Justice

Weird Things You Didn't Know You Could Be Arrested For

March 27th 2016

By:
Almie Rose

We like to believe that we have some basic idea of what's illegal (like selling meth) and what isn't (like not selling meth). But sometimes, you get blindsided by the law. Here are some cases of people who were arrested for the weirdest and most surprising infractions.

1. Failing to return a video tape

In 2002, for reasons that have never been explained, James Meyers Jr. of North Carolina rented a copy of the Tom Green movie Freddy Got Fingered. He forgot to return the tape to the video store and was reminded of this discretion when he was arrested on March 22, 2016. That's right, Meyers had a 14-year-old warrant for his arrest for failing to return a video tape — and he had no idea.

The film aficionado was pulled over while driving his daughter to school for having a broken brake light. It was then that the police officers realized Meyers had a warrant and had to deliver the news. "The officer said, 'I don’t know how to tell you this but there’s a warrant out for your arrest from 2002. Apparently you rented the movie 'Freddy Got Fingered' and never returned it'," Meyers told WSOCTV.

"They were chitchatting with me and talking about how ridiculous this is. Then they arrested me," Meyers told ABC News. The officers permitted Meyers to finish driving his daughter to school and even go to work before performing the arrest, as long as he promised to turn himself in after, which he did. He was then charged with "failure to return hired property" even though the video store he rented it from is no longer in business, because it's 2016.

No stranger to the absurd, Tom Green himself was nonetheless surprised and baffled by Meyers' story:

He gave Meyers a call ("We both laughed hysterically") and even offered to provide legal fees. "I think it's sort of an example of how bureaucracy can get out of control," Green said during an interview on the Australian TV show The Project.

2. Cursing

We've probably all had that moment where it seemed like life was trying to be as frustrating as possible and the only thing to combat it was to throw up our hands into the heavens and shout our favorite curse word.

But you might want to be careful about that. A mom from South Carolina was arrested in 2014 for swearing at her children in a grocery store. Danielle Wolfe was shopping with her kids in a Kroger supermarket and reportedly yelled at them, "stop squishing the fucking bread," according to Huffington Post. A nearby shopper (identified as "Mrs. Smith" in the police report) asked Wolfe to stop cursing. When Wolfe did not, police arrived to arrest her for "disorderly conduct."

Wolfe didn't think that was fair. "[The police officer] was like, 'You’re under arrest'... right in front of kids, in front of my husband, in front of customers," Wolfe told WJBF-TV, an ABC affiliate. "I didn’t harm nobody. I didn’t hurt nobody. The lady said she was having a bad day. So, because you’re having a bad day you’re going to ruin somebody’s life."

Then you have the story of Wesley Force Jr., who was arrested for "using profanity and abusive language" which is actually illegal in New Bern, North Carolina. Force certainly lived up to his name when he unleashed his frustrations in a flurry of curse words at an Auto Zone manager. Police were called, and asked Force to stop cursing, according to ABC's WCTI channel 12. Force's reply?

"I said, ‘I’ll say whatever the fuck I want.'"

He was promptly arrested.

3. Creative writing

Alex Stone, a high school student in Summerville, South Carolina, showed a lot of imagination in a class writing assignment when he wrote about killing a pet dinosaur. Despite the fact that one cannot have a pet dinosaur, Stone's teacher was upset that he would write about killing one.

The assignment asked students to write about themselves in the format of Facebook status updates, which, let's be honest, is a very bizarre assignment. Stone explains what he wrote to NBC 12: "I killed my neighbor's pet dinosaur, and, then, in the next status I said I bought the gun to take care of the business."

Stone's teacher saw the words "gun" and "take care of business" and alerted the police, who searched his locker for weapons. They found none, but Stone was still arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and suspended from school.

4. Giving a wet willy

A wet willy is the practice of wetting your finger and then sticking that finger into someone's ear. Why you would do that is difficult to understand to begin with, and why you would do that to a random 4-year-old child is especially confusing, but that's exactly what Michael Migani of Shelton, Connecticut, did in 2015.

The child and his mother were in a waiting room of a local business when Migani struck. He then fled before anyone could question him. He was charged with "second-degree reckless endangerment" and "second-degree breach of peace," according to WWLP News.

5. Feeding the homeless

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is very serious about their law prohibiting people from feeding the homeless in public. So serious, they arrested a man who breached it. Even though that man was 90 years old. And even though that man was a priest.

Arnold Abbott made meals for the homeless in the church of his kitchen, took the food to the streets, and was arrested. "One of the police officers came over and said, 'drop that plate right now,' as if I was carrying a weapon," Abbott told WBTW News 13, who doesn't regret his actions despite facing possible jail time and having to pay a $500 fine. "I fully believe that I am my brother’s keeper. Love thy neighbor as thy self."

Mayor Jack Seiler commented, "we enforce the laws here in Ft Lauderdale."