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Thief makes off with streakers' car

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SPOKANE, Washington (Court TV) -- A car thief left a trio of streakers in Washington state out in the cold.

Three men who made a racy run through a Denny's restaurant earlier this month were themselves the victims of a keen-eyed customer who apparently made off with the naked men's car -- as well as the clothes they left inside.

The car was later recovered and the streakers do not face criminal charges, police said. But the car thief remains at large.

The three men reportedly stripped down to nothing but their shoes and hats in 20-degree weather on January 14 and proceeded to streak through a warm Denny's restaurant in Spokane.

In hopes of making a quick getaway, one of the pranksters left his blue 1988 Mazda running outside. According to police, another customer in the restaurant noticed the waiting car and drove off with it.

The streakers watched in horror as the car drove away, according to police. They gave chase but were unable to catch up and were forced to huddle nude behind a car in an adjacent parking lot until police arrived.

Several days later the owner of the car recovered his vehicle in a parking lot several miles from the Denny's, according to Spokane police spokesman Dick Cottam.

Authorities believe that car thief drove the vehicle a short distance and abandoned it, but that a second person may have stolen the car again, Cottam said.

The locks were broken and the ignition and radio were ripped out. The original thief would not have had to break into the car because it was left unlocked and running by its streaking owner, Cottam said.

The streakers could have faced charges of indecent exposure or lewd conduct but have not been charged because officers did not witness the incident, and nobody at the restaurant chose to make a complaint, Cottam said.

"They have had sufficient punishment," Cottam said.

Bank robber is a poor speller

SAYVILLE, New York -- He's an awful speller but, so far, a decent bank robber.

An unidentified man police call the "Spelling Bee Dropout" has been linked to at least seven bank robberies over a six-month period.

Despite misspelling words like "robbery" and "every," police believe the man has made off with between $5,000 and $10,000 since his spree began last June 24 at a Centereach Bank.

In the first two robberies, the suspect used computer-typed notes that were free of spelling and grammatical errors, police said. But in the following string of robberies, the notes were handwritten -- and poorly.

Selected works by the suspected robber include this verse given to a teller at a North Fork bank in Sayville last December: "This is a robery ... Hand over the cash do it fast no tricks and every one be ok."

Another sample of the suspect's worthy prose includes this note allegedly handed over at an HSBC Bank in Centereach: "This is a robrey ... Hand over cash fast + no one get hurt \ 50" + 100" only."

Police suspect that the robber may be intentionally butchering his notes to disguise his identity.

The suspect is described as a stocky white male with facial hair, 30 to 40 years old, standing 5 feet 7 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing 190 to 200 pounds.

The man, who usually wears a baseball cap and sunglasses, has never brandished a weapon but once threatened violence by including in his note a sketch of a gun with bullets coming out of it, according to police.

In every incident, the robber has quietly approached a teller, sometimes even waiting patiently in line for his turn.

At least once, the suspect's poor spelling backfired when a Washington Mutual bank teller reportedly laughed at the note and dismissed the robbery attempt. In that case, the robber just shook his head and walk away empty-handed, police said.

Suspect forgets to get rid of stick-up note

HILLSBOROUGH, North Carolina -- If you plan to rob a bank, don't let the police see your stick-up note.

That's the lesson to be learned from the misadventures of Christopher Fields.

Durham police charged Fields, 42, with attempting to rob the Central Carolina Bank earlier this month. But it was actually police in neighboring Hillsborough who nabbed the wanted man before he could apparently strike again.

Police reportedly received a call about a suspicious man lurking around the BB&T Bank in Hillsborough. The man allegedly entered the bank but never approached any tellers or conducted any bank business, according to police.

Responding officers Capt. Dexter Davis and Sgt. Brad Whitted spotted a man wearing a backpack walking toward the back of the bank. When the officers entered, the man walked out, police said.

Davis and Whitted stopped the man and asked for his identification, which he nervously produced.

Officers asked him if he had a weapon. To prove he did not, Fields opened his backpack. What the officers saw reportedly shocked -- and amused -- them.

Inside the bag, in plain sight, was a note that read: "I want $10,000 in $100 bills. Don't push no buttons, or I'll shot (sic) you." Fields reportedly told the amused officers that the note was not his.

As the officers handcuffed Fields and patted him down, they were in for a second surprise -- a 10-inch butcher knife allegedly fell out of his pants.

Hillsborough police contacted Durham police who were looking for Fields in connection with the attempted robbery of the Central Carolina Bank on January 12.

During that robbery attempt, the suspect allegedly handed over a note demanding a specific amount of cash in specific denominations. When the teller replied that she did not have the money in those denominations, the robber became angry and left the bank, according to police.

Hillsborough police did not charge Fields with any crimes since he did not actually attempt to rob the Hillsborough bank where he was caught.

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