Bad move: Asking a police officer for gas money when you're a fugitive from the law.
Two men and a woman wanted in Seattle for murder were arrested by cops while driving a stolen car last Thursday after they got out and asked a plainclothes Oregon State Police trooper for a few bucks for gas, according to The News-Review.
"It was a combination of luck, absolute stupidity on the part of some criminals and good police work," OSP Lt. Doug Ladd, told The News-Review.
According to police, the foolish fugitives pulled into a Chevron station at the Rice Hill exit of Interstate 5 at about 9:15 a.m. in a slain Seattle man's silver 2002 BMW 325 coupe.
The thick threesome then made the stupid decision to park one space away from a marked OSP cruiser — and directly next to an unmarked OSP Ford Expedition, police said.
A suspect later identified as Douglas Freeman, 31, from Portland, then allegedly approached Senior Trooper Nick Neville in the unmarked Ford Expedition and asked him for gas money.
It seemed quite strange to Neville and his partner, Trooper Brandon Boice, that a group driving around in a BMW would be begging for cash from other drivers.
"These were scruffy people who didn't fit with the vehicle," Ladd told the News-Review.
The pair ran a background check on the car and it came back as stolen: Taken from a 57-year-old man found stabbed to death Wednesday in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Seattle.
The troopers swarmed on the fugitives — identified as Freeman, Richard Dwayne Schuler, 32, described as a Seattle-area transient, and Ashley Nichole Boggess, 21, also from Portland — taking them without incident.
It's still the subject of chortling at the station how easily the suspects fell into the hands of police, Ladd said.
"You can't make this stuff up," he told The News-Review, laughing.
Seattle detectives told Ladd that Jones will be charged in Washington with murder and Freeman and Boggess will be charged with rendering assistance.
— Thanks to Out There readers Becky R. and Tom D.
Thief Grows Tired of a Life of Crime
The bedtime story of Goldilocks has been given a new chapter — and this one might come with a very long sentence.
A 33-year-old Louisville, Ky., woman faces felony charges for burglary and criminal mischief after an alleged early morning crime spree in Elizabethtown — police say she was found asleep at the scene of the crime, according to local WAVE 3 News.
It seems even E-Town, well known as one of Kentucky's sleepiest, can't escape from crime; but at least the crook lived up to the town's rep.
Police say business owner Garrek Luken arrived at his West Side Auto Sales lot around 9 a.m. on Dec. 9 to find cars vandalized, windows smashed and the office tossed around.
Luken then allegedly discovered Donna Cruse sleeping at the scene while he was on the phone describing the damage to police.
The owner "stated to the dispatcher, 'she's asleep in my chair,'" E-Town Police Sgt. Tim Cleary told WAVE 3 News.
Luken told WAVE 3 Cruse "had about three of my coats on, bundled up, asleep."
He woke Cruse trying to get some answers, but "she was so out of it. I mean, she was real bad. I just told her to 'go back to sleep, the police will be here in a minute,'" Luken told WAVE 3.
The cops say their new Goldilocks had stolen a car from Jeffersonville, Ind., the night of Dec. 10 and they'd been looking for her ever since.
"It's a lot easier for us," Cleary told WAVE 3 of Cruse's nap. "At least they don't run."
Police have charged Cruse with burglary and criminal mischief as well as possession of drug paraphernalia for a meth pipe they allegedly found in the stolen car.
— Thanks to Out There reader Elizabeth H.
What Goes Around, Comes Around
John Jefferson returned to Kingsport, Tenn., last month to repay a Krispy Kreme Doughnuts store in full that he'd robbed to support a drug habit, according to the Kingsport Times-News.
"After I robbed the place [in 1999] I went to get some dope, and I couldn't even get high. I couldn't even enjoy it" because his conscience bothered him, Jefferson told the paper.
Jefferson said he moved to Kansas after the robbery — but guilt was eating at him until he decided to fess up.
"I called [Kingsport Police Department Detective David Cole] up and told him I was the guy. My conscience ... I couldn't take it anymore. I was sick and tired of the way I was living. I didn't want to die in a crack house, and I didn't want to smoke crack anymore," he told the Kingsport Times-News.
The Krispy Kreme bandit's attorney worked out a plea deal while he sat in prison for several months: plead guilty to the robbery and get six years in prison.
After he did his time, Jefferson drove to Kingsport more than once to pay back Krispy Kreme but kept doing a doughnut and driving back home, he said.
"I made a decision to do it, so I called [Detective] David Cole to ask how much it was. I couldn't even remember how much money I got from them," he told the Kingsport Times-News.
Cole told Jefferson he had stolen $300 — but then the Krispy Kreme ex-con said he was scared to go alone, even with the victim knowing he was coming.
"I was afraid, so I asked David [Cole] to go with me. The lady said it was $300, but I gave her $400," he told the paper.
The woman told the former doughnut delinquent to make his check out to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis instead of to the business, Jefferson said.
"I felt like a million bucks when I walked out of that place," he told the paper.
— Thanks to Out There reader Sharon M.
That's One Way to Add Some Fun to Spelunking!
HARTSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Investigators described a marijuana-growing operation discovered inside a cave in Trousdale County as something out of a James Bond movie.
"It's pretty amazing what they had under there — water for irrigation, special lighting, devices to keep the humidity just right.
These guys were professionals. They knew what they were doing," said District Attorney General Tommy Thompson of Hartsville.
The cave was beneath a stylish A-frame home where authorities say three men were able to grow as much as 100 pounds of marijuana every eight weeks.
"They could grow in 60 days what it would take four and a half months to grow outside," Thompson said. "It's just unbelievable what they've done. It's like something out of a James Bond movie."
Arrested on Wednesday were Brian Gibson and Greg Compton, while a third man, Fred Strunk, was arrested near Gainesville, Fla.
All three are in jail, with Gibson and Compton being held in the Trousdale County Jail. Bail was set for Gibson and Compton at $5 million, while Strunk's was set at $15 million, Thompson said. Local authorities were in Florida on Saturday to return Strunk to Tennessee.
The investigation began about five years ago when a home was built above the cave, but it never appeared anyone lived there, Thompson said.
"The front of the cave used to be a hole that you'd crawl into, and it opened up into a pretty big room that was 20-feet high. They cut the side of the hill so you could just drive right into the cave," he said.
The cave, reached from the house via secret entrances, is said to be about two miles long, but the marijuana operation was located about 100 yards inside. Thompson said the other end of the cave had been blocked to keep trespassers out.
According to the prosecutor, the men told locals they were going to be mining statuary rock.
To harvest the illegal crop, Thompson said the men would hire a half-dozen Hispanic workers in Arizona and drive them to Tennessee. For part of the journey the windows on the van would be covered so the workers did not know where they were.
"They would drive right into the cave and let them out to begin working," Thompson said.
Looks Like the Bedbugs Are Biting This Year
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — If you thought bedbugs were just the stuff of bedtime rhymes, talk to Ralph Blumenthal.
Blumenthal, operations manager of Atlantic Pest Solutions in Arundel, went about three decades without getting a call about bedbugs. Now he's getting several calls a week from people all across Maine complaining about the bloodsucking insects.
"Bedbugs, for all intents and purposes, had been wiped out," said Blumenthal. "In the last four or five years, the problem has really taken off."
The common bedbug — a flat, oval quarter-inch insect that feeds on the blood of humans and other animals — is making a comeback in Maine and across the country.
In Portland, municipal building inspectors and public health agents have gotten 30 calls this year about bedbugs from tenants in various apartment complexes, up from just five complaints in 2004. City officials have launched a public information campaign to fight a problem they say could very well get worse.
City officials said there is a certain stigma attached to having bedbugs, meaning some people won't report having an infestation.
Instead, they might dispose of infested clothing, bedding or furniture in a way that simply spreads the problem, such as putting it on the curb, giving it away or selling it to a secondhand store.
"Sometimes people don't tell us if they have an infestation," said Mark Adelson, deputy director of the Portland Housing Authority. "Then they move out and someone else moves in and that person has to deal with it."
The bedbug, Cimex lectularius, isn't known to carry disease, but the critter is annoying and resilient. Bedbugs don't fly or hop, but they do move and multiply quickly and can go for more than a year between feedings, during which time they often crawl away and hide in dark places such as mattress seams and headboard crevices, or behind baseboards and loose wallpaper.
When bedbugs bite, some people get welt-like bite marks, similar to flea or mosquito bites, but others have no reaction.
Experts blame the bedbug's return on less-effective pesticides and increased foreign travel.
They say pest-control companies for years have used treatments targeted to specific pests such as roaches or rats, but not against bedbugs. As a result, killing them usually requires multiple applications of sprayed or powered chemicals similar to those used for fleas.
When bedbugs are active, they can hitch rides on clothes, in suitcases, on furniture-delivery trucks or on airplanes.
The important thing, experts agree, is to recognize and treat the problem early and often.
"This is the hottest bug issue in more than a generation," said Michael Potter, a University of Kentucky entomology professor and bedbug expert.
Run, Forrest, Run!
STREETSBORO, Ohio (AP) — Tired of the run-around at his corporate job, Craig Holcomb opted for another kind of foot race.
Holcomb left his job as the chief financial officer at Little Tikes, sold his home and spent the past year on the road with his dog, Tonka, pursuing a goal of completing 50 marathons in 50 states.
"There are three people that I know of that have done this," Holcomb said. "There are clubs out there called 50-state clubs, but these people run the marathons in a lifetime."
Holcomb completed his goal in 50 weeks.
"The things I got to see, and the people I got to meet — it was a real opportunity," Holcomb said. "I count my blessings every day that I got to do something like this."
The running started Jan. 2 in Mobile, Ala., and ended Sunday in South Carolina. He ran 48 marathons (26.2 miles) and two ultra marathons (about 31 miles) in all.
"I spent so much time getting to one place in my job, and then looking at what I have to do to get to the next level. It was very stressful," he said. "I just have to take some time off and get a new balance on life, so I combined the two things I love to do: running and traveling."
The 38-year-old found that logistics were a challenge. A couple of the marathons he entered were canceled and some had lotteries that he didn't win.
There were five weekends he didn't run, forcing him to run back to back marathons five times.
"That was tough," he said. "I would run one race and then have to do one the next day."
He ran most of the marathons in four hours, and although he was focused mainly on finishing, he won two — one in South Dakota and one in Kentucky.
Holcomb ran some races hurt after injuring his knee earlier in the year and his hip during the summer. He limped through about 10 miles of one race.
"I haven't discovered a cure for blisters," he said.
Compiled by FOXNews.com's Andrew Hard.
Got a good "Out There" story in your hometown? We'd like to know about it. Send an e-mail with a Web link (we need to authenticate these things) to firstname.lastname@example.org.