Main Street – March 12, 2009

Roger Allen, publisher

A 14-year-old boy allegedly got himself a police uniform and reported for police duty in Chicago. The teenager entered a South Side police station through an unlocked back door around 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 24. He was issued a radio and rode with a patrol officer for more than five hours, at times using the terminal in the squad car and responding to five assignments.

Once the police figured out the kid wasn’t actually a cop, they arrested him. (He’s a bit young but he doesn’t seem to need much training.)

More weird crime

George Phillips, an elderly man from Meridian, Miss., was on his way up to bed when his wife yelled down that he’d left the light on in the garden shed. When George opened the back door to go turn off the light, he saw people in the shed stealing things.

He phoned the police. “Is someone in your house?” asked the dispatcher.

“No,” George replied, “but some people broke into my garden shed and they’re out there stealing stuff.”

“All patrols are busy,” said the dispatcher. “An officer will be along when one is available.”

George said, “Okay,” hung up the phone, and counted to 30. Then he phoned the police again.

“Hello, I called you a few seconds ago because there were people stealing things from my shed. Well, you don’t have to worry about them now because I just shot them.” He hung up.

Within three minutes, six police cars, a SWAT team, a helicopter, two fire trucks, a paramedic, and an ambulance showed up at the Phillips’ residence, and caught the burglars red-handed.

One of the policemen said to George, “I thought you said you’d shot them!”

George said, “I thought you said there was nobody available!”

Weird crime wave

Police in Connecticut have arrested a man with a several-pack-a-day habit – of Orbit chewing gum. Twenty-one-year-old Kenneth McManus of Stratford is accused of stealing 175 packs of Orbit from a Shaw’s Supermarket and an additional $75 worth from a CVS store.

(Maybe this crime isn’t so weird; maybe he was trying to give up cigarettes.)

Not weird; ordinary crime

In December it was revealed that money manager Bernard Madoff bilked trusting investors out of $50 billion. The scam had run for decades. Some of his investors were charities and foundations. Others were individuals who counted Madoff among their friends.

Madoff has admitted his fraud but hasn’t been rotting in jail. Since December he has been under “house arrest” at his $7 million residence in New York.

Over the years, a number of financially astute whistle-blowers tried to alert the Securities and Exchange Commission (which is charged with investigating financial fraud to protect all of us Americans) but the SEC wouldn’t listen. One of the whistle-blowers, Harry Markopolos, documented nine years of his own investigations and warnings to the SEC. He presented his evidence to the government recently, to a House Financial Services subcommittee. Our Congressmen indicated that they were astounded.

Meanwhile, Madoff’s wife, Ruth, says a chunk of the money is hers. She wants to keep $62 million plus their main residence. According to her, defrauded investors should keep their hands off. (She withdrew more than $15 million from Madoff’s holdings just before the fraud was made public.)

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