We see a lot of messages urging us to be mindful of identity theft and online crime and hacking and phishing and other things that sound vaguely like tropical diseases or maybe popular new bands. But I seriously think some people need more encouragement simply not to be boneheads.
I just read a story from my hometown, Oklahoma City, that illustrates my point. A 28-year-old man was recently arrested there on one felony count of sexual battery and seven misdemeanor counts of outraging public decency. But that’s not the boneheaded part.
Mark Anthony Richardson was busted after he allegedly conned a woman and her teen-aged daughter into repeatedly “baby sitting” him. He even got them to change his dirty nappies. That’s pretty gross, but it still falls short of boneheaded.
Richardson did this not once, not twice, but eight times. Yes – eight times he was able to convince two grown women that he was autistic and needed to be treated like an infant.
The mom said that her first encounter with the guy came in April. Her 18-year-old daughter had placed an ad on craigslist offering baby-sitting services. A man going by the name of “David” answered the ad and told the woman that he was seeking a sitter for his autistic 19-year-old son “Alex” who wore diapers, drank formula and used a pacifier.
Most people would have hung up on the guy right there – but most people aren’t boneheads.
The woman told investigators that Alex first showed up on her doorstep at 2 a.m. one morning. He arrived by cab, and stood on the porch repeating the number “4121” over and over. He was wearing a soiled diaper and very old clothes, and was carrying a backpack containing diapers, ointment, a bottle and a pacifier. He also had $40 and a typed note from “David” indicating that he needed to be fed.
During this first encounter of the creepy kind, the woman said she changed his diaper and got him clean clothes. She said she also read him a bedtime story because he kicked and screamed when she tried to tuck him in.
This is why I think we need an anti-bonehead campaign. Who would fall for this kind of scam? I mean, how many things are wrong with this picture? Let’s review. To begin with, the mom lets her 18-year-old daughter accept a baby-sitting gig – and for a special-needs kid, at that – without ever meeting the kid’s parents? And the kid shows up at 2 a.m.? In a taxi? Alone? Still no red flags? Plus, he’s wearing a dirty diaper and carrying all his kit in a backpack? Still … nothing?
OK, I can see falling for this scam once (actually, I can’t but it’s Christmas and I’m trying hard to be charitable), but these folks bit repeatedly. The “baby” comes back a total of eight times over the course of several months. On one occasion he grabs the sleeping 18-year-old daughter’s breast but mom tells her to go back to sleep, saying “he doesn’t know what he’s doing.” The woman also told police that “Alex” would become “sexually aroused” while he was being changed, and she often had to chase him through the house so she could finish the job (the diapering job, I mean).
In a court affidavit, Richardson said he had also “conned” his own family and did what he did “for the attention.” So, he cries, he screams, and he acts like a baby – all in the name of getting some attention. When he gets out of jail, he should apply at FOX News. Maybe he could take Glenn Beck’s place.