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AKA Clueless, Part 2
By Dave Kiffer

February 05, 2005

Ketchikan, Alaska - I was pretty sure that last week's column on clueless criminals in Ketchikan history would jog a few brain cells and, sure enough, I received several emails and phone calls suggesting other mentally muddled miscreants worthy of note.

jpg Dave Kiffer Ketchikan

A life long resident reminded me of an incident that happened in the late 1930s. A man robbed one of the bars near Thomas Basin and immediately highjacked a fishing boat to "take him to Canada."

It was a pretty slow boat and by the time it got up to speed and cleared the entrance to the harbor, a speed boat with two police officers was approaching. The crook/cretin quickly decided that if the gun wasn't on him, the police couldn't connect him to the bar robbery crime.

But rather than just toss the gun into Tongass Narrows, he waved the gun in the fisherman's face and told him he had to tell the police it was his gun. The fisherman quickly agreed and the robber then handed him the gun. The fisherman then held the robber at gunpoint until the speedboat caught up and he could turn the gun and the clueless criminal over the to the police.

A couple of different readers noted that smoking pot can make you a stupid criminal. Their case in point was an incident a couple of years ago on one of the state ferries. It seems that when the ferry arrived in Ketchikan, police searched a car and found more than 100 pounds of marijuana stashed inside.

What tipped them off? The driver of the car left six half-smoked joints in an ashtray in his stateroom and one of the steward alerted the authorities.

Cars and pot, of course, don't mix. Another reader reported that, several years ago, Ketchikan police pulled over a young man and found pot in his car. The man said he had just purchased the car and that the pot must have belonged to the previous owner. The police told him to "tell it to the judge," who just happened to be the previous owner!

A former Ketchikan policeman sent in the following two classic clueless criminal stories.

The first involved a Seattle drug dealer who was selling out of a local motel. The local dealers thought he was cutting in on their action and they reported him to the police. On short notice, the KPD was unable to line up someone to pose as a buyer, so they used an unusual approach to getting the drugs out of circulation.

At shift change they went to the motel, found the room he was in, and set up officers outside the room's window and the front door. One of the officers called the room and told the dealer he was about to get busted and the cops where approaching his room. He opened the window and threw the drugs out....right into the arms of the waiting officers.

Since officers didn't have a warrant they couldn't arrest the dealer but they did confiscate the drugs and his paraphernalia. This put the dealer in a bit of a bind because he had reportedly taken the drugs to be sold on "consignment" and the original owners were awaiting payment. Since he hadn't been arrested he couldn't explain why he no longer had the drugs.

He actually went to the DA, the police and the local judge and literally begged to be arrested, but no dice. Finally, the police escorted him to the airport.

He was arrested on arrival in Seattle for a probation violation, but he also likely still had to answer to his suppliers where ever they where.

The other incident involved a lawbreaker who took things a little too literally.

He was spotted walking out of a downtown bar with a drink in his hand (a violation). The gentleman looked up and saw the police officer and immediately put the glass in his shirt pocket and closed his coat. He continued to walk down the street.

The officer approached him and told him "dump the drink out, in his pocket." The officer meant for the lawbreaker to dump out the drink that was in his pocket, but the gentleman followed the order exactly. He opened his coat, took the drink out and dumped it - ice cubes and all - into his pocket. Then he handed the empty glass to the officer and smiled.

The officer managed to keep a straight face, but only until he made it back to the safety of his squad car, where he dissolved into laughter.

Any more tales of terminally "tetched" transgressors out there? Send them in. We'll do another round up in the future.


Related Column:

AKA Clueless - Last week, I was reading one of those "stupid criminal" stories (man tries to rob donut shop in Cleveland and doesn't notice three uniformed police officers sitting at one of the tables!) and it got me thinking about the stories I've heard of local criminals who were a "few credits short of a law degree." - More...
Saturday - January 29, 2005

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Dave Kiffer ©2004

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