Top ten most popular Schmucks of 2013
Each Friday, we feature our choice for the Schmuck of the Week. So, with the year winding down, how did we determine the top ten? We let you do it.
The following Schmucks starred in the ten most popular Schmuck of the Week posts published over the course of 2013.
Check out excerpts from each entry, and click on the headlines or final links to read the original items.
Count down 2013's schmuckiest Schmucks below.
We here at Schmuck of the Week HQ aren't criminals -- really! -- so it's hard to put ourselves in the mind of lawbreakers and miscreants. Yet it still makes sense to us for people stealing stuff from their workplace to make sure there are a lot of other suspects in case the thefts come to light.
Apparently, Autumn Guillot disagreed, since she swiped a six-figure sum from a credit union where she was one of only two fulltime employees. How'd the cops figure out it was her? Here's Guillot's schmucky story.
In 2011, according to the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office, Guillot was working as an assistant branch manager at the Credit Union of the Rockies in Black Hawk when a spot audit revealed some ledger discrepancies.
The Credit Union of the Rockies branch in Black Hawk.
Turns out some of the deposits listed in said ledger were never received by the credit union's clearinghouse.
And who maintained the ledger? You guessed correctly. The DA's office says she lifted small amounts of money from the vault over the course of 2011, altering the ledger each time. But this tactic failed. Why? Maybe because those small amounts added up to a big one: $275,795.
As for what she did with this much coin, the prosecutors aren't sure. But they note that Guillot regularly gambled at area casinos throughout the year, racking up $73,000 in carded gambling....
Originally published May 3. To read the complete post, click here.
As we know, plenty of people go to jail because of drugs. Sometimes rightly, sometimes wrongly, but frequently.
But only a chosen few face time behind bars because they try to bring narcotics into jail. Like, for instance, Schmuck of the Week nominees Sarah Wolfe and Ronald Boyken, who are accused of conspiring with Guy Acosta in just such a scheme.
Acosta won't have far to go if he's convicted, since he's already an inmate.
According to Fox21 TV, deputies at the Pueblo County Detention Center learned that a woman -- Wolfe -- was involved in a conspiracy.
The goal of that nefarious plot? To hide narcotics (the Pueblo Chieftain identifies the substance as heroin) in the detention lobby bathroom.
The Pueblo County Detention Center.
Wolfe was allegedly acting at the request of Acosta. And her accused co-conspirator? Ronald Boyken, 47, who was charged with the actual drug transfer.
Deputies reportedly searched the bathroom beforehand, so they could be sure no drugs were already there -- raising the question of how often this happens. Do bags of this stuff randomly pile up in the corners of stalls?
At any rate, Wolfe and Boyken arrived at the center on Wednesday, after which Boyken went to the jail window and asked to use the men's room key. He then went inside, while Wolfe lingered in a nearby hallway.
After Boyken finished doing his business, whatever it was, the deputies returned to the lavatory and found drugs hidden inside. Upon making this discovery, they radioed colleagues who'd followed Wolfe and Boyken to their car.
Boyken was busted immediately, while Wolfe was allowed a little more freedom before being taken into custody yesterday, both of them are cooling their heels thanks to a $50,000 bond that was also slapped on Acosta. The twosome plus Acosta are suspected of contraband introduction and possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, the Chieftain notes....
Originally published March 8. To read the complete post, click here.
Continue to keep counting down the top ten most popular Schmucks of 2013. Number 8: "Bret Butler, schmuck, allegedly tried to get underage girls to sext by pretending to be one."
Bret Butler, 22, shouldn't count on appearing in either recruiting posters or college brochures. The ex-midshipman was originally thought to have been AWOL from the U.S. Naval Academy, but that turned out not to be true. He reportedly hasn't been enrolled there since December, and while he took some classes at CU-Boulder, he's not a student there, either.
Bet both institutions are relieved, given his current claim to schmuckiness -- allegedly tricking underage girls into sexting by pretending to be one himself.
According to the Boulder Daily Camera, which has done the heavy lifting on the story, the Boulder Police Department received a tip about Butler from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
The folks there believed he was in possession of child pornography -- specifically explicit photos sent to him by young girls.
His strategy? According to an arrest affidavit cited by the Camera, investigators believe he would contact those he targeted with messages such as, "Hey (: I'm 13f. Want to sext?"
Then, to keep up the subterfuge, he'd send out a photo of a naked girl that presumably was supposed to be him and hope the person on the other end of the communication would reciprocate.
Apparently, some of them did. Authorities say they found more than twenty explicit images on Butler's cell phone or computer, with evidence that after he received such pics, he'd share them online....
Originally published August 23. To read the complete post, click here.
Every parent knows it's a pain in the ass to take little kids in and out of the car when popping into a store, especially in cold weather.
But know what's an even bigger pain in the ass? Having your idling ride stolen with your kids inside, because you were too lazy to schlep them with you. Which is what happened this week to one Takai Gemini Beard.
Just after 7 a.m. on Wednesday, according to the Colorado Springs Police Department, a woman later identified as Beard left two young children -- the Colorado Springs Gazette reports that they're ages three and eight months -- in her unlocked, still running car while she visited a Walgreen's on the 900 block of North Circle Drive.
The Walgreens visited by Beard.
By the CSPD's estimate, Beard, who's listed on her Facebook page as an assistant manager at a beauty-supply store, didn't just rush in and out of the store. No, she was inside for approximately ten minutes -- and when she finally emerged, a man described in a department release only as "a suspect" had entered the vehicle and started to drive it away.
Before he got far, though, he apparently noticed two little ones inside, presumably muttered something along the lines of "Oh, shit!," quickly disembarked and got the hell out of there -- a smarter decision than Beard's.
Don't know who called the cops, but if it was beard, the decision backfired on her in a big way. She was given a summons for child abuse (neglect) and violating the unattended-motor-vehicle statute, which reads in part:
No person driving or in charge of a motor vehicle shall permit it to stand unattended without first stopping the engine, locking the ignition and removing the key, or when standing upon any perceptible grade without effectively setting the brake and turning the front wheels to the curb or side of the highway.
Oh yeah: Beard was ultimately booked on what's described as an unrelated warrant written in her name....
Originally published February 15. To read the complete post, click here.
Continue to keep counting down the top ten most popular Schmucks of 2013. Number 6: "Rojorlo Naranjo takes schmucky revenge on cock-blocking bus driver."
When dudes are aching for a little somethin'-somethin', they don't want anyone getting between them and the object of their affection.
But that doesn't mean someone perceived as a cock-blocker deserves to get the ever-lovin' crap pounded out of him.
Rojorlo Naranjo will have plenty of time to learn this lesson -- up to almost two decades in prison. Here's how he punched his ticket to the Big House.
On October 13 of last year, according to the 19th Judicial District DA's office, Naranjo, 58, was putting the make on a young woman riding on a Greeley-Evans Transit bus when the driver told him to knock it off.
At first, Naranjo didn't seem to take umbrage regarding this order. Records showed that he complied with the driver's request.
But he was only biding his time.
When the bus stopped, the DA's office notes, Naranjo walked up behind the driver, who was sitting behind the wheel and strapped in with a seat belt at the time, and began punching and kicking him.
And then, for good measure, he threw the driver off his own bus....
Originally published August 16. To read the complete post, click here.
Grand Junction co-starred in our recent post featuring nice/nasty Urban Dictionary definitions of Colorado cities, and amusingly enough, both descriptions mentioned meth. Rightly or wrong, the GJ area has a rep as Colorado's meth capital -- which means law enforcers are pretty damn good at finding the stuff. Just ask Carlos Garcia, who was busted not far from town allegedly trying to transport pounds of the stuff. And to turn up the schmuck notch a little higher, it's the second time he was arrested with drugs while passing through.
At about 10:40 a.m. on October 15, notes the Mesa County Sheriff's Office, Garcia's rental car was pulled over near Interstate 70's mile marker 18 by interdiction deputies with the Western Colorado Drug Task Force. Why? He's said to have committed "multiple traffic infractions" -- most importantly weaving across the highway according to an arrest affidavit accessed by KJCT-TV.
From there, Garcia's mistakes added up quickly. First, the MCSO report quotes him as saying he was planning to visit his cousin in Colorado Springs for the next two weeks -- but when deputies checked his rental-car agreement, they discovered the ride was due back in Cali the next day.
On top of that, Garcia is said to have acted so nervous that he was actually trembling. Yet he reportedly gave law enforcers permission to search his vehicle anyhow.
When they did, they came across a cooler filled with soda and water bottles, but no ice -- at least of the watery variety. They also noticed pry marks on the liner that piqued their curiosity, and for good reason. Inside said liner was 5.5 pounds of the stuff that Walter White turned into a dark art form. Estimated street value: $100,000-$150,000.
Oh yeah: When deputies checked Garcia's records, they discovered he'd been nabbed in Mesa County once before. Back in 1999, he was caught riding a Greyhound bus in the company of some marijuana -- eight pounds worth....
Originally published October 18. To read the complete post, click here.
Continue to keep counting down the top ten most popular Schmucks of 2013. Number 4: "Suzette Hall, grandma and alleged topless barber, gets busted, but who's the schmuck?"
Suzette Hall didn't identify as a grandma when she allegedly advertised as a topless barber. But we'd like to think her pitch was, "If you let me take something off the top, I'll take off my top, too."
Whatever the case, Hall was recently busted by the Longmont PD for reasons that had nothing to do with her bust, or accusations that she was having paid sex with customers, either -- and one defender says she's the victim of a set-up by her ex-husband. All of which raises the question: Who's the real schmuck here?
The original story about Hall appeared in the Longmont Times-Call, but given the subject matter, the tale quickly spread to publications such as the Daily Mail, which supplemented Hall's mug shot, on view below, with pics from her now-deleted Facebook page, including this one....
...and this one....
....and this one:
Still, the grabbiest image was one from August that reportedly included the following explanation: "Soooo frckn hot today...decided to wear nothing but flowers to work today...P.S. Never wear thorny roses."
No, the Longmont cops didn't investigate Hall for indecent exposure. Rather, notes the Times-Call, she was targeted over a report that she'd bounced checks intended to pay for chair rental at a downtown Longmont salon.
When a detective looked up Hall's record, he found among her nine felony convictions, for crimes such as theft, and assorted misdemeanor offenses a 2008 case in which she'd been accused of practicing cosmetology without a license -- something she's said to currently lack as well.
This last matter became increasingly important as other parts of the investigation fell apart. For instance, check fraud went out the window because she never signed the checks in question, and potential issues related to her supposed topless barbering service proved impossible to pursue because the cops could never find the Craigslist ads she's said to have placed. And thus far, her former partner's claims that Hall solicited and was paid for sex with customers remain unsubstantiated, despite her accuser's account of finding used condoms in the trash....
Originally published December 6. To read the complete post, click here.
Big photo below.
Here at Schmuck of the Week HQ, we've reported about a lot of schmucky behavior over the years. But seldom have we encountered schmuckiness on the scale linked to Paul Donovan Johnson, a child predator with a Colorado conviction, while allegedly harassing a Japanese tourist and her pre-school-age daughter in San Francisco this week.
The story comes to us from the San Francisco Examiner (owned by Denver gazillionaire Phil Anschutz), which reports that on Wednesday, the woman and her daughter left their hotel in the city's Tenderloin district at about 3 p.m. when Johnson began taunting them -- for five blocks. He's said to have yelled at them angrily and chased after them when they attempted to run away.
In an attempt to ditch this creepazoid once and for all, the woman and child ducked into a market, whose owner and his seventeen-year-old son let them hide in a back room. Johnson, who was convicted in Colorado of lewd acts with a child under the age of fifteen and is currently on parole in Cali over a resisting-arrest beef, followed them inside, but gave up his pursuit after the owner confronted him and made it clear the cops were on the way.
Outside the market, however, he reportedly unzipped his fly, shook his Little Johnson at the men and declared, "Oh, you can have the girl" before adding, "She's the one who's seducing me by squatting in her inappropriate clothes."
The child's outfit? A dress that reached her ankles....
Originally published January 18. To read the complete post, click here.
Continue to keep counting down the top ten most popular Schmucks of 2013. Number 2: "Lauralee Grauman learns meth and schmucks make a terrible combination."
When Lauralee Grauman last appeared in our Schmuck of the Week archive, back in October 2012, shortly after she was busted in Canon City following a cross-country crime spree, she was a supporting player rather than a star.
But this time around, we're promoting Grauman, who was recently sentenced for her part in the craziness. Why? Due to her way-too-late realization that smoking meth, and hanging out with people doing the same, can lead to a lot of stupid decisions.
In September 2012, as we reported, Bradshaw, then 23, and Kenneth Grauman II, 32, slipped away from the Lake County Residential Re-Entry facility, a minimum-security joint in Michigan. They subsequently hooked up with their respective gal pals -- Lauralee, Bradshaw's significant other (and Kenneth's cousin), and Brittany Rector, Grauman's seventeen-year-old squeeze -- and hit the road.
Their path was bumpy, as documented in this timeline offered up by MLive.com:
Saturday -- Escape from the Lake County Residential Re-Entry Program near Baldwin.
Sunday -- Fugitives in a stolen minivan lead police on high-speed U.S. 131 chase south, crash into bean field near Sand Lake and elude a police perimeter at 22 Mile Road and Whitefish Road at 3 a.m.
Monday -- Police spot stolen green Jeep from Sand Lake area in Dorr area and try to pursue. Jeep eludes police in fields, then abandoned by fugitives who again managed to escape intensive perimeter search.
Tuesday -- Fugitives allegedly break-into 22nd Street home in Dorr and steal two handguns, food and clean up.
Wednesday -- Another 22nd Street homeowner in Dorr reports a home break-in and his white Ford Taurus being stolen in the afternoon. Witnesses spot fugitives and police again set up perimeter, but they manage to escape.
Thursday -- Kokomo, Indiana police officer spots suspicious white Ford Taurus entering Kroger store parking lot and begins to run the plate number on his computer, but gets called to another incident. Surveillance video captures fugitives leaving store on foot.
Thursday afternoon -- Fugitives reportedly steal farmer's pickup truck parked along Kokomo road, with two rifles stored in a back toolbox.
Given all these close encounters with cops, it only makes sense that they left Michigan. But they chose as their destination Canon City, arguably the prison capital of these United States.
Why? After her arrest, Laurlee told Michigan's WOOD-TV that her sister had lived there once and she considered it a nice place. Moreover, the fugitives had some friends there -- of the Facebook variety.
When the quartet reached out to these cyber-acquaintances, though, they received no response. But instead of heading back to the highway, they set up residence in a Canon City motel and put together the gear to cook up some fresh methamphetamine.
Shockingly enough, this turned out to be the wrong move....
Originally published September 27. To read the complete post, click here.
On the Schmuck of the Week beat, figuring out who's the schmuck turns out to be more of a challenge than it might seem at first blush.
The arrest of Fountain police officer Daniel Barkus on a stalking charge is a case in point. Based on the information that's surfaced thus far, it's difficult to tell if he did something wrong or if he's simply the victim of a big misunderstanding, albeit a high-profile one, due to his association with the reality TV series Prospectors and its sexy star, Amanda Adkins.
Aired by the Weather Channel, Prospectors is about gem hunting, with Adkins serving as one of the people in the spotlight. Here's her mini-bio from the show's website:
Amanda is a former model and full time miner with more than twenty years experience. Born and bred from West Virginia mining stock, Amanda learned at a young age how to mine by watching her father. By the age of 12, Amanda was making money off of her gem and mineral finds and after moving to Colorado she knew mining was her calling! Amanda credits her 70-year-old cousin Oakley Adkins for giving her a leg up on the competition by training her at a very young age on all the Colorado pegmatite-mining locales. Amanda can roll boulders with the best of them, and is just plain tough. In fact, she has survived eight cave-ins.
A glamour shot of model turned miner Amanda Adkins.
In its account of the bust, the Colorado SpringsGazette says Barkus, a relatively recent addition to the Fountain PD (he previously worked as a cop in Fairplay), appears on the show. But the cameras weren't rolling earlier this week, when he was taken into custody.
What happened? The account offered by the El Paso County Sheriff's Office differs substantially from the one shared by Adkins, ID'd as Barkus's ex-girlfriend.
At around 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday, the EPCSO reportedly received a call about possible harassment against a thus-far unidentified man at an address outside Manitou Springs. A short time later, the deputy found Barkus nearby and booked him on suspicion of felony stalking.
Adkins, though, characterizes what went down in largely benign fashion. She told the Gazette that Barkus was visiting one of her mining claims when he encountered an employee of hers who was guarding it -- and the two of them got into an argument that she was able to squash shortly after her arrival.....
Originally published May 17. To read the complete post, click here.
More from our Schmuck of the Week archive: "Frank Ruybalid: Is there anything worse than a schmucky DA?"
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Westword's biggest stories.