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

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

Two teen girls arrested in accidental pepper spray discharge

Two 14-year-old girls from Westover Middle School have been charged with possessing a weapon on campus and simple assault after a canister of pepper spray discharged in a classroom this past Monday in Fayetteville, NC.

A teacher was taken to the Cape Fear Valley Medical Center for treatment and thirteen students received medical attention at the school. None of the injuries sustained were serious.

The report states that a key chain pepper spray was accidentally discharged while one of the girls was looking for something in the other girl’s purse.

Now this was not criminal mischief. It would be one thing if this was a smart ass punk deliberately spraying a classroom with pepper spray as a prank. Then go ahead and charge the kid with the misdemeanor charges that these girls are facing. Expel them, charge them with a crime, no problem.

Unless this story gets clarified that there was malicious intent, which seems unlikely, basically we have a 14-year-old girl, getting in trouble for having a personal protection device.

Now if this girl pulled out the pepper spray during a Columbine or Virginia Tech type incident and disabled a crazed shooter before a rampage, she’d be a hero. But no one took Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold or Seung-Hui Cho down before it was too late.

If this girl was walking home from school and got attacked by a rapist or kidnapper and was able to defend herself and disable a sex offender long enough to get arrested, she’d be a hero.

I bet she doesn’t carry pepper spray now, and if her, her friend, or any other student gets assaulted and is unarmed, I hope there is a teacher close enough to help out. Or the 0.01% chance there is a cop standing on the same corner, yea right.

Sure this was an unfortunate incident, and it sucks that a teacher and a over a dozen students caught a minuscule whiff of OC spray, but does it really warrant criminal charges? The one girl is being charged with simple assault on the teacher. Come on now.

What I would rather see is the school and local police use this as a learning opportunity and do some training classes and institute some personal protection instruction. Teach them something useful for once.

Pepper spray is not the bad guy, but basically they are making this teenage girl one. That’s as bad as blaming a Taser (inanimate object) instead of a poorly trained police officer. We have thousands of well-trained cops out there and hear nothing about their good deeds, just the small percentage of bad cases. Over and over again. After hearing the media dwell on the same case 20 times, you’d think there were 20 separate incidents, not just the one.

I understand the feeble attempts at the Zero-Tolerance policies in school, but seriously… who are the ones following the rules? Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold or Seung-Hui Cho? Um… no, the dangerous criminal psychopaths disregard what ever rules you have posted on the wall.

I’m all for punishing the first punk who pulls out the spray during a silly argument with another student and does something stupid in the hallway. But I bet if students thought there might be some resistance if one of them gets the bright idea to bring an assault rifle to school and go postal, perhaps less incidents would occur? I don’t know.

I mean the police are several minutes away on a good day, and that elderly security guard armed with a walkie-talkie and a clipboard is about useless. Sorry Gramps, you mind as well be a Walmart greeter.

I wonder what the death count would have been if a dozen students pulled out a pepper spray and hosed down Harris, Klebold or Cho before they got on a roll? Boo hoo if the teacher catches a whiff, better than catching a bullet to the chest.

I had a post a while ago, 300 Reasons to Learn to Defend Yourself. It talked about how back in the day, parents actually taught their children how to defend themselves, their land, and their country. Responsibility and duty was actually passed down from generation to generation. Amazing concept.

I remember back when I was in the military and we were all learning how to fire an M-16 in boot camp. Guess who already had a leg up on the training? The city folk losers that ran around playing with cap guns, or the hard working country boys whose fathers taught them how to hunt, shoot and handle firearms at an early age?

Sure we all eventually learned, but it is always nice to have a head start and a slight edge.

Everyone wants to complain about the youth of America, but no one wants to take any responsibility for them. Not that the grownups in the political or financial sectors are setting a good example lately…

I think punishing these two teenagers is sending the wrong message.

Before someone goes all liberal on me, again, I’m not talking about arming a bunch of kids and letting them duke it out, or spray it out on a whim. Children or teenagers can be responsibly taught incremental self defense concepts over the course of their entire schooling. I’d see no problem with a responsible 14-year-old girl carrying a key chain pepper spray after being taught how, when and why to use it. Maybe that pedophile hiding in the bushes might think twice if he thought the girl was going to inflict some serious pain if he tried anything.

Sigh, Leonidas would be sad. (If you are missing that reference, you needed to read the 300 Reasons to Learn to Defend Yourself.

Be Safe, Be Prepared, Don’t cry, it’s only Pepper Spray.

(OK, you might cry a little, but you aren’t going to die)

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Violent Altercation at Bowling Alley

I have not gone to a bowling alley in a long time, but I do bowl an occasional Nintendo Wii bowling game here and there. Of course, the kids usually beat me since they play a whole lot more.

However, if I did go to the local bowling alley, I do know some of the informal bowling etiquette. Like if the person in the lane next to you is about to throw, you wait until he is finished before you take your shot.

I guess it is distracting, not that it would help or hinder my game either way.

But in Sacramento, California, at least one bowler was not aware of this unwritten rule at the Rocklin AMF Lanes last Wednesday and resulting in some bowling rage.

Joseph Hinkle, apparently a more serious bowler, got into an argument with some bowlers in neighboring lanes over their blatant disregard of proper lane etiquette.

This verbal altercation quickly escalated into a six-man melee where Ryan Scott David, wielding a 16-pound bowling ball took a shot at Hinkle’s face. BAM!

“I’ve been in law enforcement for 20 years, and this is my first bowling ball attack,” says Rocklin Police Department’s Lt. Lon Milka.

I’m not sure how good David’s bowling game was going, but he hit a split on Hinkle mouth, knocking out one of his front teeth. Which I guess is better that David getting a strike as far as Hinkle is concerned.

David was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and Hinkle was rushed to the Sutter Roseville Hospital with facial injuries and his tooth in a cup of milk.

They serve milk at bowling alleys?

His tooth is expected to set back in place.

Mark Miller is a spokesperson for the US Bowling Congress, the national organization that regulates the sport of bowling. Miller stated that much like golf or pickup basketball games, violations of unwritten rules occasionally lead to conflict.

He added that while an experienced league bowler would know to hold back when a neighboring bowler is about to throw, it is less likely that a beginner would know.

“It’s not like when you start to bowl you are handed a piece of paper. There is not a formal way where a newcomer will be taught that,” Miller says. Perhaps bowling alleys should put up a sign.

The vast majority of these conflicts are usually solved “pretty casually” and without violence. Not that this helps Hinkle’s smile at the moment.

So the next time you go bowling, try to mind your bowling manners. And if you see a 16-pound bowling ball coming at your face, DUCK!

Be Safe, Be Prepared.

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Tips for Surviving an Angry Mob by AIG Corporate Security

American International Group is apparently warning their employees to take “protective measures” due to the public outrage over AIG’s retention-bonus payments. Supposedly a company spokeswoman has confirmed that the memo was indeed legitimate.


To: AIG Employees
From: AIG Corporate Security
Subject: Enhanced Security Notification
Date: 3/18/09


Due to a growing sense of public attention fueled by increased media scrutiny, AIG Corporate Security would like to highlight certain protective measures all employees can take in order to increase their overall safety and security.

It is crucial that everyone remain vigilant during this time and understand that if any given moment a threat is perceived; 911 should be dialed immediately. All other information, suspicious behaviors, questionable activities, etc. should be reported to your local building security as soon as possible. In order to mitigate these threats we have provided the following safety and security guidelines for your review:

- Avoid wearing any AIG apparel (bags, shirts, umbrellas, etc.) with the company insignia

- Ensure any badges with the AIG insignia are not readily visible when exiting the office

- Be aware of individuals who appear to be out of place or spending an inordinate amount of time near an AIG facility and report these sightings immediately to building security

- At night, when possible, travel in pairs and always park in well lit areas

- Avoid public conversations involving AIG and do not engage any media personnel regarding the company

- Immediately report lost or stolen employee badges to Corporate Security

- If you think you are being followed, immediately dial 911

- Do not give out personal information over the phone or via email

- Ensure visitors are escorted by an AIG employee at all times when inside an AIG facility

- Immediately report all windows, locks and doors that are broken or appear to be tampered with

- Question individuals that you do not recognize and appear to be out of place; if you do not feel comfortable doing so, notify building security or your local authorities in order to do so

- Avoid propping doors and be aware of those attempting to “Piggy Back” into AIG workspace

We ask that all employees remain vigilant and report any threats/suspicious behaviors to your building security as soon as possible. Again, if an immediate threat or danger is perceived, 911 should be dialed immediately. Individual Senior Business Managers should ensure that such information is also reported to Corporate Security at (212) 458-2020 following the aforementioned instructions or as soon as practical.

It seems people are rather upset about the use of bailout money by AIG and the threats, protests and other media backlash is starting to concern employees and Corporate Security. Perhaps some more thought before things got out of control may have prevented some of this?

It is sad that there are probably only a couple dozen high level executives actually reaping any benefit from the money while any employee all the way down to mail room staff may now have to look over his or her shoulder if he or she wears an AIG logo shirt.

Not that many AIG employees are probably too proud of the company anyways, but in this economy, if you have the luxury of a job, you probably aren’t too willing to quit and look for another.

Especially with AIG on your resume.

Be Safe, Be Prepared.

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Double Jewelry Heist in Wisconsin

Times must be tough in Wisconsin. Robbers are now ripping off other robbers. Is there no honor among thieves?

Two burglars leaving a jewelry store got mugged by another set of thieves before they even left the crime scene in Milwaukee.

Police reported a fight broke out between the two sets of men over the cash and gems from the initial heist. Both parties then jumped into their respective cars and a chase ensued.

Police Lt. Thomas Welch says officers pulled both vehicles over and arrested all four of the people. The original two robbers were 40 and 31-years-old, and two men from the second group were 22 and 27-years-old. All four of them are from Illinois.

Police were yet to recover any of the cash or jewelry and are still searching for more suspects.

Perhaps another pair of guys grabbed the loot bag during the scuffle?

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McDonald’s in North Carolina Not Lovin’ It

Two men armed with a power saw cut their way into a McDonald’s this past Tuesday morning in NC and rob the place.

According to Police reports and store surveillance video, a couple guys climbed on the roof, sawed a hole through and entered the restaurant at 2:12 AM. McDonald’s apparently does not have any motion detection alarms installed?

Once inside the building, it took another hour for the men to break into the manager’s office and then do some more cutting, breaking into the store’s safe.

“It took some work to get through that safe,” says Cherryville Police Lt. Mike Allred. “They went through several saw blades. We found several blades at the scene and are checking them for fingerprints.”

They didn’t have to cut their way out of the building, the men just opted to escape through the side door with the $4500 dollars they found in the safe.

Police figure that the 4-foot wall on the roof shielding the heating, air and other equipment provided cover for the suspects as they sawed the hole in the roof and broke in.

McDonald’s employees discovered the break-in around 4:30 AM Tuesday when they arrived at work, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

Surveillance tapes provided a general description of the two men, and a gray pickup truck was seen in the parking lot at the time of the incident.

“There may have been a third suspect driving the vehicle,” Allred says.

We had an article awhile back, Inside the Criminal Mind: Home Burglary where we discussed some of the Points of Entry for burglars, one being a sledge hammer through the roof of some homes.

Not sure a sledge hammer would have worked here, It definitely would have been louder. Apparently no one noticed the sounds of the saw ripping through the roof at 2 AM in the morning.

Someone posted a comment on the original news story talking about all the work involved to get this mere $4500 and they should just get a job. I did the math. Three guys (if you count the suspected driver), 2 hours or so of work, $4500 total (tax free) equals an astounding $750 an hour.

Unless you are getting AIG bonuses, you aren’t going to find that kind of payout in this economy.

While locals were stunned by the burglary tool, they were not shocked by the burglary. They expressed a certainty that more people in unemployment lines may end up finding themselves in police line-ups.

“I feel like we’ll be hearing more of it as times get worse,” says one neighbor. “A lot of people have families and they are going to try to do whatever they can to get money.”

Even Lt. Mike Allred agreed, “With the economy the way it is, I think you are going to see a little be more of this,” he says.

What are you doing to protect yourself and your loved ones?

Be Safe, Be Prepared.

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71-year-old man fights off knife-wielding robber

It’s starting to warm up a little bit and finally feel like spring. I did have some frost on my windshield this morning, but it was nothing that the windshield wipers and some washer fluid couldn’t handle.

But it looks like there are still some frigid spots around the country.

A 71-year-old man from South Dakota successfully fended off a 20-year-old man armed with a knife early yesterday morning.

Rapid City Police say the elderly man was scraping ice off his car when Talon LaClaire pulled out a knife and demanded money. It is reported that the senior used his ice scraper to fight off the attacker. After being bested by the old man with a plastic ice scraper, the robber fled to his girlfriend’s house nearby.

Next thing LaClaire knows, he gets into a fight with his girlfriend. Meanwhile, the 71-year-old called the police, who dispatched a K-9 unit to track the man down.

Apparently with nowhere else to flee to, the would-be attacker surrendered to police without additional incident.

LaClaire was charged with attempted first-degree robbery for his altercation with the senior, then an aggravated assault and domestic violence charges after the argument with his girlfriend.

Definitely not his day.

A robbery conviction could net the man up to 25 years in prison, with an additional 15 years for the assault charge, although I’m sure he wouldn’t get the full sentence.

While not quite as lame as the plastic candy cane self-defense, but you suck if a 71-year-old guy kicks your butt with an ice scraper, Sonny. Hopefully it was at least a long handled ice scraper, not a tiny hand-held model.

Be Safe, Be Prepared.

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Long driving trip? Don’t forget your chili peppers.

Everyone has experienced at least slight drowsiness while driving. Some of us have even fallen asleep only to be awakened by the blaring horn of an oncoming car.

According to a Chinese newspaper, Police in southwest China are encouraging drivers to spice up their pit stops with raw chili peppers in an attempt to stop them falling asleep at the wheel.

Highway service stations in the Chongqing region have started to offer drivers hot chili peppers, holding to the traditional Chinese belief that people often feel sleepier in the Springtime.

The report added that most of the drivers are from neighboring Sichuan, Yunnan and Hunan provinces and chilies are a local favorite anyways. Aren’t those flavors of chicken and pork on US Chinese food menus? Sichuan chicken, Yunnan pork and Hunan chicken?

“It’s really good to have some hot peppers when you are tired from driving,” says Chen Jun, a van driver. “They make you alert.”

China’s roads have long been among some of the most dangerous in the world due to overloaded and speeding trucks. Drivers often switch lanes without signaling and often ignore traffic lights. I know first hand South Korean roads are rather crazy also.

Then again, many busy US cities could offer these areas suitable competition. D.C., LA, Miami, the list could go on and on.

And that is the alert drivers, not falling asleep.

Make sure you do not fall asleep while driving!

Are you a late night trucker, going on a vacation or other long trip? Do you know someone who is? If you are driving and may be prone to dozing off and are looking for a less spicy solution, you need this driver alarm.

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that approximately 100,000 police-reported crashes annually (about 1.5% of all crashes) involve drowsiness or fatigue as a principal casual factor.

Drowsiness and fatigue may play a role in crashes attributed to other causes too. In about one million crashes annually, one-sixth of all crashes are thought to be produced by a driver’s inattention.

The Nap Alarm is an innovative and potentially lifesaving anti-drowsiness alarm. It is worn over your ear and has an electronic position sensor. When your head nods forward, it sounds a loud alarm to instantly wake you and alert your passengers.

The Nap Alarm is not only designed for drivers, it is also perfect gift for people who need to be fully alert while on duty, for example, security guards, machine operators and even prevents students from dozing off while studying or where concentration is required. Although I wouldn’t suggest taking into class during boring lectures.

Be Safe, Be Prepared, Stay Awake.

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Happy Friday the 13th

A man bought a brand new Mercedes to celebrate his wife leaving him. He was out on the interstate for a nice evening drive.

The top was down, the breeze was blowing through what was left of his hair and he decided to open her up. As the needle jumped up to 80 mph, he suddenly saw flashing red and blue lights behind him.

“There’s no way they can catch a Mercedes,” he thought to himself and opened her up further. The needle hit 90, 100… Then the reality of the situation hit him. “What am I doing?” he thought and pulled over.

The cop came up to him, took his license without a word and examined it and the car.

“It’s been a long hard day, this is the end of my shift and it’s Friday the 13th. I don’t feel like more paperwork, I don’t need the frustration or the overtime, so if you can give me a really good excuse for your driving that I haven’t heard before, you can go.”

The guy thinks about it for a second and says, “Last week my nagging wife ran off with a cop. I was afraid you were trying to give her back!”

“Have a nice weekend, Sir.” said the officer.

Related Friday the 13 Posts:

Friday the 13th not as unlucky as you thought?

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Inmate Arrested Trying to Break Back IN to Jail

Apparently there is a little racket going on down in Georgia where inmates sneak out into the prison exercise yard and collect contraband items tossed over the fences. It seems the contraband is usually non-dangerous items, but lockup luxuries such as cigarettes. I suppose it could just as easily be a weapon, which is more disturbing but this incident only concerns some smokes.

It looks like it was 25-year-old inmate Harry Jackson’s turn to collect the goods was this past Saturday.

Jackson was originally locked up for driving with a suspended license, possession of a controlled substance, obstruction of an officer, possession of drug objects, possession of cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school and violating his probation.

So just before 2 AM, Jackson picks an electronic lock on a recreation room door with some wire taken off a broom and makes his way into the yard. Upon inspecting the grounds for the expected loot, Jackson was unable to locate anything. Someone dropped the ball.

Previously told by the other Camden County inmates to not come back without the cigarettes, Jackson climbed the outer fence and made his way to Snappy Foods convenience store about a block away. Aren’t jail perimeters equipped with really high, double fences with barbed wire at the top?

When he got to the store, he broke a window and set off the security alarm. Jackson was able to grab about 14 packs of cigarettes and head back towards the jail.

Meanwhile back at the prison, a routine door check by a detention officer found an unlocked door that was locked a few minutes earlier and he alerted the staff that an inmate was missing. As prison officers were trying to determine who was gone, patrol deputies outside were responding to the alarm at Snappy Foods down the road on U.S. 17.

Firefighters at the station next to the store told officers they saw a man dressed in white, inmate-like clothing leaving the store. Back at the jail, a deputy spotted the shadowy figure of a man trying to sneak back into the facility.

Jail surveillance cameras showed other inmates acting suspiciously during the incident and investigators are interviewing them to determine if others were involved. I don’t know, maybe get some security cameras on the exercise yard and install some door alarms?

The inmate was arrested for breaking out of jail and the burglary of a nearby convenience store. I am guessing breaking back in to jail will probably not be charged.

“We thought we had two separate incidents. By the time we locate this guy, he’s one and the same,” Sheriff Tommy Gregory said.

“When I took office Jan. 1, there were rumors that inmates were using wire off brooms to pop these electronic locks,” Gregory said. “It turned out to be true.”

Gregory had also recently banned smoking at the prison.

Although his office had not detected any previous breakouts, he has been working with the county engineer to get metal plates to make the locking mechanisms more secure, but they have not been installed yet. They have also started to replace the brooms containing wire.

I’m wondering if there were any other break out, break back in incidents that went undetected? Frankly, I’m surprised the guy came back. “Don’t come back without any smokes.” So the guy breaks out of jail, rips off a store and tried to go back in? If it was that easy to get out, I would have thought he’d be gone. Get your own freaking cigarettes.

However, it was very considerate of Jackson to attempt to accommodate his cellblock friends… I hope that the gesture was well received, seeing that he had to disappoint them when the cigarettes were confiscated.

Be Safe, Be Prepared.

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Kangaroo Intruder Terrorizes Family in Australian Home Invasion

Only in Australia…

An unsuspecting Australian couple thought they were being attacked by an intruder this past Sunday night. It turned out that it was a kangaroo that crashed through their bedroom window and started bouncing on their bed.

Only half awake, Beat Ettlin and his partner Verity Beaman had no idea was going on in their bedroom. “I thought it was a lunatic ninja coming at us through the window,” said Ettlin. “That seemed to make about as much sense as anything else that was happening. I just couldn’t comprehend what was going on.”

Cowering under the blankets, Beaman thought to herself, “This is one big possum.”

“When Beat said ‘It’s OK, it’s just a kangaroo’, I thought it’s really not OK. I thought – now this could be really dangerous. I was absolutely terrified.” said Beaman.

The family was asleep in their Canberra home in the early hours of Sunday morning, when their terrier started to bark and alerted them that an intruder was in their courtyard.

Ettlin got up to investigate what the dog was barking about and a large dark figure smashed through the window. It began jumping up and down on the bed while his terrified wife and 9-year-old daughter remained huddled under the blankets.

39-year-old Beaman said “I just pulled the covers over our heads and screamed. It jumped on my shoulder, bounced across the bed and onto the bedside table. Can you imagine how close it was to my head?”

“I really didn’t know what was happening,” said Ettlin. “I just saw this black thing jumping on the bed and bouncing against the wall. The bed collapsed on one side under his weight. When I realized it was a kangaroo at first I was relieved but he was going crazy trying to escape.”

The animal, also terrified, gouged holes in the bed and smeared blood on the walls before it took off out of the first bedroom. It then bounded down the hall and found the bedroom of their 10-year-old son, Leighton. The boy hid behind his teddy bears screaming, “There’s a kangaroo in my bedroom!”

“That was enough for me,” Ettlin said, “I thought I have to do something about it. There is no way I can let him jump in there and hurt my son.” Beat Ettlin was forced to lay a beat down on the rampaging ninja kangaroo.

“I knew this was a big threat to my family, it could really have hurt us. My wife and daughter were terrified, they were screaming as they hid under the blankets and my son was trying to hide behind his little teddies. I had to do something.”

Wearing only his underwear, the 42-year-old Ettlin jumped on to the kangaroo’s back and wrestled it to the ground. Using his entire body weight to pin the approximately 6-foot-tall, 90 pound kangaroo down, he slapped a headlock on the marsupial and was able to drag it down the hallway and out the front door.

“I had to push with my full body weight and I got him as low as I could. It was quite aggressive and tried to escape of course. I could feel how powerful it was. said Ettlin.

Ettlin was able to open the front door with one hand and push the animal outside. It was then the kangaroo bolted away and vanished into the bushes.

“It took only a few minutes,” Ettlin said. “And all that time there was no sound at all. I could feel the kangaroo breathing really hard and fast against my body but he didn’t make a sound. All I could hear was Verity’s screams.”

“When it was all over I had a few scratches on my legs, and there wasn’t much left of my underwear” said Ettlin. The kangaroo left a trail of blood through the house and claw gouges in the wooden frame of the bed.

This unusual incident occurred in Garran, a suburb of Canberra near a wildlife reserve that is home to a number of grey kangaroos. Coincidentally, the family had recently moved to this home three weeks ago, and believes that their housewarming intruder may have been one of the local kangaroos.

“The poor thing, he was terrified,” Beaman said. “He must have got stuck in our courtyard, and was terrified by the dog’s barking so leapt for a dark space to escape. But that dark space was our bedroom.”

Describing Ettlin as a “hero in torn underwear”, Beaman said, “He’s quite burly, but it was a struggle for him to control the kangaroo.” She added “I don’t know many Australian men who would do the same thing. We all know kangaroos are very dangerous. But Beat knew there was a real threat to his son, his male instinct was to protect his family.”

Some of the neighbors had previously reported seeing at least one large kangaroo grazing on their front lawn.

It is not unusual for eastern grey kangaroos to invade the city, and are known to look for food and water during droughts. Normally these animals are timid, but can become aggressive if they feel threatened. Able to reach a height of six feet, kangaroos can seriously injure humans.

Four years ago in the same area, a kangaroo attacked a woman while walking her poodle down a Canberra street and another incident involved a kangaroo killing a golden retriever while the owner helplessly watched.

Kangaroos rarely invade homes but have done so in the past when panicked, says Greg Baxter, a lecturer at Queensland University and expert on native animals in Australia.

“It is very unusual, but when kangaroos become panicked they lose all sense of caution and just fly for where they think they can get away,” Baxter said.

Well, we already know a Taser works on an emu, so I would imagine you could effectively tase a 6-foot-tall kangaroo? Pretty sure I wouldn’t want to find out, especially after growing up watching all of those Bugs Bunny episodes with the kangaroo boxing. You never know when you might need to know how to fight a kangaroo.

Be Safe, Be Prepared. Watch out for crazy ninja kangaroos.

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Dirty Mouth? Clean it up.

A guy from Connecticut has been charged with stealing hundreds of packs of Orbit chewing gum from area stores.

He must have had a very dirty mouth.

21-year-old Kenneth McManus surrendered himself to police after a warrant for his arrest was issued on charges of fourth-degree larceny.

On a Jan. 22, McManus was accused of stealing $500 worth or about 175 packs of Orbit gum from a Shaw’s supermarket on Black Rock Turnpike.

According to the Police, McManus was recorded by supermarket surveillance cameras stuffing the individual packs of Orbit gum into his pockets and then leaving the store.

Three days earlier, he was charged with stealing about $200 worth of Orbit gum from another Shaw’s in Stratford.

Another 12 days prior, he was arrested for stealing around $75 worth of Orbit gum from a Bridgeport CVS store on Boston Avenue.

That is a lot of gum. It would make the Orbit girl proud.

Be Safe, Be Prepared, Keep your mouth clean and fresh.

All of the sudden I am craving gum…

Popularity: 16% [?]

Mountain Dew Does a Would-Be Robber In

We have another “Be a Better Criminal” tip: If you are going to rob a store, do not use your debit card during the holdup.

I know, it seems common sense to most folk, but 33-year-old Shawn Thomas Lester from West Virginia gets credit for this useful bit of information, much at his own expense.

Apparently, the scholarly Lester walked into a convenience store, grabbed a Mountain Dew and wandered up to the register. Once there, he told the cashier he had a gun and he demanded all of the money.

Before the cashier could comply, another customer walked in, flustering the would-be robber. The quick thinking cashier then asked Lester if he was going to pay for the soda.

Since Lester had no cash on him, seemingly why he was trying to rob the store in the first place, he whips out his bank debit card to pay the $1.47 for the soft drink. Knowing that this might be a bad idea, Lester used some West Virginian logic and signed the receipt “John Doe”.

Ah ha, that will make his identity less obvious. So now Lester, I mean… So now, John Doe leaves the store with a drink, but no cash. At least he wasn’t thirsty any more.

Now one could argue that Lester himself was also the victim of a crime. $1.47 for a freaking soda?? Give me a break, that’s highway robbery!

Much to the surprise of Mr. Doe, even West Virginian police were able to quickly trace the true owner of the debit card. John Doe my arse.

When the police arrived in Charleston to pick up Lester at his residence, Lester told the police he was just kidding around about the gun and holding up the store. I’m sure the arresting officer at least laughed to himself as he arrested the funny guy.

All kidding aside, he was charged with armed robbery, but luckily not stealing the soda. Grand theft beverage holds a pretty steep penalty.

So if you are taking notes, our “Be a Better Criminal” Tips now include: pull up your pants so you don’t trip or get a wedgie, don’t leave your getaway van running with the keys inside, eat the whole doughnut, leave the cell phone at home, and now don’t use your debit card at the scene of the crime.

I know I could come up with more tips, but I’ll just wait for other would-be criminals to bring them to our attention. It’s funnier that way.

Be Safe, Be Prepared, Do the Dew.

Popularity: 17% [?]

McGruff the Crime Dog becomes a Crime Statistic in DC

Fresh off yesterday’s story of mascot rage on Chuck E. Cheese, today we have McGruff the Crime Dog getting clocked in the face down in DC.

District of Columbia Police officer Tyrone Hardy was wearing the full McGruff ensemble and passing out flyers to a group of kids on the corner of 14th Street and Spring Road in Northwest Washington this past Saturday. You know, the Take a Bite out of Crime drill…

Around 2:30 in the afternoon, a Metro bus pulled up to the curb along side McGruff and the bus driver hopped out. He nonchalantly adjusted the side-view mirrors then walked up to the occupied Crime Dog.

The bus driver, 38-year-old Shawn Brim, trying “to be funny,” punched McGruff dead in the face as the kids stood by confused and horrified.

So while McGruff staggers to regain his composure, kids screaming on the sidewalk, and passengers on the bus yelling at him, Brim climbed back on the bus laughing to himself and drove away.

“But nobody here finds it funny, believe me,” a Metro spokeswoman said. “That kind of behavior is not tolerated.”

Neither did the officers working with McGruff who jumped into their cruisers and pulled him over about three blocks away.

The police mascot who usually teaches kids how to stop crime before it happens, had little chance of seeing the shot coming. The costume has an oversized head with limited visibility. Hardy ended up with a swollen right cheek but refused medical treatment. He did however call in sick on Monday.

“He was in good spirits,” but Hardy seemed more concerned that the attack “upset the kids,” says Lt. Alan Thomas.

Brim has been employed by Metro for over 15 years was charged with simple assault and has been ordered to undergo drug and alcohol testing. He also has a history of arrests in DC, including a prostitution charge in October 2006, possession of PCP in 1994 and the illegal possession of a gun in 1990.

I don’t know what these people are thinking. I suppose the Chuck E. Cheese mouse isn’t a very imposing figure. But you would think that freaking McGruff the Crime Dog, a well known Police mascot, who is probably being worn by a cop, with several police officers standing near by, would be moderately safe from being roughed up?

Am I wrong? Well, apparently yes.

I know there was a funny scene in a movie where someone got into a fight with a costumed mascot, but I can’t for the life of me remember which one it was…

All I remember was the mascot was doing pretty good until the other guy smacked the head backwards and then the mascot couldn’t see anymore and got schooled.

I bet the San Diego Chicken doesn’t have to put up with this crap. He looks like he could hold his own. Perhaps he can give some mascot self defense tips to these guys and show them how to bust out some Kung Fu Panda moves.

It is looking like there might be some people interested.

Be Safe, Be Prepared.

Popularity: 19% [?]

Chuck E. Cheese Assaulted in Gaming Area

We haven’t had a good Chuck E. Cheese story since the Whack-a-mom article last March. This incident happened soon after in May 2008, but the details from the court hearings are just coming out.

This time it was it was “Chuck” who was assaulted. Twice in the same day, at a Dartmouth Towne Center Chuck E. Cheese restaurant in Massachusetts. Once by some kids, then by a father.

The first time, Jessie Carvalho, the 19-year-old Chuck E. Cheese employee who was unlucky enough to have to wear the full size mouse costume was assaulted by some kids. Carvalho reported to police that while he was doing the rounds through the gaming area, a rowdy group of kids jumped on him, attempted to knock him over and tried to remove his costume.

He then said he had to put his arms forward to move the youths away from him, but never actually grabbed any of them. A woman who was also at the restaurant at the time of the incident said she saw Chuck telling the kids to stop, and agreed that he never grabbed any of them. She did however add that Carvalho accidentally bumped into an 11-year-old child while turning around.

Next thing Chuck knows, Trahan Pires comes running up to him, rips off the mouse head, points his finger into his face and starts yelling at him for messing with his kid. Apparently, the child he just accidentally bumped into ran to his family crying, and said “Chuck” picked him up by the arms, pinned him against a game machine and ordered the boy to leave him alone.

When the police were called, the boy did not have any visible injuries and went back to playing with his friends after being questioned at the restaurant.

Originally, Carvalho was charged with assault and battery on the child, but was acquitted this past Jan. 12. Pires, the boy’s father pleaded guilty last week to assault and battery on the mascot and was ordered to pay a $500 fine.

That job has to suck. Wearing a hot, sweaty, fuzzy mouse costume all day while being tormented by wild kids all day, and the possibility of being accosted by angry parents. I wonder if the Mickey Mouse mascot has similar problems down at Disney World? At least Chuck is inside an air conditioned restaurant, not outside in the hot Florida sun.

Be Safe, Be Secure.

Popularity: 21% [?]

Mom Sentenced to Three Months in Jail for Beating Sex Offender with Baseball Bat

Whether she was protecting her children or assaulting a neighbor, a Tacoma woman will be spending the next 3 months in jail for introducing her baseball bat to a Level-3 sex offender.

Tammy Gibson said she had no remorse for the beating last June but pleaded no contest to the assault charges. She could have received up to eight months in jail, but the judge sentenced her to three.

“No, I’d do it again if not better,” she said. “I don’t care if it hurts me, I don’t regret it. It got him away from my kids and all the other kids in the neighborhood.”

According to police reports, the Level-3 sex offender had moved into his uncle’s home in early June. Following his move to Tacoma, county deputies handed out flyers around the neighborhood to alert residents of William A. Baldwin’s presence.

Besides being a Level-3 sex offender, Baldwin is reported as being an imposing and memorable 7 feet, 3 inches tall.

On June 19, Gibson went to Baldwin’s house in the trailer park and asked for him, after he was seen talking with her daughter.

As Baldwin stepped outside, Gibson claimed she was going to kill him because he had molested her children. She then proceeded to pummel Baldwin repeatedly with her bat, reportedly injuring his arm.

“I kept swingin’ and swingin’, and swingin’,” Gibson told investigators.

Contrary to what Gibson originally said to Baldwin, she later told investigators Baldwin had not actually molested her children. However, she did say that she recognized Baldwin’s picture from the flyers, and was the man who had been seen talking to her then-10-year-old daughter during the previous summer.

“For him to be right there, in front of my house and talking to my child — made me crazy,” Gibson said.

“And I told him I thought he was a piece of crap and I smacked him,” she added. “I just didn’t stop hitting him. I just told him that ‘if it were up to me, I’d kill ya.”‘

“I was scared. I was frightened. I didn’t know what the hell to do,” Baldwin previously told a reporter about being assaulted by Gibson.

“He tried to give me fireworks and I wouldn’t take it,” said Gibson’s daughter, in tears during the sentencing.

One of Gibson’s other daughters, added, “I think it’s crap; that she was protecting her kids like she should have been. They locked her up for way too long.”

“I would hope that me doing this and going to jail would change something, change some kind of law, change something where people like him can’t be standing around little kids you know what I mean?” Gibson said in a TV interview. “It’s not right, it’s not fair to the kids at all.”

Right or wrong, it appears Gibson did successfully prevent any further contact with Baldwin and her children. It was reported Baldwin moved out of Tacoma and is now living in Seattle.

Perhaps there will be an equally protective mother in Seattle too.

Be Safe, Be Prepared.

Popularity: 19% [?]

Top February Droppers on Entrecard

60 Were Enough - 60 Were Enough blog about Music, Artists, Mp3 and 60 Were Enough News.

Politicus US - Politics, discussion, comments, opinions

Tech-Blog - My tech hobbies

sound of a soft breath - “Avoid silence, avoid solitude, avoid any train of thought that leads off the beaten track. Concentrate on money, sex, status, health, and (above all) on your own grievances. Keep the radio on. Live in a crowd. Use plenty of sedation…” Have you given this a try? Now …

Outlandish Observations - News, commentary, random musings, and occasional Deep Thoughts about Diana Gabaldon’s OUTLANDER and Lord John books.

Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice
- Italian American comfort food using fresh ingredients.

The Way I See It - My thoughts, opinions and personal observations on a wide variety of subjects, sometimes mixed with humor and including travel, retirement, opinion, politics, child sponsorship with Children International and life experiences. News and views from my perspective.

Big Boys Have Toys Too - A sports minded father of 2 who loves to write about anything that interests men and women.

Entreblogger - MMO blog

Prove Me Wrong - Proving me wrong does not make me less intelligent or smart… But in so doing, my world will be a lot easier to understand and I’d be able to share to the rest of the world everyone’s wisdom… Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment.

Thanks to all of our regulars! Please keep coming back!

Mind Relaxing Ideas
- Losing Weight Intentionally - Politics 2000 - Confessions of a Fitness Diva - sudhersana

Popularity: 19% [?]

Intruder Whacked in the Head with a Sauce Pan

The 70-year-old wife of an Elyria, Ohio judge was so angry at the intruders who tried to rob her, that she whacked one of them in the head with a pot. BAM!

Four boys pushed their way into her home while Ellen Basinski was on the phone with her husband, this past Tuesday.

The husband David Basinski, a Lorain County Judge overheard the comotion and rushed home. His wife grabbed her favorite “Emeril Lagasse” 5-quart sauce pan in an attempt to defend herself against the teenagers rifling through her purse and cabinets, and ended up smacking one of them upside the head.

One of the teens threw a bottle of whiskey towards Mrs. Basinski to distract her so one of the other boys could flee. They all ran from the scene but were later apprehended and charged with aggravated burglary.

The judge said his wife was rather upset that police had to take her pan as evidence. No sauce tonight!

To kick this story up another notch, it was later reported that Chef Emeril Lagasse heard of the incident and felt so bad that the woman lost one of his trademark pans while warding off home intruders that he’s sending her a whole new set of his signature cookware.

Double BAM!


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Popularity: 22% [?]

Recent Laptop Snatching Attempts in Florida

We have two attempted laptop snatchings recently, one in Bradenton and one in Stuart, Florida.

The first one took place inside a Starbucks. Apparently, a social networking 19-year-old just had to check out what was going on Facebook this past Saturday.

He walked up to a customer using a laptop and asked if he could check his Facebook profile real quick. When the customer refused, the guy started to walk away, then made a grab and snatched the laptop and ran out of the coffee shop.

Two other customers in the parking lot tackled the thief and held him there until mall security arrived.

The victim got his laptop back and the guy was charged with felony robbery by sudden snatching.

Next, we have a 75-year-old man standing outside of a Best Buy in Stuart. He just bought a new laptop and printer, and was waiting for his wife to pull up to the door to load the car with his new tech gear.

A 29-year-old guy, thinking he saw an easy target, attempted to snatch and run with the Best Buy bags. Sadly for the 29-year-old thief, he didn’t even make it 10 feet when the old man caught up with the much younger assailant and grabbed him before he could get any farther.

An off-duty police officer was nearby and assisted the victim.

This guy was charged with robbery by sudden snatching and battery on a person over the age of 65.

Tips for Preventing Computer Laptop Theft

Why Do Thieves Target Laptops?

Computer Laptop are a target of choice all over the country.

Why? Because laptops are small, can be removed quickly, are easily hidden, and are quite valuable. There is a good market for them as a good laptop could be worth up to $5,000 or more.

Stolen laptops can easily be sold to an unsuspecting used computer store or pawnshop, and thieves may receive up to half its value in cash, just for the hardware.

The Real Cost of a Stolen Laptop

The actual cost of a stolen laptop is more than just its replacement cost, which can be hefty. Peripherals such as modems and network cards, all of the installed software, additional cost of configuring and reloading replacement software, and all the lost time for the owner while the laptop is being replaced is often overlooked.

An even greater cost is involved if your employer issued you the laptop. The potential exposure and liability that results from compromised confidential corporate and client information can be enormous.

How Can You Reduce the Risk of Laptop Theft?

* Never leave a laptop in an unlocked vehicle, even if it is in your driveway or garage. Do not leave laptops in plain sight, even if you vehicle is locked. You are just inviting trouble. If you must leave the laptop in a vehicle, lock it in the trunk. If you don’t have a trunk, at least cover it up and lock the doors.

* Parking garages are likely areas for vehicle burglaries, as they provide many prime targets and cover for thieves. Again, never leave a laptop in plain sight in your vehicle, cover it up or lock it in the trunk.

* Besides, try to avoid leaving your laptop in a vehicle anyways because of the damage extreme temperatures can cause to computers.

* Carry laptops in a nondescript carrying case, briefcase, or other bags. Using cases designed for laptop computers are dead giveaways to thieves that you have a laptop.

* Going to lunch, or taking a break? Don’t leave your laptop in meeting or conference rooms. Take it with you, or it may not be there when you return.

* Always lock the laptop up in your office during off-hours.

* Don’t have your own office? Use a specially designed cable lock and wrap it around your desk or chair leg. Alternately, you can lock the laptop in a closet or cabinet.

* Don’t let unaccompanied visitors wander around in your workplace. Offer assistance and accompany the visitors to their destinations. Make sure it is office policy.

* Apply distinctive paint markings or etch your name or other distinguishable marks on the bottom of the laptop to make it unique and easily identifiable. Record the serial numbers, make and model of your system.

* Consider purchasing a theft alarm systems specially made for laptops, either hardware or software.

* Be aware that if your computer is stolen, any automatic log-ins you have stored on the system can easily allow the thief to send inappropriate messages with your accounts or gain unauthorized accesses.

* Back up your important information on CDs or DVDs today, and safely store the disks at home or the office.

Tips For Flying With Your Laptop

Flying to a conference? Never check laptops as luggage at the airport because they can disappear or otherwise be damaged in transit.

The FAA has issued warnings about an increasingly common scam of stealing laptop computers from the conveyor belts of metal detectors.

At the X-ray scanner two thieves get in the line. The first one walks through the scanner quickly. The second person delays the rest of the line by emptying pockets full of change, keys, or other cumbersome items.

Meanwhile, the travelers stuck behind the slow thief may have already placed their belongings, including laptops, on the conveyor belt. The first thief can pick up a laptop case as if it were his own and walks away while the other accomplice continues to hold up the line.

Only put your laptop on the conveyor belt when you are the very next person to go through the metal detector. Keep your eye on your laptop the whole time as it comes off the conveyor belt. Alert the security personnel immediately if you think someone is attempting to steal your computer.

If a theft does occur:

Report it to the police department as soon as possible.

Users should have the make, model, and serial number available so authorities can file a complete report and enter the stolen laptop information to the National Crime Information Computer.

If you have backed up your data, all will not be lost. If you have sensitive and confidential information on your laptop, you should consider using encryption software to protect the data.

Be Safe, Be Prepared, Stay Aware.

Popularity: 24% [?]

Another burglar drops his cell phone

Similar to the other Lost Cell Phone story, this one out of New Castle, Delaware is also pretty funny.

Apparently we have this guy who breaks into this house.

The homeowner hears someone opening his basement door and is startled when a unknown guy walks into his den. The victim who was sitting on his couch, jumps up and starts yelling at the intruder.

The guy takes off through the house and escapes out the front door.

Can you guess what happened next?

Well the guy ended up dropping his cell phone in the victim’s front yard. Way to go buddy.

So the homeowner calls the police, who arrive to take the report. While the cops are looking around, the victim finds the cell phone on the ground and hands it over to the police.

Right there we are pretty good and should have no problem finding this guy. But, it gets better…

With the cell phone in the hands of the investigator, it starts to ring. And whose name do you suppose comes up on the display? Mom.

Of course the police answer and talk to the would-be burglar’s Mother, who confirms the identity of her son.

The police later found the 33-year-old guy walking along the highway. He was taken into custody without incident and charged with burglary related offenses.

So, if you have been following our burglary tips from the past few days, pull up your pants so you don’t trip or get a wedgie, don’t leave your getaway van running with the keys inside, eat the whole doughnut and leave the cell phone at home.

Be Safe, Be Prepared.

Popularity: 25% [?]

Woman arrested for stun gun in baggage hold of airplane

I suppose I’m a little bit biased since I sell self-defense items, and I think the law banning stun guns in New York State is stupid anyways…

But a report just came out that a woman was arrested for having a stun gun in a baby stroller that was being put into the baggage hold on a Southwest Airline flight.

Apparently the atrocity occurred last Saturday when a woman, her infant and another male passenger attempted to board the airplane and a crew member noticed the item as he was about to load the stroller. Can you even access the baggage hold from the cabin of an airplane or isn’t that just liked the checked baggage?

I think TSA blew this out of proportion, making it seem like a terrorist threat. The entire plane was delayed and checked as a precaution after the weapon was found.

So now this woman is facing misdemeanor charges and has to appear in court because she wanted to defend herself if something bad happened. I think the bigger problem is now she doesn’t have anything.

The TSA officials used the incident as a retraining exercise because apparently the $8/hour security monitors didn’t know what a stun gun looked like the first time it went through. They brought back the stroller and stungun back through the security checkpoint so the screeners would know what it looked like if another one ever came across the screen.

A TSA spokesperson said that while there is “no silver bullet” in detecting threats like this, “we do have multiple layers of security,” that range from reinforced cockpit doors to trained air marshals aboard the aircraft.

“This article did not make it onto the aircraft,” she said.

Good job. I bet if the woman had more than 3 ounces of liquid baby formula she would have been busted for that also. I’m sure you guys are mighty proud of yourselves.

But alas, stun guns and tasers are illegal in states of Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Wisconsin or the city of Baltimore, MD, Philadelphia, PA. Shame on that mom!

I’m sure it’s nice to know that the criminals are better armed, seeing that they could care less if any law prohibited them from carrying a weapon. Hence why they are criminals, they don’t care.

I’m sure the criminals wander the streets feeling safer that the average citizens are unarmed and their illegal wills can go unopposed.

Is there a day that some sort of crime isn’t in the news?

Child abductions, rapes, robberies, assaults, car-jackings, break-ins and home invasions are headlines every day. Everyone can use a slight edge.

Shouldn’t you be protected?

Don’t forget to enter this month’s contest! We don’t have too many entries yet, which is good for the odds of those already entered. You have about a week to get in on this month’s FREE pepper spray giveaway. Don’t miss out.

Popularity: 27% [?]