Naked Rain Dance Works, Leads to Arrest

L A M B E R T V I L L E, N.J. — Douglas Carroll was apparently just trying to bring some rain to drought-stricken central New Jersey, but it landed him in court.

Police said they were tired of the dry weather too, but they couldn't condone Carroll's solution: a naked rain dance.

Around 3 a.m. on Aug. 25, Carroll, 24, strolled across a local bridge wearing only a backpack, police said.

When Carroll realized police were following him he ran off, trying to put on clothing as he fled. When they caught up to him, he said he was trying to bring some rain.

It may have violated anti-lewdness laws, but Lambertville Police Director Bruce Cocuzza admits Carroll's stunt may have done the trick.

"Apparently, you know, he must have heard from some folklore that a naked rain dance would do the trick," he said. "And it rained within 48 hours."

Cocuzza said Carroll pleaded guilty to public lewdness and agreed to pay a fine. He said the department might take a more lenient approach if the area needs another rain dance.

"Maybe we'll let him go next time," he said.

Good Riddance!

C H I C A G O — Their efforts to steal an ATM machine from a restaurant didn't get them much, but it may have done the shop owner a favor.

Three men broke into the L and G Restaurant early Aug. 22 and tried to grab an entire automatic teller machine.

It turns out the restaurant was happy to see it go, since it stopped working two years ago and the company that serviced it had gone out of business.

"The thing's been dead for all this time," waitress Tammy Katsenis told the Chicago Sun-Times. "They went through all that hassle for nothing."

She said the restaurant owner had been looking for a way to get rid of the machine, which was unplugged and completely empty of cash.

Even if it been full of $20 bills, the thieves would not have been unlikely to strike it rich, however, because they couldn't fit it into the back seat of the 1993 Cadillac DeVille they were driving. Eventually, they tried to squeeze it in with the door left open.

Police passing by in a patrol car saw the three men wrestling with the ATM and chased them on foot. They arrested Cory Pickett, 32, but two other suspects escaped.

Flight of Fancy Lands Passenger in Hot Water

P H I L A D E L P H I A — Air Marshal, meet the Error Marshal.

David Vassalo, 46, allegedly picked the wrong time to lie about being an air marshal. The Postal Service worker was on a US Airways flight about to take off from Philadelphia International Airport on Aug. 26, when police say he ventured into the first-class cabin.

There he told a passenger he was a member of the federal air marshal program — the undercover security force charged with preventing hijackings on commercial flights, police say.

Unfortunately for Vassalo, the person he was talking to really was an air marshal. When the real agent asked for identification, Vassalo allegedly tried to flee the plane.

He was arrested in the airport soon after and charged with impersonating a law enforcement officer. The flight was canceled.

Wedgie Between Friends Leads to Attempted Murder, Cops Say

L O W E R S O U T H A M P T O N, Pa. — The "wedgie" almost turned deadly.

Daniel Strouss, 19, faces attempted murder charges for allegedly trying to kill a friend who yanked his underwear up as a practical joke.

His friend, Eric Kassoway, had performed the wedgie on Strouss at a rock concert almost a year ago, authorities said.

Strouss bided his time, then allegedly ambushed Kassoway outside his home on June 12, authorities told The Associated Press. Kassoway was shot in the arm and leg with a 9 mm handgun and nearly died from loss of blood. After the attack, Strouss allegedly hid the weapon under the deck at his parents' home.

Strouss' lawyer, Al Cepparulo, said he did not dispute the police's account of the incident.

"This is a tragedy for the victim. All I can say is my client is going through therapy," he told The Associated Press.

Crime Blotter, a weekly feature of, is compiled by Oliver Libaw.