Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!

Bluff The Listener

Our panelists tell us three stories of dumb cops, only one of which is true.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

CARL KASELL: From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. We're playing this week with Roxanne Roberts, Tom Bodett and Paula Poundstone. And here again is your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

Thank you, Carl.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Thank you everybody, great to see you again. Right now, it is time for the WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME! Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-Wait-Wait to play our game on the air. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!

DAVID RANSCHAERT: Hi.

SAGAL: Hi, who's this?

RANSCHAERT: This is David.

SAGAL: Hi, David, how are you?

RANSCHAERT: Fantastic.

SAGAL: That's great, me too.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: What's up, man? What are you doing?

RANSCHAERT: Right now I'm standing in my sister's bathroom, so...

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Why are you standing in your sister's bathroom?

RANSCHAERT: Well, she has dogs and they're loud. And, you know, so I just don't want to disturb the show, that's all.

PAULA POUNDSTONE: You're supposed to call 911, David, not...

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Are you the kind of person who when you're in another person's bathroom, you start opening up the drawers and seeing what they got? Do you do that?

RANSCHAERT: Occasionally, but there's no real drawers, it's just like a little cabinet.

SAGAL: Really?

RANSCHAERT: Yeah.

SAGAL: Do you want to open up the cabinet and see if there's anything really embarrassing and let us all know?

RANSCHAERT: I mean there's girl stuff, but...

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Oh, no, no, no, I don't mean about that. No, no, no, no. Never mind. We'll just move on. Well, welcome to the show, David.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Carl, what is David's topic?

KASELL: You have the right to remain something, something.

SAGAL: Dumb criminal stories are a staple of this show. But rarely do we address the other side, dumb cops. So this week, our panelists are going to read you three stories of stupid police mishaps that'll leaving you feel much less safe. Guess the true story, you'll win Carl's voice on your home answering machine or voicemail. Are you ready to play?

RANSCHAERT: I've been waiting all week.

SAGAL: All right.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: First, let's hear from Paula Poundstone.

POUNDSTONE: Police stations are not what television cop shows might leave one to believe. Never is a case wrapped up in 44 minutes. And the old good cop/bad cop technique is harder to pull off in real life. It was only when Mr. Kihos complaint against the police department made it before a judge that Officers Spiller and Aleski realized that they had neglected to assign roles prior to questioning Mr. Kiho and had inadvertently conducted a good cop/good cop scenario.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: Douglas Kiho was detained by police in Chicopee, Massachusetts for several hours of questioning on suspicion of burglary and released without charge. Mr. Kiho, who denies anything to do with the burglary alleges that once escorted to the police interrogation room Officer Tad Spiller poured him some coffee and brought him two Kit Kat bars and a Butterfinger from the vending machine.

After 30 minutes of questioning, Officer Spiller left the room. Minutes later, Officer Andy Aleski entered, carrying a quart contained of Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia and a spoon.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: Mr. Kiho consumed the ice cream and answered a few more questions. Officer Aleski left and again Officer Spiller soon entered, offering Mr. Kiho a vintage 40s bomber jacket and a gift certificate for a 10-minute airport chair massage.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: When Officer Aleski returned and Mr. Kiho asked to call his lawyer, Officer Aleski sent a limo to pick up his lawyer and requested the driver to supply a nice bottle of champagne.

"I was there for hours. I never really knew why. I thought maybe one of them was going to propose," says Mr. Kiho.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Good cop/good cop.

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SAGAL: Your next story of cops of the Keystone variety comes from Roxanne Roberts.

ROXANNE ROBERTS: Harrisburg Police Officer Steve Franklin couldn't believe his ears. The four women in the next booth at Denny's, who he described as burglars dressed as nuns, were planning an early morning heist just about to happen. They'd obviously cased the joint. One would grab the good jewelry, another the silver, the third, what they guessed was a valuable painting, and the fourth was a lookout.

The ringleader barked, "I want to be in and out in five minutes. We've got two more houses to hit." Franklin tailed their van, called for backup, and then, lights flashing and guns drawn, arrested the robbers as they walked out with the goods.

Except, as WGHB-TV reported, the robbery was really an estate sale, and the women were actually Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

ROBERTS: Buying merchandise for their church resale shop.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

ROBERTS: The nuns, of course, made the weekend news. Denny's donated a year's worth of breakfasts to the order and Officer Franklin is now on desk duty and volunteering once a week at the thrift shop.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: A gang of burglars dressed as nuns turned out to be nuns. Your last story comes from Tom Bodett.

TOM BODETT: The private longings of an anonymous British probation officer can only be imagined. So let's try.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BODETT: For one thing, being anonymous, why couldn't he have a name like Terry or Brad? Our anonymous probation officer thought his dream had come true when he was assigned to after-hours plain clothes duty in a crime-ridden business district of Sussex, an area under intensive video surveillance by a local police directorate.

Anonymous' radio crackled. There was a suspicious character acting suspiciously in an unnamed alley. Why, I'm in an unnamed alley, replied Anonymous. Which way did he go? The director told him, Anonymous followed. Nothing.

There he is again, called the director. "I'm hot on his heels," said our man. He kept running, feet clapping, heart pounding, live on TV with the director directing. "I can't believe this is happening to me," he thought presciently because it wasn't.

When his boss walked into the directorate, he recognized the shadowy character on the video screens as none other than Anonymous, who had been chasing himself down the unnamed alleys of Sussex.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BODETT: Oh, everyone had a good laugh, except our anonymous probation officer. What becomes of him, perhaps living in a quiet country cottage, under an assumed name like Terry or Brad?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: All right. Here are your three stories. From Paula Poundstone: two cops in Massachusetts who forgot that one of them needed to play the bad cop. From Roxanne Roberts: a cop who mistook a group of nuns for burglars pretending to be nuns. And from Tom Bodett: a cop who spent a good 20 minutes in England chasing himself.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Which of these is the real story of inefficient police work?

RANSCHAERT: I'm going to go with Roxanne's.

SAGAL: You're going to go with Roxanne's story of the cop who was convinced that those nuns were really burglars dressed as nuns?

RANSCHAERT: Yeah, I've met a couple of cops, so...

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: You wouldn't put it by them.

RANSCHAERT: Yeah.

SAGAL: Well, we spoke to somebody who was on top of this particular story.

SYREETA LUND: A police sergeant came into the control room and just burst out into fits of laughter when he realized that the suspect and the officer were actually the same person, who'd been searching himself around for 20 minutes.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: That was Syreeta Lund. She's the editor of Police Magazine in the U.K., and they were tipped off to the story by the Sussex Police. That is, of course, the story of the policeman who was chasing himself on closed circuit TV.

I'm so sorry. Obviously, Roxanne has fooled you, as she has fooled so many.

RANSCHAERT: Yeah.

SAGAL: However, so you didn't win, but you did earn a point for Roxanne, which I know she'll be thrilled. And thank you so much for playing.

RANSCHAERT: Thank you.

SAGAL: Thanks for calling, bye-bye.

ROBERTS: Bye-bye.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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