Filed under: weird

‘Better Than D.B. Cooper?’ The Unfolding Saga of the ‘Where’s Waldo Bandit’

Ryan Homsley wrote the following Facebook update sometime on Wednesday: “ db cooper was a great man….the wheres waldo bandit will be better….see ya gys in seattle next.” Homsley, by his own admission, had just become a bank robber. In the process he also acquired a nickname, one he readily embraced: “the Where’s Waldo Bandit.” Surveillance photos made of the 29-year-old Portland, Oregon artist made it clear as to why he’d been equated with the bespectacled cartoon character with the distinctive striped shirt–Homsley looked just like “Waldo,” minus the jaunty hat.

Police believe Ryan Homsley entered a Key Bank branch in Bridgeport Village in Southwest Portland on Sept. 21 with what he said was a bomb. He demanded cash from the teller. Surveillance photos helped police identify Homsley by the following Wednesday.

And on Wednesday night, Ryan Homsley doubled down by taunting cops on his Facebook page. He made the surveillance image of him in his ‘Waldo’ sweater his profile photo. Homsley said he was doing it to pay medical bills and that he was heading up to Seattle.

Homsley also had a MySpace account:

http://www.myspace.com/jesusridingadinosaur

He was still actively using the account up till Sept. 18, posting status updates:

drinking an Orange Crush and chilling out on some dilaudid I just got from OhSU thanks to Dr. King in the Internal Medicine department
Mood: mung

4 days ago

acid casuality with a reposessed car…vietnam vet playing air guitar…just watching the sun so far
Mood: edgy

2:52 PM Sep 3

i think of the immortal words of Socrates who said “I drank what?”
Mood: Romanesque

1:46 PM Sep 2

feeling pretty good today….made some money…hanging out with April today….wondering where my shades are at
Mood: core

5:10 PM Aug 29

Homsley blogged a bit on MySpace. It was hard to make heads or tails of many posts. They looked like collages of his own writing mingled with unattributed, copied text. One blog entry from March this year did seem too personal to have been written by anyone but the blogger:

I am becoming more and more numb to the fact that tomorrow I will wake up and I’ll be 60. That one day I’ll realize that all of this sorrow I feel now is really pain management for the future. That every day I am put through the crucible again and again to understand that I AM NOT SPECIAL. I should have been an arsonist because I am very talented at burning the world around me. I am almost creative when it comes to new and unique ways of burning the lives around me. My life has become the end of happiness for those around me. Maybe we were born not to live our lives, but better those around us. If that is true than I am death, the desroyer of worlds. I just want to live. I want to become the bright lil love of your life. I want to know what it’s like to have purpose. I just want to love, but I’m, incapable…so now I drink.

A year before the post quoted above, Ryan Homsley wrote another blog entry that spoke of “hopelessness and agression towards the state of things.” He continued:

As hard as I try it’s not good enough. I am once again without shelter and, even though I am not in pain due to my stash of vicodin provided by my good doctor, I am in a rut of not being able to find work. No matter what the situation is I seem to end up a rope burning from the bottom. The sunlight pisses me off and it’;s because I spent the whole nite wandering up and down Holgate street due of the situation I’m in. It’s my own fault. I sometimes get the notion that I’m destined to live in this shit for the rest of my yank. Doomed to wander like a loud Radiohead song and forced to feel like a derelict in a giant outdoor insane asylum called PORTLAND. Fuck all of this. Fuck the world, fuck the pills, fuck the job.

A month before Homsley’s ‘fuck everything’ blog post, the artist published another entry that is too ironic in light of what he’s accused of to not quote in its entirety (still worth noting that it really is hard to tell in his MySpace blog where Homsley is speaking and where he’s quoting–he wasn’t often concerned with sourcing):

robber masks
Many of you laughed at me when I put ski masks on the great big list of things that make me angry. Many of you disagreed with my stance that they are a public menace with no redeeming qualities. Many of you thought my campaign to have them renamed “robber masks” was a waste of time. But at least one public official has joined the fight against ski masks (albeit a full year after the campaign began). Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton has proposed stiffer sentences for criminals who wear ski masks when committing crimes. The chief proposes adding two years or 25 percent of the sentence, whichever is more, for wearing a mask…

Homsley is probably too busy avoiding the FBI and Portland authorities to respond, but a message has been sent to him asking about the nature of his illness, among other things. Mr. Homsley, if you read this, let us know.

Waldo, of “Where’s Waldo” fame

Back on Facebook, a couple of Ryan Homsley’s friends have already acknowledged his posts about committing the robbery by either liking the status or responding. Commenting on Homsley’s “im now a bank robber” status, a friend named Nikki simply said, “somehow, i am not surprised.”

There is a reward for information leading to Ryan Homsley’s arrest. If you think you can help call the FBI at 503-224-4181. If the situation is dangerous, call 911.

Ryan M. Homsley

 [ThePortlander]

The Forsberg Mystery: Where is Marcia?

The Forsberg Mystery presents the kind of intrigue journalists often find irresistible. Rick and Marcia Forsberg might understand such curiosity. They met nearly 4 decades ago as student journalists. This is from the Oxnard (CA) Press-Courier, Oct. 26, 1975, an article about Ventura College’s student newspaper, the Pirate Press:

During the years romance also entered into the Pirate Press staff activities. Rick Forsberg, editor in 1968, married Marcia Litoff, editor in 1969, and they are pursuing literary careers together.

Now no one has seen 61-year-old cancer survivor Marcia Forsberg for months. Her husband is missing too. It’s probably not a big surprise that he’s also a person-of-interest in Marcia’s disappearance.

The last time Orange County Sheriff’s detectives saw Richard Forsberg, age 61, was Tuesday, August 24. That’s when detectives with the Sheriff’s Dept. interviewed him about his wife’s vanishing act. After all, he’d never filed a missing persons’ report, even though friends had not seen Marcia since February.

The couples’ friends found it odd when Marcia blinked out of sight a few months ago. Richard’s behavior didn’t help. From the Orange County Register:

Carrie Aberto, a neighbor, said she received a letter from one of Forsberg’s friends from Oxnard. The friend wrote that she was concerned for Marcia, and wanted to know if there were signs of her in the neighborhood. But neighbors hadn’t seen her either.

Aberto said Richard Forsberg also began acting strangely about two months earlier. When talking to neighbors he would ramble into tangents, she said. When asked about his wife, he said she had left him and gone to Arizona.

Cops asked Richard about not filing a report and he told them the Arizona story. Richard said he’d last seen her on March 13.

Marcia’s Arizona friend said Marcia wasn’t there.

Cops tried to follow up with Richard but couldn’t find him.

Cops have searched the Forsberg’s residence in Rancho Santa Margarita and most recently gone door-to-door searching for the Forsbergs. Richard hasn’t shown up to his job with the Costa Mesa Coast Community College District.

There hasn’t been any activity on either his or his wife’s cell phones.

As recently as October, 2009, the Forsbergs seemed like a healthy, happy couple. They were featured in an article in the Ojai Valley News. The article was about Nordhoff High School’s 100th anniversary celebratory festival and something called “Dance For the Generations.” Rick and Marcia Forsberg smile at the reader from a blurry photo accompanying the piece. The article tells how the Forsbergs met “on the first day at Ventura College” in journalism class. The Forsbergs went to Nordhoff High reunions on an almost yearly basis so Marcia could see old friends. The article continued:

Marcia is a retired writer and editor who has done graduate study in art history, and Rick is a college administrator. Marcia Forsberg especially wants to add, “Everyone who organized this, our whole class says thank you! We are having a blast. The class of ’67 rules!” She and her former classmates piled into the photo booth that was in the Nordhoff gym lobby during the dance to capture another memory in the warm Ojai legacy.

Police believe that if Richard Forsberg is still alive, he is in his wife’s silver VW Bug, CA license # 4TIM403.

Julian Assange Accused of Being Even Creepier Than He Seems [See Update at End of Post]

(I debated tackling something this big in the first real post here because no one reads this blog yet–there’s nothing to read. Then I decided, ‘to hell with it, you gotta start somewhere.’)

Make no mistake – Wikileaks.org does good work. They seek to shine a light in some of the darker corners of existence, scare human cockroaches and make them scuttle into the open. However, Wikileaks was founded by a strange, troubled, brilliant man, 39-year-old Australian Julian Assange. Assange, for all his genius (and this is not debatable; there is ample evidence the man is literally a genius), also seems deeply self-absorbed, grandiose and in the grip of a persecution paranoia that may outstrip any any actual persecution thrown his way. Today he has more reason than ever to claim persecution: he has been accused of rape and molestation.

He allegedly met one of his accusers last weekend in Stockholm while in Sweden to lecture on one of his pet themes, that the “first victim of war is truth.” Assange allegedly met his second accuser in Enköping last Tuesday morning, reports the Swedish tabloid Expressen. Stockholm City prosecutor Mary Häljebo Kjell Beach told the paper that Assange has been charged in absentia, as Swedish authorities have been unable to track him down. (Expressen appears to have an Enquirer-like reputation in Sweden, but The National Enquirer has also broken some very real and big news in the United States in recent years.)

The Swedish paper reports, via anonymous sources, that the alleged victims are frightened of Assange’s perceived power and hesitant to go forward with their cases. A source who knows the women said they  know each other.

Julian Assange, as anyone might do, has defended himself against the allegations via Twitter: “Julian Assange: the charges are without basis and their issue at this moment is deeply disturbing.”

Wikileaks also posted a blog entry about the charges:

On Saturday 21st of August, we have been made aware of rape allegations made against Julian Assange, founder of this project and one of our spokespeople.

We are deeply concerned about the seriousness of these allegations. We the people behind WikiLeaks think highly of Julian and and he has our full support…

Wikileaks stated that it will continue its normal operations while Assange defends himself against the accusations.

Another tweet regarding the charges against Assange was striking in that it was clearly part of a long-term Wikileaks effort to make it clear that they are an organization (however loosely organized) under siege. The tweet contained a link to the Expressen article and this statement: “We were warned to expect “dirty tricks”. Now we have the first one…”

The implication seemed clear: the accusations against Julian Assange are part of a likely CIA-sponsored campaign to discredit Wikileaks by attacking its most visible representative. This would be in retaliation, of course, for multiple (and in one case, massive) Afghan and Iraq-related leaks posted on the organization’s main website.

In Wikileaks’ defense, there is no debating the fact that the Pentagon is angry at the previous exposures–they have stated as much, calling the Afghan War Diary documents damaging and dangerous, both to American soldiers in the field and Afghan operatives assisting in the fight against the Taliban. If Julian Assange is innocent of the charges and Wikileaks is correct about “dirty tricks,” the ironic thing is the incident plays into a mindset that Assange has already expressed for years–even before he had any clear, logical reason to feel as if he was being oppressed.

In his blog at IQ.org, kept for several years in the last decade, Assange often expressed an outlook limned with paranoia, but one particular blog post published in July, 2006–around the time Wikileaks first went online–seemed unusually insightful:

If there is a book whose feeling captures me it is First Circle by Solzhenitsyn. To feel that home is the comraderie of persecuted, and infact, prosecuted, polymaths in a Stalinist slave labor camp! How close the parallels to my own adventures! What longing one has when reading Solzhenitsyn’s love for his first cell of self similars! Such prosecution in youth is a defining peak experience. To know the state for what it really is! To see through that veneer the educated swear to disbelieve in but still slavishly follow with their hearts! 

Assange goes on a poetic tangent about Saturn’s rings after the paragraph above (he was fond of poetic tangents in many posts on IQ.org) and ends with a flourish:

True belief begins only with a jackboot at the door. True belief forms when lead into the dock and referred to in the third person. True belief is when a distant voice booms ‘the prisoner shall now rise’ and no one else in the room stands. 

The takeaway? Even when accused of sex crimes, it may well be that Julian Assange is exactly where he wants to be–on a crucifix he lovingly fashioned long ago inside his mind.

UPDATE: As this post was nearing completion, Swedish authorities dropped the arrest warrant for Julian Assange. Al-Jazeera reports that the chief prosecutor said there is “no reason to suspect that [Assange] has committed rape.”

Given his past statements about the joy of persecution, it may be Julian Assange who is most disappointed by this development.