Pepper Spray, Stun Guns, and Tasers… Oh My!

Self Defense Tips, Crime Stories and Product Information (Worth Protection Security Blog)

Who Can It Be Now?

Ron Strykert, former guitarist and co-founder of 80s rock band Men At Work did not keep to himself and was arrested late last week on a felony charge of making criminal threats.

“Who can it be knocking at my door. Go ‘way, Don’t come ’round here no more…”

The Police (LADP, not the band) reported Strykert, who comes from a land Down Under, Where women glow and men plunder, showed up at a Hollywood home where he used to live and caused a disturbance. The current homeowners met a strange man, who made them nervous, were forced to run and take cover, and call 911.

Unfortunately for Ron, the breakfast was served in LAPD lockup.

Ron, this is Hollywood, you can’t just go around plundering like in Australia.

It’s no mistake, They’ve gone and grabbed old Ronnie, and Strykert was given a time out in a Los Angeles jail where he can cool off and do the “Safety Dance” to his heart’s content… Oh, wait, that was Men Without Hats… He is of course expected to Be good be good be good be good (Ronnie).

I’m betting there will be no vegemite sandwiches in jail either.

Ok, I could probably throw some more Men At Work lyric references in there, but I think I’m done (12?). perhaps I’ll come back and edit in some more later. “People just love to play with words.”

“Can you hear, can you hear the thunder?”

Don’t forget to enter this month’s contest.

Popularity: 1% [?]

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Taser Inventor Dies at 88

The scientist who invented the Taser stun gun in the 1960s, died earlier this month. This post is a tad long, but it is a neat history lesson.

John “Jack” Higson Cover, Jr. passed away on February 7, 2009 at the age of 88. Trained as a nuclear physicist, most of Cover’s professional career was spent in the aerospace and defense business.

Cover was born on April 6, 1920 in New York City, but grew up in the Chicago area. He earned a bachelor’s degree and a Ph.D. in physics at the University of Chicago, where he was instructed by renowned atomic scientists Enrico Fermi and Edward Teller.

He was always tinkering with gadgets and created cooked-food testers, voice activated switches and electric toothbrushes in the 1940s.

Cover was an Army Air Forces test pilot during World War II. After the war, he spent several years at the Inyokern Naval Ordnance Test Station at China Lake, Calif. He was a scientist at North American Aviation from 1952 until 1964 and later worked for IBM and Hughes.

In response to a rash of airplane hijackings in the 1960s, Cover started development on what would later be known as a Taser. He realized the risk involved as sky marshals started to arm themselves with handguns on commercial airliners to discourage hijackers.

“Let me figure out something better than shooting people that might crash the plane,” said Cover knowing if a stray bullet missed a hijacker and pierced the plane’s fuselage instead, it may go down.

Going off what he heard about a man who was temporarily immobilized by a fallen power line, he began development of a device resembling a flashlight in his garage in the late 1960s. Except this flashlight shot darts up to 15 feet and delivered an electric charge.

“Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle” by Victor Appleton was one of Cover’s favorite childhood books. In the story, the young Tom Swift invented a rifle that shot bolts of electricity. Cover adapted the acronym TASER and derived his weapon’s name from “Thomas A. Swift Electric Rifle”, using the formal first name of Tom, and including the middle initial “A”, that did not appear in the book, but fit well in the acronym. (Cover once joked that answering the phone TSER was awkward so he added the middle initial.)

Quite pleased with his invention, Cover assumed that this weapon capable of stunning but not killing a man would have wide appeal. In 1970, Taser Systems Inc. was created. Unfortunately, due to the gunpowder propulsion in the darts, the Taser was classified as a firearm by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. This discouraged sales to police and military forces and prevented any possibility of a civilian market.

Cover continued to attempt to market his 7-watt Taser during the 1970s but was ultimately failing. At the expense of a tragic event in 1979, Cover got a break. A woman in Los Angeles, Eula Love, was shot to death in an altercation between herself and the Los Angeles Police Department over an unpaid gas bill. As a result of this controversy, the LAPD finally agreed to field test the Taser in 1980.

The LAPD eventually approved use of a more effective 11-watt Taser model. Even with LAPD and several other agencies buying in, overall sales still did not take off as expected and the business eventually collapsed after some success in the 1980s.

In 1993, Tom and Rick Smith from Arizona contacted the 73-year-old Cover, and expressed interest in revamping the Taser into a non-lethal self-defense device that could be legally sold to the general public.

“Jack was very dedicated to the mission,” said Tom Smith, co-founder and chairman of TASER International. “He had a true belief in where this technology was going to go.”

In 1994, TASER International launched the Air Taser with a breakthrough compressed air propulsion system, instead of gunpowder.

The TASER is now the most widely sold projectile stun guns in the world and has been adopted by more than 13,000 military and law enforcement agencies in over 45 countries around the world. In addition, more than 180,000 civilian model Tasers have been sold to private citizens.

“Jack is an unsung hero. He did something great for the world, saved a lot of lives and prevented a lot of injuries,” said Greg Meyer, a retired police captain who was in charge of LADP’s non-lethal weapons research who has known Cover for 30 years.

The Taser product line has its fair share of critics. The American Civil Liberties Union has been pushing to have Tasers classified as lethal weapons, but medical experts disagree on whether the Tasers directly caused the deaths. Many still can not dispute the effectiveness of the Taser in the prevention of deadly police encounters and an improvement in the tactics needed to place violent and unruly offenders into custody.

Many times just drawing the Taser has been known to change the mind of an otherwise less-than-cooperative individual. Don’t Tase Me Bro! Or the Emu!

One of TASER International’s latest products is the Taser C2, aimed at civilians.

The new Taser C2 comes in eight attractive and stylish colors: black pearl, titanium silver, metallic pink, electric blue, red hot, forest camouflage, desert camouflage and leopard print.

In police studies, the new Taser C2 has a higher instant incapacitation rate than a 9mm hand gun. The Taser C2 shoots out 2 darts attached to 15 feet of wire. 50,000 volts travels over the wires and over-rides the central nervous system providing incredible takedown power.

Not everyone wants to carry a firearm with the potential for taking a life in self-defense. Normal stun guns require you to be dangerously close to your attacker (although your Taser C2 can be used as a contact stun gun in a pinch). The personal TASER C2 eliminates these problems and provides a less-than-lethal way to stop aggression and allow you quickly escape to contact the police.

Cover was suffering Alzheimer’s disease and died of pneumonia at the Golden West Retirement Home in Mission Viejo. Cover was cremated, and there were no immediate plans to conduct a memorial service. In addition to his wife Ginny, of San Clemente, four children, two stepchildren, ten grandchildren and five great-grandchildren survive him.

Popularity: 4% [?]

Lance Armstrong Bicycle Jacked!

Well it was stolen from his trailer, but that doesn’t make an as impressive headline. That would have been something if someone with a knife jumped in the middle of a bike race and demanded a racer handover their bike and rode away…

Apparently, Lance Armstrong and three of his teammates Steve Morabito, Yaroslav Popovych and Janez Brajkovic lost bikes in the incident while competing in the Tour of California that started this past weekend.

Armstrong’s time trial bike, worth more than some automobiles at between $10,000-$20,000 (depending on who you ask), was taken out of a Astana team truck parked outside the hotel in Sacramento California. He used it for Saturday’s trials, but before the race on Sunday it went missing. Armstrong won’t need his time-trial bike again until Friday, when the race holds its second time trial.

“There is only one like it in the world therefore hard to pawn it off. Reward being offered,” Armstrong wrote on his Twitter feed. Armstrong later posted a picture of the bike, which has distinctive yellow-and-black wheels and the logo of his Livestrong foundation.

You would think Lance Armstrong would lock up his bicycle better.

It wasn’t immediately reported if they thought it was a sabotage attempt to throw Armstrong off his rhythm by stealing his bike, or if it was just a random case of grand theft bicycle.

Investigators are hoping surveillance video may provide some new clues that could lead to the suspect.

Related posts on Bicycle Theft:
How safe is your bike?
It Pays to Know as Much or More Than a Thief

Don’t forget to enter this month’s contest.

Popularity: 6% [?]

Man Steals Burglars’ Getaway Van

A recently laid off WaMu employee just happened to be home when a pair of burglars broke into his home, instead of at work. His wife was working, his son was in daycare and he was in the basement.

Just after 1:30 PM, while doing some work around the house, Patrick Rosario thought he heard a knock at his front door. Before he could respond, he then heard a loud noise. He quietly walked up the stairs and was able to peek out of the cellar door, which was cracked open about an inch.

He saw an unknown person walking around and heard the noises of at least another person going through the house collecting his valuables.

Rosario had a cell phone on him, and immediately called 911. Undetected he was able to sneak out the backdoor, down armed with a hammer and make it towards the front of his house. Hiding behind his garbage can, Rosario was able to again peek around the corner to see what was going on, still on the phone with 911 dispatch.

Apparently, while the burglars were busy going through the home, they left their Ford Windstar van out front, and still running. Assuming the burglars expected a quick getaway, Rosario opened the van’s unlocked door, and since the keys were in the ignition already, he drove away.

He figured the guys ransacking his home would be too bust to notice, and even if they did, they would not be able to catch him on foot. He drove to a friend’s house a few block and waited for the police.

“I kept a pretty cool head,” Rosario said. “You never know how you’re going to react until you’re in that situation.”

Back at the house, a witness across the street later reported that two men exiting the house “looked back… and appeared startled.”

Dude, Where’s my Van?

“I wish I could have seen the look on their faces,” Rosario said.

The two burglars fled the scene and left a pile of loot by the front door, as they were not about to carry the goods by hand. A couple of flat-screen TVs, game consoles, laptop and jewelry box were recovered.

Some of the responding officers were quite amused at the details of this attempted burglary. “Two pulled up, and they looked over at me and go, ‘You stole their car — way to go, dude. That’s awesome.’ Another told me that I just made her month.” says Rosario.

Rosario acted against the 911 dispatcher’s advice, and local authorities wouldn’t officially comment on if Rosario’s actions were advisable. “We expect responsible adults to make their own decisions,” he said. “Clearly, this worked in this case, but in another case it might not have.”

Even Rosario realized the events could have unfolded differently. If the break in occurred at the same time a day earlier, he would have been napping in the bedroom with his 2-year-old son. “I would have been trapped in my bedroom,” he said.

Rosario has already replaced his front door with a more secure door, purchased some pepper spray and had a “robust” alarm system installed.

Luckily things worked out for Patrick this time, but now if anything happens again, he is now prepared.

Don’t forget to enter this month’s contest.

Be Safe, Be Prepared.

Popularity: 100% [?]

Doughnut Helps Police Catch Burglar

Surprisingly, a box of doughnuts in a church’s kitchen was successfully used as evidence, and not simply scarfed down by investigating officers…

Apparently, a 22-year-old man broke into the Woodhaven Christian Church and stole some musical instruments. While police were investigating, a box of doughnuts was discovered in the church kitchen. Bonus!

You’d imagine that the police would be excited, but someone noticed a bite taken out of one. Deputies carefully removed the half-eaten doughnut and sent it to the Indiana State Police lab for testing. The fate of the remaining 11 doughnuts was not reported. But we can all surmise…

Police received confirmation that DNA left on the doughnut matched the 22-year-old, who was already in the Branchville Correctional Facility, serving a prison sentence for an unrelated home burglary.

Happy Friday the 13th!

Don’t forget to enter this month’s contest.

Be Safe, Be Prepared.

Popularity: 9% [?]

Enter the February 2009 Monthly Contest

For Contest Rules and How to Enter, please click here.

Who doesn’t like to win free stuff? - FREE Pepper Spray

This month’s contest is for two Lipstick Pepper Sprays ($25.90 value). One for you and one to give to a friend.

“Woman must not depend on the protection of man but must be taught to defend herself.” - Susan B. Anthony, 1871

Designed for women, this powerful pepper formula is contained inside a common looking lipstick that houses a powerful self protection pepper delivery system. The Lipstick Pepper Spray is a convenient and subtle way to carry the protection you need into any environment where you might find yourself. Contains 5 one second bursts and sprays up to 6 feet.

Due to legal restrictions: Only US residents are eligible for this month’s contest. Pepper Sprays can not be shipped to Alaska, Hawaii, New York, Massachusetts or Wisconsin, so any of the other 45 states in the continential US are free to enter.

Contest runs until February 28, 2009.

Good Luck!

Current Entries: Scott 4, Daisy 3, Ray 2

Popularity: 12% [?]

Police arrest man stuck in Handcuffs

A 21-year-old man, wanted on charges of “driving with a suspended license, leaving the scene of an accident, threatening to commit a crime and making annoying phone calls” walks into a police station.

Bam! You think he would have seen it?

No, he actually was just looking for a little help.

His side of the story states his sister slipped a pair of handcuffs on him at a child’s birthday party. And now, the cuffs dangling from one wrist, he is stuck. Now what kind of child’s birthday party involves hand cuffs? I guess it would make pin the tail on the donkey more challenging…

Ok, well surely the police would help him out of this predicament, right?

Much to the man’s dismay, Police decided to run his name through the Massachusetts warrant system first and discovered he had a few outstanding warrants to his name.

Can you really be arrested for making annoying phone calls? Because if so, I have a few telemarketers to report.

So needless to say, the police did in fact remove his sister’s handcuffs. To which they immediately slapped on some police handcuffs and arrested the guy.

No more wild child’s birthday parting with his sister anymore. Thanks alot sis!

Popularity: 11% [?]

Get the Bear Necessities

If you are going to venture anywhere near bear country, you may be safer carrying a 9 oz. canister of Guard Alaska Bear Repellent or Bear Pepper Mace than you would relying on a gun. But you don’t have to take our word for it.

How about the recommendation of Thomas Smith and Stephen Herrero?

Thomas S. Smith, associate professor of wildlife science at Brigham Young University, “is highly respected among bear biologists, naturalists and educators. His one-on-one experience with bears in the field is an enormous resource to the bear management community,” said director of the Center for Wildlife Information, Chuck Bartlebaugh, who runs “Be Bear Aware” and other wildlife safety campaigns. “This new study is important information that is needed by hunters, hikers or campers to understand the value of bear spray and how it can protect both people and bears.”

Dr. Stephen Herrero is Professor of Environmental Science and Biology at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He is recognized throughout the world as a leading authority on bear ecology, behavior, and attacks, writing several books and papers on those topics.

Smith has faithfully carried bear pepper spray while conducted fieldwork among bears for over 16 years but admits he has never had to actually deploy bear spray. Caution and wisdom are the best prevention of bear attacks, and being a bear biologist, you would expect nothing less. “I wish I had more scary stories to share, but I’ve behaved myself.”

Non-experienced, non-bear biologists don’t quite have the luxury of knowing bear behavior inside and out.

Many hikers, campers and other outdoors people have expressed concern, as well as unfounded doubt and criticism over the effectiveness of that little can of pepper spray on a ferocious bear. “Working in the bear safety arena, I even found a lot of resistance to bear spray among professionals,” says Smith. “There was no good, clean data set that demonstrated definitively that it worked, so that’s why we did this research.”

Sensing the need for some answers and reassurance, Smith and colleagues analyzed data from 20 years of bear spray incidents in Alaska, home to 150,000 bears.

From their findings, pepper spray specially designed for bears effectively halted 92% of the cases of an aggressive bear encounter, whether attacking or rummaging for food.

Only 3 individuals were injured by bears out of 175 people associated with the study, with none requiring a trip to the hospital.

“People working or recreating in bear habitat should feel confident they are safe if carrying bear spray,” says Smith.

Smith had some previous research of the effectiveness of guns in similar situations. Only 67% success. It was noted on average it takes four hits to even stop a bear, and the accuracy needed “during the terrifying split seconds of a grizzly charge is extremely difficult”. On top of the physical issues, many national parks have restrictions on bringing guns in the first place.

The research debunks some of the common misconceptions about using bear spray:

- “Bear spray doesn’t work when it’s windy.” Wind was reported to have interfered with spray accuracy in five of the 71 incidents studied, although the spray reached the bear in all cases. A wind meter was used to test the speed of the bear spray as it shot out of the canister and repeatedly averaged 70 miles per hour. Smith also noted that bears and humans can easily see each other in open, windy spaces. The surprise encounters tend to occur in wooded areas in which vegetation blocks wind.

- “The spray will also disable the person using it.” In the 71 incidents documented in the study, only 10 times did a user report minor irritation and two reported near incapacitation.

- “The can might not work.” There were no reports of spray can malfunction among the 71 studied incidents.

It is believed that one of the primary reasons bear spray works is that it gives users a reason to stand their ground. Running is the worst response to an aggressive bear, Smith says, “but it’s hard not to. Just picture the meanest dog in your neighborhood and multiply his size by ten. It’s very hard to keep your feet from running, but bear spray gives you an option. When you stop and plant your feet, that makes them stop.”

This is because even though humans are much smaller than bears, the animals still view us as risky. “Having seen bears with porcupine quills in their faces, I’m sure that most bears learn at an early age that size is not a good indicator of threat,” Smith said. “There’s always this fear of retribution that keeps them in line. They could take any person they wanted. But they don’t know that.”

It was also noted that the hissing sound and sight of the expanding pepper spray cloud are often enough to frighten away the animal. “I have data to show that if you sprayed water, they often would run,” Smith says.

It was also reported that there were 11 incidents where bear spray was applied to objects like tents in attempt to repel curious bears. Do not attempt this, as it actually backfired and attracted bears instead. You should also discard practice spray canisters before entering the woods.

Other findings reported in the paper include:

- On average, the spray was used when the bear was about 12 feet away (Bear spray typically covers 20-30 foot range)

- 35 percent of incidents involved hikers, and 30 percent involved bear management activities

- 60 percent of the incidents occurred between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

- Nearly 70 percent of the incidents involved brown (grizzly) bears and 28 percent involved black bears. The study also reports the first two documented uses of bear spray on polar bears in Alaska.

Besides Smith and Herrero, Terry D. Debruyn of the National Park Service, and James M. Wilder of Minerals Management Service were also involved in this study. The paper also relies on an earlier publication of a decade’s worth of bear spray data by Herrero and Andrew Higgins. The research was funded by the U.S. Geological Survey, Alaska Science Center. Source

So in conclusion, a study reviewing bear incidents in Alaska over a 20-year period, involving 175 people, and found that pepper spray deterred bears (including grizzly bears, black bears and polar bears) in 92% of cases. In 98% of cases, people who used bear spray were uninjured by the bear; in the remaining cases, injuries were minor. In only 7% of cases did wind interfere with accuracy, and in only 3% was the person using the pepper spray incapacitated by the spray. (Report did not state if user error was involved.)

Clearly as we have stated in the past, bear spray is a highly effective defense against aggressive bears. Nothing is 100% effective, but if the possibility of encountering a wild bear presents itself, I’d rather be safer than sorrier.

Obviously, we want to prevent criminal use of bear spray, but we must also bear in mind that this product saves lives and protects people from serious injury in the woods. Or anywhere a bear may wander.

Be Safe, Be Prepared.

bearspray

Popularity: 12% [?]

Caught on Tape and our new DVR Hidden Cameras

Video surveillance cameras inside a bar in Buffalo, New York resulted in an arrest and helped solve a theft last week. A man was charged with grand larceny and petity larceny, being accused of stealing a woman’s purse from Kelly’s Korner bar a few weeks back.

The female victim contacted the police after the bar owner allowed her to view the surveillance footage that showed a man removing her black leather purse from a bar stool.

Nothing says GUILTY like video evidence.

Speaking of surveillance cameras, we have finalized our latest line of all-in-one DVR hidden cameras. A few weeks back I posted about them, but we recently refined the design, models, and pricing.

Hidden cameras have never been so easy to use, until now. With other hidden cameras you need to hook them up to a VCR, DVD recorder or other means to record what the camera sees. With these new DVR hidden cameras, there is a built in DVR that records to a handy 8GB SD card.

You literally put the DVR hidden camera where you want it, plug it in, point in the direction you want to film and press record on the included remote control. Doesn’t get any easier.

You can either hook the DVR hidden camera up to a TV or computer monitor with the included RCA cable or remove the SD card and insert into the SD card reader on your computer or an external SD card reader you can order with your hidden camera.

All-in-One DVR Hidden Camera Models available:
Alarm Clock Hidden Camera - HC-ALARC-DVR
Boom Box Hidden Camera - HC-BMBOX-DVR
Exit Sign Hidden Camera - HC-EXITS-DVR
Air Freshener Hidden Camera - HC-ARFSH-DVR
Air Purifier Hidden Camera - HC-ARPUR-DVR
Desk Lamp Hidden Camera - HC-DSKLP-DVR
Power Outlet Hidden Camera - HC-OUTLT-DVR
Tower Fan Hidden Camera - HC-WNDTN-DVR
Wall Clock Hidden Camera - HC-WALLC1-DVR
Wall Clock Neon Hidden Camera - HC-WALLC3-DVR
Covert Spy Pen Camera - HC-PEN

You don’t have to be a tech wizard. Don’t think for a second that you have to be an engineer, rocket scientist or have an advanced computer degree to make all this work for you. It really is that easy.

Whatever your reason for wanting the ability to keep an eye on your home or office, our surveillance equipment is simple to use and easy to install, all for around $450.

Surveillance that makes sense. Have your cameras watch when you cannot.

Get Rid of Any Doubts You May Have… Find Out For Yourself What’s Going On When You Can’t Be There!

Be Safe, Be Prepared.

Popularity: 13% [?]

Lock your car doors!

Maybe I am missing something here. There are always Urban Legends floating around. Some are pretty far fetched, some sound like they could be true. But it seems there are people that tend to flip out over them.

Take this one, recently circulating out of the Omaha, Nebraska area:

“I just received this email from a credible source (family). I wanted to pass this on for all to reference as a safety precautionary.

Hi - I wanted to pass this on ASAP this morning. Nicole’s mother (Karrie) was at the post office at 84th and Center on Wed. She was in her car. An older woman came up to the car door and was speaking Spanish and was motioning for her to roll down her window. All of a sudden she grabbed the door handle and tried to open her car door. At the same time - a man appeared at the passenger side door and tried to open that. Karrie’s doors were locked THANK GOD. After the police were called and this was reported - the police told her that they are doing this all over the city. While you are being distracted on one side of your car - there will be someone else trying to get in on the passenger side. DRIVE WITH YOUR DOORS LOCKED AT ALL TIMES.

STAY ALERT AND LOOK AROUND. THIS HAPPENED IN BROAD DAYLIGHT AT A VERY PUBLIC PLACE - A POST OFFICE! According to the police - this is happening several times a day in West Omaha. They also said these creeps have tried leaving notes on cars. When you stop to take the note off your windshield and read it - it gives them time to run up on you. Sorry to send this. I know it is scary - but I thought everybody should know. HEADS UP. LET EVERYBODY KNOW ABOUT THIS.”

I don’t know about you, but after reading it, here are my thoughts:

Yet another reason to make sure your car doors are locked. I always do, cool.

I don’t really care if the report is 100% accurate. I read it, I didn’t fall into an uncontrollable panic, I just took the story as someone making an illustrated point to warn people to lock their car doors. Is locking your car door so bad?

Am I wrong? Is my marketing mind-set taking over my rational thinking? I just don’t see much harm in conveying this warning. Which makes more of a lasting impression, the simple statement “Don’t forget to lock your car door” or the short e-mail story above?

I think the story makes the statement more real to a reader. True or not.

Now if the story stated space aliens attempted to carjack a woman in Nebraska, I’d have to raise the BS flag…

So now this original story prompted all kinds of attention from the local media.

The local Omaha newspaper and TV station reported at least a couple reports claiming the e-mail caused unnecessary panic and was altogether UNTRUE. First Omaha police got all bent out of shape because the e-mail said carjacking only occurs “every once in a while”, not as often as the e-mail depicts. Not in their fair city!

Then after further investigation a few days later they stated the original facts “weren’t even close” to accurate.

Apparently they found a sort of similar report that happened on a Thursday, not the Wednesday mentioned in the e-mail… and the person’s name was actually spelled Carrie with a C, not Karrie with a K… perhaps the man never touched the car, but he was close by and walked away with the woman outside of the car…

Then something about Carrie with a C called 911, not the police like the e-mail said.

Give me a break.

Ok, I hate spam e-mail as much or more as the next guy, but I’m guessing it was a slow news day for all of this attention. I suppose if this story freaked out the residents of Omaha into an uncontrollable panic, there are other underlying issues of greater importance that should be looked into.

I’m sorry, did I say Omaha? I meant Miami. Just kidding Miami, don’t panic!

Just lock your car doors, where ever you live. Because I said so.

And don’t take candy from a stranger, I’d tell you a story about it, but then Memphis would fall into utter chaos.

Sigh.

Popularity: 14% [?]

California Carjack Warning

An e-mail titled “A Warning from Whittier Police” (in California) has been circulating the internet recently via e-mail and blogs since late January. The text reads as follows:

“I am sending this to all of you, per the advice of the Whittier Police.

Last night on my way home from work, I was followed off the freeway without realizing it. A lot of people take the Telegraph off ramp to go home. Then I turned left on Norwalk going north.

This Van pulled up on my right side and told me that my right rear tire was going flat and that I should pull over and let him put my spare on. I was only 2 miles from home and in an industrial area where no gas stations, etc. so told him NO THANKS, and kept going slow the rest of 20 the way home. When I got home I told Richard what had happened and he checked my tire. The tire was perfectly OK. That’s when I realized what had happened and it scared me to death.

According to the Police there are allot of car jacking going on, then they rob you of everything (money, jewelry, etc) due to the economy. The best thing I could do was to let the gals at work know to be more than careful of their surroundings. It’s happening all over Southern California, not just LA or Orange Counties.

Please my friends, be very careful out there.”

Although the ruse of trying to convince a motorist that they have a flat tire (or any other serious auto problem) and need to pull over immediately has been around for awhile, the possibility for an actual account is valid. Carjacking, robbery, assault, rape or worse could happen as a result, as well as the chance you actually have a softening tire that may need repair.

Several years ago I ran the front end of my 1989 Mustang partially into a ditch. You kinda of had to be there to truly see the scenario, but when the tow truck came, the only way to pull it out was at an angle that caused my rear axel to become bent.

Besides the now bent rear axel, the car was fine. It only went far enough into the ditch for undercarriage just past the front tires to hit the ground, leaving the tires freely spinning in the air. So when it was pulled out safely, the car was drivable, with the exception that one of the back tires wobbled. Pretty bad I guess, but I couldn’t drive and see the tires at the same time.

I don’t know how many people tried to legitimately flag me down and let me know my “rear tire was about to fall off”. It wasn’t, and it took me months to get around to fixing it.

I swear I would have left it longer if I wasn’t being bothered so much by so many concerned people letting me know there was something wrong. The car was mostly fine, I just wanted people to stop honking and waving at me.

I know, my freaking axle is bent, thanks for reminding me of the ditch incident!

But I digress, back to Whittier, California. The local police can basically neither confirm or deny the intent of the van in question but did post the reply on their blog:

“The originator of this email did in fact contact the Whittier Police Department to report the above facts and a report was taken.

For clarification purposes, the Whittier Police Department did not advise the caller that “there are a lot of car jackings going on”. The Department has not received any other reports that involve these sets of circumstances, which led to a car jacking.
While there is no definite way at this time to determine the true intent of the van driver, motorists are encouraged to report any suspicious activity to the Whittier Police Department.”

Usually these internet rumors that get forwarded all over the internet have both some merit, and some exaggeration to them. You would tend to believe that they are well intentioned when created.

Even if the entire story was concocted from fiction, one should stop for a moment a think about the scenario. Not so far fetched, and not just in California.

The Auto Visor Pepper Spray (PS-4) contains a formula of 10% Oleoresin Capsicum with 2 million Scoville Heat Units that can immediately stop an attacker in his tracks. Additionally, the police will have no problem identifying who you sprayed with the UV marking dye contained in the pepper spray.

The Pepper Spray with the Auto Visor clip is a simple way to make sure you always have your pepper spray available for emergency protection. If someone comes up to you in your vehicle and poses a threat, you will be able to reach up, grab your pepper spray, and spray it out the cracked window at your assailant, if necessary.

Just a heads up. Be Safe, Be Prepared, Always use your head…

Popularity: 15% [?]

Lost Cell Phone, Sleeping Bags and Drug Deals caught on 911

An 18-year-old guy from Mesa, Arizona was arrested on suspicion of breaking into a car early Tuesday morning. Nothing says guilty like leaving your cell phone behind, and then going back to the scene to ask the owner if you can get your phone back…

Apparently the Police were responding to a call from the victim, who reported that a garage door opener and money had been taken from his car. Before the police arrived, the vehicle owner noticed a man hanging out across the street from his house. The owner asked the guy what he was doing there.

So the guy admits that he broke into the car and took the garage door opener and some change. He tells the victim that he accidentally dropped his cell phone in the vehicle and wanted it back.

The owner tells the guy that he already called the police so he takes off. The Police found the guy nearby, fitting the description given by the victim.

The suspect handed over the garage door opener but told police he went to a store and spent the change he obtained from the vehicle to buy some cigarettes because he knew he was going to jail.

Good call.

Next there was a report that Police in Gainesville, Florida said a 46-year-old man armed with a screwdriver and wearing a sleeping bag as a cape tried to rob someone in a parking lot.

Apparently a man approached the intended victim early last Sunday morning and asked for money.

When the victim refused, the caped man threw off the sleeping bag and pulled the screwdriver from his pants. The victim quickly ran into a nearby store and called 911.

The suspect was arrested a few blocks away and charged with attempted armed robbery. Luckily the victim wasn’t injured or screwed out of any money…

The last winner in the news today goes to that guy in Cleveland who called 911 because he felt he was in danger. Police report the guy called 911 late Saturday night and reported that two men with guns were watching him.

The guy hangs up, mid-conversation, so the concerned dispatcher called back.

The guy answered, but asked the dispatcher to hold on a second. The dispatcher, who could still hear what was going on, listened in to the drug deal the guy was now making.

Voices can be heard on the 911 recording saying:

“What you need? A 10-pack? You need a 10-pack? All right.”

Police say “10-pack” is slang for a bundle of heroin.

The dispatcher called police, who found the guy at the location he originally gave and found cocaine in his pocket.

Not the brightest guy in Ohio. But then again, none of these guys are…

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