This “tale” returns per a request I received from a writer. She said a friend had once heard me tell the story during a presentation at the New England Crime Bake several years ago and she wanted to hear it from me. Well, since it’s rare that I present workshops at conferences these days I told her I’d tell the about the adventure here today. I know many of you have already heard it so please bear with me as I share it with those who haven’t. I call this one Takin’ Bacon, and it’s a true story. Really, it is.
Crime-solving is not always as easy as television would have us believe. Sometimes police officers really have to work hard to get to the bottom of a particularly complex case.
Cops use a variety of means to crack each of their cases, and one really unusual series of events comes to mind when I think about out-of-the-box methods I’d used during my career.
As most of you know, I was a police detective for many years, and part of my job was to solve major crimes, such as murder, rape, and robbery. Sure, I paid my dues early in my career by writing tickets and directing traffic, but my real passion was the puzzle-solving that’s associated with tracking down murderers.
In the Beginning
Before most detectives are allowed to investigate the more serious crimes, though, they’re normally assigned to easier-to-solve, less intricate cases, such as bad checks and stolen tricycles.
One of my introductory cases was unusual to say the least. My boss, a gruff and tough-as-rusty-nails sheriff, dispatched me to get to the bottom of a rash of stolen hogs. No, not the cool and expensive motorcycles—real pigs, as in walking, oinking pork chops.
Someone was stealing live four- or five-hundred pound porkers directly from a farmer’s hog farm, and they were taking at least one or two each weekend. The pigs (hundreds upon hundred of them) were kept in many buildings on the large farm, so my partner and I thought the best way to nab these guys was to wait inside one of the elaborate hog parlors until the criminals arrived to do their dirty deed. Our plan was simple; when the crooks entered the building we would jump up, turn on the lights, and nab the ham-rustlers in the act of felony pig-napping.
Friday finally arrived and just before dark we entered one of the hog shelters and sat down on a pair of overturned 5-gallon buckets—one apiece—where we waited for the crooks to show up. I quickly discovered that the combined stench of pig feces and urine and other foul goodies were absolutely overwhelming. I also learned that pigs are sneaky and extremely curious, and that they have very cold and very wet and gross noses. Not to mention the fact that the odor clings to your clothing and shoes and refuses to go away.
We’d been hanging out in the dark, surrounded by fat sows, for nearly two hours when we finally heard the creaky sound of rusty springs stretching as someone open a plywood door near the center of the building.
A bit of moonlight spilled inside and then disappeared as the door closed behind who or whomever had entered the pig parlor. My partner and I both drew our weapons and waited, allowing the thieves enough time to begin the act of stealing. We wanted to catch them with ham hocks in hand.
There was a period of time where we heard two voices, but they were muffled by the sound of low-pitched pig grunts and oinks. The men used a small flashlight to help find their way to the center of the area, a place that was packed with so many hogs that it sort of resembled a concert arena on a night when Taylor Swift or Beyonce’ or Elton John performs. It was Pig-a-Palooza and Pigstock rolled into one.
We figured the bandits were being selective, choosing just the right pigs—this little pig or that little pig—that would fetch top dollar at the market.
Then and unexpectedly, a bright light flashed. Then another flash followed by another and another. I realized, detective material that I was, that the bad guys were taking pictures.
Confused by their actions, but anxious to catch the guys, we couldn’t stand it any longer. So we hopped up, aimed our Beretta 9mms in the general direction of the thugs, and switched on the lights.
I was shocked, to say the least, when I saw that one of the young men was standing directly behind a female pig—a sow, as they’re properly addressed—with his pants down around his ankles and resting atop the goop on the slatted floor (the space between the slats is where pig most waste falls into a deep and smelly pit).
I was even more startled when I realized the man was actually having sex with a big, fat and dirty female pig, and his buddy was taking pictures of him while he did it.
They both stopped what they were doing, in mid-action, and looked toward us. Each man had the same deer-caught-in-the-headlights expression.
(Not the actual suspect)
(Not the actual victim)
We immediately placed the two crooks under arrest and took them to the sheriff’s office for processing (that’s “booking” to laypeople.) During my questioning of the guy who’d been caught with his pants down, the embarrassed animal lover confessed to stealing over one-hundred pigs from several different farms over the past few weeks, and that they’d taken their “booty” to hog markets and sold them for a nice profit.
At the end of his confession, the pig-stealer shook his head and asked how we found out they were going to be there that night. He added that they’d been extremely careful not to leave behind an evidence trail of any kind.
I smiled because the perfect answer crept forward from that goofy spot in my head. I looked at the guy and said, “How did we know you were coming? It’s simple, the pig squealed on you.”
He just shook his head slowly from side-to-side. After all, what could he have said to justify his little affair with Petunia?
I really should mention that the thief was married, and he wasn’t practicing safe sex with his porcine partners, if you know what I mean. So, if you’re ever having a bad day, just be really thankful that you’re not married to this guy. Unless you don’t mind that his idea of bringing home the bacon is just a bit “different” than that of normal folks.
By the way, I learned that the purpose of the pig pornography (each man photographed the other having sex with a pig) was insurance so that neither of the two men would tell on the other. If one were to snitch he’d face having the photograph sent to family members. What I didn’t understand was why they felt the need to have a barnyard affair each time they stole a pig. Wouldn’t one photo be enough?
And I truly hope, this being a holiday weekend and all, that you’ll think of this curly little “tale” as you’re tossing the pork chops on the grill…