Lead Story

Macio Aquino, 20, had a friend shoot him in the arm with a .25-caliber pistol in Redwood City, California, in December. He decided that appearing to be a victim of a shooting would defuse his girlfriend’s wrath after he had forgotten to pick her up as promised at a doctor’s office. A police spokesman said Aquino bled profusely and nearly died of shock.

People Who Won’t Take No for an Answer

Tracy Jay Jones, 24, was sentenced in December to 40 years in prison in Dallas for two assaults on an adult bookstore. During the first, he accidentally shot himself in the genitals while pocketing his gun, aborting the robbery but escaping. The next night, with a homemade bandage on the wound, he hobbled back into the same store and robbed it, but two days later he was arrested.

According to a San Antonio home owner’s November court testimony, a group of men continued over several months to throw used tires into his yard until there were about 10,000 of them, to a height of eight feet. They came back night after night, and when the owner, Johnny Crawford, 57, would try to stop them, they would beat him up.

In October, Seattle police took three brothers (ages seven, eight, and nine) into custody for turning in a false fire alarm. During the ensuing several hours, as police tried to locate their parents, the boys disrupted station-house business by yelling, screaming, brandishing and stabbing each other with plastic knives, stabbing officers with those knives while they drove the boys through town looking for their house, sticking chewing gum to themselves and the squad car, locking themselves in a rest room and writing on the walls, swinging pool cues and throwing billiard balls in the station lounge, banging on their cells when they were finally locked up, and throwing metal objects at cell windows in attempts to break out. When their father arrived, he said he had been having trouble with the boys lately.

Least Competent People

In September, police in Van Nuys, California, allowed inmate Dennis John Alston, arrested for forgery, to be bailed out with an exact copy of the forged $1,500 cashier’s check that had gotten him arrested in the first place.

Lloyd Walter Dickerson, 36, was arrested for a clumsy bank-robbery attempt in Baltimore in January. He exploded first a smoke bomb, then a homemade bomb inside the bank, shattering windows, damaging the ATM, and angering customers. As Dickerson made his getaway on foot, incensed customers chased him down, aided by a police officer who had seen smoke billowing from the bank.

Latest poor disguise: Eugene “Butch” Flenough Jr. of Austin, Texas, an accused hit man who was sought in the robbery of a pizza restaurant, disguised his identity during the robbery with a motorcycle helmet that had “Butch” and “Eugene Flenough Jr.” printed on it.

University of Cincinnati graduate student Tajiwder Brar, 27, was charged with arson after allegedly setting fire to seven racks that sell the campus newspaper. Police said he was upset that a $90 ad he had placed in the newspaper to sell his new book had brought no response at all. However, the display ad for his book, The Emotional Generator, contained only a cryptic description (“In the U.S.A., in the East, about the philosophy of your life on this planet only”) and contained no information about how to acquire copies of the book.

Born to Fail

A Milwaukee judge sentenced Ronald Garske, 24, to four and a half years in prison for drunk driving and endangering his three-year-old son, who was in the car when Garske tried to outrun police at 100 miles an hour and flipped his car over in an April incident. In court, Garske defended himself by saying: “Hey, it’s not like I’m running or hiding. I did show up today; not all people would have showed up.”

Michael S. Doughty, 24, was arrested in Portland, Maine, in November after he broke into a warehouse, drove off in a forklift, and rode without headlights up and down a street outside the warehouse until police arrived.

Robert Chambers, New York’s convicted “preppie” murderer, twice caught with marijuana since being imprisoned, filed a lawsuit claiming that prison rules impede his enrollment in a college program that would allow him to train as a drug counselor.

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