Odds & Ends: Policeman Cutouts, Nazi Tours, Drug Excuse Note, Pull-Over Blackmail

Odds & Ends: Policeman Cutouts, Nazi Tours, Drug Excuse Note, Pull-Over Blackmail

Devin D. O'Leary
4 min read
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Dateline: England

Thanks to budget cuts, police in South Yorkshire have seen their numbers shrink from 3,289 officers in 2008 to fewer than 2,900 last year. The department came up with a creative solution, however, deploying 280 life-sized cardboard cutouts of policemen in order to deter shoplifting. “The rationale for buying them was based on research indicating previous success at reducing crime. It shows stores are working in partnership with the police to tackle retail crime and puts at the forefront of potential thieves’ minds the issue that police may be nearby,” a police spokesperson told London’s
Daily Mirror. Police say the cutouts have been effective at deterring petty crime, reducing shoplifting in some areas by as much as 50 percent. They also admit that the $40 “paper PCs” have recently become the target of theft themselves, with a number of the cutouts disappearing from shop doorways or foyers.

Dateline: Sweden

A Swedish ferry line is rethinking its retro-style ad campaign after trying to lure passengers on a nostalgia visit to the Germany and Poland of the 1940s. Stena’s direct mail advertising campaign was designed to target potential customers based on their decade of birth—from the ’40s through the ’60s. The pitch to the folks born during World War II began, “Hooray, you were born in the 1940s!” It went on to say, “This was a delightful decade when lots of fun things happened.” Since the campaign debuted, a number of people have questioned just how much fun Germany and Poland were during the Nazi era. Stena executives have apologized for the “unfortunate wording” and say the company will be rewriting the campaign.

Dateline: Arizona

An alleged drug courier lost $20,000 worth of cash belonging to a drug cartel, so he asked the police to write him an excuse note. The
Arizona Daily Star reports 30-year-old Demarco Alonzo Thomas of North Carolina was passing through the Tucson International Airport when he told Airport Authority Police he had lost the cartel’s money. Fearing for his life, he asked an officer to write a note to the local Mafia saying airport police had seized their money. Thomas figured if he had a receipt from police, cartel members might be less likely to execute him. Thomas’ plan went awry, however, when police searched him—finding $17,000 in a pair of blue jeans and another $3,000 in his wallet. He was arrested and booked in Pima County Jail on suspicion of money laundering and racketeering. Thomas allegedly told police he was paid $1,000 for each suitcase full of drug money he flew in from North Carolina.

Dateline: North Carolina

Police in Myrtle Beach say a woman wouldn’t pull over for police, then called 911 and offered to stop—if they paid her $300,000. According to the
Sun News, Brunswick County sheriff’s deputies attempted to pull over a vehicle driven by 37-year-old Jennifer Herring around 11:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 10. The sheriff’s office report said Herring was driving about 70 mph in a 45 mph zone. Instead of pulling over, Herring took off, leading police on a 15-minute chase. At one point, she called 911 on her cell phone and told dispatchers she would pull over for $300,000. Eventually she wound up in a dead-end cul de sac, pulled into a private driveway and was arrested. Herring was charged with driving while impaired, felony fleeing to elude arrest, driving with a revoked license, careless and reckless driving and driving left of center. She also received a charge of failing to appear in court in an unrelated case for driving while impaired.

Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. Email your weird news to devin@alibi.com.

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