Is there something about the holidays that brings out the crazy in the criminal element? In the last few days we’ve seen an onslaught of ridiculous and downright weird news. A pair of thieves tried to lasso an ATM machine and drive off with it—when that didn’t work they opted to run it down with their truck. Another man known simply as the “Geezer Bandit” has robbed 16 banks wearing an “elder” mask that makes him appear to look like a man in his 80s. Authorities caught on when a security camera captured him sprinting away. In a local shopping mall, police were called when unruly shoppers started to fight over the new Air-Jordan XI Retro Concord. The shoes are a collector’s item and highly prized. Authorities shut down the store and instructed shoppers to leave, an order they ignored. It’s unclear whether arrests were made. On a positive note, the FAA has given Santa’s sleigh the “all clear” sign for takeoff.
At a time when people have less, they seem to be giving more. We’ve seen reports of “layaway angels” popping up and paying off layaway accounts at Kmart and Walmart stores across the country; a woman in Winston-Salem dropped her emerald and diamond bracelet in a Salvation Army kettle and, for the fourth year in a row, a couple gave out $12,000 in $100 dollar bills to total strangers in Lincoln Park and Detroit. David Wilson, the owner of several car dealerships in Orange County, was so inspired by the “layaway angels” that he wrote a $15,919.61 check to pay off the layaway accounts of lucky customers at a Kmart store in Costa Mesa.
Happy holidays! Whether you’re choosing to spend this time with friends, by yourself, or with family, the winter holidays bring out the best and worst in us. We give and receive, compliment and complain, and carry with us the same expectations and concerns as always. If you’re worried about exploding at the dining room table, missing whomever it is you had a falling out with last year, or feeling trepidatious about reaching out and reconnecting, we’ve got the perfect guest for you: Slate’s “Dear Prudence” columnist Emily Yoffe is here to listen to your woes and to tell you to stop being such a scrooge.
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