True Crime, Feb. 13, 2008 

Police Name Groper

Not a bad likeness, that. Just lose the bangs and unfocus the eyes, and you've got Andy Gallegos, 19, a Meridian man whom Boise and Meridian police investigators favor as the primary suspect in a series of grope-and-bolt-style attacks in both towns spanning March 2006 through January 11 of this year.

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In each incident, the man approached a woman walking alone during the late night/early morning gray area, aggressively grabbed her and fled when she began resisting or yelling.

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For now, Gallegos' warrants include five counts of misdemeanor battery but only two felonies, sexual assault of a child and aggravated assault, for one attack where the victim was under 16 and another where he was particularly aggressive. However, detectives say he is a suspect in a number of similar attacks that may result in additional charges. Report him by ringing Crime Stoppers at 208-377-6790.

Lights=Boss Hog, Truck=Uncle Jessie

Clinton Matthews is not a cop, but non-cops could be forgiven for mistaking him for the real thing. Babyface notwithstanding, the 18-year-old Boisean's Sipowicz chromedome and Robert Patrick T-1000-esque stare manage to ooze a fairly authoritative vibe.

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When police paid Matthews a visit on February 4, he reportedly also had a badge, a police-style radio and a set of emergency lights that flashed blue and red like an authentic emergency vehicle, unlike the hokey red-only flashers favored by a recent pair of fake cops in Canyon County (BW, True Crime, Dec. 19, 2007). But while the poor rube in the previous case couldn't recall the car that stopped him, the motorist who saw flashing lights and pulled over on February 4 took a good gander at the beat-up truck that sped past him ... and through a red light, and into the driveway of a nearby home. He called 9-1-1 to dish on the en-faux-cer at large, and after a short investigation, officers arrested Matthews on a felony charge of impersonating an officer.

Long Neck Meets Hard Head

"Jerry, just remember it's not a lie if you believe it."

—George Costanza, 1996

In the context of its original episode, this chestnut didn't prove so wise. Jerry failed the lie detector test, and George ... just failed. But out in the slightly more real world, selling the drama remains the crucial skill for getting away—and more importantly for this column, almost getting away with—transgressions ranging from feeble to felonious. Back when Seinfeld was still on the air, it worked splendidly for the author's high school chum Johnny Dangerously, whose perfect streak of charming convenience and liquor store clerks belongs on a gymnasium wall somewhere among the football and track records (especially considering that Johnny's insistence on buying blackberry brandy instead of beer actually led to a decrease in teen drinking at my school). And it very nearly worked for the man whose approach to robbing a Jackson's Food Store on Fairview last Tuesday was simply to act like he owned the place.

At approximately Entertainment Tonight o'clock, according to police, the suspect entered the store, walked behind the counter, pushed a clerk out of the way and started removing cash from the till. To ensure he wouldn't be bothered, the suspect motioned vaguely toward his pocket—a hand signal that translates into Clerk as, "Go get yourself a Hot Pocket and a skinmag, kid." Alas for the suspect, customers don't speak Clerk. They speak their own native dialects, and in the case of one customer at Jackson's, that dialect was Corrections Officer. In this noble, if somewhat gruff tongue, a motion like the suspect's translates roughly as "big no-no"—and more importantly, as fans of prison dramas are well aware, "weapon for stopping big no-no" translates as "whatever thing you happen to have in your hand."

In other words, an off-duty prison guard whacked a robber on the gourd with a six pack of beer. Then the guard and another customer—not an officer, but willing to pretend—held the bloody, sudsy thug on the ground until police arrived. Officers arrested James Bridges, 46, of Boise and charged him with felony robbery and battery of an officer, the latter charge stemming from a kick Bridges landed on an officer during his arrest-tantrum.

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