Saturday, June 30, 2012

Buried Alive

True stories from the shadow of death…
by Robert A. Waters

The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins? “The Premature Burial,” Edgar Allan Poe.

Before the development of embalming technology, those thought to have stopped breathing were pronounced dead, placed in a grave, and buried. If they were lucky, a competent physician would make the pronouncement. If they were unlucky, well…let’s just say it’s no wonder that premature burial was once dreaded by the living.

The following story, printed in the Fort Wayne Daily Gazette on February 9, 1884, describes the horror of a hasty interment.

Buried Alive.
A Dayton, Ohio, Maiden Suffers Horrible Death.
The Opening of the Coffin Discovers the Frightful Fact—An Awful Struggle for Life.

“A sensation has been created here by the discovery of the fact that Miss Hockwalt [sic. Hochwalt], a young woman of high social connections, who was supposed to have died suddenly January 10, was buried alive. The horrible truth was discovered a few days ago, and since then it has been the talk of the city. The circumstances of Miss. Hockwalt's death were peculiar. It occurred the morning of the marriage of her brother to Miss Emma Schwind, at Immanuel's church. Shortly before 8 o'clock the young lady was dressing for the nuptials and had gone into the kitchen. A few moments afterward she was found sitting on a chair with her head leaning against the wall and apparently lifeless. Medical aid was summoned. Dr. Jewett, after examination, pronounced her dead. Mass was being read at the time in Immanuel church, and it was proposed to postpone the wedding, but Father Haane thought best to continue, and the wedding was consummated in gloom by low mass. An examination showed that Anna was of excitable temperament, nervous and afflicted with sympathetic palpitation of the heart. Dr. Jewett thought this the cause of death. The following day the girl was interred in Woodland [Cemetery]. The friends of Miss Hockwalt were unable to forget the terrible impression, and several ladies observed that her ears bore a remarkably natural color, and could not dispel the idea that she was not dead. They conveyed their opinion to Anna's parents, and the thought preyed upon them so that the body was taken from the grave.

“It is stated that when the coffin was opened it was discovered that the supposed inanimate body had turned upon its right side. The hair of the head had been torn out in handfuls and the flesh of the fingers had been bitten from the bones. The body was reinterred and efforts made to conceal the case, but there are those who state that they saw the body and know the truth of the facts narrated.”

A second case was reported in American Weekly in 1930. The article, entitled “Safeguards Against Being Buried Alive,” read:

“One of the most pathetic cases is that of Mrs. Catherine Boger, of Morrison's, near White Haven, Pa. A year after her marriage in 1892, Mrs. Boger was taken ill and ‘died.’ Dr. James Willard, the family physician, made several tests to make sure that death had taken place, and Mrs. Boger was buried. Sometime afterwards a friend informed Boger that his wife had been subject to periodic hysteria and suggested that she might have been buried alive. This thought haunted Boger until he became practically insane and to pacify him it was arranged that the grave should be reopened.

“To the shock of Boger's friends his fears were proved correct. The woman had been buried alive. The body was turned face downward. The glass in the lid of the coffin was broken. The burial robes had been torn to shreds and bruises and gashes in the woman's flesh showed where she had torn herself in frenzy upon discovering her hopeless situation.”

Beginning in the early 18th century, many wealthy people attempted to devise some system that would alert others if they were interred before actually dying. Usually, these schemes included constructing wires inside the casket attached to outside bells that could be rung in case the dead person awoke.

Skeptics insist that many of the examples of those disinterred who seemed to have injuries associated with being buried alive were actually the effects of decomposition. However, there have been enough documented cases to know that such horrible burials did indeed occur. And the law of averages would imply that of the trillions of persons buried throughout history, some would not have been dead.

How many crime victims have been buried alive? This will never be known, since many bodies will never be discovered.

Listed below are a few modern victims whose remains were found—prematurely entombed.

1987: Stephen Small, 39, media mogul from Kankakee, Illinois, was abducted from his home and held for ransom. The kidnappers, Danny Edwards and Nancy Rish, were quickly caught and led FBI agents to a plywood box buried in the ground near their home. Small’s body, still handcuffed, lay in the home-made coffin. Beside him were a flashlight, water, and candy. A PVC pipe designed to provide air was too small, and the victim suffocated. Edwards was sentenced to death, while Rish got life. In 2003, Illinois governor George Ryan commuted the sentences of everyone on death row, so Edwards escaped justice. (Former Governor Ryan is currently serving a six year sentence after being convicted of racketeering, bribery, extortion, money laundering, and tax fraud.)

2005: An elderly invalid couple was abducted from their Jacksonville, Florida home and buried in a previously-prepared grave. Carol and Reggie Sumner had been robbed and buried alive. Tiffany Cole, Alan Wade, Michael Jackson, and Bruce Nixon were convicted of the horrific crime—each received dual death sentences.

2005: Jessica Lunsford was kidnapped from her Florida home by John Evander Couey, a registered sex offender. After repeatedly raping her for three days, Couey stuffed Jessica into plastic bags and buried her alive beside his trailer. When found, her finger was sticking out of the bag and she was holding her favorite stuffed animal. Couey was convicted of murder but cheated the executioner by dying in prison.

2009: Five-year-old Nevaeh Buchanan was reported missing in Munroe, Michigan. Eleven days later, she was found encased in cement beside the River Raisin. Investigators said she was buried alive and died by inhaling dirt. No one has been charged in her murder.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

How Could They Lose the Bones of Amelia Earhart?

“Amelia Earhart’s Last Flight”
by Robert A. Waters

Seventy-five years later, the mystery still fascinates. What happened to Amelia Earhart?

A new expedition is headed to Gardner Island (now known as Nikumaroro) to resume previous searches for evidence that she landed there after running out of fuel. The International Group for Historical Research (TIGHAR) will use underwater robots with multi-beam sonar to scan the reefs around the previously uninhabited coral atoll. Members of the group hope to find the remains of Earhart’s plane.

Several clues point to Gardner Island as the likely place Earhart and Fred Noonan went down on July 2, 1937. A series of Murphy’s Law-type mistakes had brought them there. The final, fatal error may have been Earhart’s unfamiliarity with (or damage to) her new direction-finding loop antenna. A radio crew on the U. S. Coast Guard ship Itasca was  responsible for guiding her to Howland Island--unfortunately, they could hear Earhart’s messages, but she couldn’t hear theirs.

At 7:42 a.m., Earhart’s transmission came in loud and clear: “We must be on you, but cannot see you – but gas is running low. Have been unable to reach you by radio. We are flying at 1,000 feet.”  More than an hour later, at 8:43, Earhart radioed: “We are on the line 157/337.” Her transmissions soon faded, and the aviatrix vanished into the fog of history.

The evidence that she and Noonan may have landed on or near Gardner Island is not compelling yet, but certainly hopeful. Jeremy Hsu, of Innovation News Daily, wrote: “Several expeditions [have] uncovered items that could have belonged to Earhart, along with signs of survival living. Such items include a jar that likely contained Dr. Berry's Freckle Ointment (Earhart was known for disliking her freckles), a hand lotion bottle marketed to women in the 1930s, and a bone-handled knife matching the description of a knife listed in Earhart's aircraft inventory.”

Possibly the most intriguing find is now lost. According to Hsu’s report, a team of researchers from TIGHAR “also dug up old paperwork from a British colonial physician who described human bones recovered from the island — bones that belonged to a woman fitting Amelia Earhart's profile, according to modern analysis.” Somehow, soon after the partial skeleton was sent to Fiji for analysis, it disappeared. This tantalizing find remains as lost as Earhart herself.

More recently, human bone fragments found on the island were tested for DNA, but came back inconclusive.

The theory that Earhart and Noonan crash-landed near Gardner Island will be put to the test beginning July 2nd when TIGHAR begins its search. New technology may finally put an end to this enduring mystery.

As with the sinking of the Titanic 25 years earlier, folk singers were quick to memorialize the tragedy.

Shortly after reading the news about Earhart’s lost flight, Texas singer Red River Dave wrote a song entitled Amelia Earhart’s Last Flight. The ballad soon became a country music standard, and is still played and recorded. It is thought to have been the first song ever performed on a live television broadcast when Dave sang it during the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

Red River Dave (McEnery)

A ship out on the ocean, just a speck against the sky,
Amelia Earhart flying that sad day;
With her partner, Captain Noonan, on the second of July,
Her plane fell in the ocean, far away.

CHORUS: There's a beautiful, beautiful field
Far away in a land that is fair.
Happy landings to you, Amelia Earhart,
Farewell, first lady of the air.

Well, half an hour later, an SOS was heard,
The signal weak, but still her voice was brave.
In shark-infested waters, her plane went down that night,
In the blue Pacific to a watery grave.


Now you have heard my story of that awful tragedy.
We pray that she might fly home safe again.
In years to come though others blaze a trail across the sea,
We'll ne'er forget Amelia and her plane.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Self-Defense Files # 5

Jewelry store owners fight back
by Robert A. Waters

A recent story caught my attention. In San Ramon, California, four robbers burst into the Gold N Treasures jewelry store. When one assailant brandished a handgun, the owner, Everett Parvin, pulled his own weapon. Kibrom Bairu [pictured above] died at the scene from a single gunshot to the chest. Cops said Parvin acted in self-defense.

Less than a month earlier, in nearby Vallejo, another thug died. Serial robber Tremont Dejuan Williams, 37, entered Carillo’s Jewelry Store, pulled out a gun, and jumped over the counter. As the owner’s wife frantically called 911, the would-be bandit rushed into the office of the owner. Bad mistake. The jeweler shot and killed Williams, ending a long and violent career of jewelry heists. The owner was not charged.

Many jewelers are armed. Their lives and livelihood depend on being able to defend themselves and their property.

A couple of years back, in Houston, Texas, a wild-west style shootout at Castillo’s Jewelry left three robbers dead and the owner of the store wounded.

The business sat in a high-crime neighborhood on Canal Street. It had bars on the windows and electronic locks on the door so customers could be buzzed in and out. Surveillance cameras in strategic locations monitored traffic.

On December 16, 2010, Ramon Castillo buzzed two men into his store. His wife, Eva, attended to them as they browsed. Soon, a third man posing as a customer was let in. When he entered, all three suddenly pulled guns and, in Spanish, announced that they were robbing the business.

One robber forced Ramon and Eva toward a back room while the other two began looting the store. The robber tied Eva to a chair. But as he attempted to zip-tie Ramon’s hands, the store owner reached behind his back, pulled a pistol from his waistband, and shot the robber dead.

As soon as they saw their cohort fall, the robbers at the counter opened up with semi-automatic pistols. Ramon returned fire, all the while making his way from the office back to the counter. Hit in the shoulder, abdomen, and legs, he reached beneath the counter and grabbed a shotgun. At that moment, the tide of battle changed. Ramon blasted the two remaining robbers dead.

Blood, bodies, glass, and bullet casings greeted police when they arrived.

Even though he’d been shot multiple times, Ramon Castillo, like an old-time gun-fighter, was still standing.

Eva was uninjured. Ramon, transported to the hospital, spent several days in the intensive care unit. He eventually recovered from his wounds.

Two of the robbers, Nelson Tambora-Ramiro, 21, and Onilton Castillano, 38, had Honduran passports, and were thought to have been in the country illegally. The third robber was never identified.

A day after the shooting, the children of Ramon and Eva Castillo released the following statement: “On Thursday, December 16th, our parents were the victims of a horrible crime that resulted in critical injuries to our father, Ramon Castillo. Words cannot express our outrage at this needless act of violence. However, we are not surprised that our father chose to fight back against these attackers to save his property and most of all, to protect our mother and his wife of 30 years, Eva. We are extremely proud of our father for his heroic efforts and believe that he will make a full recovery. We appreciate the many words of encouragement and concern that we’ve received and ask for your continued prayers for our father’s full recovery. We do ask for some privacy during this critical and painful time.”

Sometimes the good guys win.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Day Congress Struck Out

Aftermath of the Roger Clemens Acquittal
by Robert A. Waters

I guess it’s all been said, but since I’ve been a baseball fan all my life, I thought I’d throw in a few thoughts about the Roger Clemens case. He never played for any of the teams I followed (i.e., the Atlanta Braves, and in recent years, the Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays), but I always enjoyed watching him pitch. Clemens was a throw-back whose physical strength was matched by a searing will to win.

He had no mercy on batters, would fire a straight one directly at the head of anyone who deigned to get a hit off him. He reminded me of my all-time favorite pitcher, Nolan Ryan. Batters really feared these guys.

So when Clemens appeared before Congress and denied using roids, I found it ironic that a room full of serial liars would suddenly become incensed that someone might lie to them. (I’m not saying Clemens lied, just pointing out a contradiction.) I wasn’t surprised that the case finally landed in the clutches of the United States Department of Justice, a group of shysters who use the weight of the government and the unlimited tax funds of their office to bully innocent people into pleading guilty. It came as no surprise that Clemens had been offered a deal with no jail time if he would only take a charge.

When the Rocket wouldn’t be bullied, the hired guns from Justice leaked lies to the press. In the meantime, they used millions of our tax dollars like their own private slush fund to jet around the globe in an attempt to find a smoking gun. They never found it. Unless you count Brian McNamee.

To be honest, I feel for the guy. From the moment the former trainer appeared before Congress, it was obvious he was in over his head. And it got worse. The Feds almost certainly pressured McNamee to take the stand and humiliate himself before an entire nation. Something like, “Unless you testify, you’ll spend a few years in prison yourself.”

Then there are the sportswriters who just know Clemens used. Immediately after his acquittal on all charges, the ink started flowing. Guys who couldn’t throw a baseball 50-miles-per-hour began whining that he may have been acquitted but they’ll never vote the Rocket into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Sounds like they’re offended that a guy who’s never committed a crime isn’t in prison. How dare Clemens maintain that he’s innocent when they all know he’s not!

While the print media gurgled on its own vomit of hatred, the ESPN talking heads couldn’t wait to tell us what to believe. These guys minimize every misdeed of the hundreds of NFL thugs who rape women and beat their wives and snort coke--now they've suddenly gained a conscience. What a joke!

So you’ve got the liars in Congress and the liars at the Justice Department and the holier-than-thou media.

And then you've got the Rocket.  I'm glad he stood tall and struck out the sides.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Who’s crazier, the cops or the psychic?
by Robert A. Waters

June, 2011
So this psychic calls the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office in Texas. She tells a detective that 25 to 30 corpses are buried on a remote farm. Seems a serial killer has been using the place as a body dump.

She calls herself “Angel the Psychic” and informs cops she’s a “reverend” who gets her information from 32 angels. Some of the remains at the farm are children, she says. It’s a mass grave, and bodies there are dismembered.

Instead of having a good laugh and hanging up, someone at the sheriff’s department actually believes Angel. They contact the FBI and television networks and arrange a dig.

The cops and their media entourage descend on the home of Joe Bankson and Gena Charlton, both long haul truckers. With CNN and ABC News filming the spectacle, and the New York Times, Reuters, and other media reps following every move, investigators bring in backhoes, bulldozers, shovels, and screens for sifting.

Crowds line the road as cops begin tearing up the farm. Helicopters circle above for hours on end. By now, the formerly peaceful place looks like, well, a crime scene

The media treadmill powers into high gear. CNN twitters: “Dozens of bodies found buried in Texas…” Their source, they claim, is a Houston television station.

The news goes international. Agence France reports “Texas police, acting on a tip-off, found a mass grave containing ‘a lot of bodies,’ including the corpses of children.”

Sweltering in the Texas heat, camera crews wait impatiently to film the dozens of body bags that will soon bring off-the-chart ratings. And they wait. And they wait.

Turns out the whole thing is a bust.

Nothing is found.

June, 2012
Bankson and Charlton have filed a lawsuit against the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, CNN, ABC News, the New York Times, Reuters, and other media outlets. They’ve also included Angel the Psychic in their suit, listed only as “Jane Doe” because the couple hasn’t been able to determine her real name.

Their attorney, Andrew B. Sommerman, informed the Dayton News that “not a single body was found buried in the backyard. This all started with a psychic who gave [the sheriff's office] a tip, a bad psychic who had given the sheriff's office tips in the past that were wrong."

In their lawsuit, Bankson and Charlton claim the search caused “mental anguish” and “substantial damages” to their reputations, and was “unreasonable.” The backhoes and bulldozers left extensive damage to the property. According to the lawsuit, "everyone looks at [Bankson and Charlton] askance because of the accusations made against them."

Now the cops are threatening to charge Angel the Psychic with filing a false police report.

Angel called a local television channel and denied that she told anyone in the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office that there were bodies on the farm.

So it goes.

Crazies ain’t all serial killers.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Who Was This Little Girl?

150-year-old photograph comes to light
by Robert A. Waters

“Private Thomas W. Timberlake of Co. G, 2nd Virginia Infantry found this child’s portrait on the [Civil War] battlefield of Port Republic, Virginia, between the bodies of a Confederate soldier and a Federal soldier. The Museum of the Confederacy is publicly releasing eight images recovered on battlefields of unidentified persons in the admittedly remote chance a descendant might recognize a facial resemblance or make a connection the battlefields where they were found. ” (Associated Press)

On June 9, 1862, the battle of Port Republic, Virginia ended with Union troops in full retreat. Stonewall Jackson’s Army of the Valley had engaged the invading Yankees in savage hand-to-hand fighting, and won. But the Federal forces had fought valiantly, leaving the battlefield strewn with blue and gray corpses.

Historians, using clinical jargon that minimizes carnage, aver that the Confederates “took the field.”

The following day, Confederate Private Thomas W. Timberlake of Co. G, Second Virginia Cavalry, walked through the bloody landscape. Was he scavenging, as soldiers often do? His company no doubt needed weapons, clothing, and shoes, and the best place to retrieve such items was from the battlefield.

At some point in his search, the glint of gold may have caught his eye. As he described it later, a gold-framed case bearing the image of a child lay on the ground between two dead soldiers. One blue, one gray. He couldn’t tell which soldier the picture belonged to.

Timberlake picked up the photo. Somehow, through the years of war and death, it survived and eventually ended up in his Virginia home. After Timberlake’s death, his descendants donated it to the Museum of the Confederacy.

Ann Drury Wellford is manager of Photographic Services for the museum, located in Richmond. She recently released copies of the image to the press, hoping that someone might recognize the child. (Seven other unidentified photos of soldiers and family members were also publicized.)

The child, her features like a fragile doll, sits in wan repose. She may have been seven or eight years old. No one knows who she was or what happened to her.

Did the Yank and Reb kill each other as the battle raged around them? Did one solider, in the last throes of a violent death, pull the photo from his pocket? As his life’s-blood leaked away, did the child offer comfort to the dying man?

Wellford stated that the little girl could have been a sister, or some other family member. That’s true. But the odds are that it’s the soldier’s daughter. If you think you know who this child might be, please contact Ann Drury Wellford at the Museum of the Confederacy.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

AMW Cold Case Playing Cards

For several years, I've collected cold case playing cards. They're cheap, educational, and fun. Here are four cards from the America's Most Wanted set.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Execution Files 2

Serial Killer Thomas Warren Whisenhant

"He died a much easier death than my wife..."
by Robert A. Waters

On May 27, 2010, Brendan Kirby, writing for, summarized the life and death of a serial killer. “Triple murderer Thomas Warren Whisenhant's long stay on Alabama's death row ended peacefully this afternoon,” he wrote, “in stark contrast to the horrific violence he inflicted on his victims.”

For the 32 years he spent on death row, Whisenhant breathed the good Alabama air, ate when he was hungry, slept when he was tired, and associated with friends. He watched television and listened to the radio. For sexual gratification, he maintained a stash of Playboy pin-ups in his cell. Supported by the citizens of the state, he never had to work.

Meanwhile, Cheryl Payton lay stone-cold dead in her grave. As the decades passed and Whisenhant continued to enjoy living, the family of the pretty convenience store clerk mourned a life cut short.

Court documents describe the horrific crime: “On October 16, 1976, the defendant, Thomas Whisenhant, abducted Cheryl Lynn Payton from a Compact Store in Mobile County where she worked as a Clerk. He drove her to a secluded wooded area in rural Mobile County, raped her on the front seat of his pickup truck, and then shot her in the head one time with the .32 pistol he used in the abduction. The murder took place in a field near the truck. He then dragged her body into the wooded area and left the scene.

“On October 17, 1976, he returned to her body, cut off a large section of her breast and slit her abdomen. He was observed near the crime scene and was captured shortly thereafter following a chase.

“Once captured, the defendant freely gave a detailed confession wherein he not only admitted killing and mutilating Mrs. Payton but also killing and mutilating two other women [Venora Hyatt and Patricia Hitt] in Mobile County during the previous 18 months. With evidence obtained from the defendant, law enforcement authorities verified the defendant's multiple-mutilation confession..."

Evidence found in Whisenhant’s possession tied him indisputably to the crimes. Investigators learned that he had previously served eight years of a twenty year sentence in a federal prison for raping and attempting to murder a young WAF enlistee when he was in the Air Force. He was also the prime suspect in the unsolved murder of a 70-year-old woman who lived in his neighborhood.

Since the evidence against Whisenhant was overwhelming in the murder of Payton, defense attorneys couldn’t argue innocence. They had no choice but to come up with Plan B. There’s always the “horrible childhood” defense to fall back on, so the attorneys pulled out that card. They also jumped on the “our client is mentally ill” bandwagon. Of course, to most jurors, the question wasn’t whether Whisenhant had a bad childhood (millions do and never hurt anyone) or had mental issues. Instead, the pertinent question was whether he murdered Cheryl Payton, a total stranger who had never harmed him in any way, and did he know right from wrong?

The answer to both questions was a resounding “yes.”

Whisenhant was convicted and sentenced to death. However, he was granted a second trial because of improper statements made by the prosecutor. Once again, he was sentenced to death.

Decades later, when Whisenhant was executed, the family of the victim finally got a measure of justice. They weren’t satisfied.

Douglas Payton, Cheryl’s widower, said: “He had no remorse--none. He died a much easier death than my wife.”

Family member Susanna Payton told reporters that “no adequate words exist to appropriately define justice, and there is not enough time left on earth to calculate the immense loss we have experienced.”

Cheryl’s brother, Edward Gazzier, said, “We watched [Whisenhant] die an easy death: a very, very, easy death.”

Cheryl Lynn Payton, wife and mother of two children, would have celebrated her 24th birthday in six days had she survived.

Her killer sat on death row longer than she lived.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Craigslist Cowboys (and Cowgirls)

Victims Go Online to Bust Thieves
by Robert A. Waters

At about 11:00 p.m., Josh and Sarah Stratton were sound asleep in their Ham Lake, Massachusetts home when a masked intruder awoke them. Brandishing a handgun, he forced the couple to give him what cash they had on hand, which was $50.00. Before leaving, he also stole a camera and a MacBook computer.

After reporting the home invasion robbery to police, Sarah searched Craigslist to see if the robber would be dumb enough to list her items for sell. He was. She spotted her Nikon D2000 camera. She could tell it was hers because of the unique knots she’d tied on the strap and a lens cap with a missing logo.

Undercover detectives arranged to meet the seller at a nearby McDonald’s Restaurant. When he showed up, they arrested him. Searching his home and car, investigators found the MacBook stolen from the Strattons, as well as loot from other homes.

Because of the frightening home invasion, Josh and Sarah Stratton bought a security alarm system and weapons for protection. An article in the Star Tribune reported that “the mental image of the gun held over her head still scares [Sarah] Stratton and keeps her from sleeping in her bed...But now, armed with a security system and firearms of their own, Stratton and her husband have no plans to move...”

In Washington, D.C., Danny Lesh left his Cannonade hybrid bicycle on the porch of a friend. When he came back outside, the bike had disappeared.

Searching Craigslist, Lesh found his bicycle listed. He identified it because of a sticker on the frame that said “Bike Winter.”

Lesh arranged to meet with the seller to negotiate a price. He called police, but they seemed uninterested in helping him. So Lesh decided to go it alone.

While negotiating with the seller, he insisted on taking the bike for a test ride. Lesh rode away and kept going, re-stealing his stolen two-wheeler.

In an interview with NBC Washington, he said: “I knew I had to do it that day, or else I'd never see the bike again.” He stated that the thief called him, threatening to report him to the cops. But Lesh turned the tables by posting an ad on Craigslist warning others about the thief. “I was disgusted,” he said. “I couldn't help feeling bad for all the other people he'd stolen bikes from. I'm glad that, hopefully, his business is interrupted a little bit.”

A woman in Colorado made a similar decision. Kathryn Lucas rode her bicycle to a sports bar to watch a football game with friends. When she came outside, her black Trek 1.2 road bike was gone.

She filed a police report, then began searching for it on Craigslist. She found it and contacted the seller. After taking it for a test ride, Lucas told reporters “I started riding it and knew it was my bike, so I just kept riding it. I rode it to my car and then threw it in my car and then drove away.”

Lucas called police and informed them of the address of the thief. Investigators arrested Denzel O’Neal Crawford after he admitted he'd stolen the bicycle. He was arrested and charged with theft.