Fraudulent corn robberies

 

Around Colorado's Dinosaur National Monument, the livestock are a little different. Credit: Andrew Gulliford

UTAH

It seemed at first like just another armed holdup of a roadside corn stand. Corn-seller Dusty Moore told police that he was innocently selling ears in a North Ogden parking lot when a Hispanic-looking man in his 30s approached, demanded some money (no word on whether he also wanted some corn) and shot Dusty in the back, according to the Ogden Standard-Examiner. Oddly enough, it was the second time Dusty's corn stand had been hit by a gunman. Police went on a manhunt, residents locked their doors, and a private company planned a free concealed-weapons permit class at the public library to help folks protect themselves from the criminal. Or at least avoid shooting themselves in the back. A week later, Moore admitted fabricating the story to save himself embarrassment: He had somehow shot himself in the back with his own gun, which he started carrying after the earlier robbery. Not surprising that he'd arm himself, you'd think. Except it turns out Dusty made up that robbery, too. No word on what motivated this corny tale.

NEVADA

Northern Las Vegas is like many Western 'burbs, a sprawling and homogenous zone of placelessness, where long, wide streets are lined with house after brand-new house, and almost 80 percent of the mortgages are underwater -- hard to picture in such a dry place. But underneath that suburban blandness lurks a wild heart, where street names like Bucking Bronco and Trotting Horse Road aren't just nostalgic nods to a mythic past. That past lives on, thanks partly to Clark County Commissioner Tom Collins, who lives in -- and livens up -- that neighborhood. In mid-August, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, one of Collins' bulls escaped and ran rampant through the streets of northwest Las Vegas. Police shot the bull with a tranquilizer dart, but not until it charged a woman, sending her to the hospital with minor injuries. A cow also escaped, and was captured. Collins got slapped with a misdemeanor, just as he did about six weeks earlier when he was shooting -- while drinking -- on his property. A stubborn tree resisted his chainsaw, reports theLas Vegas Sun, so the commish got mad and opened fire (apparently shooting at a wooden post, as well). Collins, a Democrat, is running for re-election against a Republican and an Independent American, but the incidents apparently haven't hurt his standing. In fact, they may have helped, judging by the sentiment of a commenter on the Review-Journal bull-incident article. "Kerrie Heretic" enthusiastically supported Collins and his cattle's antics: "This town has turned into an entire population of wusses ... most of the men here are a bunch of metrosexuals, who are more concerned with the kind of hair product they use than being real men." Collins, as near as we can tell, doesn't fret about his hair: He usually appears in a big straw cowboy hat.

This edition of Heard around the West was guest-edited by Jonathan Thompson.

Tips and photos of Western oddities are appreciated and often shared in this column. Write [email protected]

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