelgangers. You just never know about such things. 

Anyway, I went out – to a bar, with PEOPLE in it! I KNOW! – and met up with people I have previously only spoken to on Twitter (but one of them I saw from far away across a theater once, if that counts at all, so I was pretty sure he wasn’t a ghost or something.) And they were lovely! And I was only KIND OF awkward. Listen, the sheer fact that I left my house and socially interacted with strangers is huge, cut me some slack, Jack. I have social anxiety like a mofo. No, seriously, I just took this TOTALLY SCIENCY TEST which is from a COLLEGE so you KNOW it’s not screwing around and it said I have a 61 which means GO SEEK HELP YOU ARE BROKEN. Well, it’s on the low end of go seek help you are broken, but still, going out in public into a situation where I am not comfortable and know no one makes me hyperventilate and also super-nervous. YOU SHOULD BE SO PROUD OF ME. (One of my friends says there are pills you can take that ameliorate the symptoms of social anxiety, but I worry about pills. The two times people put me on anti-crazy drugs were not successes. I am much better without medication for my crazy than I am with. Cross-my-heart-promise.) 

Anyway, Chris and Tim were lovely (and so brave! They absolutely got up in front of a WHOLE ROOM OF PEOPLE and TALKED! I know, right? Aren’t you so impressed? I was. Oh, wait, that makes it sound like I met them at AA or something. NO NO. It was a storytelling event, not AA. WE ARE NOT ALL IN AA) and I had a very nice time. THEN, on the way HOME, I totally almost went to jail. 

I might be exaggerating a little. For effect. As I do. But there were police involved. And flashing lights. And sirens sirening.

Oh, shitballs.

So I don’t know downtown Albany the best. YES, I’ve lived in the area for almost a decade, I’VE TOLD YOU, I have directional issues. I kind of knew if I drove in a certain direction there should be an exit for the highway home. So I drove that way. There was a totally obnoxious truck all up on my ass. Why in the middle of the night (FINE, it was 10pm, that’s late for a Monday, though, right?) is there always some asshat who could go around you but thinks it’s better to ride your ass like you’re his pony? I AM NOT YOUR PONY WHITE PICKUP TRUCK! I saw a sign (FINALLY!) for my highway. It said to keep left. So I got in the left lane. Only, the sign failed to say IMMEDIATELY LEFT! NOW! NOW! turn left, so I went past my turn and ended up in a thing that wasn’t a lane, but all crosshatched off. So I merged over into the right lane. Of COURSE the truck was there, and he’s all HONK HOOOOONK even though I didn’t come CLOSE to hitting him. You asshatty truck. Then I realized if I u-turned (or, in the parlance of my college years, “hooked a u-ey”) I could get back to where I needed to be originally and get onto the highway. (The truck, luckily, was long gone. Sayonara, Dick McGurk.) 

No, it was just a pickup, but this made me laugh. Chomp. Chomp, chomp.

So I u-turned, saw some lights, didn’t see that I had a red OR a green, assumed that was because I pulled too far up (I have a BAD TENDENCY of doing that, the worst, THE WORST), and turned right onto the little road that leads to the highway under a bridge. (No, there were no trolls, only a lot of pigeon poo.) There were no cars around except one car waiting at the light. None. So dead. 10pm on a Monday night in downtown Albany, which is mostly office buildings, who’s hanging out at office buildings at 10pm on a Monday night? No one. 

Yeah. Well, the car waiting at the light, which I failed to see because I was all panicky and lost and freaking the hell out? Was a cop. Who was all WHOOP WHOOP! with his lights and siren and ran the red and jetted after me. I was all, “whaaaa? Really? Sheesh” and pulled over under the bridge. 

Dammit dammit dammit.

So listen. I’ve been pulled over three times in my life.  

  1. By accident, because the guy in front of me who had a similar car was driving aggressively and the cop pulled me over and was all, “any idea why I pulled you over?” and I was like, “um. No?” and he was like, “Shit. I thought I might have gotten the wrong car, sorry” and let me go immediately 
  2. For going 35 in a 25 (WAY TO BE NITPICKY!) and I got off with a warning 
  3. For not having valid insurance or registration (this one I deserved, I was broke and couldn’t afford to renew anything and the ticket was GINORMOUS so karma totally bit my ass that time) 

I don’t ever know how to react when I’m pulled over. It always makes me want to do one of two things: 

Cry, or  

Get all defensive and in-your-facey because I hate AUTHORETEH. 

I waited in the car for what seemed like an eternity. The cop finally walked up.  

“Hello,” he said. “What’s going on?” 

“I was lost, but now I am not lost,” I said. “I don’t know that I handled that turn in the best way I could have, though. Heh. Sorry.” 

He was all serious-faced. “Where are you going?” 

I pointed at the sign that was like ten feet in front of us for the highway. “Right there.” 

He nodded. “You’re almost there,” he said. That seemed like a very stupid thing to say – OBVIOUSLY I was almost there, I could have spit out of the window and hit the sign – but probably not a good thing to point that out to the cop. “Where are you coming from?” 

I almost said the name of the bar, then I realized that might open up a whole “have you been drinking tonight, ma’am” conversation, and I really hadn’t, because I knew I’d be driving home and I get buzzed quickly and it takes a while to wear off so I’d only had a glass of water. But people don’t tend to believe you when you say you’re coming from a bar and you didn’t even have one drink. They look at you like you’re a pathological liar. “Hanging out with some friends at a storytelling event,” I said. “I’m really sorry. I never come downtown. I’m ridiculous about directions. I get lost in my own backyard. Ha. Ha ha.” 

I did NOT want to have to do one of these under a gross pigeon-poo bridge. No no no.

He did not think I was at all funny, damn him. I should have told him to read my blog, I talk about getting lost all the TIME on here. “License and registration, please.” 

I kind of wanted to ask him what exactly I was being pulled over for – being lost? Illegal u-turning? Missing my turn? Had I run a stoplight I didn’t know was there? But I realized that was probably rude, and if I got a ticket, he had to write it on there, anyway, so if I was just patient, I’d find out soon enough. 

Luckily, I had recently found my registration, because it had been missing for a while. I handed them over. I remembered the one time years ago the cop needed my insurance, and asked him if he wanted that, but he said he didn’t. He was all, “sit tight,” and walked off to his car. Huh. Sit tight. Like I’m going to make a run for it, you’ve got my damn license and registration. I NEED THOSE FOR LIFE. 

Then two more cops pulled up with their lights and sirens on, and I was all, well, eff, I guess I have a warrant out on me, because look at all these cops. WHAT IS HAPPENING. But they got out of their cars and were all chatting in the street under the bridge and laughing and I realized they were just bored as shit at 10pm on a Monday night and they were boys with their toys about the sirens and lights and that made me laugh a little. 

Then the cop came back after what seemed like ANOTHER eternity and I saw that he had my license and registration, but nothing else, and I was like, oh, sheesh, I think maybe I dodged a ticket-sized bullet here. 

“I know you just got flustered because that truck was honking at you, but be more careful next time,” he said, handing me back my paperwork. “Go up here, take a left, and that’s the highway. There are some cones up there. They’re doing some construction. Don’t hit the cones, ok?” 

I swear they just came up out of NOWHERE.

I agreed very solemnly I would not hit the cones. (Bee tee dubs, I totally almost hit the cones. In my defense, they came up a LOT sooner than I expected. Damn you, stealth cones!) 

“Have a nice night,” he said, and then left. 


OK, or didn’t fight anyone and no one won OR lost but I still didn’t get a ticket. I would like to know what exactly the ticket would have been for, had there BEEN a ticket, but STILL, I did not GET one. Whew. I tried to find out how much tickets were for various things in New York but apparently that’s state secrets (heh, state secrets, good one) but the internet’s not being helpful at all. Let’s assume it would have been ONE MEEEELION DOLLARS. That sounds reasonable, right? Totally does. 

Yep, this is totally how much my traffic ticket would have cost, no question.

Also, I just want to say that I drive that SAME HIGHWAY every single TIME I go home from the theater EVERY TIME I COME HOME and I speed like a DEMON (speed limit’s 55 and I tend to go between 65-80) and I have NEVER been pulled over but I got randomly pulled over for something I can’t even figure out trying to GET to the highway? Odd. Oh, cops, don’t read that paragraph, ok? Thanks. 

Anyway. Thank you, cop, for not giving me a ticket for whatever I did wrong. And, honky truck of honkadonia, you can bite me, I hope you’re happy for getting me all flustery and you got home like .00002 seconds sooner secure in your knowledge that YOU HONKED AT SOMEONE WHO WAS LOST SO YOU ARE A WINNER. 

So, other than totally almost being ARRESTED and JAILED* (*might be hyperbole) I had a very nice time out in public around people. Isn’t that nice? Yes, it totally is. Thank you, Chris and Tim!

(Title’s from Arlo’s “Alice’s Restaurant.” OBVIOUSLY. As anything crime- or police-related probably always and forever will be. Four more months! I see Arlo in FOUR MORE MONTHS!)

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