True Crime, April 2, 2008 

Who's There?

There's really no point in knocking on a door if you know the person on the other side isn't going to open it. Still, the conventions of politeness can be hard to give up, as the suspect in a local home-invasion robbery showed last Wednesday. At half-past Law and Order-o'clock, police say, the suspect approached a residence on the 1300 block of Longmont near Broadway Avenue. He knocked. Then, quite possibly, he remembered that he was wearing a ski mask and carrying a handgun. So, he kicked the door down and relieved the men inside of a few of their personal belongings. The suspect is described as a white male in his early 20s, around 6 feet, 180 to 200 pounds. He left the scene on foot, leaving his two victims bound but uninjured.

Strapping Young Men Arrested

Behold—proof that advertising works: Five local college athletes were arrested in Nampa last Thursday for trying to break into a Best Buy. What's the connection? Sports, my good reader. Major League Baseball opening day. March Madness. ESPN reruns of the 1977 World's Strongest Man competition. Wherever Northwest Nazarene University reserve basketball player Joseph Grewe flipped last Thursday—assuming he flipped—he probably saw at least four home electronics ads telling him: You need a big metal and plastic and plasma thingy. You need it right now.

Of course, we at BW can't honestly claim to know what specific toy or ploy led Grewe and his brother Joshua to that fateful rooftop where they triggered the store's alarm and brought the local police a-running just after midnight. And we shouldn't only pick on the perp who played the sport this author associates most intensely with personal humiliation. The five suspects Nampa police arrested in connection to the attempted break-in included members of the track and field, cross-country, soccer and golf teams. Academically, the Grewes and their fellow perps Kyle Gray, Dane Manley and Leon Vasquez were similarly broad, with majors ranging from business administration to biology, chemistry and public communications.

The lesson here, clearly, is that stepping outside of the humanities or fine arts departments leads to a life of crime.

More Strapping Young Man

OK, so maybe James Shallcross isn't strapping in the I-just-stepped-out-of-a-big-ol'-truck-commercial-pass-me-my-moustache-comb kind of way (Note: If you're not familiar with that "way," you're obviously not in Idaho. Skip ahead to the next article, or feel free to click back to that freckle-fetish Web site you were viewing prior to BoiseWeekly.com). Shallcross compensates for his lack-of-strappingness, though, by being strapped. As in, he allegedly flashed a big scary handgun in a Payless ShoeSource on March 20 in Burley and made off with enough scratch to get him all the way to Ogallala, Neb. A decent haul, that—especially since small bills, methinks, are likely the predominant currency at the 'Source.

But hark, this just in: It turns out Shallcross' gun was just as un-strapping as its 6'2", 160-pound owner, says the South Idaho Press. When some plains-clothes cops (Get it? Plains? Nebraska? Tee-hee.) arrested Shallcross on March 24, he had in his possession a black pellet gun similar to one used in the shoe store job. Just how similar is a question for a much later date, as the Midwesterners are sweet on Shallcross for a motel robbery that went down earlier on the night he was arrested. Officers picked up the spindly 18-year-old at a nearby gas station after someone hollered something along the lines of: "Ain't that skinny boy over there the guy what robbed the mo-tayl? Someone call the precinct quick-like." Once the Nebraska legal system has finished having its way with Shallcross, he'll be shipped back home to face more people who want to lock him in a small room with very regular meals.

Sorry 'Bout The Mess

A philosophical musing: If a teargas canister exploded and no one was around to breathe in its toxic fumes, fall to the ground in pained confusion and try to claw his face off, did it explode at all?

A: Yeah, it exploded. At least four others did, too, before a team of Oregon State Police officers realized that fugitive Billy Joe Evans was not actually in the hotel room they had blockaded and spent the morning of March 14 bombarding with riot-control canisters. Evans was about an hour away in the tiny map-blip of Brogan, Ore., well beyond the reach of the gas but still within television's boundless jurisdiction. After their cloud dissipated in defeat, the officers released Evans' photo to local media, who then helped to raise the antennae of a store owner in Brogan. He spotted Evans and notified the troopers, who thronged westward and managed to corral the fugitive by sundown. Evans was wanted in Ohio on fraud charges and Wyoming for a parole violation.

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