Law and Order: Culinary Crimes Unit

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In the criminal justice system, there are special cases where those who live outside the law meet their downfall through their relationship to food. These are their stories. (And here's the requisite sound effect you can play as you read each entry.)

Staten Island, New York. June 2008. Taking all the dough.

Salvatore LaRosa followed the owners of Brother's Pizzeria home and, brandishing a gun, demanded the bag they had in hand. But what the hoodlum thought was the restaurant's earnings for the day turned out to be dough in the literal sense. After shooting one of the shopkeepers twice in the leg, LaRosa fled the scene; he later surrendered to the authorities.

Memphis, Tennessee. April 2010. Hot (sauce) on the trail.

William Horton broke into a Memphis home, where he proceeded to steal approximately $650 in valuables and shatter several bottles of hot sauce against the wall. The homeowner arrived in time to realize there had been a break-in and see the burglar stumbling across the front lawn. Police were called to the scene and connected Horton to the crime scene by virtue of his sauce-stained clothing.

Boise, Idaho. June 2010. Hold the mayo.

Starting in 2009, the Ada County Library librarians started finding books left in the deposit box smothered in condiments such as corn syrup and ketchup. It wasn't until June 2010 that police snared the culprit: 75-year-old Joy Cassidy, who was apprehended shortly after she dropped off a jar of mayonnaise. In all, she caused more than $1,000 in damages. Cassidy later plead guilty to malicious injury to property.

Arlington, Tennessee. July 2010. Driving under the influence of... condiments?

Police found Kelly Moss slumped over the wheel of her car, which she drove up onto the curb. Upon investigation, instead of detecting the usual smell of distilled spirits, officers picked up on the distinct odor of vanilla extract. And lo, they went on to discover an empty bottle of Diet Coke and a receipt for said soft drink and two 8-ounce bottles of extract. At 35 percent alcohol, vanilla extract can be pretty potent stuff. Unable to stand and refusing to submit to sobriety tests, Ms. Moss was arrested for her third DUI. And for the record, although the Coca Cola Company did discontinue its line of vanilla Coke products in 2005, those drinks were reintroduced to the North American market in 2007.

Spartanburg, South Carolina. July 2010. Where's the beef?

Lori Shannon Turner walked into a McDonalds and ordered two burgers and two small coffees. After the cashier handed off the bag with the sandwiches, Turner deposited one of them down her pants and began to complain that she was shortchanged on food, demanding she be given another. The cashier refused, at which point Turner got belligerent, necessitating a 911 call. When authorities arrived on the scene, Turner was sporting a telltale grease stain. She was ultimately arrested on charges of public disorderly conduct.

Lauderdale Lakes, Florida. March 2011. Food fight.

Tara Lyons stopped by Burger King for a breakfast sandwich, but on receiving her order, she was convinced that someone spit in her food. Although the manager offers to refund Lyons' $1.06, Lyons went on a rampage, chucking the sandwich at the manager, throwing condiments and upending a pot of hot coffee before walking out of the restaurant to the nearby community college campus where she was enrolled. Police were quick to catch up with her and arrested her on charges of burglary and aggravated assault.

Rome, Italy. March 2011. Lasagna and other drugs.

Sentenced to three years and eight months in prison for cocaine trafficking, Giancarlo Sabatini went on the lam back in 2000. However, he decided to come out of hiding to celebrate the last day of Carnival with his family—and the festivities included some of his wife's lasagna. Working on a tip, police captured Sabatini at his home.

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