You can’t fix stupid

Published 10:46 am Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Even though I’m having a tough time convincing Debbie Cowart, eastern ‘Carolina barbecue is not only to “die for” but apparently worth getting sent to jail.

How else does one explain the reason why an unknown male attempted to break into Tarheel BBQ on a Monday afternoon in beautiful downtown Gates County? Or was he there for the lip-smacking fried chicken, or the savory cole slaw (a Ricky Hedgepeth creation). Perhaps it was an attempt to chow down on some pork chops, or to fix up a traditional Timmy Burger, of course with double cheese and extra bacon.

The failed break-in on Labor Day, where the Tarheel employees were enjoying a day off, was among a summer full of bungled and downright bizarre crimes. For those who missed the Tarheel saga, an individual used a shovel, then a butcher knife, and then a putty knife in an attempt to pry open the double bolted back doors to the restaurant. His 30 minutes of frustration apparently tuckered the poor boy out as a surveillance camera captured images of him laying down and taking a three-hour nap prior to leaving the premises.

However, the sleepy bandit has not cornered the market on criminal stupidity.

On Friday of last week, a man leaped from his seat on a monorail circling the Bronx Zoo and into a den of tigers. For his efforts he suffered major injuries, including having his right foot later amputated, after being attacked by one of the tigers.

Earlier this month, a woman in New Hampshire managed to get arrested four times in only 26 hours. How? Outdated music taste and turned up the speakers  loud enough for the neighbors to hear. According to Huffington Post, the police issued a warning against her earsplitting soundtrack of “Highway To Hell”. She refused to comply, and was arrested multiple times.

Or how ‘bout the forgetful burglar? A guy breaks into a home in York County, PA and swipes electronics. Little did he know that he left his cell phone at the crime scene and police were able to use that device to track him down. He was found asleep in the basement of his home, where the stolen items were also discovered.

The overall winner goes to Donald Gartner of Port Richey, Florida. He started a wild night by downing  a six-pack of beer and a handful of Oxycontin and then proceeded to get arrested for causing a ruckus at his neighbor’s house. He was released from jail a few hours later, but the night was still young.

Shortly after being released, he was arrested again for trying to break into cars in the visitors’ parking lot of the jail he was just released from.

Gartner’s substance-fueled trouble began when Pasco County Sheriff’s Office deputies found him crawling out from underneath bushes at his neighbor’s house, according to The St. Pete Times. His shorts were sagging low on his waist and on backward. A witness claimed he had been relieving his bladder in the bushes. Witnesses also claimed he banged on his neighbor’s door, broke the glass panel of a porch light, and then ripped the light’s electrical wiring out of the wall.

The intoxicated 48-year-old was arrested for criminal mischief and booked at the Land O’Lakes Jail at 7:38 p.m. Gartner was released around 10 o’clock that night and was waiting in the visitors’ parking lot of the jail for a ride, but apparently he got impatient. A woman drove up in her Acura. Shortly after she got out, Gartner tried to get in. She yelled, and he explained he thought it was his car.

Shortly afterward he tried breaking into yet another car. A deputy was watching this time, and less than two hours after his release, Gartner was taken back to jail.​Gartner was charged with two counts of attempted auto burglary. His bail was set at $10,000.

As Ron White, my favorite comedian, would say…You can’t fix stupid.


Cal Bryant is Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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