Naked Neighbor Haunts Apartment Complex

If a naked man knocks on your door and asks to use your phone, don't let him in.

That's the message Chapel Hill, N.C., police are giving residents of a local apartment complex following a string of bizarre incidents, reports The Herald-Sun of Durham, N.C.

In each case, the man, unclothed from the waist down, approaches a woman at the Chapel Ridge Apartments (search) with a sad story — he's lost a bet, he's the victim of a practical joke, his girlfriend kicked him out of her apartment — and says he needs to call a friend to pick him up.

In reality, police say, he's just a creative, if polite, pervert who wants to be naked around women he doesn't know.

"It's a sense of watching firsthand, from his perspective, the person's reaction," said Sabrina Garcia, a crisis counselor at the Chapel Hill Police Department (search).

The first incident was nearly a year ago, in November 2003. Since then, the naked neighbor has knocked on apartment doors in March, April, May and June of this year.

This past Monday night, a woman was sitting in her car outside the apartment complex when she saw a guy walking around without his britches on.

He started looking in parked cars, she told police, and when he saw her, walked over and gestured that he needed to use her cell phone.

She refused to open the door or window, and he walked away. Police responding to her 911 call couldn't find him.

"This perpetrator assumes [the] victim is not as bright or as smart as he is," Garcia said.

Speaking of similar flashers, she explained that "their goal is to see the victim's reaction and to see how far they can manipulate their actions for as long as they can."

The apartment-complex creep doesn't sound dangerous so far, but Garcia pointed out that men who expose themselves sometimes escalate their activities as the original thrill wears off.

Garcia said police were looking for a white male aged 20 to 30, between 5 feet 8 inches and 6 feet tall, with brown eyes and brown hair that on Monday was slightly spiky in the front.

— Thanks to Out There reader Jeff M.

It May Not Be Elegant, but It Works

Indianapolis police must have had a good time Tuesday examining that day's crop of boneheaded, if somewhat successful, bank robberies.

In the morning, a man walked up to a teller at a Fifth Third Bank (search) with a note — which was too scrawled to read, reports WIBC radio of Indianapolis.

So the teller asked him what it said. He replied by asking her if she knew what "robbery" meant. She did, and gave him an undisclosed amount of cash.

Two men who stuck up a National City Bank (search) on Tuesday afternoon were less efficient.

Dashing out of the bank with their loot, they discovered their driver had taken off with the getaway car. They ran, jumped over a fence and promptly dropped a large part of what they'd stolen.

For sheer incompetence, though, no one beat the man who robbed a Bank One (search) that afternoon.

On Monday, he'd gone into the same branch to apply for a loan, for which he was turned down.

On Tuesday morning, he came back to take 50 cents out of his own account, leaving a balance of 10 cents.

After lunch, he returned again — but this time asked for, and got, $1,000 from a teller.

Like Tuesday's other three suspects, the last man was still at large. But since his loan application was still on file, and his account active, the bank was happy to give police his name, address and Social Security number.

"This wasn't one of the smartest ones," Indianapolis Police Department Detective Randall Cook told the radio station.

— Thanks to Out There reader Mark G.

Last Victim of Civil War

PINE BUSH, N.Y. (AP) — A teen-age Civil War buff has been suspended from school and faces serious charges after his replica musket was found in his car trunk at school in the Orange County community of Pine Bush.

Joshua Phelps had been at a re-enactment with his Civil War costume, including a musket, last week. He threw the uniform and equipment into his truck and forgot about it.

Yesterday a security guard at the Pine Bush High School (search) saw it and called police.

Phelps was sitting in study hall when a security guard told him to go to the assistant principal. When he was told they had seen the rifle, he wasn't concerned, thinking they would understand it was part of his costume.

But it didn't happen that way. Town of Crawford Police were called and Phelps was cuffed and charged with criminal possession of a weapon, a misdemeanor.

His mother, Valerie Michaels, is outraged, saying the school has blown this incident out of proportion. She says in the car trunk along with the rifle were a costume, shoes, a leather belt, a powder keg and a leather cartridge box.

Phelps wore the costume when taking part of the re-enactment of the Battle of Chancellorville (search), which was staged by the 124th New York State Volunteers. The re-enactors say they are models of the unit that came from Orange County and fought in the Civil War.

High school students were recruited to take part in the re-enactors' club.

Pine Bush School Superintendent RoseMarie Stark called the incident a student disciplinary matter and declined to comment further.

Misspelling Artist Quits Library Project

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The artist who misspelled the names of famous people in world history on a large ceramic mosaic outside Livermore's new library can spell one word with ease: N-O.

That's Maria Alquilar's (search) new position on fixing the typos.

She had planned to fly to California and put the missing "n" back in Einstein and remove the extra "a" in Michelangelo, among other fixes.

But after receiving a barrage of what she called "vile hate mail," Alquilar said Livermore is off her travel itinerary and there'll be no changes by her artistic hand.

"No, I will not return to Livermore for any reason," Alquilar, of Miami, told The Associated Press in an e-mail. "There seems to be so much hatred within certain people. They continuously look for a scapegoat. I guess I am the sacrificial goat."

She previously told officials in Livermore, about 40 miles east of San Francisco, that she would fix the 11 misspellings. She asked for $6,000 plus travel expenses to correct the work they paid her $40,000 to create.

The city council, faced with the embarrassing prospect of leaving the typo-strewn work in front of its spanking new library, voted 3-2 to approve the expenditure.

Now it appears the fix is a no-go.

Livermore Mayor Marshall Kamena and Councilwoman Lorraine Dietrich did not return calls seeking comment on what their next move would be.

Alquilar explained that it took her a lot of time and money to create the work, a brightly colored 16-foot-wide circle made up of individual tiles depicting the names and images of famous people in world history.

She noted that plenty of people from the city were on hand during the installation who could and should have seen the errant spellings, she said.

"Even though I was on my hands and knees laying the installation out, I didn't see it," she said.

The mistakes wouldn't even register with a true artisan, Alquilar said before deciding to leave the work as is.

"The people that are into humanities, and are into Blake's concept of enlightenment, they are not looking at the words," she told The AP.

When asked whether she chose the words and names for the work or whether the city provided her with a list, Alquilar took an artistic stance in response.

"The art chose the words," she said.

Compiled by's Paul Wagenseil.

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