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A routine day for the Roswell Police Department often includes officers responding to some not-so-routine calls and unusual incidents. RPD offers this sampling of out-of-the-ordinary situations handled in 2016.
HIDDEN AGENDA: A traffic stop that started with a non-working brake light ended in multiple charges against a woman who tried to hide her crimes, but came up short. The woman, a passenger in the vehicle, tried to hide under some laundry baskets in the back seat. She was noticed when the laundry baskets started moving.
The woman, who was a convicted felon prohibited from having a firearm, tried to hide a gun under the seat. She also tried to hide her identity by giving a false name to officers. A short time later while being booked into jail, it was discovered she was hiding heroin in a body cavity.
Final tally: 0-for-4 in her attempts to hide herself, her identity, a gun and drugs.
THANKS FOR CALLING: An officer was dealing with a child-custody dispute between a man and his ex-wife when the current boyfriend of the woman called the ex-husband, who put the phone on speaker so the officer could hear what was said by the boyfriend. The boyfriend, who did not know an officer was listening, made a threatening statement toward the ex-husband and hung up. The boyfriend learned the officer was listening in, though, when a short time later the officer located the boyfriend and arrested him.
GOOD CITIZEN, BAD SCAM: Roswell residents have experienced plenty of scam phone calls, but perhaps one of the most unbelievable ones was reported this year. A man received a call informing him he was the recipient of a $9,000 “loyalty grant” from the federal government. The grant was to reward the man for being a good citizen and staying out of trouble. Despite being such a good citizen, the man was required to wire the caller a little more than $200 to “enable” the grant money to be sent to him. He decided to forego the grant. Not only is he a good citizen, but a smart one.
ALCOHOL AND POWER TOOLS DON’T MIX: A man was arrested after he allegedly wielded a chainsaw and chased around two women inside a house where several people were hanging out. It is believed the man was drunk when he started up the chainsaw and began pointing it and thrusting it toward the two women.
The reported assaults began in a bedroom before the chainsaw shut off and the women were able to escape out of the room. The man restarted the chainsaw and chased the women around the kitchen table. The uninjured women were able to run out of the house and leave the area.
REMEMBERING TO BRUSH AFTER SUGARY SNACKS: A woman was arrested after she left a store with several shoplifted items. They were a pre-packaged sandwich, a bag of Cheetos, three candy bars and a bottle of Dr. Pepper, along with one more stolen item she may have wanted for good hygiene had she had the chance to consume her heisted sweets – toothpaste.
DANCING WITH THE CARS: Motorists were delayed momentarily by a man breakdancing in the middle of the intersection of Main and Second streets downtown. Police were called, but the dancer left the area (made a “break” for it?) before officers arrived.
A WOMAN WITH AN EAGLE EYE: The property room at the Roswell Police Department takes in plenty of interesting items, from drugs and guns to lost wallets and various articles of clothing, just to name a few. But in May, something extra-unusual found a temporary home in the property room for a couple days.
RPD stored a dead bald eagle while awaiting the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish to pick it up and send it to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Eagle Repository northeast of Denver. The eagle’s body was packaged and placed in a freezer after it was turned in by a Hobbs woman who noticed the deceased bird as she was driving between Roswell and Vaughn.
The federal repository stores and distributes feathers of bald eagles and golden eagles – the two species of the birds found in North America – found dead throughout the country. It provides the feathers to Native American tribes who apply for them in order to use them in religious ceremonies and for cultural purposes.
SIGN OF TROUBLE: An officer was talking to someone near Cahoon Park around midnight when he heard a loud banging noise nearby. The officer found a man dressed only in boxers attempting to remove a pedestrian-crossing sign near the park entrance. The officer had encountered the man earlier the same day, at which time the man was wearing jeans and boots. The man was able to explain his reduced wardrobe. He said he had ripped his jeans off and torn them up. Sure enough, a pair of shredded jeans was lying nearby. The jail provided him with a new outfit.
COLD CASE (OF SHELLFISH): A restaurant was the victim of a thief who targeted some seafood. The thief entered the building through a rear door the owner had left open, went to the freezer and walked off with a 40-pound case of shrimp. The larceny remains unsolved, so anyone with information about someone seeking to obtain a large amount of cocktail sauce is asked to report it.
STOP RIGHT THERE, I’LL NEED TO SEE AN I.D.: With more than $300 worth of merchandise loaded into a shopping cart, a pair of shoplifters wheeled the cart out of a grocery store but were stopped in their tracks when the cart’s wheels locked up outside the doors. The cart was programmed to stop rolling when it is taken outside the store without first passing through a cashier lane.
One of the suspects unsuccessfully tried to keep pushing the immobilized cart. Not only was the merchandise recovered when the man and woman abandoned the cart and fled, but the woman’s purse was also found in the cart. It contained her identification. The pair was soon arrested.
SHOCKING SIGHT: Police were called to a neighborhood where a man was running around in circles, jumping fences, trying to climb a power pole and knocking over trash containers. The residents of the area were able to give a clear description of the man: He was naked. The man refused to comply with officers’ commands and continued to run from officers, one of whom eventually apprehended the man by using his Taser.
LACKING IN LEGAL LICENSES: A traffic stop was conducted on a vehicle displaying a license plate with no state but having “Mountain of Faith” on it. The driver also did not have a valid driver’s license, instead giving the officer a card featuring his vehicle information and titled “Kingdom of Heaven.” When the driver refused to sign the citations, he was arrested.
ALIEN ABDUCTION?: A model spaceship used to decorate the front of the International UFO Museum on downtown Main Street was stolen as it sat behind the building awaiting reinstallation following some repairs. The flying saucer was found a few days later smashed to pieces outside of town. A teenager was soon arrested for the theft, which had involved him and others loading the spaceship into the bed of a pickup and driving off.
HOT SHOT: A man was at home one afternoon when he heard what sounded like a gunshot outside. He found one of his car windows shattered. He called police and it was quickly discovered a can of Freon left in the car had exploded in the summertime heat and crashed through the window.
CLEAN CREDENTIALS: RPD was called on to document a man’s story that his military identification card accidentally ended up in the washing machine with a load of laundry. The card was ruined and the military wouldn’t replace it unless the man acquired a police report.