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Humor | October 12, 2012

Desperate times, desperate measures


Zombies on the move in Maine, a $1 bank robbery and a really dumb way to scam a free meal

In a photo provided by WGME/TV, a sign at a road construction site was changed by a hacker to read "Warning Zombies Ahead!" in Portland, Maine, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Peterson, WGME/TV)

Have you ever felt like you were living in a horror film? Well drivers in Porland, Maine certainly did on Wednesday. Motorists passing through a construction zone expected the flashing electronic sign to tell them about delays and detours. Instead, it read, "Warning Zombies Ahead!" But it turns out, the message wasn't authorized through official channels.

A computer programmer hacked into the sign and posted the dire warning for a laugh. The sign originally read "Night work 8 pm-6 am. Expect delays." City spokeswoman Nicole Clegg described the signs as a safety precaution and said changing one could have led to driver distraction. Given that Clegg said nothing about the content of the hacker's message, I'm more worried about the city's zombie problem than driver distraction.

Jeffrey McMullen of Pennsylvania must be worried about zombies too, so worried that he's desperately trying to get sent to federal prison. Ok, maybe that's not why, but he is trying to go to prison. McMullen, a 50-year-old regular customer of an AmeriServ bank in the western Pennsylvania town of Northern Cambria, handed notes to two tellers Friday demanding a measly dollar, according to a police complaint reported by The Tribune-Democrat of Johnstown. The tellers, understandably, thought it was a joke. McMullen then spoke with a new accounts employee and repeated his claim that he intended to rob the bank for a buck.

Police said McMullen apparently wanted to be prosecuted federally so he could be taken to a prison in central Pennsylvania, but they couldn't say why. One of the notes given to tellers said, "FBI custody. Preferably Loretto Pa. No press. Seal all files," according to the complaint. Police took the request to mean that McMullen hoped authorities would not publicize his case. The other note said, "Federal bank robbery. Please hand over $1.00." Since the police aren't sure what to make of this one, and I'm not either, I'm sticking to the zombie theory.

But perhaps it's just that desperate times call for desperate measures. In St. Petersburg, Fla., one man was so desperate for dinner that he impersonated a police officer to get free food at McDonald's. According to police reports, Joseph Pineda flashed a fake gun and badge and demanded free food from the drive-thru. He told employees that he deserved a free meal because had just come from a sting operation and didn't have his wallet. Skeptical employees called the police. When officers arrived, Pineda initially ignored commands to show his hands but eventually surrendered at gunpoint. Authorities said they found two fake police badges and a handgun in the center console of his car. Yikes-all of that for a double cheeseburger. I bet Pineda isn't "lovin it" so much now.