On June 20, Paul Crowell of Waukesha, Wisconsin, was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to "possession of an electric weapon," namely a Taser that he had stolen from a police officer. Crowell's father has pleaded guilty to the same offense and is to be sentenced in August. Junior and Senior were both apprehended after they posted a video on YouTube of themselves shocking each other with the stolen weapon.
According to reports, Crowell, 22, stole the Taser from a squad car in East Troy, Wisconsin, on New Year's Day. Crowell was being allowed to warm up in the squad car because he had driven his own car into a ditch. Within hours of the theft, Crowell and his father were apparently having a great time using the Taser on each other, to the point that they decided it would be fun to capture the moment, or moments, on video.
And I think it was Stephen Hawking who proved that the more incriminating the video, the greater the pull of YouTube will become until its force is so great that no video can escape being posted there.
To complete what became a real masterwork, Crowell then showed the video to a teenage girl, presumably also telling her the Taser was stolen, because she then promptly reported the matter to police. They, of course, were easily able to track down Crowell and his dad by means of the clip. They found the weapon in Crowell's home.
Does stealing a Taser from a police officer really warrant two years in jail? Well, no — but Crowell was already on probation when he did it. He has already been in prison at least a couple of times for what the article described as "taking a vehicle without the owner's consent," which I thought was called "stealing" but maybe there is some nuance I'm not aware of. In fact, if I'm reading this correctly, Crowell's Taser theft violated a probation that he was on in the first place partly because he violated the terms of an earlier probation. (There might be another probation in there somewhere — this report isn't very clear.)
So, let's review. In just one day, Mr. Crowell:
- Drove into a ditch
- Stole weapon from police car
- Did so while on probation
- Which was for violating an earlier probation
- Used stolen weapon to shock own father
- Received shock from father with same weapon
- Filmed use of stolen weapon
- Posted video of self with stolen weapon on YouTube
- Proved Stephen Hawking correct
- Told teenage girl about video
That's a pretty impressive record.