Point of No Return — Hair thieves, DNA providers and $1M bills. Oh my!

Date Published: 
Aug. 11, 2017.

I’m sensitive to people losing their hair.

To be fair, I’ve had a lot of practice at witnessing the loss of hair, as mine began its course for full-scale evacuation when I was about 16. At 25, I was sporting the Count Dracula look, with a “widow’s peak” serving as my most notable physical characteristic. And, by 33, with a head that was beginning to look like a Chia-Pet perpetually stuck on the second phase of growth, I surrendered to the hair gods and took razor to scalp.


I’m not complaining, by any means. I no longer stress over what a strong wind is going to do to my appearance when I’m running into a meeting, and I don’t spend a lot of time in the store comparing hair-care products (or, dietary supplements, but that’s for another day). If I bothered to run, I’m quite certain my clean head would lead to an aerodynamical advantage, though I don’t think I’d make it enough steps without grasping for an oxygen tank to really make a difference.

I mean, the last time I actually found myself in a “running” action was when the ice cream truck driver either didn’t hear my pleas for him to stop, or he just decided to play a game of “Make-The-Fat-Guy-Run” and...

But I digress.

So, anyway, I’m sensitive to people losing their hair. That’s why an Associated Press story out of India caught my attention the other morning.

Apparently, a group of women in nothern Uttar Pradesh state have gone to local police with complaints that they have woken up in their beds and found their chopped-off hair lying neatly on the pillow next to them.

After a 65-year-old woman was beaten by a mob “on suspiction that she was a witch responsible for the hair cutting,” village committees have been ordered to quash rumors about ghosts or witches cutting off women’s braids.

“Within days it has spread to areas around Delhi and western Uttar Pradesh,” said Manish Rakesh, a police officer. “Now almost every day, police are getting complaints from women about this unknown ghost.”

Munni Devi of Agra said she went to sleep like any other night, only to wake up to find her hair chopped off and her braid neatly placed on her pillow. She also said her husband was sleeping right next to her and never heard anyone cut off her braid, either.

So, yeah, it has to be a ghost. Or a witch. It couldn’t have been her husband, or a stranger, or Edward Scissorhands or anybody else. It had to be a witch. Or a ghost.

“Ghosts do not cut the braids of women,” said Rakesh Gaur, a psychiatrict at Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College. “This is mischief, nothing else.”

Well, yeah, that seems like the logical response, right? Of course there aren’t ghosts or witches cutting off the hair of women in India, and neatly putting the braid on the pillow next to them. Everyone knows that ghosts steal hair to make them able to walk through walls and create pottery with Demi Moore. And, witches? Come on. Witches steal hair to mix with eye of newt and toe of frog to make old people young, and to curse others with the “gift” of an arm sticking out of his or her forehead or whatever they do.

They would never leave the braid. That’s amateur hour, and an easy way to get caught, with DNA testing being what it is today.

Of course, some criminals just don’t seem to take that into account. It’s like they’ve never watched “CSI: Millville,” or any of the other incarnations of the show.

Take Andrew David Jensen, for example.

The 42-year-old man was sitting quietly in his home when police came in and arrested him on July 28. He was charged with first-degree residential burglary, which is a felony offense, and had bail set for $180,000.

According to Det. Tim Lohman of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, via the Associated Press, Jensen was arrested for allegedly burglarizing a Southern California home. He was apparently made a suspect because he “did his business and didn’t flush it.”

It seems that some lucky soul had the “duty” of retrieving the evidence from the burglarized home, before turning it over to the next fortunate person in the chain-of-custody. That person was able to match to DNA profile to Jensen, through a national database.

Lohman said its the first DNA burglary match case he is aware of that used fecal evidence collected from a crime scene.

So, yeah, there’s that.

Another individual didn’t leave it to the scientists to track him down, thanks to him willingly supplying some of his evidence.

The Associated Press reported that a man came into a Northwest Bank branch in Sioux City, Iowa, to deposit a $1 million bill. That obviously set off a few alarms with a teller, who, in turn, set off another alarm to alert police that this was happening.

The officer who arrived on the scene asked 33-year-old Dennis Strickland if he had any more of the rare (well, nonexistent) bills on him, and a baggie reportedly fell out when Strickland tried to empty his pocket for the officer. That baggie, according to police, contained methamphetamine.

There was no report in the article regarding bail, but I’m guessing they will not be accepting $1 million bills at the courthouse.