MONDAY, FEBRUARY 2 This week of crime, crime, and more ridiculous crime kicks off with one of the week's few non-crime-related stories, as President Barack Obama announced his nominee for deputy secretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: Our own Ron Sims, the flamboyant King County executive who'll step down from his regional duties to take over management of HUD's day-to-day operations, including the agency's nearly $39 billion annual operating budget and 8,500 employees. Details on Sims's trajectory come from KING 5: Born in Spokane, graduate of Central Washington University, elected to the King County Council in 1985, appointed King County executive in 1996, then reelected to the post in 2001 and 2005. But to Last Days, Ron Sims will always be the man who took time out of his busy (some would say frantic) schedule to spend an hour onstage at Town Hall debating Ken Hutcherson about the importance of gay rights. Sims was solidly pro, Hutch was dimly con, and we were properly awed as Sims displayed the kind of empathetic-engagement-with-someone-you-violently-disagree-with that too many of us are incapable of. Congratulations and good luck, Mr. Sims. (Confirmation pending.)
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 3 The week continues with the continuance of winter, predicted yesterday by an assortment of North American groundhogs (one of which punctuated its prediction by biting New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg) and represented today by the blanket of ice and snow still paralyzing the majority of the Midwest and leading to a reported 55 deaths nationwide.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 4 Today commences the freakish crime wave that will soak the rest of the week, announced with a fittingly ridiculous cavalcade of crime around Seattle, including but not limited to the armed robbery of a bank in Wedgwood, the armed robbery of a pet-food store on Capitol Hill, the arrest of a Capitol Hill man accused of shooting at cars with an air rifle, the deployment of the bomb squad to a downtown bank, a non-fatal shootout in a grocery-store parking lot in the Central District, and the nonfatal running down of an alleged car prowler trying to avoid police by fleeing across Interstate 5.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 5 Meanwhile in northeastern Pennsylvania, a woman was made to live through a mind-fucky nightmare, which she survived only through a fluke of fate. Details come from the Associated Press, which reports the mind-fucky nightmare went down this evening when 48-year-old William Krause allegedly talked his estranged wife, Marie, into entering a bedroom with him by saying he wanted to show her something. According to police reports, he then handed his wife an apologetic letter, pulled out a gun, and announced that a murder-suicide was the only way they could be together forever. Why we know all this: When he pulled the trigger, William Krause's gun failed to fire, offering only a dull click and enabling Marie Krause to call one of their sons to come help. The day after tomorrow, Mr. Krause will be arraigned and jailed on investigation of attempted murder.
•• While some men have trouble properly executing even a single crime, others seem able to break laws in their sleep. Case in point: Elvis Alonzo Barrett, the 46-year-old man in Boynton Beach, Florida, arrested after being issued 50 traffic citations in one day. Details come from the AP, which reports Barrett's alleged crime spree began this morning when police tried to pull him over for a traffic violation and he fled, crashing into another car and a fence before being apprehended by police, who reported finding crack cocaine and a crack pipe in Barrett's car. Rounding out Barrett's charges for eluding police, reckless driving, and drug possession are those aforementioned 50 traffic citations, which include speeding, running red lights, and not wearing a seat belt. Elvis Barrett's driver's license has been suspended.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 6 Nothing happened today, unless you count the criminal charges filed against three Fort Lewis soldiers accused of a string of violent armed robberies in Seattle's University District. Details come from our beloved Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which identifies the soldiers as Pvt. Robert Lucas of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Pfc. Chad Braden of Etna, Ohio, and Pfc. Raymond R. Burrows III of Central Falls, Rhode Island, all of whom were charged today with first-degree robbery in connection with a pair of January muggings in the U-District. The first allegedly occurred on January 10, when two students returning to the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house were confronted by three men, one of whom wielded a semiautomatic pistol and demanded their wallets. One week later, the same thing happened to two more frat members, only this time there were two guns, and when the pistol-wielding men ordered the frat members to hand over their wallets, one refused, getting pistol-whipped for his defiance. While this young man was treated for injuries to his head and face at UW Medical Center, police followed a lead about an army private heard bragging about pistol-whipping a man during a robbery near a fraternity, eventually arresting 20-year-old Lucas, 19-year-old Braden, and 21-year-old Burrows, charging each of the three with first-degree robbery with a firearm. All three remain in custody at King County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail; if convicted, they face between seven and eight years in prison.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 7 As Last Days heads into the homestretch of kooky crime week, we'd like to take a moment to reflect on what we've learned. The deeper the recession, the bigger the crime wave. If someone has a gun, do what he or she says. Crack is wack. And finally, if you're caught attempting to light oily rags in an off-limits fuel-storage area of the Elliott Bay Marina, don't spray the police officers with fuel then try to escape by swimming away. As a twentysomething man in Seattle's Magnolia neighborhood learned today, you'll only be apprehended at the marina's breakwater, then taken to Harborview for treatment of possible hypothermia. (Thanks to the Seattle Times for the saga.)
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 8 The week ends with the 2009 Grammy Awards, the annual music-industry trophy lottery that—despite providing the amazing sight of a 14-months-pregnant M.I.A. bouncing around the stage like the freaky genius she is—was entirely upstaged by yet another ridiculous crime story. Today's players: poppy R&B stars Chris Brown and Rihanna, with the former arrested after allegedly beating up the latter (the day she was scheduled to perform at the Grammys, no less). Stay tuned as Brown is schooled in one of few universal truths of modern life: People don't like it when you beat up Rihanna.
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