Nutty as a…
Anibal Maldonado has been arrested for burglary in Brooklyn over forty times—he’s been nabbed for stealing everything from seven hoodies to a police bicycle. But this March he solidified his klepto status by lifting something no one could possibly want: a fruitcake. Jason Purdy savors his mom’s version of the holiday staple so much that she ships him one a couple of times a year; Maldonado swiped it out of the lobby of his Park Slope apartment. A policeman noticed the fruitcake filcher’s suspicious behavior, followed him, and cuffed him on the sidewalk. Purdy testified against Maldonado in court, where police generously valued the baked good at $100.
TIP: Purdy’s dessert would have traveled directly to his stomach if one of his neighbors hadn’t accidentally enabled the theft. Maldonado “pushed buzzer after buzzer” until someone let him into the building, presumably out of annoyance or misplaced trust. Purdy has since gotten a security system installed in his building, and is taking the opportunity to spread the word about pressing charges against petty thieves, but he should also make sure he talks to his neighbors about community security. These tips from the National Apartment Association might help.
Adult entertainment stores attract a certain kind of solitary customer—but none so lonely as Arthur Ray Brown, who tried to quench his thirst for companionship by stealing a mannequin from a Washington location. He’s a bad boyfriend, though—on his way out the door, his conquest broke in half, and, in a hurry, he left her legs behind. To make up for this slight, he returned to the store later and stole some lingerie for his new friend, wearing her wig as a disguise. Police tracked Brown down by following a trail of bedroom accessories to his apartment, tragically ending what was sure to have been an epic romance. No word on whether the mannequin will testify in court.
TIP: It’s not just an empty cliche—burglars do often return to the scene of the crime, with or without a new hairpiece. Research shows that homes that were recently broken into are up to four times more likely to be burglarized than the ones that went untouched in the first place. If you’ve been a break-in victim, don’t wait—fix the damage quickly so that you’re not a target for sloppy seconds.
Hay-ters gonna hay-t
Due to nationwide droughts, hay prices in January were as high as an elephant’s eye—bales were fetching record prices at auctions, and livestock everywhere was looking leaner. Thieves took advantage of this seedy situation and started stealing hay straight from the horse’s mouth. It got so bad that frustrated farmers tried branding, painting, or ribboning their bales in order to mark their territory. The problem has continued throughout this year, with no sign of a government “bale-out.”
TIP: You may not have any hay to protect, but odds are there’s something outside your home that you don’t want to lose, whether it’s a lawn ornament or your dog. Keep thieves off your property entirely with these security landscaping tips. And if you do have haystacks to save, try filling them with needles. Works every time.
Hissing in action
You know burglars are getting cocky when they start messing with snakes. This year has seen a rash of exotic reptile thefts everywhere from India (where four Sand Boas disappeared from a zoo) to England (where disrespectful thieves stole fifty Royal Pythons from a pet store). The saddest story comes from Philadelphia, where the snakenappers stuffed thirteen Ball Pythons into a pillowcase and toted them out of a mobile home. The snakes’ owner, Dawn Robinson, noted that only the most valuable snakes were stolen, saying the culprits were “definitely snake people.” You think?
TIPS: It’s devastating to lose a pet, even a terrifying reptilian one. Luckily, it’s not hard to give your animal pal some extra protection. Implanted microchips are great for keeping track of mammals that might wander off, while caged critters might benefit from a little home security system creativity. For example, a magnetic entry sensor joining the cage to the wall, along with one on the cage’s door, should be enough to keep Scaley safe and sound.
Lawnmower thefts are common in the summer. Makes sense—they are really fun to ride. However, Thomas Edwards of Essex went above and beyond the call of duty and managed to nab a whole fleet. His collection of seventy mowers was discovered after he was caught with his pants down (literally), wheeling his neighbor’s drunkenly away. Police were forced to return the rest of the mowers to Edwards after he said he bought them all online. Something about that story just doesn’t cut it.
TIP: You’d be surprised how many people want to steal the greasy things you refuse to keep in your actual house. Lock down your vehicles, your garden tools, and your pet cobwebs with these garage security tips.
Police killed about ten thousand birds with one search warrant when they arrested a serial burglar last month. The thief had hoarded hundreds of antiques in his Colorado Springs home—everything from an accordion to an old typewriter. So far, police have returned over $200,000 worth of property to 27 victims, and they’re only halfway done. Judging by photos of the haul, which includes coin collections, silver telescopes, and ceramic dishes embossed with peacocks, the man was hoping either to make some quick cash at a pawn shop or build an exact replica of his great-grandmother’s beloved sitting room. He’s probably working wonders with his jail cell.
TIP: Police reunited the antiques with their rightful owners using their department website. If you’ve been a victim of theft, here are some steps you can take to make sure you’re in the loop if your stuff is recovered. And it never hurts to be proactive—keep a folder with photographs of your valuables, as well records of any distinguishing marks or serial numbers. That kind of thing comes in handy if you get separated.