Bank Robber Itemizes Cost of Gun

Crime may not pay in the Netherlands, but it is deductible.

A bank robber in the southern Dutch town of Chaam (search) was able to subtract the cost of his gun from his fine, the Daily Telegraph of London reported.

The unnamed stickup man, 46, managed to convince a criminal court in Breda, near the Belgian border, that the $2,600 he spent on his pistol was a legitimate business expense.

The judge accordingly reduced the amount of restitution from $8,750, the amount stolen from the bank, to $6,150, before sentencing the robber to four years in prison earlier this week.

"You can compare criminal acts to normal business activities, where you must invest to make profits, and thus you have costs," explained Leendert de Lange, a spokesman for the national prosecutor's office.

De Lange went further to state that drug dealers could also deduct the cost of vehicles used to make deliveries of illicit substances — within reason.

Asked whether a very successful drug kingpin could cite the cost of a Ferrari (search), de Lange replied: "No, he would have to prove that he needed the car to transport the drugs around, and I hardly think he would transport them in a Ferrari."

Furthermore, Dutch criminals had better be prepared to present receipts.

"You can't just tell the judge you spent 10,000 euro without any proof," de Lange said.

Day-to-day expenses don't count either, only costs directly related to the crime, said Gerard Sta, director of the Office of Criminal Assets, told De Standaard newspaper of Amsterdam.

"A second condition is that the criminal offense must be carried out," Sta added.

"The idea is that crime does not pay," summed up de Lange, "but you are allowed to claim your expenses."

— Thanks to Out There reader Peter L.

Defendant's Mouth Duct-Taped Shut

LARGO, Fla. (AP) — A judge ordered officers to tape shut the mouth of a convicted killer who was spouting insults and expletives during a court appearance.

Judge Brandt Downey had sentenced Emory Carter to life in prison last month for murder during an appearance that saw Carter curse and spit at the judge.

A few days later, Downey realized he had forgotten to ask Carter, who represented himself during trial, if he wanted an attorney for his sentencing.

So corrections deputies brought Carter, 25, back to court Monday in a Hannibal Lecter-like restraint chair. Again, Carter began hurling expletives and insults.

This time, Downey told bailiffs to get out the duct tape.

With Carter's mouth sealed, Downey asked him if he wanted an attorney. Carter shook his head side to side and offered a muffled "uh-uh" sound, Downey said.

The judge said it was the first time he has ordered a defendant's mouth taped, though he knows others have done it.

"There have been instances of that happening before, but it's a very rare event," said Public Defender Bob Dillinger, who said he thought Downey could have handled Carter differently.

"I think the preferred method would be removal from the courtroom, but I can't say that it's illegal or unethical," Dillinger said of the taping..

— Thanks to Out There reader Harley W.

Bar-Fight Tactics Work in Bank Robbery

NORCROSS, Ga. (AP) — A man robbed a bank armed with a broken beer bottle, then stole a car and caused at least five accidents Tuesday as he was chased toward Atlanta along Interstate 85, Gwinnett County Police said.

Bobby Tyrone Hill, 45, was arrested without resistance by police from Gwinnett and other agencies and was taken to the Gwinnett County Detention Center (search). Charges were pending.

Three people were taken to hospitals with non-life threatening injuries from the accidents.

Police said the suspect went into the Bank of America (search) branch in Norcross, demanded money and broke a beer bottle he held in his hand.

A teller gave him an undisclosed amount of cash, some of which he dropped on the floor as he went into the parking lot and carjacked a pickup truck from Mary Burton, 52, of Livingston, Texas, police said.

Initial investigation indicated that Hill was under the influence of an unknown substance.

Vegas Lap-Dance Law Overturned

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Las Vegas law prohibiting strippers from fondling customers during lap dances is unconstitutionally vague, a judge ruled.

District Court Judge Sally Loehrer affirmed a lower court ruling that as many as five misdemeanor criminal cases filed against Las Vegas strippers should be dismissed.

Friday's ruling affects only dancers within city limits. The Clark County Commission (search) in 2002 limited touching between strippers and patrons during private lap dances, specifically barring strippers from touching or sitting on the customer's genital area.

But the municipal code was not as specific, saying only that strippers and their patrons should not "fondle" or "caress" each other.

City attorneys told Loehrer touching is illegal when dancers engage in contact aimed at sexually arousing the customer. But defense lawyer James Colin argued the lack of specifics makes it impossible to enforce the law.

"It's too confusing," Colin said. "No one knows."

Under Loehrer's ruling, no dancer in the city can be arrested for violating the municipal code. The city is considering an appeal.

Missouri Bill Aims to Tax Strip Clubs to Death

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Show-Me State lawmaker wants a sin tax — on those who show too much.

First, Missouri banished sexy billboards and young strip dancers. Now, Republican Sen. Matt Bartle (search) wants to force adult entertainment businesses out of the state by stripping them of their profits.

Legislation pending in the Senate would impose a 20 percent tax on revenues of all "sexually oriented businesses," charge a $5 fee for each person entering their doors and prohibit them from staying open late at night.

"The goal of the bill is to make Missouri inhospitable for these businesses," said Bartle.

Adult entertainment executives question whether the legislation violates constitutional free-speech and expression rights and warn it could hurt the state's economy.

"It's a small business killer and it's a job killer," said Dick Snow, owner of Bazooka's Showgirls (search) in Kansas City and a board member of the Missouri Association of Club Executives (search), the industry's trade group.

As many as 1,000 Missouri businesses could be affected by the legislation, said Snow, who suggested the proposed taxes also could hit mainstream video and book stores that carry a few adult titles.

Two years ago, Missouri passed a law banning nude dancers younger than 19. Last year, it enacted a phased-in prohibition of most billboards for sexually oriented businesses.

Sports Commentary From Beyond the Grave

OTTAWA (AP) — An ardent hockey fan who died last week used his obituary to denounce the NHL lockout.

Archie Bennitz, 84, instructed his son to criticize National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman (search) and union leader Bob Goodenow (search) in his death notice.

Bennitz called Bettman and Goodenow "skunks for denying him the pleasure of watching the NHL on TV this year," the obituary in the Ottawa Citizen read. Bennitz also urged Bettman to step aside in favor of Wayne Gretzky (search).

David Bennitz said his father had become increasingly angry during his last month in the hospital as the lockout dragged on. Hockey was the only thing he watched on TV.

Bennitz, who was born in Nova Scotia and grew up just north of Toronto, was a dedicated Toronto Maple Leafs fan. He developed a soft spot for the Ottawa Senators (search), however, after he moved to Ottawa about three years ago to be closer to his family.

Compiled by's Paul Wagenseil.

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