Strange but True

A year of dysfunctional family values -- and missing panties.

"I had...a little boy who looks up to his dad, and he said, 'Dad, do you do drugs?'" former Denver Broncos linebacker Bill Romanowski says on 60 Minutes in October. "[I said], 'Your daddy did a lot of things to deal with the pain of the game.'" In addition to pimping his book, My Life on the Edge, Romo tells his television audience that he took steroids and human growth hormone from spring 2001 to fall 2003.

Nabbed

Colorado experiences a record number of bank robberies in 2005. By the time the final tally is in, the FBI estimates there will be 200 stickups on the books, a 64 percent increase over last year. Among the culprits:

• The Mr. Magoo Bandit -- so named because law enforcement officials think the robber, who wears a big hat and dark glasses, resembles the cartoon character -- is arrested in Summit County in March. Tyler Hamilton pleads guilty to six bank heists.

• The Front Range Bandit turns out to be Albert Lawrence Vaughan, who says he started robbing banks after he abandoned his dream of making a living by playing cards and pool. Vaughan robbed banks in Loveland, Boulder, Fort Collins and Wyoming, but he's arrested in Vegas.

• The Booger Bandit, Mark Hazlett, is indicted in April by a grand jury. A member of a sixteen-person crime ring that stole merchandise, guns and personal and financial information from Denver-area homes and cars, Hazlett had been captured by a surveillance camera while cashing a stolen check and picking his nose.

• The Itty Bitty Bank Bandit is linked to seven bank robberies over four weeks. Louis Gabriel Archuleta, who is just four feet fall, gets a big 188 months in prison.

Still at Large

• Masked Marauder

Matt Hatter

• Baggy Shirt Bandit

• Periodical Bandit

• Cuervo Extra Bandit, who was videotaped wearing an Oakland Raiders hat and a Cuervo Extra sweatshirt over the course of three bank robberies in Boulder and Westminster.

Still at Large, and Hopefully Not Standing in Front of You in Line

The Hollywood Bandits are smooth, organized, articulate and armed to the teeth -- like characters in a Tarantino flick. The pair use assault rifles and handguns and wear body armor. They've hit eight times in the past eighteen months, forcing bank customers to lie on the ground while they pilfer the place.

Buried

The "Mysterious Douglas County Lady" is re-buried in a ceremony attended by more than a hundred people, including American Indian spiritualists and people in pioneer-era garb. The remains of the woman, who died between 1860 and 1880, had been unearthed during a 2003 construction project in Castle Pines; she now rests in a hand-dug grave near Sedalia.

Unearthed

• The Denver Mint makes thousands of 2004 Minnesota quarters with an extra leaf on a cornstalk -- an anomaly that fires up frenzied collectors around the country.

• In June, a decomposed female body turns up in a storage container in the back yard of an Aurora home.

• A 77-year-old amateur paleontologist and retired Navy master chef discovers the first fossil of "Popeye," a strong-armed, termite-eating mammal that lived in Colorado 150 million years ago.

• Mammoth and camel bones found near the Colorado-Kansas border are determined to have been smashed by tool-wielding humans more than 12,000 years ago. The discovery pushes back the estimated date for human occupation of the Plains by more than 1,000 years.

• Thirty-seven dead horses are found in various pastures in El Paso County over the course of one month. Locals suspect the horses were shot with ice bullets, as no bullet fragments were found; the official culprit is listed as lightning.

• While patrolling the 146,000-acre Pike National Forest, Sergeant William Ruppart of the Douglas County Sheriff's Department finds satanic souvenirs, stone pentagrams, burned pyres, animal sacrifices and naked people chanting in a cafe.

Taken

Vandals ransack the field house at Aurora's Arapahoe Little League baseball complex in June, taking a John Deere Gator utility vehicle and eight pairs of batting gloves.

┬┐Qué?

"If America is a racist, genocidal nation that is exterminating black and brown people, then why do so many Mexicans want to come here?" That's the question conservative activist David Horowitz poses during a University of Colorado talk on wanton liberalism in February.

A Bean-Eating Piece of Shit

In an e-mail to University of Colorado cross-country runner Greg Castro, CU football player Clint O'Neal and his girlfriend, Jacqueline Zeigle, call Castro a "bean-eating piece of shit," as well as a "river rat" and a "border hopper." The e-mail authors are later suspended.

Things Mayor John Hickenlooper Was Seen Doing in 2005:

• Riding a scooter through downtown for a Time magazine photographer.

• Reacting with genuine-seeming astonishment at having been named one of the country's top mayors by Timemagazine.

• Going down a water slide (and into Argo Park Pool in Globeville) with his suit on.

• Racing the Denver Public Schools superintendent through a water fountain at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science -- while both were wearing suits.

• Playing pool with Marcus Camby and Governor Bill Owens during the NBA All-Star Weekend.

• Checking out a model train set that sits in the basement beneath Union Station.

• Two-fisting a Purple Hooter and a pint of Bass while watching legendary X guitarist John Doe at the Lion's Lair.

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