Episode 11- How Chris Became the Most Wanted and Least Wanted Man - Use All The Crayons Podcast

Episode 11 January 10, 2024 00:14:32
Episode 11-  How Chris Became the Most Wanted and Least Wanted Man - Use All The Crayons Podcast
Use All The Crayons with Chris Rodell
Episode 11- How Chris Became the Most Wanted and Least Wanted Man - Use All The Crayons Podcast

Jan 10 2024 | 00:14:32

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Hosted By

Chris Rodell

Show Notes

A bizarre burglary, almost dying on a frozen lake, and a surprising encounter with a Pennsylvania State Trooper. The theme for today's stories is law and order, and later, Chris reminisces about his time as a reporter for the National Enquirer, offering an amusing and insightful look into his past exploits. With humorous anecdotes and intriguing insights, this episode is sure to entertain and enlighten you. Stay tuned for captivating storytelling and colorful adventures on Use All The Crayons with Chris Rodell.

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Episode Transcript

Chris Rodell: Today, I'll be explaining what the Pennsylvania state trooper was doing in my driveway last week with his lights on, alerting the neighbors that criminal activity was going on right under their noses. That means today's theme is law and order. Hi. I'm Chris Rodell. I've written stories and features for just about Every major magazine or publication in America. This is the The Use All the Crayons podcast, where I'll share those colorful stories with you. I saw 1 head peeking out the window, and it was just a quick peek. Like, if it lingered for too long, it might have drawn gunfire. Chris Rodell: A Pennsylvania state had pulled over a dilapidated vehicle with a shifty looking motorist, and it was all going down in our driveway. That was convenient for me because it was my car, and I was the suspect. Home sweet home. Frankly, I was delighted. He left the light extravaganza flashing, thus ensuring my family was crowded around the window to see if daddy was going to get taken into custody right out there where all the nebbie neighbors could gawk. I wonder what was going through their minds. What was my crime? Porn kingpin? Narcotics? Smart money was on me finally getting up the nerve to knock off a bank. In fact, he'd pulled me over for driving with expired tags. Chris Rodell: He's back and the cruiser doing whatever they do for those next 5 or so minutes. I was hoping he was discovering my new Use All The Crowns podcast. Finally, he returned and asked why I was ignoring so many regulations. I'm in a tough time right now, I said, and I need to prioritize. I don't need the car for much, so I just let it go. What he said next surprised me. He offered to help. Is there anything I can do for you? I was truly touched by his unexpected gesture. Chris Rodell: I thanked him and told him I anticipated better days were ahead. I told him I'd been waiting for a gusher of good news ever since I chucked it all to become a writer in 1992. He informed me that 1992 was the year he was born. Then it became like we were auditioning for one of those nineties buddy buddy cop comedies, like Midnight Run, one of my favorites starring Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin. We had a couple more minutes of friendly chat, and he said, I'm going to write you up for these violations, and here's what I want you to do. Get them all taken care of and then plead not guilty. He said that there'd be a hearing and he'd recheck the car, and if all was in order, he'd withdraw the $292 in pints. He wished me good luck and again asked if there was anything else he could do. Chris Rodell: It seemed like a real long shot, but I thought what the hell. Asked if he'd come into the house and tell my family he was gonna take me to jail. Now I don't know whether it was a slow day or he just needed to indulge a puckish sense of humor, But right away, he said, I'll shake them down for bail money. His face glared with disdain. It was a look that mirrored the faces of my loved ones. Whatever was going to happen, I was to blame for interrupting their Saturday morning programs. I realized there was a scene rich in irony. I was simultaneously appearing to be the most and least wanted man in Latrobe right there in my own home. Chris Rodell: The trooper growled, we've got some real problems here, ladies, and unless you 3 can come up with $10,000 bail in 2 minutes. You're not gonna be seeing daddy for about 6 months. Had The scenario been factual, I'm convinced they would have said see you to me and not even discuss the matter until the credits rolled. But the trooper and I cracked. We both enjoyed our little prank. My family, by Some means of anti daddy osmosis unanimously decided, no, inviting an armed stranger, an authority figure into our living room with threats to tear our family asunder was not funny. Well, they're wrong. It was very funny. Chris Rodell: What can I say? They don't much like Midnight Run either. Amazing. They're the ones that don't like Midnight Run, and I am the one they're going to arrest. Chief Richard Bosco: I am chief Richard Bosco of the City of Latrobe Police Department. Today, I'd like to tell you a story about an unscrupulous masseuse. He worked in the city, but we had to arrest him for armed robbery. Chris Rodell: Let me ask you some questions now. Chief Richard Bosco: Sure Chris Rodell: Are there any advantages to being the chief of police in mister Rogers' neighborhood? Chief Richard Bosco: There is a very succinct advantage to being the chief of police in mister Rogers' neighborhood. There is, an understanding of kindness that comes with being a part of the neighborhood. Chris Rodell: A Pittsburgh burglary suspect's daring escaped attempt had me recollecting all the questionable adventures I've had on frozen bodies of water. Running from the police isn't among them. William McManus, 25, is alleged to have ripped off armfuls of scratch off lottery tickets from a downtown convenience store. I say alleged because I remember being instructed in journalism school. It's the until proven guilty fair designation and because I don't want to disqualify myself from potential jury duty. Case details sound fascinating, and I'm in one of those periodic slumps where the $12 a day jury duty compensation would seem like a gaudy windfall. McManus has a history of petty thievery. Confronted by police with a coat full of stolen lottery tickets, he certainly considered the consequences if caught and convicted. It's a choice all criminals face when nearing apprehension. Surrender, fight, or flight? The moment was immortalized in the 1971 Dirty Harry movie when detective Harry Callahan asked the suspect about his intentions as he lay bleeding on the sidewalk. Chris Rodell: I know what you're thinking, Callahan says. Did he fire 6 shots or only 5? Well, to tell you the truth and all this excitement, I kinda lost track myself. But being this is a 44 magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would probably blow your head clean off. You've got to ask yourself 1 question. Do I feel lucky? Well, do you, punk? This, I think, should be a part of every suspect's Miranda rights. I'd like to think I had the question posed that way to McManus. He'd have had the pluck to respond, I've got about a 100 lottery tickets in my coat. Of course, I'd feel lucky. Chris Rodell: Either way, McManus took off, but he didn't run to a getaway car or down some dark alley. He ran straight to the Allegheny River. Oh, the exhilaration he must have felt because The Allegheny River was frozen solid. I wonder if he felt like princess Elsa does in frozen when she builds the magical ice bridge across the chasm. He must have been congratulating himself on his genius. His midnight escape was not without risks. I know this because I once fell through a pond that looked frozen. I was playing golf. Chris Rodell: It was a warm early spring day. The fairways were clear, but the ponds were frozen or so it seemed. Knowing this, I cunningly tried to gain an advantage by skipping my ball off the ice on a dogleg par five. The ball came to rest in the middle of the pond. As the match was tight, I didn't want to lose a stroke, so I gingerly crept out on the ice and took a mighty whack. I made good contact, but the commotion caused my back leg to break through the ice up to my knee. I was very lucky. Had both legs broken through, I might have been soaked clear up to my waist and forced to miss post round drinks. Chris Rodell: I learned that day it's a very shallow pond. I was so much younger The, more reckless. Just a stupid kid, really. I was 57. Probably the closest I ever came to truly dying was in 2000. I was doing a story about the ice fishing on Milox, Minnesota. It's a 207 square mile lake that every year freezes solid enough to sustain a population of ice fishermen big enough to qualify as the state's 3rd largest city. There are roads, regulars, trash pickup, pizza delivery, you name it, all of it on a 3 foot bed of ice. Chris Rodell: The problem is vast parts of it are unsafe. The first thing I did was unwittingly drive my rent a car on one of those unsafe parts and begin doing doughnuts. I was having a great time until I spied a concerned citizen dashing out on the The, waving his arms. He said 2 or 3 fools die every year doing exactly what I was doing. Those are my 2 best on ice adventures. I'm sure the fleeing McManus thought he was going to have a dandy story. Maybe he thought once he'd made it safely across the river, he was home free. Wrong. Chris Rodell: Because the Allegheny River is not an international border. And in another miscalculation, he forgot there are Pittsburgh police on both sides of every Pittsburgh River. In fact, if I'm reading The story right, the officers who tried to arrest him on the river's downtown side simply got in their cruiser, drove across The of the many bridges, and we're waiting it for him as he can scampered up the riverbank. Still, I don't believe the escape was in vain. A crafty attorney can certainly get the resisting arrest charge dismissed. After all, McManus and Away obeyed when the officers yelled, freeze. We'd been freezing in Pittsburgh all month. Anytime police say they're combing a crime scene for evidence, reporters should be required to describe the situation as hairy. Chris Rodell: What do people say when they introduce yourself as the chief of police of Latrobe? Chief Richard Bosco: I often when I'm traveling, and I travel extensively, I often introduce myself to people as the chief of police of mister Rogers' neighborhood. And I asked them well, I always predicate the question with, do you know who mister Rogers is? Yeah. And everybody Did The worldwide majority of people know who mister Rogers is? And I said, well, you have the absolute privilege of meeting the chief of police of mister Rogers' neighborhood. Chris Rodell: I'm always appreciative when human curiosity overcomes professional reserve when I hand someone an offbeat story clip. That's what happened with Michael the other day at the FedEx store, I went to get an 18 year old National Enquire stories laminated. I hadn't seen it for 5 years, hadn't read it for 10, and now I wanted it preserved forever. Why it didn't run was never fully explained. I think I remember my editor saying the publisher rejected it at the last minute saying it was too over the top, which struck me like an editor at Alban Appetit rejecting a story on the ground that appeared too tasteful. I know I got paid $1,000 for it, and they'd send me a fax of the story with a run date stamped on the bottom. That's what I handed Michael, just one of those old, flimsy, black and white fax pages upon which so much commerce used to be conducted. Is that you? He asked. Chris Rodell [00:08:41]: It is. He stopped. Wow. When did you do all this? I told him it was back in 1996, My heyday for doing was swashbuckling national enquirer stories. I did more than 1,000 stories for them from 92 to 2000. It's not something many journalists would brag about. I brag about it all the time. It was great fun and paid well. Chris Rodell [00:09:00]: The enquirer in the nineties was what TMZ used to be. They had the scandal feed all to themselves and broke the news that set the beat that had the whole country dancing. It was OJ Simpson and Judge Ito, Woody and Soon Yi, Joey Buttafuoco and Amy Fisher, Nancy Kerrigan and Tanya Harding, Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton, Bert and Lonnie, and on and on and on. The merry carousel never slowed. I didn't do much celebrity stuff, but was relied upon to do offbeat features. I did as many as 4 a week, and I really gave it hell. My antenna was always up for lively peaches that would make The demanding cut. That's how I ended up spending 72 hours handcuffed to a bow. Chris Rodell [00:09:37]: I remember reading a story about a Georgia girl It was so chronically truant, the fed up judge ordered her lash to her negligent mother. It was a bit of old testament justice that drew national interest. Got even bigger when the mother went out of her mind. She had a nervous breakdown. She worried that being that close to someone so wild drove her crazy. I tried to divine a way that would make the story relatable to inquire readers, and when I thought of 1, I pitched it to my editor. It went something like this. Inquire reporter spends 3 days as a prisoner of love handcuffed to his bride to be. Chris Rodell [00:10:09]: We'd have 15 minute privacy bathroom breaks, but the rest of the time, we'd be chained together. It was 6 months prior to our September wedding date. It got an instant green light. They were on fire for The story. We'd need to engage in all the scenarios typical couples do together and apart. The story begins, I've been a prisoner of love ever since I met my fiance, But this time, I really was in chains. Before we gave each other our hand in marriage, we decided to find out how well we truly bonded. If Valerie and I could stand being handcuffed to each other for 3 days straight, we figured we could overcome anything marriage had to dish out. Chris Rodell [00:10:43]: Reading it today feels like watching a soap opera in which She and I are the stars. The 3 day ordeal began Friday evening, which I like to spend in my favorite watering hole playing darts and smoking cigars with my pals. It was obvious from the start that Valerie was not gonna enjoy this night. Do you have to smoke those stinky cigars? She whined. This is boring. Is this what you guys call having fun? Don't you ever talk about anything but sports? We went to her aerobics class the next morning. There's a picture of me looking bored being handcuffed to her, my arms rising in syncopation with the dance music. Then she took me to her beauty salon, which became the dominant picture. Chris Rodell [00:09:36]: It's a shot of her sitting under a big hairdryer and me chained next to her reading a national magazine. Care to guess which one? As we were on the acquire expense account for the entire time, I took her to dinner at the Lamont on Mount Washington, Pittsburgh's finest restaurant. Oh, what a delightful stir we caused. A bright young couple handcuffed to one another, but the staff never missed a beat. When I nearly severed my jugular with a steak knife, The waiter stepped in and cut my food into little kitty bites like mommy used to. The drama crescendos toward the end where my fair damsel cracks up from the stress of our endless togetherness. I'm sick of this, she shouted. I don't want this stupid experiment to ruin our love. Chris Rodell [00:11:55]: Take these infernal cuffs off. I told her, sure, baby, we're sick of each other, but we'll face much worse in our marriage. We've got to stick it out. I tugged on the cuffs, yanked her close to me, and kissed her. Our love is stronger than these steel handcuffs. I said, we can make it. This crisis is nearly over. Someday, our daughters will find this and absolutely howl at the discovery. Chris Rodell [00:12:16]: Michael read the whole thing and just roared with laughter. He asked if he could make a copy for himself before he laminated the facts. Be my guest. He made 2. And what a lucky thing he did too because what neither of us knew at the time was that putting the fax paper into a hot laminating device will incinerate the fragile paper. It came out looking like a marshmallow that was left to toast too long in the campfire. It was a story I'd forgotten about for years, and now it seems unbelievably precious to me. It's just so sweet and funny. Chris Rodell [00:12:15]: Sweet, funny, and prophetic because that's exactly what happened. What to do in the Laurel Highlands this weekend? Visit Ligonier and shop for books at Second Chapter Books 139 East Main Stories, then take the books to the Nemecolin Resort for an unforgettable splurge. Thanks to our friends at Headspace Media All Latrobe for technical expertise, Cheerful encouragement and for always letting a lone ranger feel like he's part of the team. Thanks to Robindale Energy for their gracious and essential support. If you enjoy the podcast, we urge you to share, rate, and review. Be sure to tell all your friends and urge them to tell all their friends. The world really, really needs us right now, and that means we really, really need you.

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