The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Law/Police/Crime
Thief Hypnotizes Checkout Staff — The BBC reports that police in Italy are searching for a thief who hypnotizes checkout staff and orders them to hand over money. In every case, the last thing staff reportedly remember is the thief leaning over and saying: "Look into my eyes", before finding the till empty... A female bank clerk reportedly handed over nearly 800 euros (£630)... Italian police believe the suspect could be of Indian or North African extraction. The BBC has a video of the thief in action. It's…
Posted: Sun Mar 23, 2008.   Comments (9)

Quick Links: Mar. 18, 2008 — Excuse of the Year "A German lorry driver escaped a rap for driving while using a mobile phone - after claiming he was using it as an ear warmer." Woman foretells future with asparagus "Jemima Packington throws asparagus on the floor and makes her predictions based on the pattern. She said that some years ago she made a prediction that came true based on an asparagus pattern and realized she was on to something." Seems to me like it's as good a method as anything else. Nostradamus…
Posted: Wed Mar 19, 2008.   Comments (1)

Unresponsive Bystanders — Local 6 News in Orlando recently conducted a test to see how quickly people would respond to a crime. They arranged for an undercover police officer to pretend to be a burglar trying to break into cars and homes in plain view of bystanders. The results: most bystanders ignored or just watched the crime -- and some even helped the thieves... people were ready to help the mystery man break into a car. A third test had the fake burglar enter a home through a window and then go out the…
Posted: Tue Feb 26, 2008.   Comments (13)

Quick Links: Stupid Criminals — Fake blind man caught driving A 70-year-old Italian man had been claiming to be blind for 40 years in order to get an invalid's pension. He was caught when police stopped him in his car at a routine road check. When they checked his record, they noticed it listed him as being 100 percent blind. (Thanks, Joe) Underwear on face fails to disguise "A robbery suspect tried to hide his face with a pair of underwear but the disguise didn't fool witnesses." Fleeing husband spotted in film
Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2008.   Comments (2)


Faking pregnancy as a shoplifting technique — Detectives in Sarpy County, Omaha are warning local stores of a new shoplifting technique being used by a group of women. The women enter a store, fill up a cart with items, and then walk out. If stopped, they claim that they're giving birth. KETV reports: Detectives said that on Dec. 13, three women walked into the Bellevue Wal-Mart, filled a cart with items, then started to leave. Surveillance video shows a store officer stopped them at the door and asked for a receipt. That's when…
Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2008.   Comments (6)

Is it legal to sell something you find in the trash? — The Patry Copyright blog has posted details of an interesting copyright case: United States v. Chalupnik. It doesn't, strictly speaking, have anything to do with hoaxes, except that it raises the question of whether there actually was a crime committed, or whether it's an example of a big corporation trying to invent a crime. Here are the facts, as summarized by William Patry: defendant was an employee for the U.S. Postal Service. BMG Columbia House is a mail order operation selling…
Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2008.   Comments (24)

Quick Links: Feb 6, 2008 — Restaurant removes fake surveillance camera from bathroom "A fake surveillance camera pointing into a bathroom stall of a Second Cup restaurant was taken down Monday after it sparked concerns from the chain's executives and the Quebec government. Second Cup franchisee Francois Turgeon recently installed the decoy camera in his downtown cafe hoping to ward off heroin users who reportedly left dirty needles in the men's bathroom." Man complains that sex doll lost its moan "Consumer…
Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2008.   Comments (2)

Banning Patio Heaters — Last year the Daily Mail ran an April Fool's Day article in which it claimed that Brits would have to pay a "carbon offset" tax if they wanted to barbecue in their backyards: IT IS one of the timeless rituals of the new globally-warmed great British summer: firing up the barbecue and slinging on a steak. But people who choose to burn charcoal may have to think twice as councils now have swingeing new powers to force homeowners to buy 'carbon offsets' before they light up or face a…
Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2008.   Comments (15)

Huffing Hand Sanitizer — A 14-year-old student at Killian Middle School in Lewisville picked up a bottle of hand sanitizer from the desk of his reading teacher, rubbed the gel on his hands, and then smelled it. According to the teacher, he "inhaled heavily." The student said he sniffed it because it "smelled good." But the school authorities claimed he sniffed it because he was trying to get high. They gave him an in-school suspension, and then proceeded to file criminal charges against him. WFAA.com reports:
Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008.   Comments (22)

Man Claims Blue Man Group Attacked Him — According to James Sroden, the popular Blue Man Group attacked him when he went to see their show in October 2006. He says they forced him on stage, circled him, held his neck and arms, forced his head back, and then inserted an "esophagus cam" down his throat, projecting an image of his throat onto a large screen. Sroden says he subsequently bled from the nose, had nightmares, and lost fillings in his teeth. The Blue Man Group's version of events is quite different. From msnbc.com:
Posted: Sat Jan 26, 2008.   Comments (5)

Quick Links: Jan. 25, 2008 — Caught Lipsyncing Amusing video on youtube of a guy caught lipsyncing. I like how he tries to pretend that nothing happened. Live Frog in Lettuce Yet another case of a family finding a live frog in their lettuce. The amazing thing is that instead of trying to sue someone, the family has adopted the frog as a pet. They call him "curious." Fake Leg as Weapon "Police said Donna Sturkie-Anthony took her elder sister's prosthetic leg and beat her with it."
Posted: Fri Jan 25, 2008.   Comments (4)

Quick Links: January 22, 2008 — Hiding in plainview A police officer agreed to escort a car containing a pregnant woman to the hospital only to find the car was stolen - and the woman wasn't pregnant. An honest politician? Ed Hamilton is running for the position of Kerr County treasurer. His campaign promise is that, if elected, he won't serve. He won't even take a paycheck. Sounds like the right man for the job. More men opting for chest implants At least, that's what the headline claims. The article itself gives…
Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2008.   Comments (0)

Is Mad Money based on the Brassiere Brigade? — Happy New Years everyone! My apologies for the absence of posts for the past week. I was on vacation, visiting family on the east coast and in Arizona. One month ago I posted about a group of female criminals from the 1950s called the "Brassiere Brigade." They stole money from the counting room of a telephone company, where they worked, by smuggling rolls of quarters out in their bras. I only discovered the story of these women by accident when I came across a reference to them in an…
Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2008.   Comments (14)

Quick Links: Dec. 17, 2007 — My 61 Memorable Games A special updated edition of Bobby Fischer's book, "My 60 Memorable Games," is up for auction on eBay, and bidding has already reached $3,050. The New York Times Chess Blog wonders whether the book is real. Giant Skeleton photo doing the rounds again National Geographic has an article about the Giant Skeleton photo, which dates back to 2004. The article says it's now enjoying a revival. I'm even quoted, though I don't remember talking to National Geographic.…
Posted: Tue Dec 18, 2007.   Comments (2)

Quick Links: Dec. 12, 2007 — Sextuplet husband gets three years Remember that couple who pretended they had sextuplets last year? The guy has now been sentenced to three years in prison for violating the terms of his probation. His wife is still at large. Pregnant lawyer made up abduction "pregnant Ohio attorney Karyn McConnell Hancock confessed Monday to fabricating a story about being kidnapped by three people at gunpoint in Toledo last week." I'm going to start keeping track of these fake abduction cases. There…
Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2007.   Comments (4)

Operation Lucky Bag — If you saw a wallet lying on the ground, what would you do? A lot of people might, out of curiosity, pick it up to examine it. They might even walk away with it. But if they did, they could find themselves surrounded by police and facing arrest. This happened to Carlos Alayo who picked up a wallet he saw laying on a New York City subway platform. When he went to get on the train, police stopped him. WNBC.com explains: The 32-year-old had been ensnared in Operation Lucky Bag, an…
Posted: Thu Dec 06, 2007.   Comments (13)

Photoshopped Kitten in Defamation Suit — Stewart Bright lived with Marjorie Hervey, founder of the Hervey Foundation for Cats, a charity for injured cats. But when Bright and Hervey had a falling out, "Bright accused Ms Hervey of needlessly killing kittens and emailed about 600 supporters of the charity with an attached picture showing a hand with a gun pointing at a kitten with its front paws up as if surrendering." That's pretty damning evidence, though not in the way Bright hoped. The picture was recently entered into…
Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2007.   Comments (6)

Quick Links: Dec. 4, 2007 — Tickle Me Counterfeit Authorities are warning consumers to be on the lookout for fake Tickle Me Elmos showing up on store shelves this Christmas. How can you tell the difference between the real and the fake? For a start, the fake Elmo is called "The Laughing Doll." Also, oddly enough, the fakes are more expensive than the real thing. Phony Doo-Wops Doo-wop groups from the 1950s and '60s, such as the Drifters, Coasters and Platters, are complaining that they're going broke. They can't…
Posted: Tue Dec 04, 2007.   Comments (0)

Quick Links: Nov. 27, 2007 — Ocean's 11 Conman "It was one of the most audacious jewel thefts in history. In the middle of a crowded room, the famed Star of the Empress Sisi was stolen from its high-security case and replaced with a replica." (Thanks, Joe) Turkey Mystery Turkeys mysteriously show up in a town, and then wander away. "After entertaining residents of Harborview Drive on Thanksgiving morning, 15 turkeys departed - in single file - about 1 p.m. Thursday and have not been seen since, residents said…
Posted: Tue Nov 27, 2007.   Comments (4)

Quick Links: Megan Meier, fake lawyer, etc. — I'm on the road up to Lake Tahoe for Thanksgiving, but here's a few quick links I've been meaning to post. Online hoax leads to girl's suicide The case of Megan Meier is attracting lots of attention, both online and offline. Megan believed that a young guy on MySpace was interested in her, but when Josh started to send her nasty messages, she committed suicide. Later it was discovered that "Josh" was a fake alias created by adults in Megan's neighborhood. A bizarre case, and one that…
Posted: Wed Nov 21, 2007.   Comments (25)

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