February 24, 2006
(Toledo, OH) For Officer Mark Roberts, the call seemed legitimate.
“Unit 12, see the male in Lot 13 with the white Accura. Student’s car needs to be jumped.”
Heading immediately to the stranded motorist, nothing looked out of the ordinary to the veteran UT officer. White car. Hood up. Befuddled young man with a Rockets shirts.
Things turned strange in a hurry.
“After 3 or 4 unsuccessful tries, I noticed the positive cable had been disconnected from the solenoid,” Roberts said. “What should have been a simple jumpstart became ugly.”
The student, Matthew Shiraz, claimed that the cable must have been tampered with by two “gangsta-looking dudes” who ran from the car just before he got there.
“I’m not going to let this tragedy stand in my way of getting to my job at Tim Horton’s,” Shiraz was quoted. “In spite of everything, I still feel that UT’s parking lots are well-maintained.”
In actuality, though, Shiraz made the entire story up.
Now, the 5th-year accounting major faces a hefty roadside service charge plus reimbursement to the UT Police Department for its expenses, estimated by a spokesperson at “ten or twenty dollars.”
Left: UT prof Dr. Timothy Curry
Such false roadside claims are a “cry for help,” said UT Professor of psychology Dr. Timothy Curry.
“Usually the person is going through some sort of trauma, and this is a way that person can reach out,” he said. “I remember one couple – let’s call them ‘Brad’ and ‘Janet’ – who were nearly killed because of ‘Brad’s’ broken-down-car gag.”
Curry said that these disturbed individuals often go through an intricate choreographic process in planning their false reports.
Officer Roberts agreed.
“I just put the jump to the left,” he said, motioning to the portable unit. “And then I stepped to the right. The next thing I knew, he put his hand on lip, and the creeps were out of sight.”
But it was the Celtic cross that really made the crime plain, said Roberts.
“He had this religious medallion that fell off when he monkeyed with the wiring,” he said. “I knew it was his, because it matched the tattoo on his arm.”
Worst of all, as a part-time UT mascot, Shiraz may lose steady employment.
“I can’t picture the horror of this Rocky showing up at a UT game,” said football coach Tom Amstutz. brrreeeport krugle