There is a reason the show Cops has been allowed to continue banging out seasons for nearly 28 years now. Sure, at first, before the days of reality TV, it was engrossing. But as the years went by, the show became predictable, a chase here and there but mostly just domestic violence cases and folks getting pulled over with crack pipes in their cars. However, it remained relatively popular because it provides an escape of sorts. No matter how bad your life is looking at any given time, you can probably turn that show on and find someone worse off to hold yourself up to. After a year in which our city witnessed an uprising, our state passed despicable laws and our country elected a vitriolic madman as president, what we need to know is that we're doing alright. So, just maybe, if you didn't make it into the list below, your year wasn't so bad. And if you did, well, we didn't use your name so nobody has to know.
Dumb Criminals (and a Cop)
That Burns (Jan. 7) A man was robbed by three suspects in northwest Charlotte who didn't have firearms, but rather, arms of fire. The victim told officers the men struck him across the back with a tiki torch before stealing $105 in cash from his front pocket and fleeing the scene.
Let's Be Friends (April 21) A Charlotte teen turned to the law last week after realizing that maybe being a gang member wasn't for him. The 18-year-old called police out to his apartment and told them he had just received an alarming call from a rival gang member. The vicitm told officers he's "a member of the Bloods organization" and that a "member of the Crips organization" had just called him and told him that he planned to kill him the next time they should cross paths. It was our understanding that this is how it's supposed to work.
Keep It Down (Oct. 13) Police responded to a south Charlotte home for a noise complaint last week, only to get more than they bargained for. The officers ended up uncovering a drug house hidden in the midst of a rich, suburban neighborhood. Police reported that, during the noise complaint, "a drug investigation ensued," and officers ended up seizing over $1,000,000 worth of marijuana; $593,000 worth of crack cocaine, $1,000 worth of cocaine; a relatively small amount of ecstasy; four handguns; five cellphones; $8,000 in cash; ammunition; and paraphernalia. Two men in the house were arrested. Next time, I'm sure they'll keep the music down.
Back to the Academy (Jan. 21) A recent police report regarding the solicitation of a minor over the phone raises more questions about the education of some officers in the CMPD than it does about sexting behavior. In the report, an officer reported that at some point during winter break, a West Charlotte middle school student "used an electronic devise [sic] in an attempt to sillicide [sic, wtf] sex for money."
Shots Fired (June 16) When operating a large, marijuana-growing operation in your home, it's best to keep a low profile and act, well, responsible, at least in public. Last week, a man threw a temper tantrum while in traffic in southeast Charlotte that not only put a woman's life in danger but also led to the discovery of the man's illegal horticulture business. Police say a woman was driving on Idlewild Road when the man driving in front of her stopped his car abruptly, got out of the vehicle and started yelling at her. When she attempted to drive around him, he allegedly took a gun out of his car and fired a shot at her vehicle. The bullet struck the car but she was unharmed. She pulled over after driving a safe distance and called police. While police were speaking with the woman, the suspect drove by and she pointed out his vehicle. Police pulled the man over and the woman positively identified him. Police later searched the man's home and found 15 marijuana plants, each at least two feet tall. They estimated the value of the weed growing in the home to be $30,000.
Tracked (Nov. 3) Police last week arrested four males, two of them juveniles, for a string of robberies that occurred over the course of nine days. Reports of the arrest leave one to wonder not how they were caught, but how they were not caught sooner. According to a release, the group had called delivery drivers to the same address to rob them on at least four occasions. It was later found that one of the ringleaders of this operation was wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet at the time of the robberies, so it was clear that he was there on every occasion. Once he was picked up, he flipped on his buddies, and all four are now facing armed robbery charges.
Flee the Scene (Aug. 4) A woman attempting to steal some beer in east Charlotte last week quickly found that she should hire a getaway driver for her next job. The woman allegedly ran out of a Sam's Mart on The Plaza with four cases of Corona and hopped into her car. While trying to make her escape, she collided with a Kia Sorento, causing $3,000 in damages, and then slammed into a concrete barrier. When she got out of the car, she assaulted the store manager who had been trying to chase her down.
Shove It (Aug. 11) A desperate shoplifter struck recently at a sex shop in University area after deciding he was not going to leave that store without a sex toy. Employees at The Red Door said the suspect attempted to walk out of the store with a toy and $10 worth of body oil that he had not paid for. When an employee confronted the suspect, he pulled out a knife and waved it at the employee and customers in the store. For good measure, he knocked a display over on the way out of the store.
Selfie Smash Up (Aug. 25) A 15-year-old girl's mother went to police last week after her daughter's bullies made themselves easy to catch. The woman told officers that a group of kids destroyed her daughter's cellphone. She knew it was them, because the not-so-smart children posted videos of them shattering the phone on social media.
You're Cut Off
Breaking Bro-tocol (Jan. 28) A 22-year-old Pineville man was only a few miles from home when he woke up on the side of a residential street, but when he failed to recognize his surroundings or recall the events that lead to blacking out, he freaked. The standard bro-cedure might be to call a friend or acquaintance for help. Instead, this guy called police and requested emergency treatment. When officers responded to the call, the man informed them that he had taken drugs 12 hours earlier, but wasn't able to identify what substances he had taken.
Pissed Off (Sept. 15) An east Charlotte man made it known last week that he does not like to be disturbed while relieving himself ... in public. A CMPD officer wrote in a report that the suspect exposed himself in public in the presence of multiple police officers in order to urinate on a sidewalk. When he was told to put it away, he threatened one officer, stating that he would punch him in the face. He followed through on that threat, punching one officer in the left cheek. He then resisted being handcuffed and, during the ensuing struggle, allegedly assaulted yet another officer by placing her in a chokehold.
Open Up (Sept. 21) A 34-year-old man in east Charlotte called police after an unwanted houseguest made a mess of things on his porch. The man told officers that a woman knocked on the door of his apartment at around 11 p.m. and when he opened the door she walked right in and asked to use the bathroom. When he and his friend saw that she was holding a knife in her hand, they pushed her out the door and closed it. When she got outside, the woman squatted down and urinated on the man's doorstep, then preceded to rip the light fixture off the porch wall and shatter it on the ground.
Heavy Sleeper (Nov. 17) A man in his mid-twenties must have been passed out hard on the couch in a home just north of Uptown last week to have slept through a home invasion. The man reportedly fell asleep on his buddies' couch at about 1 a.m. and didn't wake up until the two friends who live there returned home at about 9 a.m., probably asking him what the hell happened. What the group and investigators later decided happened was that someone tried to pry the front door open but couldn't do so and then they went around to the back door and simply kicked the whole thing in. This still didn't wake the sleeping man, however, but his presence alone must have been enough to scare the suspect away, because nothing was stolen.
Fatal Attraction (Feb. 4) A 46-year-old woman filed a police report after finding a wild rabbit's body in her front yard. That wouldn't be news itself, except for one detail: the rabbit was decapitated and the woman told police she believes someone was trying to send her a message.
Breath Freshener (April 28) Police got involved in the case of a man who got sick last week and quickly found the odd cause of his malady. The 53-year-old man told officers that a suspect intentionally altered his food before he ate it. The man told officers that the suspect sprayed Little Tree "Black Ice" air freshener into his ketchup before he applied it to his food. The victim ate the food and suffered from possible internal but minor injuries.
No Tip (Sept. 29) Employees at an Applebee's in the University area got the runaround from a pair of cheap customers last week who seemed offended that anyone would even ask them to pay for their meal. The employees told officers that the suspects ate $42 worth of food and then left the restaurant without paying. One employee followed the suspects outside and when it became clear that they weren't planning to turn around, they started taking pictures. One suspect said, "Don't take fucking pictures of me, I will fucking kill you." When the employee began taking pictures of the license plate, the suspect reached into the backseat of their vehicle, scaring the employee back inside. The suspect chased them back inside, and the employee had to run through the kitchen to get away.
Guilty Conscience (June 23) A 51-year-old woman turned in an interesting assortment of weapons and other goods to the police last weekend after second-guessing the necessity of owning such things. According to the report, the woman handed over a shotgun, shotgun shells, a Taser, a three-ounce can of pepper spray, four box cutters, a two-foot chain, four gold chevron sergeant pins and a teddy bear dressed in army fatigues. She reportedly told officers that "she no longer needed the property because society doesn't need it." That's never stopped anyone before.
Angry Mob (Aug. 18) A group of individuals had themselves a real 19th century uprising last week when they gathered to take out their anger on the local railroad company. The report states that a group of suspects vandalized a building belonging to CSX Corporation by shattering windows using "rocks, bricks, a crow bar and a pitchfork." It probably had something to do with the policies of James K. Polk. Thanks, Polk.
Sharp as a Tack (Sept. 1) A man who got away with shoplifting last week at Target in Metropolitan is pushing his luck by returning to the scene of the crime, apparently. Someone filed a police report stating that the man was caught on tape shoving two hunting knives down his pants (careful!). He then picked up a case of Budweiser and walked out of the store without paying for any of it. He must have been ready for more after drinking those beers and playing with his knives, because someone — and it must have been the same guy, right? — walked out of the store three days later with a hunting knife, a hatchet and another case of Budweiser.
Friends & Family
Failure to Launch (Feb. 18) Fed up that their adult son hadn't moved out of the family home, an East Charlotte couple decided it was time to take drastic measures. The couple called police to their home and formally banned their son from the property. The wayward son seemed to understand the warning and he agreed to leave the premises, only to immediately return. He probably just forgot his nightlight.
Mommy Dearest (March 3) A north Charlotte mom upped the ante when her teenaged son decided to skip curfew and party all weekend. The 17-year old sent his mom a text letting her know that he'd be spending the weekend with some friends and would be back Sunday — in direct defiance of house rules. Beating her hard-partying son to the punch, Mom decided that if he wanted to act lost, he could stay lost, and she registered the teen as a missing person with CMPD.
Protective Papa (Nov. 10) It's an old cliché that a man might scowl at the thought of his daughter's boyfriend pulling up at the house in a motorcycle, but one Charlotte family is going through a battle right now that seems to be built around this stereotype. A 39-year-old man called police and reported that he was driving his motorcycle near Uptown last week when his father-in-law suddenly swerved his vehicle towards him, causing him to have to slam the brakes and swerve out of the way. The victim told officers he would be seeking a warrant, making things a bit awkward for Thanksgiving in a couple of weeks.
Unwanted Guest (April 21) A Northlake man was sitting at home one afternoon when he observed a school-aged boy approach his front door and attempt to gain entry to his house. The man immediately called police and reported the attempted break-in, but after a brief investigation, the responding officers informed the homeowner that "coming home from school" isn't actually a crime. The boy was the homeowner's son and a legal resident of the home.
Like Butter Baby (May 12) When an unnamed suspect invited a 31-year old north Charlotte man over for dinner, the tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Unfortunately, the hot-headed host tried to do just that when he allegedly sliced a dinner guest with a large knife. The victim was rushed to the hospital, where he was treated for stab wounds. The suspect must have used some force, because when police arrived to take a report, they identified the weapon as a butter knife.
Free Kid (Sept. 1) A 33-year-old man turned to the law last week after the mother of his child was not acting very motherly last week. The man told police that the woman had been texting him repeatedly asking for money. When she didn't get any answer from him, she told him that if he didn't give her some dough, she would not permit him to see his child anymore and would, in fact, just give the child away to someone.
Out of Time (Oct. 13) A 66-year-old woman returned to her southeast Charlotte home last week to find that she had been robbed ... sort of. The woman's 32-inch flat-screen television was nowhere to be found when she came home, but there was no evidence of any break-in. Later, a family member admitted that he had pawned the TV as soon as she left for vacation with the intention of buying it back before she returned. Clearly, however, that idea hadn't played out and she would have to go buy her own TV back from the pawn shop for $300, assuming it was still there.
Love & War
Can't Regain the Flame (Feb. 25) The relationship may have ended, but the Netflix was still good. That may be how an east Charlotte woman justified her decision to move in with an ex-boyfriend after they had broken up. The man was under the impression that his former flame would just be crashing on his couch for a few days, but as more time passed, he realized she had no plans to leave; and she finally admitted so. Ready to ditch the deadweight, the man contacted police and was informed he would have to formally file eviction papers for the couch-crashing ex, even though she had never been on his lease. Changing the WiFi password would probably work, too.
One Woman's Trash (Feb. 25) One-upping sleuthing spouses everywhere, a Lake Wylie wife decided to let police do the legwork and track her husband's afternoon activities. After watching her husband drive his pick-up truck away from their home, the woman phoned authorities to report him missing. Though the not-quite-missing man had explicitly outlined his plans to head to the city dump, the wife — perhaps reminded of the old adage, 'one woman's trash is another woman's treasure' — asked police to treat her trash-picking husband as a missing person.
Stripped (July 14) Tips weren't enough for one dancer at a local strip club last week, according to a man who had spent an evening there and apparently didn't spend enough money. The man told police that he was walking out of the club at 2:30 a.m. when a woman walked up to him and asked him why he didn't ask her to dance for him when he was inside. She then hugged him and walked away. He claims that as he saw the suspect drive off he noticed that the $3,500 gold chain he had been wearing was no longer on his neck. He told police he believes she stole it.
On the Roads, In the Sky
Ride Rage (March 17) An Uptown man's dream of breaking into the ride-share game came to a screeching halt when a passenger stole his car. The man wasn't actually working as a driver, but when he saw a pedestrian flagging down cars on North Caldwell Street, he decided to stop and offer the stranger a ride. When the suspect got into his car, the driver decided to step out of the car and "relieve himself" on the roadside. The suspect used this opportunity to climb into the driver's seat and speed off with the vehicle. In an unrelated incident, a woman in southwest Charlotte took the smarter route by refusing to give a man a ride altogether. Her gut reaction to refuse the man was probably the right one, considering that he threatened to stab her as she drove off.
Election 2016 (Oct. 20) A 30-year-old man from the Cotswold area suffered every ride-share customer's worst nightmare last week when he got into an Uber car with someone who was rearing to talk a little politics. The man later told police that his Uber ride was rolling along E. 7th Street when he and the driver got into a political argument. He asked the driver to let him out of the car immediately, but the two argued more before they were even able to come to a stop. After he got out, the victim told police the Uber driver began chasing after him while yelling that he was going to "beat his ass."
Attack of the Drones (March 31) A passenger flight descending into Charlotte Douglas International Airport recently had one last crisis to avert before touchdown. The pilot reported a near-miss with a drone above the 3400 block of Brookshire Boulevard. A second pilot descending onto the same runway contacted air traffic control to report that they also nearly hit the drone. In an unrelated incident, a 26-year-old man was arrested after flying his drone too close to a police helicopter last week. Police found the man in the act, but he refused to land the drone or to show police any registration for his aircraft, despite FAA regulations requiring him to do so when asked by law enforcement. The man was also flying the drone at 12:40 a.m., despite FAA regulations against flying drones at night. He later told police he had listened to a police scanner and was trying to take close-up video of the helicopter in action.
Drop Zone (Sept. 29) Employees at Carowinds filed a police report last week after an amateur spy had to 'fess up to his sneaky behavior. Employees walking the grounds at the amusement park found a drone lying on the ground where it had apparently crashed. Management told police that the drone's owner had already contacted them at an earlier date saying the drone had crashed in the park and to be on the lookout for it. Next time you're at the highest point of The Fury, look around to see if the neighbors are watching.
Lavatory Law (April 21) Despite now having the most heavily-policed public restrooms in America, the bathroom crime syndicate continues their reign of terror on public toilets. Airport security at Charlotte Douglas International reports that some HB2-compliant suspects took their wrong-doing to a non-gendered family restroom to snort a few pre-flight lines of cocaine. The suspect left behind a straw with powder residue on it, a tube of topical painkiller and a credit card with more powder (and her name) on it.
Pissed (May 19) When nature calls, sometimes you just have to answer — no matter where you are. Police officers responded to calls of a man urinating in public in southwest Charlotte last week, but this was not your average alleyway piss; the intoxicated man was inside the upper level terminal of the Charlotte Douglas International Airport.