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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Law/Police/Crime
Fake Chinese ‘Made in India’ Garments sold in Nigeria — The commerce department of India is considering filing a formal diplomatic complaint against China because of Chinese garments being sold in Nigeria with fake "Made in India" tags. I'm sure it's a serious diplomatic matter, but if you could just somehow add a Russian gangster and a Spanish prisoner into the mix, you'd have a perfect storm of scam artists. [Economic Times]
Posted: Wed Jun 24, 2009.   Comments (4)

The Jiffy Prank — Apparently there's a tradition of past employees of Jiffy Lube breaking into the store and stealing the bleeder valve on the compressor, thus rendering the machine useless. It's called the "Jiffy prank." At least, that's the excuse Paul Marvella is giving to explain why he took the valve. He later returned it, but nevertheless the store is charging him with felony commercial burglary. [Hernando Today]
Posted: Wed Jun 24, 2009.   Comments (3)

Honesty Cafes — As part of an ongoing effort to battle a culture of corruption, the Indonesian government is opening Honesty Cafes, designed to teach people the value of honesty. Snacks and drinks are available, and you pay on the honor system, putting your money into a clear plastic box. From the NY Times: The attorney general’s office says the honesty cafes will nip in the bud corrupt tendencies among the young and straighten out those known for indulging in corrupt practices, starting with civil…
Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2009.   Comments (5)

Barbecued Cats? — After receiving a complaint that some residents of a Houston apartment complex were barbecuing stray cats, the Bureau of Animal Regulation and Control investigated but determined the complaint was a hoax. But their conclusion isn't that reassuring, because after analyzing bone fragments from nearby dumpsters, the bureau did find that "There are animals that have been consumed that are similar to the size and structure of a cat." So, if not cats, what were these animals that were…
Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2009.   Comments (11)


Burglar chews through steel bars — A news story (credited to the Chongqing Business Daily) is circulating about a recently apprehended burglar whose method of operation was to gain access to homes by chewing through steel window bars. From Ananova: Detectives in Nanjimen region, Chongqing, were puzzled by continuous reports of break-ins through caged windows. "Through our investigations, we found the grids had been cut but with deep tooth prints," a local police spokesman told the Chongqing Business Daily. Eventually,…
Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2009.   Comments (1)

Frivolous (fake) lawsuits — The Lebanon Daily News confesses to coming down with a bad case of the Gullibility Virus. In a recent article they whipped themselves into a state of righteous indignation about a series of frivolous lawsuits. They had read about the lawsuits in an email. (Best part: they titled the article "Sad but true"). A reader later wrote to them: Austin woman awarded $80,000 for tripping over her own son in store? Fabricated. Los Angeles man trying to steal hubcap gets $74,000 when target…
Posted: Thu Jun 11, 2009.   Comments (14)

Fooled by Crunchberries — This case sounded so stupid to me that at first I thought it had to be a joke, but here's the actual ruling, Sugawara v. PepsiCo, Inc., so apparently it's true. Janine Sugawara filed suit against PepsiCo, maker of Cap'n Crunch's CrunchBerries, alleging she had been deceived by their marketing into believing that crunchberries were real fruit, only to learn, to her dismay, that the product contained "no berries of any kind." The judge threw the case out, noting, "The survival of the…
Posted: Sat Jun 06, 2009.   Comments (10)

The Bonnie Sweeten Abduction Hoax — Philadelphia Mom Bonnie Sweeten had apparently been embezzling money from a charity where she worked for years. Fearing that she was about to be found out, she fled to Orlando with her daughter, but not before concocting a hoax about being abducted by two black men who rear-ended her SUV. (She placed a call to 911, pretending she was locked in the trunk of the black men's car.) I guess the hoax was intended to cover her tracks, but I'm not sure if it didn't simply increase police…
Posted: Fri May 29, 2009.   Comments (2)

Moms Behaving Badly — A dispute between two young girls escalated into an online fight between the mothers. The mother of one of the girls posted an ad on Craigslist offering sex with men, and listed the phone number of the other girl's mother as the contact. Twenty-two people called the number. The woman has now been charged with aggravated harrassment. [Newsday]
Posted: Mon May 11, 2009.   Comments (2)

Pigeon Drop Scam Becomes Robbery — There's a report of a pigeon drop scam in which the scammers approached a woman at an ATM and tried to convince her to buy a diamond (that was supposedly such a bargain that she'd easily make a profit if she resold it). But in this case the scammers got tired of haggling with her and eventually just grabbed her money and ran. Which means that the scammers are now guilty of grand theft. [Mercury News]
Posted: Fri Apr 17, 2009.   Comments (6)

Domino’s Video Prank — One of the mysteries of law enforcement in the age of YouTube: Why do people proudly post videos of themselves engaged in illegal acts? They're just begging to have the police come knocking on their door. So anyway, the latest example of video self-incrimination involves two Domino's employees who created a prank video showing one of them farting on the food and sticking it up his nose as the other one laughed and egged him on. They posted the video on YouTube and it promptly went…
Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2009.   Comments (4)

Cash Stops Bullet — Mythbusters did an episode on the urban legend of a bullet being stopped by a Bible (or a Zippo lighter). They found that a hardcover book of at least 400 pages might stop a bullet, but anything less (including a Zippo) didn't have a chance. Nevertheless, police in Sao Paulo, Brazil are saying that the wad of cash a woman had stuffed in her bra slowed down a bullet enough to save her life. I'm sure the woman is very lucky, but I suspect the cash had nothing to do with her good fortune.[Yahoo!]
Posted: Wed Apr 15, 2009.   Comments (13)

Neighborhood dispute gets ugly — The term Neighbor From Hell seems an appropriate one for Julie Rank-Earley. Her neighbor once filed a police complaint about her, resulting in a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct. Instead of letting the issue drop, Rank-Earley decided to up the ante by subscribing to hundreds of dollars worth of pornographic magazines in the name of her neighbor. Her neighbor simply complained to the police again when she started getting all the bills. Now Rank-Earley is sitting in jail. [Dayton…
Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2009.   Comments (1)

Bathroom stall robbery — It's safe to use the bathroom again. Two weeks ago a New York man said he was robbed in a bathroom stall in the Atlanta airport. He was just sitting there, doing his business, when two men poked their heads "over the top of the stall," pointed a silver handgun at him, and demanded his wallet. Police have now determined the robbery report was a hoax. [AJC.com]
Posted: Mon Apr 06, 2009.   Comments (2)

If you don’t show a weapon, is it really a robbery? — Police say that a man, alone in a car, drove up to a teller window at the Lone Star National Bank in Texas. He slipped the teller a note. Exactly what it said has not been revealed, but it caused the teller to hand him an undetermined amount of cash. He then drove away. At no point did the man display a weapon. Big Gary asks: But if you just say, "Give me money," and you don't display a weapon, and you aren't in any position to hurt anybody, it's not really a robbery, it's a gift,…
Posted: Wed Mar 18, 2009.   Comments (11)

New phishing scam merges physical and virtual worlds — Police in Grand Forks, Michigan North Dakota report that people are finding fake parking tickets on their cars that direct them to go to horribleparking.com to view information about standard parking regulations. When they visit the site, a virus is downloaded onto their computer. It's not clear what the virus does, but it seems like a pretty elaborate way to infect someone's computer. Also, an expensive way. Printing fake tickets and paying someone to distribute them has to cost a lot…
Posted: Thu Feb 05, 2009.   Comments (6)

Immigrants devise creative methods of hiding — Two cases of illegal immigrants finding unusual methods of sneaking into countries have recently been in the news: Case #1: U.S. border police found 13 illegal immigrants inside a fake Budweiser beer van. Case #2: British authorities found four illegal immigrants hiding inside a 32-foot-tall fake Christmas tree in the back of a truck. The tree was made of aluminum and nylon, and had been ordered for a town center display.
Posted: Wed Nov 26, 2008.   Comments (1)

Fake Cocaine — On June 4 Steven Decker of Muscatine, Iowa sold a white powder to an undercover agent. He said it was cocaine, but it wasn't. It was fake cocaine. In the eyes of the law, this doesn't let him off the hook. He's being charged with "delivery of a simulated controlled substance" and is looking at up to ten years in prison and $50,000 in fines. I'm sure Decker is not exactly a boy-scout, but being charged for selling fake cocaine is a curious concept. Added irony: he was selling a…
Posted: Tue Nov 25, 2008.   Comments (10)

Your classmates aren’t looking for you — Classmates.com told Anthony Michaels that former classmates were looking for him. If only he would upgrade to a premium membership, they would put him in touch with his school buddies. So Michaels paid the money. Then he discovered that no one was looking for him. Now he's brought a class-action suit against classmates.com for deceptive advertising. There's a fine line in advertising between what's legal and what's not. "Puffery," which is defined as making exaggerated claims that the…
Posted: Thu Nov 13, 2008.   Comments (15)

Fleeing Purse Snatcher Drops Breast — Police in Port St. Lucie are on the lookout for a cross-dressing purse snatcher who accidentally dropped a condom filled with water after grabbing a 74-year-old woman's purse. He had been using the condom as a fake breast. That's weird enough. What I can't understand is why he was using a water-filled condom. Wouldn't a regular balloon have worked better? Though questioning the fashion decisions of a cross-dressing purse snatcher is surely an exercise in pointlessness.
Posted: Thu Sep 04, 2008.   Comments (6)

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