Best of the Worst: 2011 Police Blotter
Here's the wrap-up of the strangest, funniest and most bizarre police calls from the past year.
Some suspects made officers' jobs a little easier by forgetting to cover their tracks in the snow, posting about their crimes online or wearing some very distinctive clothing.
A Chestnut Drive resident noticed footprints in his driveway near his two unlocked cars early in the morning of March 11. He checked the cars and found that both had been rummaged through.
Officers from Westlake, North Olmsted and Rocky River tracked the footprints through yards, businesses, streets and sidewalks in Westlake and North Olmsted for nearly two hours.
The tracks eventually led officers to an apartment in the block of 4800 block of Columbia Road in North Olmsted where they arrested a 17-year-old Westlake boy and an 18-year-old Cleveland man.
Police caught up with a laptop thief by following his social network postings April 27. The 17-year-old Cleveland boy tried to make off with a laptop during a Craigslist exchange at Crocker Park at 9 p.m. April 25. A 17-year-old Sheffield boy had put his $1,300 laptop up for sale on Craigslist and arranged to meet the buyer at Crocker Park. When they met, the would-be buyer drove off with the victim’s computer as he got out of the suspect’s car. Officers identified the boy through his social network postings and arrested him at his home in Cleveland. Police recovered the laptop. The boy was taken to the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Home.
Police arrested a 20-year-old Cleveland man on suspicion of stealing a $79 computer program from Office Max on July 22. Police were able to identify the man by his outfit: a neon green shirt and a sign advertising a nearby sale.
A 25-year-old Westlake man was trying to warn fellow drivers of a police cruiser by flashing his high beams on Sept. 25. Unfortunately, he flashed them right at an oncoming police officer. The officer turned around to see if the man needed help and pulled alongside him at a red light. The driver told the officer that he was just trying to warn other drivers of the police cruiser.
The man blew a .135 blood alcohol level and police arrested him for driving under the influence, operators license required and failure to dim headlights.
A 65-year-old North Olmsted man ignored warnings from an off-duty police officer on his way out of Dave & Buster's Dec. 10, and got pinched for drunken driving.
The man had asked restaurant staff for help in finding his coat, which was found on the back of his chair. A Westlake police officer working security warned the man that he should not drive home that night. The man replied that he had been arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated four years ago, and agreed that he probably couldn't pass a breath test.
Nonetheless, police saw the man drive out of the parking lot at about 12:45 a.m. Dec. 11, and arrested him for operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
Persistence Doesn't Pay Off
Some offenders didn't listen to advice from police, even after they went to jail this year, including a man spat on a police officer and two people who just wouldn't put their phones down.
A 27-year-old Cleveland man is facing a myriad of charges after threatening his 26-year-old fiancée at the Holiday Inn around midnight July 12.
The man took his fiancée's rental car without her permission and left threatening messages on her voice mail. He then went to the Holiday Inn, demanded to see her and then left in the rental car.
Officers arrested the man on Interstate 90 near McKinley Avenue in Lakewood and found marijuana inside the car.
Once in jail, the man called his fiancée several more times until police took away his phone privileges.
Police arrested two attendees at a video game conference at the Holiday Inn on April 30. The two men, a 27-year-old Cleveland resident and a 21-year-old Canal Fulton man, got into an argument over how the younger man was playing a video game. The younger man punched the other in the mouth about an hour after the initial argument. Police arrested the man for assault. While arresting the Cleveland man, he spit on an officer. Both were released later that night.
A Westlake woman reported a series of calls beginning on Feb. 6 from a 45-year-old Ashland woman on Feb. 11. One call was even made while the victim was at the police station. An officer got on the line and let the caller know that she was disobeying a 2009 temporary protection order.
The woman then asked to speak to the victim and when she was told no, she asked the officer to give the victim a message. That request was also denied.
The boys in blue responded to some odd calls this year, including asteroid sightings, two mummies and a wild turkey through a window.
A Hilliard Boulevard resident reported seeing an asteroid at about 6 a.m. May 25. The resident told police that there was a flash, followed by a loud explosion. Responding officers didn’t find any asteroids, crashed UFOs or alien life forms in the area.
A woman told police that she saw a mummy again on March 3. The same woman reported seeing a mummy smoking in an SUV in a Bay Landings Driveway the week before. Officers didn’t catch a glimpse of the risen dead.
A patrol officer saw a wild turkey fly into a second-story window on Viking Parkway on Oct. 15. The bird broke the glass, and then flew off. Police notified the building keyholder.
Office workers on Clemens Road were surprised the morning of Nov. 9 when they heard what they thought was an explosion, and felt their buildings shake.
"There was just an explosion of some kind on Clemens Road that rocked our office building and several others around us," wrote Drew Jackson, who was at his office near Ranney Parkway. "We’re all clueless as to what it could be, but several office buildings in our area felt a strong blast that shook our building and rattled our roof and windows."
The noise and shaking at about 11:30 a.m. wasn't anything serious, it was just the police department's bomb squad setting off some old fireworks at the neighboring service department, according to police Cpt. Guy Turner.
A 20-year-old Fairview Park man woke up a Clauge Road house by pounding on the door on Nov. 30. The man claimed he had seen the body of his friend in a backyard nearby.
After searching the area, police arrested the man for disorderly conduct intoxicated and underage consumption. Officers tracked down the friend, who was very much alive, at about 5 a.m. with the help of Lakewood, Fairview Park and North Olmsted police. The friend is the man's former roommate who had kicked him out because of his drug use.
Police responded to some odd bathroom situations over the past year, including a woman who broke into her neighbor's apartment to use the bathroom, and two men relieving themselves right in front of officers.
A 21-year-old Twinsburg man proved himself a real whiz at spotting police at about 12:45 a.m. Sept. 10 at Dave & Busters. The man decided to take a leak on the furniture in the restaurant instead of heading to the bathroom— right in front of an off-duty police officer working security. Police charged the man with disorderly conduct intoxicated.
A 42-year-old Winchester Court woman snuck across her neighbor's adjoining balcony and went into her apartment at about 11:30 p.m. Dec. 16. Responding officers asked the woman what she was doing, and she told them she just wanted to see what was going on. She had also apparently used the bathroom before police got there. Officers arrested her for trespassing, disorderly conduct and intoxication.
A 22-year-old Cleveland man really had to go at 1:42 a.m. Dec. 25. So he did so on the side of the BP gas station at 29775 Clemens Rd. He could easily be seen from the gas pumps and by a passing patrolman. He was unable to tell officers why he didn't just use the open gas station's restroom. Police cited him for Possession of Marijuana and Disorderly Conduct. Officers turned him over to family members at the scene.