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Saturday, January 13, 2007

From the Des Moines Police Blotter

Yee-haw! There's been some big goin's on about town here lately! These stories from this morning's Des Moines Register. I suppose I can make fun of them. They're a Gannett paper (a.k.a., the publisher of "USA Today"). I used to work for Gannett. Today, though, the Des Moines paper reads more like my hometown "Dassel-Cokato Enterprise/Dispatch"! ....Ok, there were bigger stories, too, but these ones make for good blogging!

Scuffle for TV remote ends in assault

January 13, 2007

A Des Moines woman is asking police to help find and charge the man who punched and strangled her for the remote at her home Friday night.

The woman told Des Moines police the man she invited over to her apartment was her boyfriend. Police could not find any information based on the name she supplied.

According to the report, the woman said he punched her in the face when she swiped the television remote control from him. After punching her, the man choked her, threw her on the coffee table and threatened to kill her if she called the police, she said.

Kum 'n' Go robber fights for wings 'n' beer

January 13, 2007

Des Moines Police are looking for a man who fought a convenience store clerk early Saturday morning for buffalo wings, chocolate and beer.

A store clerk at Kum & Go, 2930 Hickman Road, reported that a black man wearing a hat and black coat came into the store and took two boxes of Friday’s Buffalo Wings, four Nestle Crunch Bars and two 12-packs of Corona bottles.

When the man left without paying, the clerk said he followed him to the door and touched him on the shoulder to tell him to pay. The man turned to punch the clerk, who dodged the swipe, according to the report.

The two fought before the man left. The clerk had a torn shirt, red marks and scratches on his chest from the scuffle.

Pet duck disappears without a trace

A Des Moines family fears its feathered friend, Rick James, was ducknapped.

January 13, 2007

A cardboard sign abuts Rick James' old habitat across the street from the Iowa State Fairgrounds' Grandstand.

"Do you know who stole our duck?" the sign reads.

Deborah Thornton hopes the strange and unnatural disappearance of her family's three-year-old duck - named Rick James after a skit from "Chappelle's Show" - isn't a tragedy that ends in murder most fowl.

"They stole him right out of the front yard," Thornton said, sitting on the couch as the family's three remaining pets - two black cats and a year-old English Mastiff named Brandy - cuddled around her. "I just hope nobody ate him."

Rick James was four days old when Thornton's daughter, Theresa, brought him home from Des Moines Feed Co. three years ago.

Rick James replaced the family's chicken, Nugget, who had lived peacefully in the front yard until a dog found his way inside the fence: no more Nugget.

Theresa took Rick James everywhere. She tucked him in her purse and walked him around the neighborhood. She took him to work and on camping trips to Jester Park.

He was a friendly duck who always came when called, who never strayed far from his surrogate mother, who stood tall and raised his head feathers when he wanted attention.

"He's the only duck that has a personality like those cartoon ducks you see on television," Deborah said.

The fateful Sunday-morning disappearance of Rick James one month ago went like this:

Theresa returned home at 7 a.m. after working overnight. Rick James welcomed her home with a barrage of quacks. Theresa petted him, then went in for a nap.

At 9 a.m., Deborah took Rick James breakfast: a cup of grains with raisins and a few grapes.

At 11 a.m., Theresa's boyfriend, Mike Booker Jr., went outside to play football with friends. He opened the door, but there was no quacking, no plumage of white feathers rushing toward him.

Rick James?

"All you had to do was say his name and he'd come a-running," Booker said.

No Rick James. The family looked in surrounding yards. The boy next door hopped on his bike and combed the neighborhood. No duck. No feathers. No clues.

Days turned into weeks. They called animal control; no ducks, they said. Theresa placed the cardboard sign on their chain-link front fence and adorned it with Rick James' name inside a heart.

Sure, they didn't know Rick James was stolen, exactly. He might have wandered off. But the few times he had left the yard, he never strayed beyond the driveway or the next-door neighbor's garden.

He might have been run over by a truck. But no scattered feathers indicated a quick, painless end for Rick James.

He might have flown away, right? No, Deborah points out - the ability to fly has been bred out of white domestic ducks.

So, the family stewed, if it looks like a stolen duck and acts like a stolen duck, it must be a stolen duck.

Soon, the Thorntons say, they'll take down the sign in their front yard. They'll assume Rick James migrated to a better place.

"I just want to know what happened with Rick James," Deborah said. "I just want to have closure. If someone got him and made a duck dinner out of him, I just want to know."


Lee Shelton said...

The duck story is the best! The quotes are priceless: "He's the only duck that has a personality like those cartoon ducks you see on television." "I just want to have closure. If someone got him and made a duck dinner out of him, I just want to know."

Sometimes I miss small town life.

Jennifer said...

Awww, it makes ME want to have a pet duck!

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