The real star of that story, however, was not the arrested, James Summers, but, rather, the public servant troubadour whose eloquent description of the crimes brought Summers' deeds to fame.
As many of you pointed out in the comments to that post, public information officer Joel DeSpain is something of a Madison celebrity thanks to his penchant for injecting hard-boiled drama and unapolagetic flair into otherwise sterile police reports.
But why should those elitist Wisconsinites have all the fun?
For your reading pleasure, here is are the top 10 the greatest hits from Joel DeSpain's police report oeuvre.
1. Enraptured by the Rapture
This write-up about a citizen's discovery of 30 sets of burned clothes in a hilltop clearing "beneath a canopy of towering oaks" has all the hallmarks of a classic DeSpain.
- A strong opening:
The officer approached the scene cautiously. As well he should have, after all this was Sunday afternoon, the 22nd of May, in the year 2011, the day after the predicted Rapture. There had been no horrible earthquake, and it did not appear - as the sun rose again Sunday - that Armageddon was upon us.
- Flights of Fancy:
There were some 30 sets of clothes. You could almost make out the figures that once wore them…It was if people had been on their backs and vanished in their birthday suits…
- A winking sign-off:
In the end they were left with three possible scenarios: Could this be an unregistered art exhibit? Could this be a practical joke? Or, could this be … a possible documented "Rapture" occurrence.
2. Sharper Than A Serpent's Tooth: A Book Club Interrupted
A teenaged python named Annie pays an unexpected and bloody visit to a woman's book club meeting.
Choice line: But like many a narrative, this one was about to take a strange twist.
3. A Real Donnybrook
A Subway sandwich artisan turns the tables on a would-be robber.
Choice line: Having detected the ruse, [the victim] decided not to fill the bag with cash, but to deliver 10 hard rounds with his fist to the suspect's face.
4. Vikings, Pillaged
The heart-wrenching tale of novelty Minnesota Vikings-themed mailboxes twice thieved.
Choice lines: It was already not a great year for the Madison based Vikings fans. Minnesota went 3 and 13. Their team mailed it in, and now they are at a loss to fly the colors to put mail in.
5. Big Butts Cannot Lie
Two thieves learn just how big of a pain in the ass pocket dialing can be.
Choice line: So as they yakked, jawed, and chortled about all they had done, a dispatcher was listening in - via an open cell phone line - and providing officers with a play-by-play.
6. Fowl Play
DeSpain attempts to unravel the mystery behind inexplicable "monthly deposits...of the chicken variety" left on and around a local man's home.
Choice line: The captured images were not of a Voodoo doctor, but of someone – medium height, medium build - dressed in a chicken costume: reddish feet, light colored feathers, and a head piece that provided no clue as to who was underneath.
7. A Silver Haired Stranger
A visitor claiming to be on a mission from God is arrested "outside of a saloon" for animal neglect after locals notice his horses Chief Spirit, Justice, and Charity are weary and emaciated. A pun-filled romp.
Choice lines: The horseman had a Coggins certificate for one horse, but none of the other necessary documents. However, he did hand the officer his "Letter of Commitment to Jesus" which he thought was important for her to see.
8. My Cousin Nae-Nae
Under questioning, a suspect explains that it was not she who beat-up a salon employee while pilfering a package of "Lovely HEBA 100% Natural Hair" from the American Beauty Salon on Gammon Road, but, rather, her nearly identical cousin "Nae Nae."
Choice Lines: According to her account, she went to the salon with her cousin, a woman she could only identify as "Nae Nae." She said she and "Nae Nae" are nearly identical in how they look, and how they dress. It was "Nae Nae," she claimed, who was responsible for the battery.
9. Family Matters
Brawling hillbillies in varying degrees of consciousness attempt to explain to police officers the reason they got to "scrappin'" on an otherwise peaceful Tuesday afternoon.
Choice lines: Officers attempted to decipher what was going on, and were told by the conscious men that they were "scrappin," that it was no big deal, with one letting an officer know it was "family stuff." He went on to explain that while they are not blood relatives, they consider themselves "family" and that they "road [sic] the train" to be family.
10. Patron of the Arts
A "cantankerous homeless man"/"unwanted art critic" harasses attendees of the Art Fair on the Square.
Choice line: Thousands of aficionados, and novices, were busy browsing - some purchasing - when trouble started brewing behind the tent of a participating artist.
Bonus plotline: A 26-year old woman claims she was found passed out on a bench because she was sleepy from swimming. The drug paraphernalia in her purse, along with her dilated pupils suggest otherwise.
Know of any DeSpain gems we've overlooked? Have you ever committed a crime resulting in a wonderfully florid police report? Shame on you and post 'em in the comments!