At least city police comish is secure in a world of criminally stupid


There's an interesting item on this week's agenda for the Baltimore Board of Estimates: $24,035 for a security system, floodlights and fencing at the police commissioner's house in Roland Park. This deal's in the Commish's contract with the city. And now that his overdue property tax bill has been paid, I guess he's entitled, right?

Dumb and dumber

Time once again for a look at the Guilty But Mostly Stupid Files, more true tales of dumb crooks. Today's phenomenon: Crooks hot for jail. Yes, it's alarming but true: Some of these guys just can't stay away from the joint. Examples:

In Florida, Gerald Lydell Voyles, a 39-year-old suspect in an unsolved 1981 double murder, walked into the Polk County jail in Bartow and, giving his real name, asked about the long-standing $3,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of . . . himself. He was promptly arrested. Sheriff Larry Crow said: "We believe he was serious about the reward. He will not be eligible."

In Arkansas, a jail runaway chatted up deputies on a police radio as he cruised around in a marked patrol truck. Randall Waggoner, a trusty at a county jail in Harrison, slipped out the back door and drove off in the truck. Then he radioed deputies to be on the lookout for . . . himself. Waggoner, who had been doing time on a theft conviction, was picked up about three hours later. Now he'll do a lot more than the six months of his original sentence.

This one is from the private collection of Doug Robarchek, columnist and dumb-crook connoisseur with the Charlotte Observer in North Carolina: A 26-year-old South Carolina inmate escaped while on work release and was recaptured when he went back to get a paycheck for . . . himself! Frederick McGowan, serving seven years for forgery and assault, was in a work-release program in Taylors, S.C., when he took off March 10. The dope showed up for pay day a couple of weeks later.

Two more tales from the strange side:

In Cleveland, a 1 1/2 -foot boa constrictor slithered out of a suspect's underwear while he was changing into a jail uniform. You can imagine the faces on the guards at the detention center. The prisoner, Brian Dawson, told them he was just trying to keep the snake warm. (Yeah, right.) The snake, it was soon learned, had been stolen from a pet store.

And I guess you'd call this Assault By Marsupial. Up in New Hampshire, a guy named David Jimenez was sentenced to a month in jail for assaulting another man with an opossum. Jimenez was charged with throwing the animal at two men who surprised him as he was trying to coax the opossum out of hiding near the parking lot of a Nashua social club. The opossum bit one of the men, then fled the scene. The animal was not charged.

A vote for the Doves

The 1995 session of the General Assembly wasn't a total waste; the Senate adopted a resolution honoring Ronnie Dove, "master of Rock 'N' Roll." Sen. Tom Bromwell, a hairdo brother to Dove, sponsored the resolution. Dove's career spans 40 years and a handful of hits, including "Right or Wrong," "Say You," "One Kiss For Old Times' Sake" and "Mountain of Love." Dove's career started in Elmer's, a legendary biker-seaman joint at Pratt and Light. He did "The Ed Sullivan Show" and had several other TV appearances in the 1960s. His act, crossing from oldies to country and back again, has taken Dove across the United States, and he was a hit in Canada a few years ago. The last several years, he's been playing clubs and dances in Maryland and Virginia. He'll be at Timbuktu, down by the airport, April 27.

Lapides loyalist

This Just In: Julian "Jack" Lapides, leader of the Mount Royal Democratic Club, has been endorsed for city comptroller by the Mount Royal Democratic Club! . . . I had a surprisingly excellent -- dare I say gourmet? -- salad at Frazier's Tap Room in Hampden. . . . Soon as we break loose, we're checking out Charlie Newton's new mural in the Cat's Eye. People are buzzing about it. The mural features Kenny Orye, late owner of the Fells Point pub, and Jeff Knapp, the gone-but-not-forgotten Abe Lincoln look-alike who used to tend bar there. . . . Pleasant moment in Anne Arundel County last Wednesday afternoon: Traffic stopped on Robinson Road as the Severna Park High School marching band crossed the street playing a little tune, the big brass instruments swinging in time.

I watched a hot little game of Rollerblade street hockey near Hollins Market the other day; fast action, sharp stickhandling, integrated teams, a neat scene. . . . Ever heard an argument at Hechinger or Home Depot? They are great places for eavesdropping. And I tell you: A family therapist could find work in the aisles of some of these home improvement megastores. Relatives argue about projects, materials and how to do it. The tension builds as the weekend wears on, too.

Lending an ear

Just for fun, Mark Adams, a truly fine painter who works out of a studio in Reisterstown, decided to do the Gauguin look at a Baltimore party. So he wore a colorful Tahitian shirt and a tattered straw plantation hat. A woman Adams described as a "society matron" chastised him.

"Sir," she groused, "don't you know it's rude to wear a hat inside?"

"Madame," he replied. "This is not a hat, it's a costume. I'm Gauguin."

"You can't be Gauguin," she said. "You have both ears!"

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