It's that time of year again when we look back on the shitshow that was 2017 and feel thankful that at least we didn't have it as bad as some of the folks in The Blotter. Some themes prevailed as we sifted through the entire year of bizarre crime. As politicians, Hollywood big wigs and other people in power fell to allegations of sexual harassment and abuse, we were reminded that misogyny is ingrained in all parts of our society, and while we purposefully refrain from including sexual assault or the like in what's normally a comedic column, there were six instances of folks acting out that we felt deserved to be pointed out. The other usual suspects could be found roaming the pages of this year's police reports, from family members gone mad to thieves hatching brand new plots to rob unsuspecting victims blind. We start in as good a place as any, with those folks who just have no business owning guns...
Who Shot Ya?
Meeting Your Neighbors (January) A man thought he was being targeted when a bullet came flying into his southeast Charlotte apartment, but a later investigation found that his neighbor was just being careless. The 30-year-old victim and his 37-year-old roommate had reported that someone fired a shot through the wall and into their apartment at around 9 p.m. one night. Police responded to investigate, and added to the report about nine hours later: It was determined the victims' next door neighbor had accidentally detonated a bullet casing while trying to disassemble his gun.
Self Protection (January) A police officer was shocked to almost witness a man shoot his wife to death in Cornelius, and the man was probably even more shocked to learn what had happened. The man had apparently pulled his motorcycle into an alley in front of his house when he saw a car pull into the alley on the other side. The car continued to drive toward him without slowing down, so he pulled his gun and aimed it directly at the windshield. An officer doing rounds in the neighborhood saw the man pointing the gun and exited his own vehicle. It was soon found that the car was driven by the man's wife, who saw her husband but planned to pull into the driveway before she reached him, so she didn't think to slow down — until she had a pistol pointed at her.
Watch Your Back (February) A man's stepfather might be giving him the side-eye from here on out after a so-called accident in his home. Police responded to the stepfather's home after his stepson was visiting at 10:30 p.m. and suddenly fired his gun. The stepson said it was a mistake, and that the handgun only went off because he had put it down on the ground too hard. Unsurprisingly, alcohol was involved in the incident.
Death From Above (March) A woman who owns an apartment complex in the University area filed a police report after one of her tenants blew his load, endangering a neighbor. The woman told officers the man accidentally shot through the floor of his apartment with a shotgun, with the resulting blast going through the ceiling of the apartment below him. Nobody was injured, just maybe a little shocked.
Tools (June) Someone called police when a 31-year-old construction worker accidentally fired his pistol while climbing down a ladder at a construction site on South Boulevard. The man told officers he kept his pistol in a holster on his waistband, but that somehow it still misfired. Nobody was harmed in the incident.
Oh Well (September) A 29-year-old man filed a police report after his own stupidity led to a firearm landing, literally, on the streets of west Charlotte last week. The man told police that he left his home near the airport at around 5 p.m. one afternoon and simply forgot that he had left his Taurus PT-111 handgun in its holster on the roof of the car as he got inside and drove away. When he realized it, he tried to retrace his route, but the gun was gone.
Something in the Air
Wanna Party? (March) Two 19-year-old women were a bit shaken after coming into contact — although not physical contact, thankfully — with a hitchhiker who may have had too much to drink that night, but was a predator any way you look at it. The girls told officers they were driving down Mallard Creek Road near the intersection of Prosperity Church Road at 1:30 a.m. when a man suddenly approached their car with no clothes on and tried to get in. Luckily, he wasn't able to do so and they drove to safety.
Cougar (May) A 61-year-old woman was picked up in north Charlotte on a night when she felt young and free again ... but perhaps too young and free. Police said they responded to a call off of Graham Street at about 10:30 p.m. one night. When they arrived they found the woman walking peacefully down the road with no clothes on.
Karmic Justice (April) A Good Samaritan did the right thing when he caught a pervert in action in east Charlotte. According to the police report, the witness caught a man peeping into the window of a 10-year-old girl's bedroom while she was inside. While we wouldn't usually include such offenses in this relatively lighthearted column, we would like to cheer on the person who caught him, as the report states that the suspect had to be transported to Novant Presbyterian before he could be taken to jail, due to "injuries incurred by the witness" while he detained the suspect and waited for police to arrive.
Selfie (September) On September 13, an Apple product apparently became self-aware. A 51-year-old man living in the Montibello neighborhood of south Charlotte called police after things got a little weird with his phone. The man told police that the phone inexplicably began taking pictures of his daughter all on its own one day at around 6:30 p.m. The man is unaware whether the phone was hacked by some third party or if its AI is just that creepy.
Tow Creeps (November) It's not just in Hollywood or the country's political halls that sexism, misogyny and harassment run rampant; those are just the places where it's been making headlines lately. One east Charlotte woman's experience proved that these problems are just a part of day-to-day life for women, as she wasn't even able to get her car out of a tow company's lot without facing disgusting harassment. The woman reported to police that she called the suspect to get her car back after it was towed and was quoted a price she thought was high. When she remarked on how high the price was, the man "made an improper offer to discount the price," according to the report.
Group Sext (December) A couple in their mid-50s were alarmed when some unknown person hopped into the wrong group text with them and other members of their family, then refused to stop sending lewd texts. The couple told police that they were a part of a group text that included them and seven others, when a number nobody recognized began sending "inappropriate and unsolicited" messages. The suspect was told to stop and warned that some of the people on the group text were minors, but they sent four more, damaging young minds for years to come.
Ghostride the Whip
Grand Slam (January) The tennis courts are closed late at night in Spring Lake in east Charlotte, but that wasn't stopping one committed resident from gaining access one winter night. Police responding to calls about an apparent car wreck just after midnight found that someone had run off the road and through the fence of the tennis court, doing $1,000 in damage. The driver fled the scene, leaving the vehicle on the court with a score of love.
Can I Crash Here? An underage drunk driver was found to be inebriated after crashing his car in east Charlotte. Officers responded to a call involving the suspect, who had been involved in an accident at 7:30 a.m. in which he struck a house. Officers administered sobriety tests to the driver, which should have just been a quick, one-question test: Did you just drive into a fucking home?
Into Thin Air (February) A 72-year-old woman was left quite literally breathless after someone stole her life source from the back of a truck in west Charlotte. The woman reported that someone had taken a $750 portable oxygen tank from the trunk when she forgot it had been left there for two hours one afternoon.
Black Phillip (March) In what appears to be a Blotter first (at least in the eight years I've been familiar with the column), a 15-year-old girl in northeast Charlotte reported that someone stole her goat, allegedly carrying it off the property while she was away.
Silly Toys (March) A man made a big scene in a University area sex shop last week after deciding he really wanted to go fuck himself, and nobody was going to stop him. According to the report, the man walked into The Red Door on North Tryon Street and grabbed a Pipedream Extreme "Fuck Me Silly Mega Masturbation" toy and made for the door. Before anyone could even confront him, he began threatening that he had a gun and that nobody should try to keep him from leaving the store.
Modern Art (March) Security guards at a north Charlotte Walmart got quite a show last week as they watched a suspect who had been shoplifting, and then decided to take things to the next level. At first, security noticed the suspect concealing seeral items: some clothing, a candle, some bananas. Security continued to watch while waiting for the police, and that's when things got weird. According to the report, "the suspect began to open small jars of paint and consume them." The suspect attempted to leave the store but was stopped and was found to be impaired — although it's unclear whether that was a cause or effect of the paint consumption — and had been banned from several other Walmarts. Helpfully noted at the end of the report: "The merchandise was recovered, except for the consumed paint."
Friends and Neighbors
Cover Your Tracks (February) A report recently surfaced from early in January when a slight dusting of snow struck Charlotte, not necessarily justifying everyone's trips to the store for milk and bread but apparently still making things difficult for thieves. Police responded to a man's duplex apartment in east Charlotte after the man found that his car had been stolen. The man said he walked out to the spot where he had parked his Chevrolet Silverado, only to find that it was gone. He followed a set of footprints in the snow from the parking spot directly back to the door of the duplex apartment attached to his. It was later found that — surprise! — the neighbor living there had taken his car without permission.
Frankenstein (August) While it's a fairly common expression to ask someone who's not acting right if their head is screwed on straight, a man in Third Ward took it upon himself to find out when he fought his roommate last week. A 52-year-old man living near the Johnson & Wales University campus called police and told them that his 60-year-old roommate was drunk and had stabbed him in the head with a screwdriver. Both men were taken to the hospital, where they were both treated for minor injuries, before the older of the two was arrested for assault.
Get Off My Lawn (August) Police officers must have been rolling their eyes when they had to respond to a neighborly dispute in east Charlotte last week because a man would not stand for seeing his neighbor help out with the landscaping. The 54-year-old "victim" in this case called police on one of his neighbors for trespassing on his yard because she was spreading mulch in her own yard and he thought some might have gone onto his property and up against his privacy fence. Bah humbug.
Finders Fee (November) A 60-year-old woman recently filed a police report after realizing someone pretending to do her a favor was really just stealing drugs from her. The woman told police that a friend drove her to a pharmacy on Albemarle Road to pick up her Oxycodone prescription. Wouldn't you know it, the sweet man even offered to go inside and get the medicine for her while she relaxed in the car. When the woman got home, she realized the seal had already been broken and 12 pills were missing from the bottle. When she called the pharmacy, they confirmed that the seal was unbroken when they gave the bottle to the good Samaritan.
Stop the Cycle (February) A group of relatives in the University area decided to take matters into their own hands after realizing that a younger member of the family was getting bullied. Although it's unclear how many people were on each side, what is clear from the report is that six people, all of them neighbors representing one of two houses on the streets, came together to discuss the bullying. Before it was said and done, the two groups came to blows. All six of the victims/suspects suffered minor injuries in the affray, with a 41-year-old woman and 67-year-old man needing to be transported to the hospital for treatment. Nobody was seriously hurt.
Cold-Blooded (June) A 76-year-old man suffered a scary incident in southwest Charlotte, but perhaps more scary was the realization he was forced to make later that his daughter is evil. The man was transported to the hospital by ambulance during a medical emergency one night, but before he left, he gave his wallet to his adult, live-in daughter for safekeeping. Apparently that was the wrong person to give it to, because when he returned home his daughter was nowhere to be found, and when he checked his bank account he found that someone used his debit card to spend $150.
Mommy's Home (June) A woman in north Charlotte filed a missing person report for her 3-year-old son, although it's unclear that the person who has the child has any idea he is now considered a kidnapper. The woman told police that the boy was with a man who for three years has been "led to believe" that the boy was his son. The woman told police she recently received "new proof" that the man was not actually the child's father, and wants to regain custody of her son. It's unclear what sort of mother she has been over that time because now she says she doesn't even know how to get in contact with the man who is apparently taking care of her son.
Extra Grease (June) Police responded to the Shannon Green apartments in the College Downs neighborhood after a sibling rivalry took a violent turn. A 20-year-old man told officers he was lounging around in his apartment at 9 p.m., completely unaware that his relaxing night was about to end horribly. The man said his sister surprised him by entering the apartment uninvited, and she quickly made clear that she wasn't there for a friendly visit. She immediately threw hot oil on her brother, hitting his chest and arms and burning him to the point of peeling in certain areas. As bad as that sounds, the man was brought to the hospital and listed as having only minor injuries.
Smash and Plunge (July) A 25-year-old woman called police last week after her attempt to live with her child's father went unsurprisingly wrong. She would later tell police that she was staying for the week at the northeast Charlotte house when her former lover's new girlfriend became upset about the new house guest. The suspect then used a toilet plunger to smash the mother's car windshield, before trying to flee into her own car. She didn't make it far, however, as she crashed into the victim's car before she was able to make it out of the yard.
Lost Love (September) A 25-year-old Raleigh woman made a trip to the Queen City after learning the hard way that she was not only getting a divorce — she was already divorced. The woman told police that she was at work one day when the suspect, who represented the man she thought was still her husband, came by to "collect" her vehicle on behalf of the husband. The woman asked him what right he had to take the car, and the man told her that she was officially divorced three months earlier, and that, unbeknownst to her, he had forged her signature on official divorce papers in the Mecklenburg County Courthouse at that time.
Plotters and Schemers
Help, Someone (March) A 21-year-old man finally decided to go to police after doing some investigating into a bill he got for a ride he didn't take. The man told officers that in December 2016 he received a bill for an ambulance transport that happened just a month before. Seeing as how an ambulance ride to the hospital would be an experience one would normally remember, he was shocked, as he hadn't suffered any injuries over the past month. The man did some digging and found in the hospital records that the victim of the actual injury had showed the unknowing man's driver's license to paramedics, and therefore charged his trip to the healthy victim.
Genius (March) A 21-year-old man in southwest Charlotte called police after falling victim to perhaps the most clever marketing ploy ever pulled off in The Blotter. The man told police that he returned home from work one day to find that his house had been broken into. Nothing was stolen or damaged, and the man told officers that the only evidence he could find of someone being in his home was a flyer for an alarm company laying on the table that he knows wasn't there in the morning. The man said he now felt uneasy after finding the flyer, which is perfect because he's literally holding the potential solution to his unease in his hands. Time to call the alarm company.
Fake-tor (April) A 42-year-old man in the Highland Creek area filed a police report after he was scammed by a man pretending to be a realtor. The victim is planning to sell his home, and told police that he was talking to carpet cleaners when the suspect rang his doorbell and said he was a realtor who may be able to bring some potential buyers by for a tour, but he would need to tour the house himself first. The victim let him take a look around on his own while he continued to converse with the carpet cleaners, but the man was no realtor. During this little tour of the property, the suspect cleaned him out for more than $6,200 worth of jewelry and technology, including five watches, an iPod touch and a wedding ring.
Animorph (June) Employees at the Humane Society of Charlotte near Dilworth filed a police report after realizing that someone had accepted some drugs that were meant for animals. The employees reported that a shipment of injectable morphine had apparently been intercepted, as they did not receive it even though someone had signed for it when UPS delivered it. The employees did not recognize the signature and have no idea who might have accepted the package. As high as that person is right now they probably don't know who they are, either.
Bait and Switch (August) Employees at a local jewelry store filed a police report after they were scammed into buying a fake gold bracelet. The employees at Ballantyne Jewelers told police that the suspects came in and showed them a gold bracelet, which store associates verified as real before offering them $500 for it. The suspects agreed, but then at some point before the bracelet actually changed hands, a suspect switched the bracelet with a fake one when the associates looked the other way. The associates were easily able to tell the difference, but not before the suspects left the business with the $500.
Test Drive (February) A 23-year-old man filed a police report after regretting that he got too comfortable with a potential buyer for his dirt bike last week. The man told police that he met with a man who had contacted him about possibly buying his dirt bike for $2,000. The meeting didn't last long, as when the potential buyer showed up he immediately asked if he could sit atop the dirt bike and start it up. The seller gave his permission, and before he knew it, he was watching his dirt bike ride down the rode, never to be seen again.
Fake Dues (May) Counterfeit currency has been making the rounds in Charlotte lately, as a couple reports have surfaced about folks using the fake money to purchase things from auction sites online. According to one victim, she was given $964.24 for an iPhone 7 she sold over the internet, but after meeting the buyer and getting the money, she found that only the 24 cents was real. Another man sold his 55-inch television for $55 dollars of what turned out to be theatrical money only meant as a movie prop.
Protect and Serve
Overzealous (March) An embarrassed officer had to file a report on himself after damaging someone's property. According to the report, the officer was knocking on the door of a house in west Charlotte and got a little too aggressive. The officer said he could see people inside that weren't coming to the door, so his answer was to knock louder on a nearby window, although he knew they already heard him. The intimidation tactic didn't work, however, and the officer simply knocked through the window, doing $100 in damage when he shattered the one he was knocking on.
Close Call (June) Police officers in "Snoopy," the CMPD's helicopter, found Charlotte's skies to be none too friendly when they were flying near Uptown last week, as they survived a near miss that they didn't see until the last moment. The officers reported that they were flying about 600 feet above South Mint Street at around 9 p.m. when suddenly they realized they were on a crash course with a drone, which could hypothetically hit a propeller and crash the chopper. The officers said the drone got within 20 feet of the helicopter before the CMPD pilot was able to veer away. Ground units searched nearby for the person controlling the drone but were unable to find them.
Police Brutality (October) A police officer had to file a report on himself after a little community outreach took a bad turn in south Charlotte. According to the report, a uniformed cop was playing basketball with some kids in the Sterling neighborhood and when he went up for a jump shot, his utility belt scraped across the face of an 11-year-old boy, creating a "rug burn type of scratch," according to the report, and a cut on the inside of his lip, making him the first person to ever get pistol whipped by accident.
Recruitment (October) Police officers posing as prostitutes are usually more apt to catch a john than a pimp, but that's not what happened over the summer during one Vice squad sting. According to a report from July that was only recently released, an undercover police officer arrested a man who tried to get her to work for him on McCullough Drive in the University area. He was let down to find out that the only pimp she answers to is the CMPD.
Cash Be Inside, How Bout Dat (March) Police responded to a BB&T in northwest Charlotte after some unknown suspect(s) put a whole lot of effort into robbing the unrobbable. Employees showed officers where the thieves pried open the metal door and broke the deadlock to an outdoor ATM overnight, only to learn that they still couldn't access any cash. They did $1,000 in damage, with nothing to show for all that effort.
Bright Idea (September) A 22-year-old man called police after he and his friend were playing with a flare gun and ... well, you know what happened next. Officers found the man in the hospital being treated for non-life threatening injuries (luckily) and he told them the story. He said that he and his friend were playing with the gun but not planning to shoot it (sure) when suddenly it went off and he was struck square in the forehead with a flare.
Pay Attention (November) Police responded to Omega Sports on Park Road after three suspects ran from the store holding a total of 24 Carolina Panthers jerseys, worth $100 each. In the end, Omega may have come out on top, as they'll surely be repaid through insurance and they probably didn't want some of the merchandise anyway. Let me explain. Of the 24 jerseys stolen, 10 were Luke Kuechly jerseys, five were Greg Olsen, and nine were Kelvin Benjamin. Whoever grabbed the Benjamin jerseys probably had hell to pay with his co-conspirators once they were able to do inventory, as Benjamin had been traded from the Panthers four days before the incident, making his Panthers jersey all but worthless.
That's Just Weird
Welcome Home (March) Police responded to a First Ward apartment in Uptown after a woman woke up to something far worse than a newspaper on her doorstep. The woman told officers that at some point, an unknown suspect had defecated on her welcome mat. She told police that she attempted to clean the mat but couldn't possibly do so to her standards, so she had to throw it away. Who could blame her?
Nap Time (May) Police responded to a Rite Aid in the University area after someone decided to make themselves at home inside the store. Employees told officers the suspect was in the store for two hours, an odd amount of time to spend in any pharmacy, but they may have just been moving slowly because they were tired. When employees realized they could no longer find the man but hadn't seen him leave, they checked the bathroom, where they found him fast asleep. He apparently had taken quite a fall when he passed out, too, because he had broken the wall off the stall he was found in.
Top Down (July) Police responded to a CookOut near UNC Charlotte after a woman refused to move ahead in the drive-thru line, which if you've ever been hungry in a CookOut line you know means something is terribly wrong. When officers arrived they found the woman passed out in her car wearing only a bikini. Officers noticed the car was still running and in drive, so they carefully put it in park and turned it off before waking her up. She soon admitted that she drank some beer, which had already become obvious long before she even realized she was getting the attention she didn't actually crave.
Barter (August) Management at the Quail Valley on Carmel apartment complex in south Charlotte checked their night deposit box one morning to find that someone didn't have the money to pay their rent but offered up something even better. The apartment manager called police and turned over a bag of marijuana, a bag of cocaine and a single pill that was found in the night deposit box on the last morning of the month. This would be a great replacement for rent, except the entire stash was valued at only $16. You're going to have to do a little better than that for a month's rent.
Hitman (August) Police responded to a 7-Eleven in the University area after someone was threatening to beat up a 13-year-old kid, but didn't have it in them to actually commit the crime themselves. The young victim and witnesses told officers that the suspect told the boy that he was going to "kick his ass," but then apparently had second thoughts, because he started offering money to random customers walking through the parking lot if they would be willing to kick the kid's ass for him. No one accepted.
All stories are pulled from police reports at CMPD headquarters. Suspects are innocent until proven guilty.