Lead Story

A 62-year-old woman pleaded guilty to stealing about 500 pieces of mail from her neighbors’ mailboxes in Roanoke, Virginia, in November–her third such offense in five years. Although she’d been found sane and competent for trial, she was diagnosed as having an “irresistible impulse” to steal mail, so the judge kept her confined to her home after her arrest, except on Sundays, when mail isn’t delivered.

Police Blotter

Police in New York City arrested Paul Keller, 30, in October and accused him of being the “snacking bandit” who’d been robbing homes in Queens and raiding the refrigerator before leaving. Detectives following the 11 snacking bandit cases between April and June note that witnesses described the bandit as weighing 170 pounds in April, 175 pounds in May, and 180 pounds in June.

In September, according to police in New Canaan, Connecticut, someone removed the tires from a car parked at a commuter-train station, stole the brakes, and put the tires back on. And in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, in May, Shirley and Rick Wheeler reported their driveway missing–thieves had removed all the gravel and plowed the ground beneath it.

In August police in Rutland, Vermont, and Piscataway, New Jersey, charged men with assault for head butting women. The latter case involved the president of the local school board, who allegedly was fighting over what kind of bread should be used in a sandwich.

After John W. Tay was arrested for burglary in El Cajon, California, in November, he told police that he’d felt so bad about breaking the victims’ window that he left $50 on the floor to pay for it. Police returned to the scene and confirmed Tay’s story.

Houston police officer Santos Nari, 28, was indicted in October for sexual assault. While on duty he encountered two amorous couples in a park and allegedly told them that he’d have to examine the females’ sex organs to determine whether they’d been having sex.

In June a small amount of cash was taken from the local Crime Stoppers office in Saint John’s, Newfoundland. And in May one of the accountants employed by the Scotland Yard in London was accused of embezzling about $8 million from an undercover operations fund over an eight-year period.

Family Values

The mother and stepfather of an 11-year-old girl in Dallas were arrested in August and charged with crimes against the girl. The man was charged with several counts of sexual assault, and the mother was charged with failing to report child abuse. According to police, the stepfather had a three-year sexual relationship with the girl, and the mother declined to confront him, choosing instead to arrange for the girl to receive a Norplant implant so she wouldn’t get pregnant.

In August Joy Glassman, 60, was charged with arson in Mount Shasta, California, in connection with five fires dating back to June, 1994. According to police, Glassman set the fires to help the career of her son, Jason Robertson, a Mount Shasta firefighter.

A 28-year-old man in Renton, Washington, was arraigned in September for unlawfully imprisoning his two sons, ages eight and seven, inside their expensively furnished, immaculate apartment while he was at work. According to a witness, the home was “like a showroom”; all cabinets and canisters were labeled and the cabinets padlocked. The kids were supposedly subject to a beating if the father found anything amiss. When a police officer who rescued the boys tracked tiny pieces of leaves into the apartment, the boys immediately got on the floor, picked up each speck, and smoothed out the carpet.

Unclear on the Concept

Convicted killer Winston Moseley, 61, appealed for sympathy at his parole board hearing in August by saying the suffering of his three victims was only “a one-minute affair, but for the person who’s caught, it’s forever.”

Inmate Travis Nelms, 22, who’d been locked up for the ninth time since 1992, wrote a letter to the Times-News in Kingsport, Tennessee, exposing local jail conditions by saying, “We the inmates here at the Sullivan County Jail [are] concerned that here we all [are] treated as criminals.”

Charles Mahuka, who ran an anger-counseling seminar in Honolulu, was charged in October in connection with the death of Miguel Gonzalez, who came late and inebriated to a session. The two argued and Mahuka punched Gonzalez, who lapsed into a coma and died.

In October Lisa Lind, 26, pulled alongside a truck that she apparently thought was moving too slowly and held an aluminum baseball bat out her car window, taking several futile swipes at the truck. When police in Tustin, California, arrested her they noticed her license plate, “PEACE 95.” Said an officer, “She told me she got it because she thought there was so much violence going on in today’s society.”

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Shawn Belschwender.