As a present from the paranoid drivers at the True Crime desk to the paranoid drivers comprising our readership—put down that newspaper and pay attention to the road!—BW presents, for your pleasure, a guide to holiday legal luminescence. This season, if you see red and blue flashing lights in your rear-view mirror, pull over, get out your license and registration, and remove that candy cane from your pocket before someone mistakes it for a Glock semiautomatic 9mm. If you see red and green flashing lights, put the pedal down and head for the Owyhee backcountry, because Santa and Jesus have teamed up and are wreaking their horrible vengeance upon the naughty. If, on the other hand, a car featuring a single flashing red light attempts to pull you over, stay suspicious. What appears to be a legit traffic stop may be a couple of costumed charlatans with Christmas lights around their windshield.
To find corroboration for this last scenario, we turn to the beet-scented burg of Nampa, where last Saturday night at about 8:30 p.m., a male motorist was allegedly pulled over near the intersection of Roosevelt and South Powerline roads by two men wearing faded police uniforms and driving a car with a flashing red light on its dashboard. The victim, according to a news release, couldn't make out the legal en-faux-rcers' car model, whether they were armed or what manner of flashing light they used to fool him (the aforementioned Christmas light hypothesis is festive editorial speculation). But apparently the victim could make out the sickly scent of jive, as the traffic stop escalated into a verbal confrontation culminating in the suspects lighting out, so to speak. A day later, the Nampa Police Department sent out a release clarifying their officers were not those in the gauche faded unis, all state and local law enforcement officers use either blue or a combination of red and blue lights. On Monday, Dec. 17, Lt. Brad Daniels told BW the Nampa PD was investigating several possible explanations, including that the suspects were bail bondsmen "overstepping their bounds."
How Do You Work This Thing?
In other news of criminals who vaguely resemble cops, police in Twin Falls are on the lookout for a suspicious sixtysomething with a weak trigger finger. Around 5 p.m. on Dec. 13, officers told the Times-News, a homeowner spotted the man inspiring this sketch snooping around in classic private dick trappings: tan trench coat, sunglasses and a big hat. The stranger eventually made his way to the front door, which—probably for the final time in his life—the resident opened. The suspect responded by pulling a gun out and attempting to fire it at the homeowner. When it didn't work, the suspect ran away as fast as his 60- to 65-year-old legs could manage, got into a late model Japanese sedan with Wyoming plates and left.
Big Bills, Small Caliber
Note to self: Do not go on safari with the Safari Hat Robber. For while Idaho's most-recent link to the world of idiosyncratic nicknamed villainy (see: BW, True Crime, "Sticking Up for the Sticker-Uppers," Nov. 14, 2007) may have both the cash to fund such an expedition and a hat brim wide enough to block the Tanzanian sun, his weapon of choice—an air-powered Daisy Powerline pistol—wouldn't ripple the chin-fat on a charging hippopotamus.
Of course, the needlessly intricate fantasy above is not meant to imply that Mr. Hat, aka John Christopher Badgett, has any adventures, save those of the penitentiary variety, in his near future. On Dec. 12, a federal grand jury in Boise returned a four-count indictment against Badgett, 37, charging him with robbing a Wells Fargo branch in Twin Falls on Oct. 9 and another in Meridian on Oct. 22. Various police departments around the West are also sweet on Badgett for a string of bank, pharmacy and fast-food restaurant robberies in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming and Utah over the last year. According to court documents quoted in the Idaho Falls Post-Register, Badgett netted over $12,000 from the two Idaho robberies, but the Irwin, Texas, resident was undone a month later when his mother dropped a dime to the Idaho Falls Police Department and named him as a suspect. Badgett was arrested on Nov. 28 near Dallas, but is expected to be transferred to Idaho to stand trial for both robbery and for possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. Even a Daisy counts as a firearm in the right crime.
Cops Tour Museum De Tag
Implicit to the act of graffiti "tagging" is the premise that the vandals who perform it are their own biggest fans. While the term "tag" seems simply to signal ownership, the nature of the actual graffiti signatures—their illegibility and blatant artlessness, their profusion on homes, overpasses and other places where they seemingly must be looked at—showcases a model of ownership built around repelling its audience. Put in highfalutin postmodern psychological terminology, it's a gesture of, "I will prove to myself that I exist by smearing my poopie on your toys for reasons you will never understand. Now scrub that poopie off!"
And yet despite the obviousness of this analogy, 'twas a bit jarring to read the lengths to which three suspected taggers went in hopes of immortalizing their deeds. In what Boise Police Chief Mike Masterson said was the first graffiti-focused sting operation in Boise, officers served search warrants at two west Boise homes on Thursday, Dec. 13. They found fastidious museums of evidence, complete with photos, news clippings, Internet reports, bags and used clothing from crime scenes and "dozens and dozens" of used cans. The museums' curators, 19-year-old Taylor Coe—allegedly responsible for a tag vaguely resembling the word "leer"—and 19-year-old Lazarus Moon and 20-year-old Elysse Taylor—who may have worked together under the "amok" label—were arrested as the suspected perpetrators of nearly 100 local graffiti incidents over the last year. All three face felony charges of malicious injury to property.