Odds & Ends
A gang of inept smash-and-grab robbers screwed up a major heist by successfully escaping but forgetting to take the loot with them. Spanish police say some hooded thieves crashed a van into a courier service warehouse vault and ran off with sacks of valuables. The criminals fled to their getaway car, an Audi, but crashed into another car as they tried to merge onto a Madrid highway. The four thieves then hijacked another vehicle at gunpoint. No one was hurt, but the thieves did make a successful getaway. Unfortunately for them, they left the sacks of stolen goods in the back seat in the damaged Audi. Courier service SEUR placed the value of the stolen goods at no more than 50,000 euros ($67,000). Local newspapers speculated the loot—which allegedly included diamonds and Rolex watches—was worth considerably more.
A particularly lousy bank robber was arrested after he returned to the scene of his failed crime to withdraw some money. Police say the 39-year-old suspect tried to rob a Wells Fargo in Chamblee at gunpoint. Around 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 28, the suspect handed the cashier a note saying, “Give me money or we start shooting.” Speaking to reporters, Chamblee Police Chief Marc Johnson said, “Obviously, feeling safe behind the bulletproof glass, the teller just stepped back and the individual left without any money.” After leaving the bank, the man was spotted jumping into a taxi cab. The cab took him back to his getaway vehicle where he realized he had no money to pay the taxi driver. The female taxi driver blocked in the man’s car and called police. The officer “just convinced the guy that you need to get some money and pay your bill or else you'll end up in trouble,” Police Chief Johnson explained. Unfortunately, the nearest place to withdraw money was the bank he had just tried to rob. After being escorted back by the police officer, the man was recognized by employees. He was promptly arrested and charged with attempted robbery.
Police and school officials locked down two adjacent schools for two hours after someone received a phone text reading, “gunman be at west hall today.” According to the Gainesville Times, the text was sent by a student at West Hall High School who intended to write, “gunna be at west hall today.” Unfortunately, the auto-correct function on the unnamed student’s phone altered the message. “It was a combination of odd circumstances,” Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks of the Hall County Sheriff’s Office, told the newspaper. “We want to emphasize that the recipient did the right thing in reporting the message.” The high school and middle school stayed in lockdown from noon to 1:45 p.m. Superintendent Will Schofield praised his school team members and assured the community that, “We will always err on the side of caution when it comes to the safety of our boys and girls.”
On Monday, Feb. 27, 64-year-old Elvis impersonator Michael Conley locked himself inside a Fort Pierce motel along with his 28-year-old son and refused to surrender to police who had come to arrest him for an outstanding warrant. Authorities say Conley held up a vial filled with white powder, claiming it was the deadly poison Ricin. He also claimed to have C-4 explosives inside his room at the Best Value Inn near Interstate 95. After a four-hour standoff with state and local police, the FBI and a SWAT team, Conley surrendered, telling the Miami Herald the incident was all the result of diabetes. “I apologize to the public,” Conley said in a jailhouse interview. “I was disoriented.” Conley admitted that the deadly Ricin was merely table salt and that there were no explosives in the room. Conley said he lost his composure due to a diabetic reaction, but felt much better after his son cooked him some oatmeal in the motel room. Conley first made headlines in 1990 when he was convicted of murdering a Canadian tourist in a Fort Lauderdale motel room. He became famous for doing renditions of Elvis songs outside the courtroom. His conviction was eventually overturned due to a procedural error on the part of prosecutors. Police initially went looking for Conley at the Best Value Inn to question him about a stolen car. He is being held in the St. Lucie County Jail on charges of possession of a hoax weapon of mass destruction, resisting an officer without violence and conspiring to deal in stolen property.