The man dubbed The Nude Dude perpetrated one of the most confounding cases in the history of crime in East Toledo.
When finally caught, the former All-State track star ran up 97 cases of indecent exposure, said Bob Morrissey, a retired Toledo Police Detective.
The Nude Dude's modus operandi was to break into a house occupied by a woman, jump up and down, dance around, scream "Ya-aa-hoe," and masturbate. As you might guess, he was naked. Except for construction boots. Some of the women were asleep, some watched in horror or amusement.
As the frequency of the Nude Dude's antics increased and the media exposed the story, Toledo Police plotted the incidents on a map and staked out East Toledo neighborhoods. Morrissey was in on those stake outs and he recalls how puzzled and frustrated police became as they tightened the net and chased leads only to find themselves one step behind the former track star.
How The Nude Dude was nabbed and how he was able to elude the police he heard running around him like The Keystone Cops for so long is the a side-splitting story in Morrissey's first book Humorous Beat: Actual Funny Police Stories.
This story is the best of 39 funny and touching vignettes. And, it's a story with some redeeming social value. When Morrissey interviewed victims after the cased was cleared, he encountered a young man who confided he was divorcing his wife because he had seen the muddy footprint of a strange construction boot in their bedroom. Suspecting infidelity and not believing his wife's pleas of innocence, he had initiated divorce proceedings. After Morrissey confirmed the boot belonged to the Nude Dude, he brought the wife into the detective bureau to explain his strange case.
Morrissey, 68, now retired in Port St. Lucie, Florida, spent 33 years with the Toledo Police Department from 1960 to 93. He came of age as an officer during a turbulent time--the 60s. It was an era of Viet Nam, race riots, peace demonstrations, a high murder rate and a general distrust of "the pigs." The times created enormous stress for him and his fellow officers and while some found relief in alcohol, Bob found a unique way to cope. He kept a journal of humorous cases to amuse himself and keep in touch with his humanity while chasing those who had lost theirs.
Also included are stories about elaborate practical jokes officers played on each other and the use of humor and ruses to defuse tense domestic situations. The ad libbing by some officers would make a stand-up comic jealous. You leave these stories realizing just how quick these guys can think. They had to, Bob says.
"On every call you go on, someone could go to jail very easily because when someone calls the police the thing is out of hand...it's reached its peak. Every house you go to that's what you run into...You have to watch what you say because everybody's hot," he explained.
Bob worked two years on the East Side with Unit 2, the paddy wagon with the motto "You call, we haul." He also worked homicide, juvenile and crime prevention. He's involved in about 50 per cent of the 39 stories that deal with such off beat subjects as a drunken woodchuck, sex on top of a patrol car, a prostitute branding her johns with a cigarette lighter and a monster swimming in the Maumee River.
In one of his favorite moments, he and his partner located a 90-year-old man ex-Marine who had walked away from a nursing home. The man told them he wouldn't go back without a fight. He was bored with nursing home life and was out in his bathrobe looking for a little excitement. He told the officers, "The only excitement I get is watching spit run down a chin."
The men in blue took him to a Cherry Street bar, dropped him off and picked him up a few hours, a few drinks and a lipstick stain later. When they arrived he was surrounded by women and everyone was laughing at his stories. Bob was touched by the man's spirit and proud to have been a part of his last fling.
A number of Bob's stories take place on the East Side including one about some men fishing on the river, so scared by the thrashing of an approaching monster they left their gear on shore, fled to safety and called police.
Bob's ties to The East Side go back to when he was growing up in North Toledo and regularly crossed the Ash Street Bridge to play football. "It was the only time we weren't fighting," he said. Those games were played for a trophy the kids scrounged from the trash, painted and called The Purple Toilet Seat.
Bob later played football at the University of Toledo and reunited with many East Siders when he help found the semi-pro Toledo Tornadoes football team.
If you liked the old television show Barney Miller, you'd enjoy Bob's stories.
You may purchase Bob's book at Borders for $13.95, visit www.backyardpublisher.com or send $16 to him at 8286 Spicebush Terr. Port St. Lucie, FL 34952-2625. You may comment at zoz.presspublications.com