As the City Paper's resident Blotter writer, I sit once a week in the lobby of the Charleston Police Department headquarters on Lockwood Boulevard and sift through the incident reports. It's there that I find those nuggets of crack-swallowing, drunk-walking, bar-brawling gold that make it into your weekly fix of seedy-underbelly anecdotes.
It's also prime people-watching time. Most weeks, it's just folks coming in to file complaints, or past arrestees coming in to pick up their possessions, but every once in a while, you meet a bona fide Blotter celebrity. It happened to me once this year. I was sitting at the desk in the lobby with my head buried in the reports when a burly man walked up and asked, "Hey, are you the guy who does the Blotter?" I told him I was, and he said, "Yeah, I've been in there a few times."
I responded with a few seconds of awkward silence. "It's, uh ... It's good to meet you," I finally eked out.
"Yeah, that's some funny stuff, bo'," he said. "I'm in the reports this week, but it's not real interesting."
Here's to you, Blotter Man. You're probably somewhere in this list of Charleston's finest moments from the year 2012. Keep making us proud.
A woman drove her car on the sidewalk outside a mall and initially spoke to police in what she called an "alien language" when they came to talk with her. She said she had driven on the sidewalk because she "wanted to make beautiful music," then she announced that the devil was alive and she was going to battle him that night.
Police aren't sure what shattered the front driver's-side window on a car that was parked in front of a downtown home, but they do know the neighbor's kids all got BB guns for Christmas.
A woman woke in the middle of the night to find a man spreading dog treats all around her. She yelled, and he bolted.
Someone broke into a home and stole the kitchen stove. The victim says his emotions are pretty raw, but his food is rawer.
While in the back seat of a police cruiser, a man tried to convince his friend to "take the rap for me" on a cocaine charge. The officers in the front seat could hear him.
Actual police encounter with a drunk woman: Age? "I'm 18. No, I'm 22. I'm 21." Age? "I play soccer." Date of birth? "H-I-G."
A bar patron who had peed on the bar and picked a fight with a bouncer pulled out his cell phone when officers arrived and started shooting video. He taunted the cops as they tried to detain him, yelling, "I pay my taxes," "You make less than $50,000," and "You officers don't like Obama." There's that nasty class-warfare rhetoric again.
A fight that started on Facebook escalated into a seven-person melee involving a metal pipe, a sledgehammer, and a whole lot of scratching and hair-pulling.
Overreaction o' the Year: A postal worker was making his rounds when he noticed a mailbox was broken and tried to tell the resident that he should get it fixed. The resident responded by dropping the F-bomb and threatening to pistol whip him.
Police found a red felt bag on the stairs at an apartment complex with the words "Santa's Coal" monogrammed on it. They looked inside and discovered $70 worth of crack cocaine. Someone's been naughty this year.
An impatient driver who was stuck behind a CARTA trolley bus blew his horn and then drove up on the curb, sideswiping the bus. Driving downtown: It's slow, and there are no shortcuts.
Reported missing from the backseat of a vehicle: a .45-caliber hunting rifle, 15 rifle rounds, 40 diazepam pills, and 90 oxycodone pills. Gives new meaning to the phrase "hunting trip."
Somebody stole 15 ladders from the parking lot of an apartment complex and is now presumably building a stairway to heaven.
When a man realized he had been spotted by police drinking a beer on the sidewalk, he chugged the rest of it and threw the can in the grass. He told the officers, "What? It was just a beer. I threw it away out of respect." He was arrested and charged with an open-container violation — and littering.
Within minutes after discovering that someone had put sugar in her car's gas tank, a woman received a phone call from a man who said, "Tell your boyfriend to buy you a new car." Guess that's why they call him a sugar daddy.
A landlord discovered that one of her former tenants had taken the stove with her when she moved out of an apartment. A little overzealous with the packing, this one.
Bummer o' the Year: When an apartment fire forced a family to live in a hotel for a while, they hired a cleaning service to fix the damage. Upon returning home, they learned that the cleaners had left the door unlocked and placed their belongings on the lawn on several occasions, and someone had made off with 80 of their DVDs, a $350 Tiffany lamp, several curtains and rugs, and $900 worth of hair weave.
When police asked a man why he had been standing outside a childcare center for 45 minutes around midnight, he said it was because he was unable to get a good wifi connection.
A man suspects his wife has been stealing his oxycodone pills since she left him. Why isn't there a country song about this yet?
After a cop searched a man's car and found a bag of marijuana under the driver seat cover, the man said, "Oh, that weed! That is last week's weed. I've been looking for that. It got lost."
Police stopped a man who was just about to urinate in public, and the man gave the officer permission to search "everything but my left hand," which was visibly holding a chunk of crack cocaine.
After getting caught shoplifting, a woman ran away and locked herself in a ladies' restroom stall. It was, in retrospect, the worst getaway plan of all time.
An exotic dancer is accused of stealing a customer's credit cards and using them to make early-morning purchases at two fast food joints. Gives a whole new meaning to the term "chicken strip."
A man was arrested after picking a fight with a bouncer and failing to pay for 28 vodka drinks and eight energy drinks at a bar. When he got to the prison and the staff strip-searched him for drugs, a police incident report states that he "began to dance and swing his genitalia wildly" at the guards.
Gutsy Move o' the Year: While being held at gunpoint, a man asked his assailant, "What are you going to prove shooting me?"
When cops asked a man to turn down the music he was blasting in his house, the man replied, "It's my fucking house, and I'll do whatever the fuck I want to do." Wrong answer. The police arrested him for his fifth noise violation charge since 2010.
Police Euphemism o' the Year: An officer "avoided the errant strike, struck the offender twice to keep control of her [taser], and escorted the offender to the ground."
A crook broke into several vending machines and stole $50 worth of quarters. Investigators can't make heads or tails of the case.
When police stopped a man for screaming profanities while riding a bike down the street, he identified himself to officers as "Barack Obama." Nice try, Romney campaign.
A teenager rear-ended someone's car while driving with shoes on his hands.
Police stopped a man who was walking down the street carrying an axe, a hammer, and an open bottle of vodka.
In the most half-baked moneymaking scheme of the year, a man rented a generator and then pawned it.
Bridge Burner o' the Year: A recently fired employee of a food delivery company walked into the office, peed on his uniform, and then punched a co-worker in the face.
A man reached into the back of a pawn shop display case, stole a diamond ring, and left the store. He returned five minutes later and tried to pawn the ring.
In a drug bust at a house, police confiscated a dry erase board with ledger recordings on it. What, drug dealers don't use Excel?
Psychotic Dog Owner o' the Year: A child was nipped by a small dog at a park. A nearby woman grabbed the dog. The owner of the dog then became irate, yelling at the woman, "You fucking stay out of this! I'll fucking kick your ass! I'll fucking kill you!"
Cop Grammar o' the Year: "Do to his uncooperative manner and his deferred hand jesters toward his bag I placed handcuffs on the Offender."
A man walked out to his Jeep and realized that someone had stolen his checkbook, an $80 sweater, and a $250 pair of leather shoes from inside. In exchange, the thief had left four fudge brownies in the front passenger seat. Doesn't seem like a fair trade.
Unenviable Position o' the Year: Barely conscious in one's car in a grocery store parking lot after vomiting out the window and calling a police officer a bitch.
A man driving a truck committed a hit and run ... on a liquor store.
When a man looking for a job entered a fast-food restaurant and found out they weren't hiring, he got mad and punched a hole in the wall. They'll probably call him if a position opens up.
Somebody painted a penis in the parking lot at the Post and Courier office. We swear we know nothing about it.
Blotter o’ the Year
The people’s voice has been heard by way of an online reader’s poll at charlestoncitypaper.com. Here, according to you, is the very best that 2012 had to offer:
A drunk man thought he was inside a strip club, but he was actually stumbling around a parking lot. When cops stopped to question him, he tried to pay them to take off their clothes. They declined.