Thursday, January 12, 2012

Stillwater Crime Watch: Up in Smoke

From the cold, hard streets of Stillwater, the tale of a wayward youth attempting to pursue a life of crime. Via the Stillwater Gazette:

A 17-year-old male twice failed to buy tobacco despite dressing in disguise Wednesday night.

The suspect made his first attempt around 9 p.m. wearing a ski mask and sunglasses. The teen tried to buy two tins of Grizzly Chew tobacco along with a bottle of Mountain Dew and a bagel.

Well, at least he was trying to mix in a balanced diet with his snuff.

I wonder how long he thought about what items he should purchase along with the chewing tobacco to make it look perfectly natural. What does the sophisticated, mature Grizzly Chew connoisseur like to have along with his dip? Of course, a bagel! If I were the police, I’d start looking for suspects at the closest Jewish Community Center.

Back in my wayward youth, I recall having a discussion with a co-conspirator about using the ski-mask gambit to buy alcohol while under age. It seemed like it could work. But as our theater of operations was the colder and harder streets of Minneapolis, we figured there was a reasonable chance of getting shot as well, so the idea was abandoned. Good to see the kids of today haven’t given up the dream yet.

He produced a Minnesota driver's license that showed a birth date of 1967. The cashier asked the teen to remove his hat and his facemask so he could properly identify him. The teen lifted his hat up slightly and pulled the facemask up to his chin while trying to manipulate his voice into a deeper tone. The cashier reported to the police that the suspect seemed to be around 15 years old. The suspect left the gas station after the cashier refused to sell him the tobacco.

You'e got hand it to this kid, he's got moxie. Rather than flee upon being challenged, he gives them the chin reveal. Unless you happen to be Jay Leno, that's not going to be good enough for a positive ID, and he was rightfully turned away.

The laws surrounding tobacco sales were upheld and hopefully the young man went home, realized that crime doesn't pay, and dedicated his life to something noble like becoming a community organizer.

But wait!

A couple of hours later, the same teen returned to the gas station wearing a different jacket, hat and sunglasses and had his entire face wrapped with an ace bandage, leaving only a small hole for his mouth and one eye opening.

The Claude Rains approach, I love it.

According to the report, the cashier and employees were nervous because the suspect had his right arm tucked inside his jacket while he loitered in the store for about 15 minutes. The suspect then approached the checkout counter and said he was recovering from an accident and needed Ibuprofen. He also asked to buy some thin, small cigars.

Because nothing eases the pain of disfiguring facial injuries like a Swisher Sweet.

Seems like the perfect crime so far. But our pre-pubescent tobacco aficionado overlooked one critical detail:

The suspect produced the same driver's license as earlier that night. The same cashier refused to sell him the tobacco.

Officers tracked down the suspect by the other purchases made with a Visa credit card. Officers arrived at a Stillwater home and interviewed the teen and his parents. The boy admitted trying to buy tobacco even though he was underage. The teen was cited for attempted tobacco purchase from a minor, displaying another's driver's license and concealing his identity in public.

Sounds like they're throwing the book at him. But I wouldn't be surprised if this isn’t the last we've heard of this guy. A person with this level of creativity and determination will not be easily deterred. For that reason, I warn all other tobacco merchants in the St. Croix Valley, be on the look out for any of these types of individuals attempting to buy Grizzly Chew; thin, small cigars; bagels; or ibuprofen:

a Saudi Arabian woman

a hockey goalie

a fencing enthusiast

a Minnesota Vikings fan