Last weekend, a criminal in Rotterdam was leaving a flat with hundreds of thousands of euro in a bag and mistook a plain clothes policeman in a car for his partner in crime. Oops.
When he realised he had messed up, he ran, tossing the bag full of cash and throwing the key to the flat in a ditch. Both were retrieved by the cops, one easily and one with a bit of fishing.
The cops checked out the flat in question, which was like hitting the jackpot. It had even more money in it, hard drugs, guns, a sealer for drugs and all kinds of gear to build an illegal cannabis plantation. There was also a big safe that was hoisted out of the flat with a crane – who knows what kind of goodies were in there, I’m guessing falsified documents.
The plain clothes cop was staking out the area, having seen the driver waiting on his friend drive quite poorly on the way there. Then, the driver got out of his car to make way for the stash in the boot and that’s when the ‘bagman’ knocked on the wrong car window.
This reads like the third act of a stupid television show.
In the village of Sint Willebrord, North Brabant, people were illegally producing XTC in a large lab in some warehouse, making barrels of cash while keeping their activities on the down low.
Then, one day the cops came knocking on the lab door because they heard a goose honking like the end of the world was coming, on the train tracks near their secret lab.
The goose was a regular at the neighbour’s property, but possibly didn’t like the weird noises it heard and when it heard them, started honking like crazy, waking up the neighbour in the middle of the night. The neighbour then woke up to see a suspicious van making several runs in the night, put two and two together and figured out drugs were being produced.
The neighbour then told the police what she saw, and that’s when the cops went to check it all out.
The cops arrested the 70-year-old owner who claimed to know nothing, saying he rented the warehouse to some guys who paid him cash up front and refused to let him see what they were doing. The owner’s lawyer attacked the woman’s claim, saying ‘she honks as loud as the goose does’, but stick and stones, the man is looking at three years in prison.
The cops had a good day, seizing 1.2 million euro worth of raw materials for producing XTC pills. They said the whole place smelled of anise, a characteristic smell of synthetic drugs. The theory is that the goose wasn’t honking over noise, but about the smell of anise, which attracted it, if we believe the Internet. And since the drugs were made at night, the smell was then at its strongest.
The moral of this story is that the cops were not sent on a wild goose chase.
Earlier this week the police in Haarlem caught two robbers by following their footprints in the snow, a bit like an old fashion television cartoon. A woman called about her shop being broken into in the middle of the night and when the police got there, they saw fresh footprints in the snow. They followed the footprints and found some of the loot the robbers made off with. They walked all the way to the suspects’ house, arrested the men and confiscated their shoes.
The men will now probably hate snow more than most people.
Back in 2012 artist Peter de Koning of Steenbergen, Noord Brabant made a statue to protest the way a police officer had treated his daughter: a big wooden penis. The artwork also had the name of the offending officer on it, considered at the time to be ‘insulting an officer’ and was confiscated.
‘Dick artist’ De Koning has now been accused of libel for reposting a picture of a police offer taking an outdoor wee on a public road, which is illegal. De Koning claimed this was the police officer that had given his daughter a hard time, but apparently it’s not. De Koning’s lawyer is having a field day with this law suit, saying it’s ridiculous, as the photo was taken by somebody else and reposted by many other people. The court case is due on 29 April, so we’ll keep you posted.
De Koning is already thinking up a new protest artwork, one that expresses how he feels, but that won’t be confiscated.
“The police in this country are underpaid and often have a serious attitude problem,” I heard recently. After having to call 112 (the Dutch 911) for the firefighters to deal with a short circuit in my house a while back, the cops reluctantly wrote up a report, treating me like a puppy that had wet the carpet.
The police do have an image problem, at least at 24oranges. They’ve arrested people based on their skin colour, they tried to fine a woman while she was having a miscarriage and fight the reopening of a cafe because it played gangsta rap.
A Dutch reality show that arrests people causing problems on the road stopped a motorcyclist for driving too fast, tailgating and weaving who turned to be cop in civilian clothing. He made excuses about being busy and “we are all just people.” It cost him 220 euro, giving the police some excellent national publicity.
I have developed a particular fondness for motorcycle cops. A few years ago, a friend told me he’d lost a female friend of his, a wife and mother, to an off duty motorcycle cop who drove through a red light in Amsterdam and ran her over while she was crossing the street. He got off with some community service or something like that.