When you live in Miami, taking pride in your city can be a slippery slope. First, we just bragged to all our friends up north about cruising around with our "boat friends" in January. But now, we love everything about this place, including the notoriously crazy crimes that take place on our watch. We feel a certain sick satisfaction every time Riptide reports on something truly ridiculous, from the guy covered in white powder to the Marlins' new home run sculpture (which counts as a crime against humanity).
But is it just us, or have we been feeling that insane felonious pride just a little less lately? We've had our share of criminal antics in the past week or so, but nothing that really lives up to Miami's high standards of psycho senselessness. We're not encouraging more crime, of course -- that would be irresponsible, and totally unlike Cultist. We'd just like to ask our criminal neighbors to make it interesting again. In this economy, we really can't afford to cut back on our most famous export: bizarre news stories.
Take a look at these relatively sane news stories from the past week, and our constructive criticism of their tactics.
Coffee Machine Fraud
A South Florida man sold coffee machines to investors, claiming they'd make them a ton of cash; turns out, they didn't. Not even the prospect of caffeine could perk us up about this story.
Our Improved Version: A South Florida man inherits dozens of industrial coffee machines from his tycoon uncle in Jamaica. Rather than selling the machines as-is, he re-engineers them into enormous crystal meth production equipment and attempts to sell them to an undercover cop.
Grave robbers ransacked Lincoln Memorial Park, allegedly seeking bones for Santeria rituals. Too bad for the deceased; too boring for the rest of us.
Our Improved Version: A group of Twilight-obsessed teens enter into a death pact that they think, based on a conspiracy theory drawing on subtle clues in the movies, will turn them into real vampires. The process involves breaking into graves, removing the dead bodies, then laying inside them themselves and reciting prayers to Stephenie Meyer. Their embarrassed, goth mugshots are priceless.
Pigs, Drugs, and Grenades
On the surface, this story has all the makings of a Florida classic: bizarre wildlife, wacky weapons, and illegal substances. But what actually happened? Nothing -- a guy came home, found squatters living in his digs, and called the cops. The squatters just had some very unique possessions.
Our Improved Version: A South Florida homeowner returns to his home, only to find a hollowed-out crater of earth where his house once stood. Turns out that while the squatters were away, their pet pig got hungry and chewed the pin out of one of their active grenades, setting off a chain reaction of explosions. Police investigation has been superficial at best, and neighbors are all afraid to talk; no one knows why.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.