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How The World Wags

By Dave Kiffer

February 26, 2005

Ketchikan, Alaska - Thanks to the generosity of Sitnews readers, the fun just never stops! Here are some more stories of folks from Ketchikan's history who were both foolish and felonious!

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A lot of y'all seem to think that the current case in which a local person is charged with allegedly importing drugs to pay off his bail is deserving for inclusion in the clueless criminal hall of shame, especially since the same individual seems to have taken out ads - prior to the alleged drug importation - seeking other folks who have been "mistreated" by the local constabulatory. All I can say is that the jury remains out on this one. We need to wait to see what the final disposition is before we know for sure. It pays to remember that charges are just charges, no matter how "classic.".

Fortunately, there are plenty of other stories that have stood the test of time.

 A former Ketchikan resident reports there was yet another incident of a criminal not thinking through to the "clean getaway" portion of the crime when knocking off a downtown liquor store many years ago. He dashed out of the store, down an alley and right into the arms of the police who were responding from the police station.

That former resident also admitted to an interesting jail break that occurred while he himself was spending a little R and R time at the jail in the downtown Federal Building.

It seems that someone smuggled in a hack saw blade and that two inmates cut the latch off the side door to the one of the public rooms and then threatened the jailer with a bar of soap in a sock! They got the keys and then opened all the cells and invited the other inmates to join them. It was an unusually bright group of "residents" at that point. There apparently weren't any other takers for the "escape."

The two inmates continued their caper and stole a boat to go home to Prince of Wales Island. Naturally, they stole a boat that just happened to belong to the Chief of Police. The police borrowed a helicopter and were waiting on POW when the jail-breakers arrived. The final irony was that the escapees were in jail for less than six months, but the mandatory escape sentence added a year to their stay. They probably also got some time tacked on for destroying jail property and the boosting the chief's boat as well.

The unlucky escapees also allegedly tossed the jail keys in Ketchikan Creek during the escape and the keys were never found. Reportedly it was the only set of keys, so the remaining inmates were on the "honor" system for a week until a new set was made!

A former officer of the law in our fair Salmon City reports that a burglary suspect back in the 1960s spent a little bit too much time watching the pursuit than trying to make a clean getaway.

Police found the miscreant allegedly burglarizing a store on Stedman and he decided to make a run for it (why is it that people think there is anywhere they can run here? We're on an island for gosh sakes!) A foot chase began but the alleged perp kept turning his head to see if the cops were gaining.

Eventually, he turned his head one time too many and ran full speed into a light pole, thus ending the chase. When he came to, he assumed the officer had caught him and knocked him out. "What did you hit me with?" he asked.

The officer had trouble keeping a straight face when answering "a telephone pole."

And just to show that sometimes the police themselves aren't always the smartest, the former cop also reports that once there was a rookie police officer - not him, of course - who tempted fate at a local restaurant.

All the police knew to avoid the restaurant because the proprietress - well know for her chili - allegedly didn't like cops to spend time in her place because it put a crimp in her activities that didn't involve food and drink.

But the new guy made point of making sure everyone knew he wasn't worried.

Well, a little while later he didn't show at the end of shift or up for work next day, so his fellow officers decided to check on him at his place in one of the local hotels. The officers found him very, very, very, very indisposed in the bathroom. He was alive, but in pretty bad shape. They took him to the hospital where it was determined that he had gone into the restaurant for a "free" cup of coffee which had been allegedly spiked with a very, very, very strong laxative.

After he was treated and released from the hospital, he immediately - obviously he was pretty fast acting too - turned in his badge and headed south.

And - finally - this from the recent "roast" of a former local judge: It seems the judge was asked to arraign a miscreant who was charged with being drunk in public - back when that was - God forbid - still a crime. The arraignment was taking place in August and the alleged alcoholic absorber told the judge he was just doing his "patriotic duty" to celebrate the 4th of the July.

When the judge informed him that it was August not early July, the logger looked shocked. "Oh my Gawd," he reportedly slurred. "I'm really late for work."

As always, if you have any other juicy accounts of clueless criminality, drop a dime!


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Dave Kiffer ©2004

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