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Jailhouse stories / Brushes with the law
Old 03-30-2004, 09:38 PM   #1
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Jailhouse stories / Brushes with the law

As asked, here is a thread where we can share our brushes with the law, and possibly what we learned from them.

My first brush with the law was at the tender age of 16.

I got a date With Carol E. A very hot gal from a very ritzy yankee town that was friends with a friend. A big score for me, as I was a little on the "wrong side of the tracks" growing up.

We had a nice dinner out (about a months earnings for me), and I took her to a party which featured Wild Turkey based boilermakers.

On the way home I ran out of gas. No really. My big block mustang sucked its last from my gas tank and left us in the middle of freakin nowhere...right in front of a closed gas station at about 11:00 at night.

She wasnt buying the "out of gas" line, and hit the right button "you're a smart guy...figure out a way to get us home...hell...THERES a gas station!".

I pushed the car into the gas station and realizing I had a piece of hose in my trunk that I had used to siphon some gas between friends half dead cars, I pushed it in between a couple of parked "repair" cars.

Got the siphon going and about 1.9 seconds later the police car screamed in, lights blazing.

Carol, god save her, jumped out of the vehicle, whispered "put the hose under the car" and started making out with me on the trunk. She was trying to make it look like a badly planned makeout session. In light of this fast thinking, I might have married her had she not developed a lithium imbalance and tried to stab me in my sleep a year and a half later, mortally wounding my waterbed, but thats another story...

The cops weren't buying it. They had driven by and seen me siphoning and came back around. I wasnt cuffed but I was summarily dragged to the police station for general embarrassment. She had to call her dad, a former Yale football player who could still easily kick my ass, to come get her. I was released "unarrested" but ordered to report for a court hearing. She was ordered to "never see that scumbag again".

After explaining the story, expressing remorse, and begging forgivedness, the judge (actually I think he was just a clerk) "ordered" me to donate $25 to the local boys club and "never do it again".

I deducted the $25 "donation" from my taxes and never siphoned gas again until about 18 months ago when my lawn mower ran out halfway through a mowing, my can was empty and I realized I had just filled up my car. And I was too lazy to drive to the gas station 2 miles away.

Carol, last I heard about her, got "punky" and ended up working for Visa's collection department in Los Angeles; I havent heard from her in about 15 years. Her dad was killed in a freak helicopter accident when his corporate chopper crashed in the mid '80's.

There's a comedian who tells a joke that if he ever has daughters, when their boyfriends come around, he's going to be in the driveway in cammy pants, sharpening a machete, and he's going to tell them "She's inside. You're dropping her back here at 8:00. I have a gun and a shovel and nobody will miss you".

Whenever I hear that line, I think about Carol's dad.

Oh yeah, and I learned to fill up my gas tank before taking my date out and getting her half in the bag.
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Re: Jailhouse stories / Brushes with the law
Old 03-30-2004, 10:00 PM   #2
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Re: Jailhouse stories / Brushes with the law

Okay, I'll save my first jail story for another day. But here is my first reccolection of a brush with the law:

When I was 18, I realized that I was going to be available to be drafted to Vietnam the following year. I decided that I deserved to see the country I was likely to go to war for -- so I gathered together $100, a sleeping bag and a change of clothes and decided to hitchhike around the country. I got from Illinois to Nevada before some law enforcement official decided I was an undesirable that needed to be shown a lesson. He pulled up to the on-ramp I was at in Sparks, Nevada, got out of his patrol car and began to question me. He made me take every item out of my pack (down to taking my toothbrush out of the case) and lay each item down next to each other in a straight line. When I finally satisfied his curiosity, I had my stuff stretched out along the highway for about 100 feeet. He then told me I was free to go but that I better not be there when he came back.

As I started retrieving my belongings, a motorist pulled up and told me to get in because he would give me a ride. I responded that he should go ahead because it was going to take me awhile to collect everything.

"No," he told me. "I've been listening to my police scanner and I just heard that SOB call his buddy and tell him to come back here and do it to you again. Just throw everything in the back seat and we'll sort it out later." I collected everything in a matter of seconds and as we started to drive away, another police car pulled up to where I had been standing and stopped. The officer inside was clearly looking for me.
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Re: Jailhouse stories / Brushes with the law
Old 03-30-2004, 10:21 PM   #3
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Re: Jailhouse stories / Brushes with the law

Sounds like a repeat of "First Blood"

You should have done what Rambo did. Would have made for a good sequel.
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Re: Jailhouse stories / Brushes with the law
Old 03-31-2004, 02:26 AM   #4
 
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Re: Jailhouse stories / Brushes with the law

Although I could write a book on this, I most decline to
participate. It's a very sensitive issue with me. I have so little respect for authority it even bothers me to watch 'COPS' on the tube. Tony Soprano is my hero. Please feel free to carry on without me on this one.

John Galt
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Re: Jailhouse stories / Brushes with the law
Old 03-31-2004, 03:40 AM   #5
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Re: Jailhouse stories / Brushes with the law

Had a neighbor who hinted that he was 'connected' but I always avoided his offers of going favors - lest someday he 'made me an offer I couldn't refuse'. Neighborhood has since gone downhill - at least four policeman and two state patrol have camps, and the area the locals call 'politicians row' has low profile unostentacious camps - all in a ten mile stretch through the swamp.
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Re: Jailhouse stories / Brushes with the law
Old 03-31-2004, 05:52 AM   #6
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Re: Jailhouse stories / Brushes with the law

Never been in jail, never been arrested, never been in handcuffs. I had one moving violation ticket--when I was 17. I have had a few expired tags/inspection tickets, though.

I guess I grew up a boring, sheltered little boy.

Although I haven't had a run-in with the law, it occurs to me that the type of people law enforcement appeals to are the type of guys I dont particularly like being around. (The athoritiarian "biggest dog on the block" self-appointed mayor types.)

The closest thing to a run-in with US law I can think of was when I was about 19. I had rebuilt the front end of my 1970 Chevy Nova, but I didn't have a press to properly seat the ball joints. I noticed that the pressure of gravity worked to pushing the ball joints in and decided to assemble it and drive it with the assumption the weight of the car and bumps in the road would seat the ball joints into the A frame. Well, it didn't work. I checked on it daily and wasn't making progress to seating them. One night I was heading home from work, and the freeway was deserted. I noticed the exit ramps had lines of little reflector bumps in the no-drive area of the fork; I thought the repeated pounding of the tiny bumps would help seat the ball joints. No other cars were in sight, so for several exit ramps I slowed, pulled to the right, drove over the bumps, got back in my lane then accelerated back to freeway speed. Finally a pair of headlights appeared at least a mile or two back, so I stopped doing that and drove normally. The headlights rapidly approached; it was a cop, and he tailgaited me but didn't light me up. He tailgaited me for about 5 miles where another cop or two was on the side of the road. I know a car has no personality, but I swear that cop car looked as if it were ready to pounce, which it did. It jumped out behind the cop following me and they both lit me up and pulled me over. They were very athoritatively cautious, but I was cooperative and had my hands in view with the interior light on. They took me out, gave me a couple of sobriety tests (I had been working, not drinking) and asked me what the hell I was doing. When I explained it to them and showed them my unseated ball joints they just about fell over laughing on the side of the highway. I've never seen cops laugh ilke that. I didn't get a ticket.
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Re: Jailhouse stories / Brushes with the law
Old 03-31-2004, 06:18 AM   #7
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Re: Jailhouse stories / Brushes with the law

Brush with the KGB!

When I was 17 I went to the USSR as a "student ambassador" (just toured; didn't attend classes) as part of the People to People International project. I had never been away from home before. There were delegations from all 50 states. Texas, New Mexico and Arizona traveled together with about 25-50 students including me. We flew from Dallas to Dulles to Heathrow to Helsinki. We spent the night in Helsinki then took the train to Lenningrad.

Before the trip there was much talk about the Russian black market. Things like toilet paper and American blue jeans were said to be worth quite a bit. For some reason many of the U.S. students were interested in Russian military uniforms. 2 years' military service was mandatory for all men in the USSR then, so basically everyone had uniforms. I don't recall taking anything extra to trade, but some guys loaded up on jeans, TP and American memorobelia.

In Leningrad it didn't take long for many of my cotravelers to make contact with Russian traders. My two roommates and I overheard a couple of others make a meeting to meet accross the street from the hotel in an alley at a certain time to trade for military uniforms. Our room's window was directly accross from the alley, and at the agreed meeting time we saw the two Russians in the alley but not our buddies. We 3 were curious, so we decided to go over, talk to the guys and see the uniforms even though none of us really wanted one. One guy who had brought trading supplies loaded his bag in case they had stuff he did want.

The alley accross the street was actually a breezeway into a sqaure apartment building with an open center. We went across the street and met the two Russians. Only one of the three of us knew any Russian, and these guys only spoke Russian. But they took us back down the breezeway toward the center garden and pulled their 2 full Soviet military uniforms from a hiding place and showed them to us. We were oohing and ahhing when a vehicle passed in the street. The Russians absolutey freaked out. In a panic they gathered their stuff, ran into the garden and hid in the bushes. We were 3 17-year old Americans in our first or 2nd day in Soviet Leningrad and were panicked in response. My two buddies followed the Russians and hid with them, I was following but thought "What the hell am I running and hiding for or from?" So I pulled a Coke out of my pocket, turned around and casually started drinking it. (Coca Cola wasn't available to Russian citizens but was available to foreign tourists in foreigner-only stores called Berioskas.) Two army-looking guys rushed into the garden, immediately found the guys in the bushes and started screaming at all of us in Russian and corraling us towards their military-jeep-looking vehicle parked at the end of the breezeway. They put the Russians in, 2 of the 3 of us kept screaming "American! American!" and digging for our hotel cards. (We had to leave our passports at the hotels but were issued hotel cards for ID.) The guy who could speak some Russian tried to talk to the cops in Russian. It appeared for a moment that they wanted to put him in the jeep, too; after all he was speaking Russian, had a gray sweatshirt with a white star--fairly plainly dressed and looking Russian, but something he or we said seemed to convince the army-looking guys and they got in their jeep and drove off with the 2 Russians. The whole episode from panic to drive-off was probably only a minute or two, but it was a long and panicked minute or two!

We later referred to them as KGB when talking about them, but they were probably just regular cops or MP's. But the three of us never got involved in any illegal trading after that!

Come to think of it, we referred to any athority figure as KGB and assumed our tour guides were KGB operatives and spied on us. Ah, to be young and paranoid instead of old and knowing everyone's really out to get you.
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Re: Jailhouse stories / Brushes with the law
Old 03-31-2004, 10:28 AM   #8
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Re: Jailhouse stories / Brushes with the law

Ahhh, I'm really not sure where to start on this one, but let me think. OK, let's start with the open shirt I started with. How did it go, it was a long time ago.....
OK, I had this little old pickup, it was a 2wd ford courier, complete with rust. I had a bunch of buddies with me, three in the back and one in the front. For reasons I MAY reveal later, I had problems with the authorities. They pulled me over:
officer: "Do you know what the speedlimit was on that road ?"
me: "Yes, it was 50 mph"
officer: "Yeah, and how fast were you going ?"
me: "45 mph officer, what is the problem "
officer: "Get out of the vehicle....."

So, I'm 17, got a wise mouth and an attitude to boot
and these guys are harrasing me for no reason. They
search every cigarette pack on the dash, which then,
was alot (quit smoking, cost too much, and I'd rather
be around to annoy people, and those in the know will understand what they were looking for). Then got annoyed that they didn't find anything. All my friends are doing the spread eagle thing around my truck when one of the officers asks me to the back of the truck. Gives me a ration of sh*t, tells me he can arrest me for having my shirt open (button up shirt, late august, I'm 17, hey, I look good). So I say: "OK, arrest me for having my shirt open." I stood there and he looked at me for what was probably five minutes but felt like an hour. Then he said, "Get the f*ck out of here, now." It's tough when you got em' by the b*lls and there are four of your friends (witnesses) watching ! This was one of the early ones, when I was innocent ! To be fair, I did know a couple of very good, fair, "cool" cops, which I may tell stories of later.
-pan-
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Re: Jailhouse stories / Brushes with the law
Old 03-31-2004, 10:34 AM   #9
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Re: Jailhouse stories / Brushes with the law

bigmoneyjim: This was very interesting. I travel alot an d am now reading an old book that came out about 1988. The subject is about a guy who graduated from college and wanted to see Europe, so he had is Pontiac Trans Am shipped overseas so he could drive around (yeah, I know, anyone who has been to Europe knows its much easier without a car, but hey, its a book). Anyway, he drives to Moscow, gets in a bunch of trouble and gets killed by the KGB. The book takes place during
the cold war, and its entertaining and funny. Your episode reminded me of this, glad you made it comrade, uh, I mean, dude !

later,

-pan-
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Re: Jailhouse stories / Brushes with the law
Old 03-31-2004, 04:27 PM   #10
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Re: Jailhouse stories / Brushes with the law

Hmmm, this isn't exactly a brush with the law but it could have easily turned into one.....

It happened in 1972 I think it was. I was out of work but had a little saved up and wasn't looking very hard. I'd recently learned to sail and had got in touch with some guys in Costa Rica who were building a sail boat with the intent of sailing the Pacific for a year or two. Just what my wanderlust decided I needed to do.

We discussed things via mail and eventually agreed that I should drop down for a visit. In order to make my trip less expensive I was told they had connections with the customs officials and that I should bring a few items with me that I could sell for a nice profit. As I recall these included a Polaroid camera with extra film packs, a pocket calculator or two, a small AC/DC TV and some Scotch and cigarettes for the customs guy. Maybe some other things I'm forgetting but all in all plenty to fill my baggage allowance plus all I could handle in carry on.

So the PanAm 747 pulls into the terminal in San Jose, Costa Rica and 200 people get off and enter the customs check area. I can see it now as clear as the day it happened. There I am wondering what to do. All I was told was that the fix was in no duty for me (I'd sent a picture ahead so the customs guy would know who I was) but nobody was approaching me. I hung back and as people cleared out I finally got in line with just a few stragglers behind me. As the couple in front of me cleared customs and I dropped my loot on the table and went to open my suitcase the customs guy did an about face and marched away. At the exact same time a porter I guess you'd call him walked up and
grabbed my suitcase and off we went to the exit where I then saw my friend waiting. Leaving the area meant going up a staircase and about half way up I looked back to see the customs guy returning to the table and starting to inspect the couple who had been behind me.
These two folks were completely dumfounded. They couldn't help by know something VERY STRANGE just happened, but all they could do was stand there staring at me with jaws dropped to the floor. I can just about guarantee you that to this day they tell this unbelievable story to their friends of the "spy" they saw pass unmolested thru customs.

That was my one and only smuggling experience and thinking back on it I realize how it could have turned out very differently. God, was I lucky.
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Re: Jailhouse stories / Brushes with the law
Old 03-31-2004, 04:39 PM   #11
 
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Re: Jailhouse stories / Brushes with the law

A lot of us are "lucky". Martha Stewart was unlucky.
The problem is that your intent to stay clean and out of
the spotlight will become more and more difficult, for you
and everyone else. Orwell's vision did not arrive in
1984, but it is coming. Count on it.

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Re: Jailhouse stories / Brushes with the law
Old 03-31-2004, 05:38 PM   #12
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Re: Jailhouse stories / Brushes with the law

It is indeed.

Look at this web site. For 30 seconds I thought it was cool, then I decided it was incredibly creepy.

http://www.fundrace.org/neighbors.php

You put in your zip code, or more of your address, and it'll tell you who in your neighborhood donated how much to what presidential candidate, their name, where they live, where they work, what their job is, and so forth.

Turns out this is by law public information when you make a donation. Bet most people dont realize when they sent a check off to El Zapo for Presidente that everything about them ends up on a web site...
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Re: Jailhouse stories / Brushes with the law
Old 03-31-2004, 06:16 PM   #13
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Re: Jailhouse stories / Brushes with the law

Pretty amazing how many Dean contributions there were... what a waste of money*.


* this is not a slam of Dean, rather of his inability to get victories with a huge campaign warchest.
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Re: Jailhouse stories / Brushes with the law
Old 03-31-2004, 07:02 PM   #14
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Re: Jailhouse stories / Brushes with the law

Wow. Interesting and disturbing.

What's funny is I live in an apartment complex and apparently nobody within 2 miles contributed!
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Re: Jailhouse stories / Brushes with the law
Old 03-31-2004, 07:45 PM   #15
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Re: Jailhouse stories / Brushes with the law

Lot of Kucinich and Sharpton around here, AND a ton of Dean. Big ones are all Bush though.
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Re: Jailhouse stories / Brushes with the law
Old 03-31-2004, 08:34 PM   #16
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Re: Jailhouse stories / Brushes with the law

My third (and last) close call at a customs check.

The year was 1971, I and my then wife attempted to hitchhike around the Mediterrean Sea. We landed in Rome and hitched up the Italian penninsula, across southern France, all of Spain. crossed the Strait of Gibralter to Algers. We hung out in Marakeesh and other Morrocan cities. We decided to go to the camel market in Goulimee and buy one and a couple hundred lb. blocks of salt to sell in Timboctu.

Summer was approaching and we thught better of it, the caravan sojourn would have been 5 or 6 weeks. So we went west to Al Aieun in what was then Spanish Sahara. By now I was deep tanned wearing desert robes and wearing a turban not too unlike Lawrence of Arabia. We caught a flight to Grand Canaria island and as we approached customs I turned and asked my wife, where the 100 gram block of dark Morrocan 00 hashish was located. (the penalty for such smuggling into Spain was 6 years and 1 day).

She said it was in the small blue flight bag that I just put on the customs table. I zipped opened the bag to reveal the contents to the inspector grabbing the dark block using it as a scrapper, to pull aside the various toiletries so he could see the bottom of the bag and he put a chalk check mark on it and we boarded the plane.

Only later did I feel the adranaline rush of fear. Why did we get away with it? Perhaps the customs effort was to search for guns and forbidden anti-Franco literature, perhaps the agent saw me and my young wife and gave us a break. Who knows?

What of the 1st and 2nd close call? One was at Nicaragua/Guatamala border the year before. A big $8 bribe took care of that one. And the 2nd was at the Texas/Mexico border. A slight of hand as I took off my shirt and a sympathetic customs agent who gave me a phone number of a local lawyer resulted in charges reduced to public intoxication and the loss of a 1/2 day and $300 lawyers fee.

Looking back on this seems like fiction piece by a Hunter Thompson type character... Glad to have grow out of such foolishness, but those the the times we lived in.

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