Target Centermass

3/28/2006

Accused Kidnapper Mom Took on Dad’s Identity

Filed under: — Gunner @ 10:17 pm

It’s stories such as this freakish tale of crime and gender-bending that inspired me to create a WTF?!! category.

A woman accused of abducting her two young children from their father, then dressing like a man so she could assume his identity, agreed yesterday to return to Arizona where she faces kidnapping charges, authorities said.

Shellie White, 30, was taken into custody Friday in Roanoke Rapids, where police said she and a woman lived together as the children’s father and mother.

The arrest came more than two years after White was charged with custodial interference in the children’s disappearance, the U.S. Marshals Service said. Her ex-husband, Ernest Karnes, had custody of the children at the time and learned Friday that they had been found.

That’s a pretty bare-boned version. Here’s a far more fleshed-out account under the delightful headline of “That’s not our mum, that’s dad.”

She is the mother of two children – a boy and a girl.

But her kids call her ‘Daddy’.

That’s because when they were younger, she cut her hair and dressed like a man. She also told them that she was her father.

But the truth was that Shellie White, 30, had kidnapped her two children from their father, Mr Ernest Karnes, who won custody of them when the couple divorced.

She had also dressed up like a man so that she could assume her ex-husband’s identity as she moved her kids from city to city to avoid the authorities.

Last week, she was finally tracked down by the police in Raonoke Rapids, North Carolina, and will be made to face kidnapping charges in Arizona, where her children were taken from Mr Karnes.

The arrest comes more than two years after she was charged over the children’s disappearance, the US Marshals Service said.

It added that White ‘radically changed her appearance to that of a man and assumed many aliases,’ including her ex-husband’s.

‘She even went so far as to tell her children, aged 3 and 5 at the time, that she was their father,’ the Marshals Service said in a statement.

‘When she was arrested, the children, now aged 6 and 8, asked why they were arresting their Daddy.’

White told the AP news agency that she had told her son to say she was his father only to fend off other children who had made fun of her appearance.

But Deputy US Marshal Dennis Harkins said White had posed as her ex-husband and other men.

‘She was playing it off for all the world to see that she was a man,’ Mr Harkins said.

[…]

Mr Holmes said that after charging White in January 2004, authorities were able to trace the children to various schools, but always came up empty.

‘It kept going in a circle, so she was aware of it,’ he said. ‘She wouldn’t keep them in a school no more than maybe six months.’

When White was arrested, she and a woman had been living together as the children’s father and mother.

Feel free to follow that last link for a picture that makes much of this bizarre story believable.

1/30/2006

Dominatrix Acquitted in Bondage Death

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:28 pm

Why, oh why, didn’t this sordid case get the national attention poured onto so many other so-called trials o’ the century?!! At least this one appears to have been truly interesting.

A dominatrix was acquitted of manslaughter Monday in the death of a man who prosecutors say suffered a heart attack while strapped to a replica of a medieval rack.

Barbara Asher, a 56-year-old woman who called herself Mistress Lauren M, was also cleared of dismemberment.

Prosecutors said that 53-year-old Michael Lord suffered a heart attack in 2000 during a bondage session in a “dungeon” in Asher’s condominium and that Asher did nothing to help him for five minutes for fear authorities would find out about her business.

Asher had her boyfriend chop up the body of the 275-pound retired telephone company worker, and they dumped it behind a restaurant in Maine, prosecutors said. His remains have never been found.

Prosecutors said Asher confessed to police, but the alleged confession was not taped, and investigators testified they did not save their notes.

Asher’s lawyer, Stephanie Page, said there was nothing to prove Lord was even dead — no body, no blood, no DNA.

One does have to give mucho credit for the prosecutor’s closing theatrical Gimp routine.

During his closing argument to the jury, prosecutor Robert Nelson put on a black leather mask with a zippered mouth opening and re-enacted the bondage session. With both hands, he reached back and clutched the top of a blackboard as if strapped to the rack. Then he hung his head as if dead.

Asher’s lawyer objected, and the judge agreed.

“That’s enough Mr. Nelson,” Judge Charles Grabau said. “Thank you for your demonstration.”

Suddenly, my mind rattles with a mostly-forgotten early ’80s song with the following majestic lyrics:

Whip me, beat me, call me Edna
Tie me down and stomp my head now

Does anybody else remember that sweet little tune?

12/18/2005

Drunk Santas in Christmas Rampage

Filed under: — Gunner @ 10:48 pm

Should the song The Twelve Days of Christmas ever be greatly expanded, this bizarre tale of holiday mayhem just might come in handy.

Forty drunken Santas rampaged through Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, at the weekend, stealing from stores and assaulting security guards in a protest against the commercialisation of Christmas.

Police said some of the Santas threw beer bottles, one tried to climb the mooring rope of a cruise ship and a security guard was punched. “They came in, said: ‘Merry Christmas’ and helped themselves,” said one shop worker.

According to the story, the police went on to state the obvious that identification problems remain, as it was difficult to ascertain which culprit had done what as all of the Santas were dressed like, well, Santa.

Okay, let’s expand the song. Here’s a portion of the fortieth verse:

On the fortieth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Forty Santas rampaging,

[…]

Twelve drummers drumming,
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree!

Please feel free to fill in the gap.

11/28/2005

Oregon Man Stole $200K Worth of Legos

Filed under: — Gunner @ 12:22 am

Look, I have many fond memories of Legos from my childhood. Heck, I even bought a 1000-piece set recently to jack around with during dull times [bummer side note: no wheels included, so I can’t build two Lego cars to repeatedly crash into each other]. Vodkapundit‘s Stephen Green really digs them.

Still, with that disclaimer, I have never let a single Lego brick lead me to a life of crime.

Agents had to use a 20-foot truck to cart away the evidence from a suspect’s house — mountains of Lego bricks.

William Swanberg, 40, of Reno, Nev., was indicted by a grand jury Wednesday, accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of the colorful plastic building blocks from Target stores.

Target estimates Swanberg stole up to $200,000 worth of the brick sets from stores in Oregon, Utah, Arizona, Nevada and California. The Legos were resold on the Internet, officials said.

Attempts to reach Swanberg at a county jail, where he was being held on $250,000 bail, were unsuccessful. It wasn’t known if he had an attorney.

Swanberg is accused of switching the bar codes on Lego boxes, replacing an expensive one with a cheaper label, said Detective Troy Dolyniuk of the Washington County fraud and identity theft team. Police haven’t said how he was able to manipulate codes.

Records of the Lego collector’s Web site, Bricklink.com, show that Swanberg has sold about $600,000 worth of Legos since 2002, Dolyniuk said.

If found guilty, the man should be sentenced to a supervised, brick-by-brick construction of his own cell.

10/10/2005

Mini-skirt Soldiers Dance as N. Korea Ponders Future

Filed under: — Gunner @ 9:56 pm

Well, this story certainly has one of the stranger headlines I’ve seen in quite a while. Disclaimer: the accompanying picture is a dramatization.

Women danced in mini-skirted military uniforms as North Korea marked the 60th anniversary of its communist party on Monday, while speculation mounted over whether its leader would use the occasion to name a successor.

At an event attended by leader Kim Jong-il and thousands of his military brass and cadres on Sunday, the emphasis was on Pyongyang’s long-standing “songun” military-first policy and its “juche” ideal of self-reliance.

“We should fully embody the party’s songun politics, an all-powerful treasured sword for victory in revolution under any circumstances and conditions, and direct primary efforts to the strengthening of the Korean People’s Army,” the North’s No. 2, Kim Yong-nam, said in remarks carried on the KCNA news agency.

The anniversary of the Workers’ Party of Korea is a time when the reclusive country revels in mass games and provides its citizens with a few extra bowls of rice to celebrate.

Hey, nothing captures the fun-loving nature of a repressive commie dictatorship like martial trollops flaunting their gams and cavorting for the party. And hey, extra rice. Bonus!

Unfortunately, there is also a serious side to this story.

But for this anniversary, outside attention has been focused on whether Kim Jong-il will name one of his three sons to a key post in the ruling party, which in effect would amount to naming a successor-in-waiting in the world’s only communist dynasty.

The Russian news agency Itar-Tass last week quoted a diplomatic source in Pyongyang as saying Kim may use the event to announce a successor. Analysts said the precise timing and which son he would pick were anyone’s guess.

Alas! The odds are not in favor of the oldest of Kim’s brood.

The eldest of his known sons, Kim Jong-nam, has apparently fallen into disfavour for trying to sneak into Japan on a false passport to visit Tokyo Disneyland.

Hmmm … yeah, I could see how that could be considered a strike against him.

9/15/2005

300kg Coke Wanted for Ransom

Filed under: — Gunner @ 10:43 pm

Well, here’s an intriguing kidnapping tale.

The kidnappers of the 37-year-old daughter of a Dutch millionaire who was freed unharmed had demanded a ranson of 300kg of cocaine, authorities said on Thursday.

The kidnappers, who according to the victim appeared to be two Latin Americans and one African, are still at large.

Claudia Melchers was freed by her abductors early on Thursday, Amsterdam’s police commissioner, Willem Woelders, said.

“I do not know why she was freed and she does not know either. I do not know if the ranson or another form of ransom was paid,” said Woelders, admitting there were still a lot of unanswered questions in the investigation.

The police commissioner also said the ransom demand, which was written in English, was in a letter discovered after the kidnapping in Melchers’s apartment, located in an upmarket Amsterdam neighbourhood.

Such a demand certainly would have been an interesting plot twist in Mel Gibson’s Ransom. I can see it now.

The whole world now knows … my son, Sean Mullen, was kidnapped, for ransom, three days ago. This is a recent photograph of him. Sean, if you’re watching, we love you. And this … well, this is what waits for the man that took him. This is your ransom. Three hundred kilograms Columbian in uncut blocks, just like you wanted. But this is as close as you’ll ever get to it. You’ll never snort one line of this cocaine, because no ransom will ever be paid for my son. Not one key, not one gram. Instead, I’m offering this nose candy as a reward on your head. Dead or alive, it doesn’t matter. So congratulations, you’ve just become a three hundred kilograms lottery ticket … except the odds are much, much better. Do you know anyone that wouldn’t turn you in for three hundred kilograms? I don’t think you do. I doubt it. So wherever you go and whatever you do, this blow will be tracking you down for all time. And to ensure that it does, to keep interest alive, I’m running a full-page ad in every major newspaper every Sunday … for as long as it takes. But … and this is your last chance … you return my son, alive, uninjured, I’ll withdraw the bounty. With any luck you can simply disappear. Understand … you will never see this coke. Not one sniff. So you still have a chance to do the right thing. If you don’t, well, then, God be with you, because nobody else on this Earth will be.

6/6/2005

Looking Around at the News

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:59 pm

Feds: Science paper a terrorist’s road map

The federal government has asked the National Academy of Sciences not to publish a research paper that feds describe as a “road map for terrorists” on how to contaminate the nation’s milk supply.

The research paper on biological terrorism, by Stanford University professor Lawrence M. Wein and graduate student Yifan Liu, provides details on how terrorists might attack the milk supply and offers suggestions on how to safeguard it.

The paper appeared briefly May 30 on a password-protected area of the National Academy of Science’s Web site.

[…]

The paper “is a road map for terrorists and publication is not in the interests of the United States,” HHS Assistant Secretary Stewart Simonson wrote in a letter to the science academy chief Dr. Bruce Alberts.

The paper gives “very detailed information on vulnerability nodes” in the milk supply chain and “includes … very precise information on the dosage of botulinum toxin needed to contaminate the milk supply to kill or injure large numbers of people,” Simonson wrote.

Obviously, more thought is needed by a great many on how not be our own worst enemy. The Information Superhighway needs a few more common sense speedtraps.

Grandmother of 80 accused of running call girls

An 80-year-old woman who shuffles around her home with a zimmer frame and an oxygen tank has been charged with running a prostitution business.

Vera Tursi ran an “escort” business from her two-bedroom flat in Lindenwold, New Jersey – taking telephone calls from clients and sending out girls to meet them.

Police said they suspected Mrs Tursi’s age when they spoke to her on the phone during an undercover operation. She could be heard catching her breath and used old-fashioned language.

In her defense, at least … well … I’ve got nothing. This is just creepy. Maybe it could be used as an argument for Social Security reform.

Election 2004: Election is finally over

Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire now has a full four-year term to finish serving as governor. For Republicans, the 2004 election is over.

For Washington voters, yesterday’s court ruling means a chance to see whether Gregoire can sustain the remarkably strong leadership she displayed during the first legislative session. There’s no reason for overconfidence: Early in his governorship, Gary Locke looked like he might be on his way toward large accomplishments and even national office.

Voters also have an opportunity to demand changes in slipshod election procedures brought to light by the examination of Gregoire’s narrow victory over Republican Dino Rossi. Chelan County Superior Court Judge John Bridges said the “voters of this state are in a position to demand” improvements.

Rossi could have pursued an appeal to the Washington Supreme Court. That was his right, and until now, we have fully supported his exercise of legal avenues to contest the election.

After the clear ruling from a respected jurist, however, it finally came time for Rossi to order an end to the legal expense and arguments. His decision to walk away from a last-ditch fight was right. But he spoiled his moment of grace with a cheap shot, claiming the “political makeup of the Washington state Supreme Court” would not allow him to prevail on appeal.

Old-time Chicago-style pizza — good. Old-time Chicago-style politics in the state of Washington — bad. The state’s election system needs desperate work.

Man Arrested in Ariz. for Ricin Possession

A man was being held Monday on a charge of possessing the deadly poison ricin, but authorities said they do not think he had any connection to terrorism.

Casey Cutler, 25, told authorities he carried the poison in vials around his neck to use as a possible weapon, according to a criminal complaint. He said he had been attacked last year by three men while walking to his apartment, and that he intended to use the ricin in self-defense if attacked again, the complaint said.

Cutler, of Mesa, faces a maximum of life in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted on the single count of producing and possessing a deadly toxin for use as a weapon.

Might I also suggest a psych eval?

We do not need urgent reforms, says Syrian leader

Ignoring international pressure and rising domestic frustration, Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian President, failed yesterday to announce broad and imminent reforms as he opened an eagerly awaited conference of the ruling Baath party.

In an address lasting barely ten minutes, Mr Assad told the 1,250 delegates: “We are convinced the ideas and precepts of the Baath party are still of relevance and respond to the interests of the people and the nation in its desire for unity, freedom, justice and development.”

For the six Syrian opposition activists — middle-aged businessmen, engineers and former army officers — who had gathered in a smoke-filled office to watch the speech on television, Mr Assad’s address was predictable and disappointing.

“The President has no vision, no programme and said nothing about the suffering of the Syrian people,” one man, who, like his colleagues, declined to be identified, said. “That’s why I’m not optimistic that this congress will produce anything.”

Sometimes one is to close too to the water, too tied to the moment or the past to notice a shift in tides. Events in the Middle East are threatening to flood a Syria hoping to return to its domination of Lebanon and bloodily hold back history in Iraq. A two-front war against the future may well be too much for Assad. At least the terrorists of Hezbollah still like him. Speaking of which …

Hezbollah Ticket Sweeps Elections in Southern Lebanon

In the second stage of Lebanon’s parliamentary elections, a pro-Syrian coalition, led by the militant group, Hezbollah, won all 23 seats at stake in the southern region where voting was held Sunday. The results in the south were in stark contrast to the result of the previous Sunday’s voting in Beirut, where a ticket headed by the anti-Syrian opposition parties swept all the seats at stake in and around the capital.

Unsurprisingly, round two stood directly against the path of the Cedar Revolution.

5/26/2005

Financing the Sith Empire?

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:54 pm

Wanted: Annakin Skywalker, a.k.a. Darth Vader, a.k.a. the Chosen One, a.k.a. Annoying Little Snot from Episode One.

Crimes: Murder by the Force, Torture of Own Daughter, Crimes against Humanity (and other species), Assault with a Deadly Lightsaber, Driving a Podracer Without a License, Theft.

It appears that life on the dark side is not so rosy
after all.

When Darth Vader made an appearance at a movie theater in Springfield, Ill., on May 21, he wasn’t there to recruit minions or to watch his doppelganger in the sixth and final Star Wars movie, “Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.”

Instead, he robbed the cash register.

I hate Illinois Sith.

According to Springfield Police Lieutenant Doug Williams, an unidentified man wearing a Darth Vader mask, black pants and a black shirt walked into the Showplace Eight Theatre at about 9:15 p.m. The man made his way behind the counter of the front cashier area, shoved the employee aside and grabbed an undisclosed amount of money.

Minus major nerd points for poorly-executed costume.

Williams said the suspect did not utter a word during the crime, nor could witnesses detect any heavy breathing coming from behind the mask. There was also no sign of the villain’s ubiquitous light saber.

Minus more nerd points for being out of character (except for the criminal thing) and for the lack of geek bling.

The suspect reportedly fled the theater and escaped into a nearby wooded area. Police have no lead in the case.

The man is approximately six feet tall and 150 pounds. Williams said the suspect also wore a green money belt in addition to his all-black ensemble.

Isn’t he a little short to be a Sith Lord?

Foretelling the future: (insert hand gesture) But officer, these are not the theater receipts you’re looking for.

4/30/2005

Laramie Men Face Charges for Snow Phallus

Filed under: — Gunner @ 4:57 pm

It’s spring, and young men’s fancies turn to thoughts of … cold penis sculptures.

Two Laramie men are facing obscenity charges for allegedly building a snow sculpture of a phallus in their front yard.

Brandon Arp, 20, and Aric Davenport, 19, were arraigned Friday in Albany County Circuit Court on charges of promoting obscenity. Both men pleaded not guilty and are free on a $1,000 bond.

If convicted, they could each face up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

According to police reports, the men made the sculpture in the 1200 block of Custer Street on April 21. Reports say the sculpture was “offensive to other residents in the area.”

The sculpture was destroyed, and initially, police said no citations had been issued. That same morning, a second sculpture involving an “anatomically correct snowman” was destroyed in the 700 block of South 17th Street.

Laramie Police Commander Dale Stalder said police questioned whether the sculpture was protected under the First Amendment.

Davenport’s attorney, Michael Vang, has filed a motion challenging some of the claims. Vang said it was unclear who was offended by the sculpture or how it violates Wyoming obscenity laws.

State statutes say a person promotes obscenity if he or she “produces or reproduces obscene material with the intent of disseminating it.”

Additionally, that person is guilty if he or she “possesses obscene material with the intent of disseminating it” or “knowingly disseminates obscene material.”

In this case, Vang said the obscenity statute was “being selectively enforced.” Police failed to show how the sculpture was obscene under the First Amendment, he said.

Sheesh! Alright, folks, now we’re getting silly in our law enforcement. If there’s ever been a harmless obscenity, I’d say one that will shortly melt would qualify.

The selective enforcement issue is exactly why these charges will go nowhere, but a little sense of perspective should have kept them from going this far.

4/23/2005

Watsamadder with Kids These Days?

Filed under: — Gunner @ 12:02 am

Well, nothing really, generally speaking. It’s a question that has been bemoaned for generations and will be for generations to come. Still, that doesn’t mean there isn’t some occasional jackassery that needs questioning.

Should women love their vaginas? Yes, especially if the women in question are hot. Should high school girls wear buttons advertising said love in school? Hell no. And Guy over at Snugg Harbor also doesn’t think so. And with conviction (don’t just skip over the beginning stuff about the hosed state of math instruction).

There are two female high schoolers in Winona, Minnesota. Both are excelling in their studies, and up to now, were exemplary in their standings in school.

Well, it seems one of the two, had seen the theatrical production of “The Vagina Monologues”. She came away with a very positive feeling about the play’s message, and in talking to her friend, passed those positive feelings on to her. In fact, they were both so positive about the event, they chose to wear buttons to school which said “I Love (big red heart) My Vagina”.

There was one school official, who worked in the schools administration, took strong exception to the buttons, and reported same. There was also a teacher of one of the girls who would not let the young lady into class should she be wearing the button. The bottom line is both were told they faced suspension should they continue to wear the buttons. They have continued to do so, and countered with the administrations actions being in violation of, you guessed it, their “constitutional right to free speech.”

It seems the ACLU has also started to take an interest in this, which should send red flags (no pun intended) up about what should be the correct way to deal with this.

In my perfect world, here is what should be done. (And would have been, done in real life, 40-50 years ago.)

Guy goes on to explain and justify his ideal solution to the matter. The weakness of Guy’s stance is that it’s based upon real-life experience, tried-and-true educational practices and common sense. These are all things viewed as mere impediments to be overcome by the ACLU and, unfortunately, many of today’s judicial rulings. Go read and feel free to chime in on his comments.

But, hey, enough about kids at school. How about those afterschool video game sessions? Well, lucky for them there’s the game Narc, wherein they can learn that doing drugs can assist in fighting crime.

In the first-person video game “Narc,” published by Midway, you play an undercover police officer busting drug dealers.

Except in this game, your cop character can take the drugs he confiscates — and the illicit substances can enhance performance.

Narc’s publishers at Midway say the game is all about choices, and the consequences of those choices. The following is an excerpt of a statement released to CNN by the company’s chief marketing officer, Steve Allison:

“The drugs in Narc affect game play — addiction, and crime and punishment are predominant themes in the story. Ultimately, the players who choose to take drugs will face consequences; they will experience the highs and lows of this culture, but following this path will ultimately lead to failure.”

[…]

“I would normally say ‘just say no’ to drugs, except in this case they’ve been replaced for power-ups. If you were playing Super Mario Bros., a ‘magic mushroom’ would make you bigger and more powerful. Here, it’s kind of the same theory,” says video game reviewer Scott Steinberg.

Marijuana, as you light a virtual joint and take a long drag, causes the screen to become a hazy green. The drug slows time for criminals in the game, allowing your cop character to chase down and arrest them easier.

LSD helps differentiate friend from foe, so your character knows whom to confront; allies grow wacky court jester heads, and enemies become devil-headed cartoons. Trippy music and psychedelic colors accompany your computer-generated acid trip.

Other drugs in Narc include speed, ecstasy and crack. Crack, after the distinct sound of someone huffing on a pipe, gives players a one-shot-one-kill skill. Your crackhead cop character suddenly becomes an expert marksman.

Drug use may give you super powers in the game, but abuse can cause addiction. Protodone — the game’s version of methodone, can curb your cravings. Otherwise, addiction can lead to withdrawal.

But unlike real-life, you can kick your virtual habit after a few skillful clicks on the game controller.

Great lesson. I guess it’s a good thing an M-rating will keep all kids from playing this beauty. Wait, the M-rating is actually just an enticement, but we won’t deal with that reality.

As an aside, today’s video games may seem more real and graphically far superior to the old-school games of my youth, but they really do seem to lack a key element the old games possessed — fun.

Powered by WordPress