31 January 2013

Boots On The Ground In Chicago

CBS Chicago reporter, Dana Kozlov caught a man, on camera, putting a wheel clamp on his own car and eventually got him to explain himself.  "Rafal" puts the Denver Boot on his '94 Integra everytime he parks on the street and even when he parks it in his garage, to prevent it being stolen.  The Integra is one of the most popular prom dates for car thieves. 

Most people view the dreaded "boot" as something to avoid.  It is associated with draconian parking regulations and bloodsucking city "revenooers."  But the wheel muffs seem to have a beneficial use.

30 January 2013

Not In My Job Description

I used to install security systems for Brinks, as a sub-contractor.  My friend Danny J. got me started doing it and I would do two installs a day.  I'd begin about 7:30 in the morning and finish up ten or twelve hours later.  

I'd eat a sack lunch in my van while driving between jobs.  I worked by myself .  Brinks paid me $100 per system install and $10 to $20 per extra sensor beyond the basic package.  The basic package was three door sensors, one motion detector, one siren, one keypad, the alarm panel, and power transformer and a telephone connection.  

28 January 2013

Sandy Hook, part three, possible outcomes

Prior to the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut,  the Sandy Hook Elementary School installed some new security measures:  an electric lock, intercom and video camera at the front door.  After students arrive the door locks at 9:30 AM and thereafter, a person seeking admittance will have to talk to the officemarm and be buzzed in. 
Such equipment might keep out the mild-mannered Fred Rogers but what if the person huffing and puffing at the door is more like the Big Bad Wolf?  What then little pig?  Is your house made of bricks, or straw?

27 January 2013

It Is Good To Be The Kingston

So let me get this straight.  An FBI Special Agent and an Assistant US Attorney go joyriding in a rare Ferrari,  being held by the FBI, and total the car seconds after exiting the parking lot, and the Department of Justice says they don't have to pay for it...

...and a federal judge agrees?  

Does that sound right to you?  Did they promise the judge a ride in the next exotic sportscar that makes it to their lot?

24 January 2013

The Curse of Noone's Garage

I set up a booby-trap once to surprise the kid sneaking into my garage.  This was years before I got into the security system business.  I lived in a rented house in south-east Portland and kept my supplies and tools in the back of the garage. 

At that time I did repairs for property owners.  The garage was separate from the house, and old and made of wood.  There were windows on the west side and east side, about three feet off the ground.  A lot of the glass was missing so the windows were boarded up.

One afternoon, I noticed sunlight sniggering at me through the pried-off boards of one of the windows.  Someone had entered and skulked about my paint cans and glazing putty.  Nothing was missing, but I was still angry.  I felt desecrated—the ghost of Tutankhamen could not have felt more desecrated, than I.  He had a curse protecting his property, though.  Being not as well versed in the supernatural as he, I had to make do with available materials.

23 January 2013

Maybe He Voted In The Presidential Election, Also

The long arm of the law is long indeed if it can reach from beyond the grave and pinch red light runners in Baltimore, Maryland. 

You see, every automated traffic ticket must be reviewed and signed by a sworn officer, but the signature is usually a paste-on graphic file and is affixed to the ticket with the click of a mouse button.  But still, a live finger is needed to click that button, even one time.  But what we have here is a finger that clicked that button two thousand times, even while it was miles away and moldering six feet under ground.

20 January 2013

Sandy Hook, part two, 20 seconds

I figure the adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School had twenty seconds to respond to the armed intruder on December 14th, if they were going to save any of the children in their care.  That's all the time it would have taken Mr. Adam Lanza to step through the shattered front door and walk to the nearest classroom and start firing and killing first-graders. 

It took him a little longer than that because Principal Hochsprung and Mary Sherlach got in his way...but not for long.  He just shot them dead and continued on.  

12 January 2013

He'll Just Get a Job at the US Postal Service

What has a  fireplace, a hundred foil packets stained with cocaine residue and 300 unissued parking tickets?  

Give up? 

The home of Sal Mungia of the Chicago Police Department.  He was being evicted in August of 2005 when deputy sheriffs discovered the foil packets littering the bedroom floor and also stacks of the tickets on the mantelpiece. 


Remedial Plates for Red Light Cameras That Can't Read

Florida's comely vehicle registration plate with the two-oranges design may be replaced in two years time.  State officials want more of that red light and toll booth camera revenue and so the pretty is being sacrificed to the practical. 

It seems the raised letters and numbers on the current plate are too confusing for WAll-E to recognize.  Flat black letters and less ornamentation are being comtemplated.

Police Ground Power Pole

Finally, a good use for Photo Radar.

For two years a forty year-old Polish man was siphoning electrical power from a speed camera near his house in Mragowo, a town north of Warsaw.  Piotr W. tapped into the ticket camera using an extension cord buried two feet underground in December of 2007.  Seems he was powering his neighbor, also. 

Police photo of Polish camera tapCops tumbled to the theft when unusually high electricity bills were noticed.  An officer sent to investigate discovered the buried cable and followed it right to Piotr's home.

--Two years of high electricity bills!  My wife would have been all over that the first month-- 

Piotr and girlfriend have to pay a fine and re-imburse the city for $1,200 worth of juice.  They'll avoid jail time.  It is not mentioned what became of the neighbors.

Read the article at The Newspaper:  Polish Underground

09 January 2013

Slamming Photo Radar Vans

One complaint from Photo Radar critics, like myself, is that unlike flesh-and-blood patrol officers, no speed van or red light camera ever stopped a drunk driver....until now.  

It was New Years Day in Tucson, Arizona and Matthew Jones veered his vehicle off North Campbell Avenue and into a parked radar van.  The ATS employee in the van was not injured and neither were Jones and his passenger. 

Jones is suspected of driving while intoxicated and doing criminal damage.

The radar van had an organ donor card, and all the valuable equipment was quickly pulled and transplanted to another body.  I've covered the essentials, but here is the link to the story, anyway.

You can read the article in the Arizona Daily Star, here: Snapper gets Plastered

07 January 2013

Naked Cyclist Snapped in Poland

A Polish man raced his bicycle past a speed camera wearing nothing but sneakers on his feet and underwear...on his head, as a protest.  They clocked him going 33 MPH in a 25 MPH zone.  There are no registration plates on bikes, so the photo cops had their work cut out for them. 

Mariusz Sztuba claims he wasn't completely naked; that he was wearing a thong, but they still piled on a lewd conduct charge on top of the speeding.   The total was 1000 zloty or $315.   Sztuba says the presence of the ticketing camera speed trap is giving his village a bad reputation.

--And people riding around starkers doesn't? 

He did his minimalist pedaling in October in Bialy Bor and Judge Przykucki found him guilty.

I would have increased the fine, were I the judge, for his wearing a thong, and I think it only fair that a cyclist disclose, before selling his bike, if it has ever had a naked rider, and I'm thinking it is cold in northern Poland in October.

Read the whole article here:  Polish Popsicle

May the Swartz be With You: flipping off cops for fun and profit

Was John Swartz signalling distress or was he expressing contempt for a speed radar trap in the village of St. Johnsville, New York?  He admits to showing his middle finger to Officer Insogna and was arrested minutes later for disorderly conduct.  He was booked and released in short order.  Judy Swartz, the driver committed no traffic violation and was not cited.

All this happened in May of 2006, and the charges were eventually dropped due to lack of timely prosecution.  Swartz sued for false arrest and Officer Isogna eventually had to come up with some reasons for pulling the vehicle over and summoning three additional policemen to assist.