Friday, April 2, 2010

The Headline Was "Fat Man Steals Food"

You may have seen the headlines yesterday about a 600 pound Florida man who pled 'no contest' in criminal court earlier this week to charges that he was stealing food from restaurants and convenience stores.  At least, that was the "man bites dog" headline which made it national news. But like the best of these sorts of stories, the underlying details are what really make it fascinating, much more so than the screaming, smirking headline.

The Florida man was George Joliceur, who at 5 foot 11' inches tall and 38 years old does indeed weigh 600 lbs apparently.  What he was actually charged with was conning restaurants and convenience stores out of cash refunds or replacement food by claiming that whatever comestibles they initially sold him were, "spoiled, adulterated or inedible."  That's pretty straightforward and, in and of itself, probably a less interesting crime than the headlines implied.  But the devil's in the details, as they say.

First of all, in addition to pleading 'no contest' to five counts of petty theft earlier this week, Joliceur apparently has a long criminal record of doing the same thing over-and-over, dating back to 2007.  That's pretty industrious for a 600 pound man who breathes with the aid of a respirator and who is, allegedly, "bedridden." You can see a photo of him sweating in his mugshot by clicking HERE (and scrolling down just a little).  Now keep that image of his mugshot in mind as I tell you now the details of one of his 2007 thefts.  "Masquerading as a fireman," according to reports (a 600 pound fireman who breathes with a respirator, apparently), Joliceur entered a 7-Eleven and asked for a $50 refund for 10 containers of Breyers ice cream, all 10 of which he claimed were "damaged."  When police later went to his home to take him into custody, the arresting officer reported hearing "what sounded like a male trying to cover his voice as a female" saying that Joliceur was not home.

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