Wig Thief Escapes by a Hair: later netted
By our woman who knows a split end when she finds one, Jennifer Gardner
|A notorious wig thief whose hair-raising exploits have terrorized downtown Boston, was finally netted today after police spotted the suspect sweeping up hair clippings in a local salon|
The wig thief had previously escaped capture by a hair after several witnesses spotted him cutting loose from a department store with eight ladies' wigs and five gentlemens' toupees. Officers arrested Samuel Kevin Browning on three charges of hair theft, two charges of destroying personal property, and possession of an offensive weapon—an 800 watt portable hair-dryer—with which he had repeatedly threatened to 'toast' his victims. If convicted, Browning could face up to five years in a federal penitentiary and many more years of psychological counselling to cope with his inevitable public ridicule.
“I could just curl up and die with relief," sobbed eighty-two-year-old Claire Thompson when Utterpants interviewed the octogenarian at the home she shares with her collection of pedigree British Short-haired pussies. “My girlfriends and I were so scared we haven't been to a disco in weeks.”
Browning’s reign of terror, dubbed locally as the ‘Hair Scare’ began earlier this month when the thirty-two-year-old former Cub Scout and avid Chia Pet collector, began robbing unsuspecting older women of their wigs in restaurants and ballrooms throughout the city.
“I was having a romantic dinner with my pool boy, Jose,” recalled sixty-three-year-old mother of eight, Deborah Shearing, “when I excused myself to go and powder my nose. I had barely rolled up a hundred dollar bill and gotten out my mirror, when a masked man leaned over the door and swiped at my head. I managed to jump out of his reach but my wig fell into the toilet.” At this point Mrs Shearing lit up a strange-smelling cigarette and was clearly too distressed to tell us what happened next.
Officer Sean O'Hare took up the story of the suspect‘s escape. “This guy was clearly a cut above your average thief. The soiled wig didn’t deter him one bit from reaching into the toilet to retrieve the stolen goods. Then he fled the scene, splashing a trail of water down the hall and into the parking lot. After several minutes of lapping up evidence from the toilet, our canine unit tracked the suspect out of the restroom and past several fire hydrants. But the trail eventually dried up, leading us to a dead end.”
“Wouldn’t that be more of a split end, Officer?” we interjected.
“Yeah, the strands of this case were a real head scratcher for a while. I had men sweeping the streets for weeks until we finally caught Browning with a hair of the dog that bit him. He just couldn’t keep away from the city’s hot spots. We had round the clock surveillance on every wig in the city and we finally combed the rat out in a cheap clip joint on 42nd Street. That‘s the last time he‘ll be tangling with Boston police.”
In all, the Wig Thief victimized six people, only four of whom have recovered their hair unharmed. One of those hairpieces, strategically placed on a snowman outside Macy‘s department store, belonged to feisty octogenarian Velma Collins, who told Utterpants: “They should lock the bastard up and throw away the key.” She went on to brush aside our pleas for clemency with several expressive hand gestures we are unable to describe.
Three more wigs were found in Browning’s home, two lining the harebrained wig thief’s kitty litter boxes and the other cleverly used as a bag for his bowling ball. “I’m so happy to have my hair back,” said sixty-eight-year-old Sophie Harper while dusting Tidy Cat out of her wig, “I hope they put that animal behind bars where he belongs.”
Evidence shows that Browning also used individual pieces of hair from the wigs as dental floss and authorities even found what they believe are Martha Hooper’s long silver hairs strung through Browning’s fishing pole. Asked to explain his hair-raising behaviour, the bald as a cue ball unemployed taxidermist told police: “I wanted to be a barber but my parents insisted I attend law school instead. Hair has so many under appreciated practical uses but unfortunately I can‘t grow any of my own. Once I learned that hair could be had for free by sweeping up in hair salons and barbershops, I realised that stealing wigs was a pretty hair-brained idea. But the damage had already been done.”
Browning told Utterpants he will be defending himself at his forthcoming trial by pleading temporary insanity. “Sanity.. it comes and goes,” he quipped with a smile. “Hair today, gone tomorrow.”
Story © 2005 Jennifer Gardner. Picture and construction © 2005 utterpants.co.uk/ 250305