Thursday, August 06, 2009

Upside to Obesity
George Vera--Man With the Hidden Gun

Two weeks ago, I went on weight watchers. Being overweight is unhealthy, unsexy, and forces a fellow to shop at big-and-tall stores with terrible yet overpriced clothes. So wish me luck.

That said, being fat can have its advantages.
An obese Harris County jail inmate turned over a pistol that had been hidden in the folds of his skin after he went through at least five searches upon his arrest and was booked into two different local lockups, authorities said. George Vera, 25, is charged with possession of a firearm in a correctional facility. [...] The Houston Police Department, which operates the city jail, and the Harris County Sheriff's Office, which operates the county jail, are investigating. [...]

A spokesman for the Houston Police Department, Kese Smith, said that procedures call for a suspect to be searched upon arrest, twice at the city jail and once more upon his transfer. He said there's no special provision regarding obese people, but officers are trained to thoroughly search suspects.

Vera, who is 5-foot-10 and weighs more 500 pounds, was arrested by Houston police and booked into the city jail Sunday on suspicion of bootlegging compact disc recordings, said Donna Hawkins, spokeswoman for the Harris County District Attorney's Office.

By Monday, Vera was transferred to the county jail, where he was searched at least once. While he was in the shower that day, he told a guard that he had weapon on him.

Garza said officers found a 9-millimeter handgun beneath folds of his skin. The gun was not loaded and it was unclear whether bullets were found. (Dale Lezon, The Houston Chronicle)

This story begs all kinds of questions--some I don't even want to ask. But here's one--don't the prisoners go through metal detectors? And if so, isn't there something inadequate about a metal detector that can't detect a gun hidden under a guy's, um, folds? Just wondering.

(Dale Lezon gets the most awesome stories at The Chronicle. I hope he's saving them up so he can write the truly demented crime novel that Houston deserves.)

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