Trick or Treat! The Top 5 Costumed Criminals of 2011

From the birthday suit to a gang of gladiators, this Halloween, we bring you a list of the 2011 top 5 criminals in costume.

5. Erin Holdsworth: Birthday Suit

When police in Bainbridge, Ohio, stopped a 128-mph car chase, they discovered 28-year-old Erin Holdsworth highly intoxicated and nearly naked. The high-speed chase came to an end only when police used stop sticks to puncture the tires of her car. When she finally pulled over, Holdsworth stumbled out wearing only a fishnet top, white g-string, and sneakers. The excitement didn’t stop there, however. The feisty nude made quite a commotion and as a result, Holdsworth was arrested on multiple charges including driving under the influence (DUI), fleeing, criminal damaging, driving with a suspended license, refusing a chemical test, speeding, and reckless operation. Her birthday suit, however, doesn’t seem to have landed her any additional charges. According to Bainbridge police, “In the state of Ohio, [public nudity] has to be a willful wanton act, which in this case she wasn’t really walking around or displaying herself to the public.” Watch the video here.


4. Gregory Liascos: Moss Man

Oregon man Gregory Liascos was arrested earlier in October while trying to break into the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals. Liascos allegedly cut a hole in the wall of the museum while wearing what appears to be a nature disguise. He wasn’t apprehended until a police K-9 chomped down on what appeared to be a grassy hill, only to hear the patch of earth let out a yelp.

Liascos claims the entire incident was a misunderstanding and that the ‘Moss Man’ disguise was just a Halloween costume from his kids. Liascos failed to appear for his court date and an arrest warrant has been issued.


3. Jacob Kiss: Gumby

In September, 19-year-old Jacob Kiss dressed up in a full-body Gumby suit and attempted to rob a convenience store. His costume hindered his efforts, however. Kiss told the cashier, “This is a robbery,” then spent the next few minutes fumbling around his costume for a weapon. Eventually, he gave up and left, but only after shedding 26 cents in coins. Police were notified and San Diego residents were urged to be on the lookout for a tall, green, bendy man. Kiss confessed to the attempted robbery on September 14th.


2. Italian Gang: Gladiators

This August, Rome police executed a sting operation that nabbed 20 gladiator impersonators at the historic coliseum. The gang members, comprised of 7 families working with 5 tourist agencies, are accused of attacking their competitors. The police who conducted the raid disguised themselves as gladiators and were attacked by the gang until more undercover officers intervened. According to police, criminal gangs have overtaken the tourist industry and competition is fierce surrounding Italy’s most famous landmarks.


1. Phoenix Jones: Seattle’s Superhero

A Seattle man who dresses up as a masked crime-fighter and goes by the name of Phoenix Jones was arrested in early October. According to police, Jones saw a group of people leaving a nightclub in downtown Seattle and jumped in the midst, spraying the group with pepper spray. Jones insists he was only using the pepper spray to break up a fight, but he has been charged with four counts of assault for spraying the revelers.

Crime-fighting is not new to Jones, who has patrolled the streets of Seattle for about a year in search of crime and publicity. Seattle Police spokesman Mark Jamieson says it’s unclear how many crimes Jones has been involved in, but that people should call 911 rather than take the law into their own hands. Jones’ representative says that despite the arrest, Jones plans to keep fighting crime in Seattle.


Want more crazy criminals? Read  about the Florida man caught stealing underwear, the man who robbed a bank for $1, or the man from New Hampshire who faked a brain injury so a nurse would change his adult diaper!

Related Sources:

USA today
Huffington Post
NY Post

Richfield Man Arrested for 12th DWI

A Richfield man was arrested on Sunday for his 12th DWI. 53-year-old Gilbert Ricardo Garcia reportedly failed every field sobriety test, even refusing to do the one-legged stand. When he was taken into the station, Garcia submitted to a breathalyzer test, and registered an astonishing BAC result of 0.21.

Garcia was stopped when a patrol officer saw him pull the blue Ford pickup out of a parking lot and cut off another driver. The officer then ran the plates and saw that the Ford belonged to a man with an expired driver’s license. With slurred speech and bloodshot eyes, Garcia told the officer that the truck belonged to his boss. When Garcia was arrested and brought back to the station, police learned of his 11 previous DWI convictions.

There has been much concern from the public about Garcia and others like him being allowed back on the road. To help combat this problem, police say they are continuing to hold Garcia in the Hennepin county jail. According to Cmdr. Mark Stehlik of the Bloomington Police Department, “The fact of the matter is, if they’re not locked in a facility somewhere, there’s really nothing prohibiting people from drinking.” However, according to Hennepin County attorney Mike Freeman, this strategy won’t be viable long-term; “We can’t lock up for life every single person who has their fourth or fifth DUI, not at $40,000 a year.”

Garcia will likely be charged with a first-degree DWI because of his numerous prior convictions and a blood alcohol content that was two and a half times the legal limit. If convicted, he would face a minimum 3-year prison term. The maximum penalty for a first-degree DWI is 7 years in prison and $14,000 in fines.

Related Sources:


[Video] – MN Criminal Defense & DWI Attorneys

We’ve been busy producing a number of new videos in the past few months. You’ve already seen our videos on What to Do if arrested for DWI, and What NOT to do if arrested for DUI. Now we present the very first Appelman Law Firm commercial:

Watch, enjoy, and share! Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Prescription Drug DWI Part 3: The Defenses

We’ve already covered the laws and procedures of a Prescription Drug DWI charge. Now let’s take a look at the possible defenses to a Prescription Drug DWI.

A DWI charge carries the same consequences whether the driver is under the influence of alcohol or a prescription drug. However, because of the tentative legal status of many prescription drugs, the defenses for a prescription DWI charge vary greatly from a standard alcohol DWI.

First and foremost, there is an issue of medical necessity. Although the law specifies the presence of Schedule I and II drugs as prohibited while driving, many of the Schedule II drugs are common and necessary prescriptions. If a person can prove they were taking the correct dosage of a legally prescribed drug, it could be a viable defense in a DWI case.

When a blood or urine sample is tested for controlled substances, the state lab does not provide the prosecution with a quantified concentration. The test results only indicate the presence of a substance in the bloodstream, not the amount. An attorney can request custody of that sample, and then send it to be retested for the concentration at an independent lab. That concentration can then be used to determine when the subject last took the drug, or whether the subject was taking the proper amount.

By studying the ways various drugs metabolize in the body, it is now possible to pinpoint when a person ingested the drug. An attorney can then prove that, while trace amounts of a drug were present in the body, the person was not under the influence at the time of the arrest.

The standard DWI defenses may also apply. If there is an issue with samples, testing, the arrest procedure, or any other component of the DWI process, it may be cause to dismiss the charges.

If you are facing charges for a prescription drug DWI, contact an experienced DWI criminal defense attorney right away.


MN Viking Chris Cook Jailed on Domestic Assault Charges

Vikings cornerback Chris Cook was arrested this Saturday on domestic assault charges. Cook missed the Vikings’-Packers game on Sunday and continues to be held without bail at the Hennepin County Jail.

Late Saturday night, around 2:00 am, Eden Prairie police responded to a call from a neighbor who reported hearing yelling and screaming across the street. Cook was arrested at his home and detained on two charges of felony and misdemeanor domestic assault.

This arrest is just the latest allegation of the cornerback’s bad behavior off the field. In March, Cook was arrested in his home state of Virginia after alleged brandishing a gun during an argument with a neighbor. Cook confirmed that he had just recently received his conceal-and-carry license, but claimed that he never pulled out a gun during the fight. A judge later found him not guilty, citing a lack of evidence for conviction. Due to the NFL lockout at the time of his March arrest, he was not penalized by the league. However, this latest charge may result in disciplinary action by the Vikings and the NFL.

Officials announced after his arrest that Cook would not play in Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers, which the Vikings lost 33-27. It is unclear when Cook will return to the field, but according to a Vikings spokesperson, “We take this matter very seriously and are still gathering all the details of the incident.”

Cook was scheduled for a court appearance this Monday morning, but the hearing was unexpectedly cancelled. The county is allowed 48 hours in which to formally charge Cook. The Hennepin county attorney must officially file charges by Tuesday or Cook will be released. The alleged victim’s identity and incident details have not yet been released by police.

According to MN criminal defense attorney Avery Appelman, the felony charge is a very serious matter and if convicted, Cook could face up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Related Sources:

Star Tribune

Kare 11

MPR News


Minneapolis Man Stops Robbery, Kills Thief

cub foods robberyPolice just released an unnamed man who allegedly broke up a robbery in South Minneapolis and killed the thief in the process.

The incident occurred at the Cub Foods in the 2800 block of 26th Avenue S. The robber stole a woman’s purse outside the store and pistol whipped her in the back of the head. The shooter witnessed the robbery and chased the man to the back of a nearby restaurant. During the confrontation, the shooter shot and killed the thief. The shooter was detained by police for questioning. He was released earlier today.

Police say the shooter had a valid permit for the handgun.

Sgt. William Palmer expects there to be a grand jury investigation since there is a death involved. They need to determine whether or not the act was in self defense. According to Palmer, citizens “need to evaluate the situation like [police] would. The permit is designed for self-defense.”

Related Sources:

Detroit Cannabis Cup Goes on Despite Police Warnings

Cannabis CupThe Detroit Cannabis Cup – a two day marijuana convention went ahead as planned despite numerous warnings from police.

More than 3,000 people attended the event at Bert’s Warehouse Theatre, a Detroit jazz club. The event featured a “sealed medicating tent” where people with medical marijuana registry cards could freely smoke the drug. There were also musical performances and panel discussions.

Police warned the organizers not to hold the event. Police and prosecutors cited state law that allegedly says that registered patients could obtain marijuana only from caregivers registered in Lansing to provide it to them. Dan Skye, executive editor of marijuana magazine “High Times” claims the event was completely legal.

“I think this was a very bogus action by Detroit police to disrupt a legal activity that was bringing people to spend money in their city,” Skye said.

No one was arrested, but several people were cited for possession of drug paraphernalia.


Related Sources:
Detroit Free Press

Florida Man Steals Underwear, is Arrested for 100th Time

Florida Underwear ThiefEarlier this month, a Florida man was arrested for the 100th time. His crime: stealing socks and underwear.

50-year-old, Joseph Wilson, was confronted about a bulge in his clothing as he left a Bealls department store in Port St. Lucie. As the security guard approached him, Wilson ducked into a nearby minivan and ordered the driver to “take off.” When the driver refused, Wilson took off on foot. He was found soon after just down the block hiding behind the dumpster of a nearby Wendy’s. Police officers took him into custody without a struggle.

The socks and underwear he stole amounted to $174. He is being charged with petit theft and held on a $20,000 bond.

This is Wilson’s 100th arrest. Before this incident, he had a record of 37 felony arrests, 47 misdemeanors, and 15 others. He’s been convicted in 35 of those incidents.

“This is obviously an alarming rate of recidivism,” says Criminal Defense Attorney, Avery Appelman. “In my mind, the best course of action is to provide Wilson with the counseling and rehabilitation he needs, rather than continuing to throw him in jail because that clearly isn’t solving the problem.”


Related Sources:

Topeka Budget Battle Leads to Domestic Violence Decriminalization

Domestic violence was decriminalized in Topeka, Kansas on Tuesday. Following the decision, district attorney Chad Taylor announced that he would begin reviewing cases of abuse again after over a month of legal limbo.

The repeal was the product of a month-long standoff that began when the city announced a 10% cut to the Shawnee County district attorney’s budget. On Sept. 8, Taylor announced that this budget cut would render the office unable to prosecute cases of misdemeanor domestic battery. Following this announcement, the office immediately ceased all prosecution and about 30 domestic violence suspects were freed of all charges. Under Taylor’s new conditions, cases of misdemeanor domestic violence—which were traditionally prosecuted at the county level—would then fall on the city for prosecution.

In response to the situation, the Topeka city council voted 7-3 to annul the city’s domestic violence laws. City policymakers hoped this move would force Taylor to resume prosecuting abuse cases, which remain criminalized under state law.

The controversial repeal was effective and Taylor made a statement on Wednesday:

“Public safety is the core responsibility of government and a responsibility I am deeply committed to upholding. Therefore, effective immediately my office will commence the review and filing of misdemeanors decriminalized by the City of Topeka. My office now retains sole authority to prosecute domestic battery misdemeanors and will take on this responsibility so as to better protect and serve our community. We will do so with less staff, less resources, and severe constraints on our ability to effectively seek justice.”

Despite the outcome at the district attorney’s office, much of the public still remains outraged over the use of a vulnerable population as political pawns. According to MN criminal defense attorney Avery Appelman, because domestic abuse remains a crime at the state level, the repeal itself likely won’t hinder prosecution. “This entire situation is just an exercise in municipal budget play. If the district attorney’s office doesn’t have the resources to review cases, it may be difficult for the victims to see any resolution. However, domestic violence is still a crime at the state level, so there shouldn’t be any legislative issues for prosecution.”


Related Sources:

NY Times

The Kansas City Star

ABC News

LA Times


The Economic Value of Hiring an Attorney for Traffic Tickets

speedingTraffic offenses are the most common charges in the state of Minnesota. Because they are minor offenses, many people think it a waste of money to hire an attorney to defend a traffic ticket.

It is not a waste of money. In fact, hiring a defense attorney can actually save you money in the long run.



Here are some of the economic benefits of hiring a lawyer to handle your traffic offense:

  1. Without an attorney, there are no negotiations. The prosecution offers you a deal and you can either take it or leave it.
  2. Most traffic charges are minor offenses, yet the law behind them is complex. An attorney can navigate the legal maze for you.
  3. There are many fines and surcharges that come with a traffic ticket. An attorney can lessen or get rid of these altogether.
  4. Repeat offenders often have their driver’s licenses revoked or suspended. A lawyer can make sure this doesn’t happen, or help you get a limited license so you can still get to work.
  5. Many employers have a limit on the amount of traffic tickets an employer can get before getting fired. Additionally, employers almost always check a potential hire’s driving record before making a hiring decision. Having too many traffic violations on your record could cost you a job!
  6. Traffic offenders have to spend hours making court appearances. Sometimes they have to wait all day for their hearing. A lawyer can appear in court for you so you don’t have to miss work or waste an entire day.

These are just a few examples of how a criminal defense lawyer can save you money on your traffic violation. No matter what you’ve been charged with, hiring an attorney is a cheaper option in the long run.