Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How to be a Criminal: Bonus track #2

There's a steady stream of criminal silliness out there.

This guy is an addendum to last week's entry, I suppose, that drugs & drink, despite what you'd think, don't mix. I think it goes without saying that criminals like to drink, and they like to get high, but it reminds me of one of my favorite moments in Pineapple Express. Saul (the protagonist drug dealer) suggests that he and Dale (Seth Rogen) smoke a joint before they attempt to overcome the next obstacle, and Seth Rogen's character says: "In case you haven't noticed - which you haven't, 'cause from what I can tell, you don't notice anything ever - we are not very functional when we're high."

This guy couldn't make it until Miller time, and cracked a jar while he was delivering the 'shine.

Friday, February 19, 2010

This is your brain

"Collusion relies upon good memory. Stoners make horrible con men." This is from the pages of the White Dog, and leads us to item two in our series on How to Be a Criminal.

How to Be a Criminal, Item 2:
Surprisingly, drugs and crime don’t mix. Stoners will forget what they have to remember, crackheads are unreliable, meth heads are crazy. Even drunks—they’ll either get pulled over for driving drunk or they’ll get in a fight.

The issue, at the time, was a certain individual's inability to remember previous conversations, but everywhere I went I learned stories. Why were the Stanley brothers pulled over with 473 gallons of moonshine in the back of the Econoline? Because they were driving erratically, due to their BAC. Why did the cops search the van? Because of the reefer smoke.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Meals on wheels

I was attempting to follow up and see what happened to the couple who were caught last summer -- I'm sorry: "set up." That's not right either, is it. Allegedly set up. There we go. They were allegedly set up and subsequently caught with a few gallons of moonshine inside a daycare center.

Read the original bust of the couple that ran the North Carolina Daycare here.

Here's a picture that was snapped at the bust:

The blue capped jars (the ones next to the sawed off shotgun on top of the beer which is holding up the milk jugs of moonshine?) are Courvoisier and a jug of Seagrams gin. You can see that more clearly in another shot, which also details revolvers and fanned out bills.

Among the comments on this story I found someone suggesting that "the perfect front" for a bootlegger would be to "drive a regular Meals on Wheels route." Which sounds a lot like the old ice cream truck drug dealer thing.

The thing is: it's not as if the cops busted in and found some guy upstairs drinking moonshine with a shotgun in the dresser drawer to protect his house. These people were selling booze out of a daycare center. The Meals on Wheels/Ice Cream Truck facade may, in fact, be a great cover. This one is not.

This didn't make it into the book. Had it happened earlier, I'd have been tempted to go down and follow their case. But these two definitely deserve a spot in the How to be a Criminal series.

How to be a Criminal, Bonus item #1: Keep the general standards of society in mind. Don't sell drugs at the playground. Don't run your nip joint in day care center.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

How to be a Criminal -- a series

I heard a lot of stories from the wrong side of the law over the last four or five years, and almost without exception, I was surprised by how badly the crimes attempted were conceived and executed. Clearly, movie crime is overblown. I know that what I saw in The Italian Job never happens. But it has become obvious why D.B. Cooper deserves top spot in the criminal hall of fame.

Most crime is conceived by morons and carried out with breathtaking stupidity. I actually heard, for instance, of some guys who had grown enough marijuana to fill a big rig. They didn’t want to haul it right away, so they hired a guy to watch it over night. The guy they hired was a crack head.

So, in Chasing the White Dog, I decided to gather some tidbits along the way and present them as a series titled How to be a Criminal.

Here’s the first one:

How to be a Criminal, Item 1: Do not, while on probation or having recently come to the attention of the law, engage in large scale felonies with strangers.