CLOSE
Original image
Getty Images

7 Bizarre Objects Used in Jailhouse Smuggling Schemes

Original image
Getty Images

By Lauren Hansen

Even the lowest-security prisons will take precautions against smuggling, requiring visitors, for example, to check their belongings at the door. But for the desperately crafty, such safeguards only inspire workarounds utilizing the unexpected — from toys to animals, both dead and alive — to sneak illicit goods across the secure threshold. Here, a rundown of some of the crazy/genius vessels used in botched smuggling attempts throughout history.

1. A cat


REUTERS/Superintendent General of Prison Administration shows

On New Year's Eve, guards at a medium-security prison in northeast Brazil noticed something curious about a passing stray cat, namely that it had a bag strapped to its middle. After detaining the diminutive criminal, authorities found quite the haul, including two saws, two concrete drills, a headset, a memory card, a cell phone, and batteries. This wasn't the cat's first appearance on the prison grounds and authorities say they believe the feline was raised by inmates. While they can't blame the cat for its wrongdoing, officials admit it will be difficult to nab the real offenders, "since the cat does not speak." In the meantime, all 250 inmates are considered suspects and their wily accomplice has since been taken to a local animal shelter.

2. A coloring book

Not just for kids anymore, coloring books can also offer criminals hours of creative fun! In March 2011, the relatives of three New Jersey inmates dissolved the drug Subozone into a paste and then painted it into a coloring book. To seal their story they scribbled "To Daddy" atop the book's pages and mailed the seemingly innocent present to the facility. But authorities were already on the lookout, having received a tip that drugs were being smuggled in drawings. The book was apprehended and the prisoners, and family members, charged.

3. A baby

Balloons are often used to smuggle drugs, either as a vessel that is swallowed or just on their own, in the hopes that the latex masks the scent from dogs. While one woman's use of a cannabis-stuffed balloon wasn't unique, her placement of it was: on her baby. The limp party decoration, which was filled with 20 grams of weed, was concealed on the toddler the woman was holding as she tried to enter a New Zealand prison in 2010. Her "sad and desperate" attempt at drug smuggling, however, was foiled.

4. A pigeon

Before becoming a nuisance to New Yorkers, pigeons were actually vital during war times when, in lieu of radio, they took messages to soldiers. Carrier pigeons, as they were called, were trained at a home base, transported manually, and then set free with a note attached to the foot, because, as Brazilian inmates recently proved, the birds "instinctively fly home — always." In 2009, prisoners in southeastern Brazil reportedly bred and raised pigeons inside their jail. The birds were smuggled out, outfitted with cell phone parts by people on the outside, and then sent back to the jail. At least two made it "home" but were caught and their goods confiscated.

5. Dead birds


Not all inmates have the time, patience, and wherewithal to train carrier pigeons. Some prisoners go for the more stripped-down approach and use dead birds as their gamey packages. The plan is pretty straightforward: Get a friend on the outside to stuff dead birds with your choice of illegal drugs, have friend throw said bird over jail walls into exercise yards, pick up bird. The last step, as New Zealand prisoners found in 2007, is the most important step unless you want to spend more time locked up.

6. A cockroach

In 1938, Amarillo, Texas, County Jailer Dick Vaughn could not for the life of him figure out how two of his prisoners in solitary confinement were getting hold of cigarettes. Daily searches of the prisoners and their cells provided no clues. And yet, like clockwork, the shrewd inmates would be found puffing away. Finally, a prisoner broke down and pointed out the secret courier: A large black cockroach, a cigarette tied to its back, which scurried through a crack under the solitary cell floor. The pest was so prompt and efficient that it had regular employment with the prisoners. Rather than inciting anger, however, the lowly deliveryman inspired awe in the warden who released the men from solitary confinement, saying "anybody who could make a cockroach work deserved more freedom for his activities."

7. A wooden leg


Getty Image

In August 1934, five prisoners from Indiana's Hamilton County jail escaped thanks to the group's leader, William H. Mason, who had, you might say, a leg up on his keepers. After losing his foot and lower leg to infection some years back, Mason began using a prosthetic to help him walk. During his Hamilton County incarceration, Mason received a new wooden leg in the mail, which officials came to believe carried saws, hidden in the cork part of the foot, that would help the bandits escape. The men inevitably sawed through the bars of the second floor window, ripped away the heavy mesh covering, and jumped 12 feet to the ground with the help of a metal chain.

Original image
Opening Ceremony
fun
arrow
These $425 Jeans Can Turn Into Jorts
May 19, 2017
Original image
Opening Ceremony

Modular clothing used to consist of something simple, like a reversible jacket. Today, it’s a $425 pair of detachable jeans.

Apparel retailer Opening Ceremony recently debuted a pair of “2 in 1 Y/Project” trousers that look fairly peculiar. The legs are held to the crotch by a pair of loops, creating a disjointed C-3PO effect. Undo the loops and you can now remove the legs entirely, leaving a pair of jean shorts in their wake. The result goes from this:

501069-OpeningCeremony2.jpg

Opening Ceremony

To this:

501069-OpeningCeremony3.jpg

Opening Ceremony

The company also offers a slightly different cut with button tabs in black for $460. If these aren’t audacious enough for you, the Y/Project line includes jumpsuits with removable legs and garter-equipped jeans.

[h/t Mashable]

Original image
iStock
fun
arrow
This First-Grade Math Problem Is Stumping the Internet
May 17, 2017
Original image
iStock

If you’ve ever fantasized about how much easier life would be if you could go back to elementary school, this math problem may give you second thoughts. The question first appeared on a web forum, Mashable reports, and after recently resurfacing, it’s been perplexing adults across social media.

According to the original poster AlmondShell, the bonus question was given to primary one, or first grade students, in Singapore. It instructs readers to “study the number pattern” and “fill in the missing numbers.” The puzzle, which comprises five numbers and four empty circles waiting to be filled in, comes with no further explanation.

Some forum members commented with their best guesses, while others expressed disbelief that this was a question on a kid’s exam. Commenter karrotguy illustrates one possible answer: Instead of looking for complex math equations, they saw that the figure in the middle circle (three) equals the amount of double-digit numbers in the surrounding quadrants (18, 10, 12). They filled out the puzzle accordingly.

A similar problem can be found on the blog of math enthusiast G.R. Burgin. His solution, which uses simple algebra, gets a little more complicated.

The math tests given to 6- and 7-year-olds in other parts of the world aren’t much easier. If your brain isn’t too worn out after the last one, check out this maddening problem involving trains assigned to students in the UK.

[h/t Mashable]

SECTIONS
BIG QUESTIONS
BIG QUESTIONS
JOB SECRETS
QUIZZES
WORLD WAR 1
SMART SHOPPING
STONES, BONES, & WRECKS
#TBT
THE PRESIDENTS
WORDS
RETROBITUARIES