MONDAY, MARCH 12 This week of novel robbery, exhausting prevarication, and a plague of bus crushings kicks off in every supermarket in the USA, where security guards are beefing up patrols to combat a new shoplifting scourge: detergent thieves. "Theft of Tide detergent has become so rampant that authorities from New York to Oregon are keeping tabs on the soap spree, and some cities are setting up special task forces to stop it," reports the Daily. "Most thieves load carts with dozens of bottles, then dash out the door. Many have getaway cars waiting outside." Why Tide? "Police say it's simply because the Procter & Gamble detergent is the most popular and, with its Day-Glo orange logo, most recognizable of brands." Also, Tide is pricey, selling for $10 to $20 retail and going for $5 to $10 on the black market. Driving all this Tide heisting: the drug trade. "We sent in an informant to buy drugs," said Maryland police detective Harrison Sprague to the Daily. "The dealer said, 'I don't have drugs, but I could sell you 15 bottles of Tide.' We think [users] are trading it for drugs." Sprague's suspicions were confirmed by Oregon police detective Rick Blake, who told the Daily: "They'll do it right in front of a cop car—buying heroin or methamphetamine with Tide. We would see people walking down the road with six, seven bottles of Tide. They were so blatant about it." Remember, kids: Tide kills.
TUESDAY, MARCH 13 Speaking of remarkable robbery attempts, the week continues along a stretch of Seattle's legendary Aurora Avenue North, where this afternoon a man was arrested after trying to steal mascara, personal lubricant, and a Trojan vibrating condom from a North Seattle Rite Aid. Details come from the Seattle 911 blog, which reports the incident commenced when one of the store's loss-prevention officers approached a man who was attempting to exit the store with unpaid-for items. Upon being confronted, the man fled, and the officer went after him, tracking the suspect to a nearby parking lot and attempting to detain him. "That's when the man pulled out a Taser and shocked the loss-prevention officer in the neck," writes Casey McNerthney at Seattle 911. "Police said the victim was tased five or six times, then the suspect jogged away." But still the loss-prevention officer refused to give up his quest, overcoming his tasings, tackling the suspect, and holding him down (with help from a bystander) until police arrived. The suspect was booked into King County Jail.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14 In worse news, the week continues in Los Angeles, where late this evening a 47-year-old Westside woman laid out a note containing her final words to the world then killed herself with a chain saw. Details come from CBS Los Angeles, which reports that the woman was found not long after midnight by her sister; police say the victim had a chain saw wound on her neck. Condolences to all.
THURSDAY, MARCH 15 The week continues in downtown Seattle, where this morning a 51-year-old woman was crossing Third Avenue near Pine Street when she was hit by a bus. In a lucky break, the woman suffered non-life-threatening injuries, but such a lucky break was not extended to today's other woman hit by a bus, a 48-year-old Bellevue woman who this evening exited a King County Metro bus at Northeast 10th Street and Northup Way when, according to KOMO, "the driver heard what he described as a 'thump.' The driver immediately stopped and called 911... Paramedics attempted CPR at the scene, but the woman was pronounced dead a short time later." Crushing fact: The fatally-bus-struck woman was a regular on the route and knew the driver. "The bus driver was tested for impairment, but police have not said that alcohol or drugs played a role in the accident," reports KOMO.
FRIDAY, MARCH 16 In less random news, the week continues in New Jersey, where today Dharun Ravi, the 20-year-old former Rutgers University student accused of spying on his gay roommate's love life (after which the roommate, 18-year-old Tyler Clementi, committed suicide), was convicted of 15 criminal charges, including invasion of privacy and bias intimidation, for which the Indian-born Ravi faces years in prison and/or deportation. Twisting the knife: Ravi's earlier rejection of a plea deal that offered probation in exchange for an acknowledgement of guilt. Instead, Ravi insisted on his innocence, went to trial, and was today found guilty of all 15 charges. "The most serious charges—bias intimidation based on sexual orientation, a hate crime—carry up to 10 years in prison each," reports the Associated Press. "Legal experts said the most Ravi would probably get all together at sentencing May 21 would be 10 years."
SATURDAY, MARCH 17 Nothing happened today, unless you count the exhaustively upsetting This American Life episode in which Ira Glass reveals a web of lies constructed by monologuist Mike Daisey for the radio adaptation of Daisey's The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs—the smash-hit one-man show in which Daisey told of traveling to Shenzhen, China, and finding evidence of extreme worker abuses at Apple manufacturing plants. (Asked on TAL about why he "lied," Daisey said: "I wouldn't express it that way... I would say that I wanted to tell a story that captured the totality of my trip.") Full disclosure: Daisey, whose Apple-damning monologue enabled him to make the slippery transition from the theater world into the world of nonfiction reportage and media punditry, is an old friend of ours, and hearing him get put through the wringer was excruciating. The pain will be compounded by Daisey's handling of the issue in days to come, as he brazenly casts himself as a crucified art martyr and attempts to cast aspersions on Ira Glass's credibility on his blog. But on Monday night, Daisey will display a hope-bestowing lucidity while addressing a crowd in Washington, DC, where he'll lay bare how he came to allow his fictions to be presented as fact and take full responsibility for the fuckup. Condolences to all, may the story continue on another, better page.
SUNDAY, MARCH 18 The week ends with another person hit by a bus, this one back at Third and Pine in downtown Seattle, where this afternoon a woman was struck by a King County Metro bus after she tried to cross the street in defiance of a "don't walk" signal. "The 47-year-old was taken to Harborview Medical Center with injuries that were not considered life-threatening," reports the ever-trusty Seattle 911.
Dear Last Days readers who would like to see me talk for 90 minutes: My new solo play, A Short-Term Solution to a Long-Term Problem, starts an eight-show encore run at Richard Hugo House this Friday, and runs Fri–Sat through April 14. See www.hugohouse.org for tickets and info. Everyone else, send Hot Tips to email@example.com.