This story isn't really about a crime, but it certainly has all the right elements for one. It's got a daring, desperate escape, a thrilling police chase, a feisty convict who wins the public's heart and a much-publicized (but ultimately patronizing) pardon. Just imagine what the hero could have achieved if she had opposable thumbs or the ability to control her bowels.
The yarn starts at Mickey's Packing Plant, just over the Idaho border in Great Falls, Montana. On January 5, a 1,200-pound heifer that was in line to be slaughtered escaped the plant and bolted across town, with plant workers and police officers in quick pursuit. According to a story in the Great Falls Tribune, the cow narrowly escaped being rendered inedible by an SUV, a semi and a train, and withstood the marinating effects of three tranquilizer darts before finally swimming across the Missouri River and onto the sunny shores of wacky newscasts worldwide.
The following day, slaughterhouse manager Del Morris told the Tribune, plant workers held an impromptu vote on whether the fugitive should be rewarded for her insolence with a pardon. In perhaps the most poignant image of this bizarre tale, the blood-moppers and bonesaw-wielders voted 10 to one to spare the cow, who Morris had christened "Molly B," after Titanic survivor "The Unsinkable" Molly Brown.
"Now that she has a name, she's definitely destined to live," Morris said. He also began a fund to raise the approximately $1,140 to purchase Molly from her owner. Molly has received invitations from several animal sanctuaries in Washington, though Great Falls residents have also expressed interest in keeping "the one who got away" around as a reminder of ... something. (The power of unreasoning fear to triumph over deliciousness, perhaps? We're figuring it's not as a vigil to the victims of America's meat-lust.)
In a related story, all the other cows in the slaughterhouse that day, and tens of thousands of others in other plants, got plugged in the head and chopped into little red chunks. Bon appetite.