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February 16 • 12:24 PM
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Get by with a little help from (feathered) friends


January 30, 2019
Continuing my trip down memory lane, I thought I'd resurrect a column I'd written in the early Spring of 2008, about an incident at my home that left me shaken up for a long, long time. Turns out, I found some humor in it after all, and then let it go. Here it is:

Chicken fingered. Yep. That's no typo. And this is no cock-and-bull story.

I know who rules the roost around here and whose feathers got ruffled.

The story unfolds in an interrogation room. The sitting duck? The guy who broke into my house. The guy who makes me mad as a wet hen. The detective? A St. Clair County Sheriff's deputy. Jacobsen's her name and she's not about to count her chickens before they've hatched. She's pretty much had enough of the wild goose chase. She's just about got a bird in the hand and she

shadow
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knows it.

Detective Jacobsen needs my help, though, to clip this guy's wings. And I'm more than anxious to help feather the nest—which despite my peace-loving-Buddhist-look-at-all-creatures-with-the-eyes-of-compassion training I hope will be a stark, cold jail cell so he won't be breaking into anyone else's house anytime soon.

The detective leaves an explicit message on my cell phone, outlining what she needs from me to cook this guy's goose. Here it is:

"Hi, this is Detective Jacobsen calling from the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department. I'm calling for Catherine Minolli.

"There's not a problem, I'm just calling to follow up on a break in reported at your home in October of 2007. There's been some follow up work done and we have a suspect identified.

"He's been interviewed and shown pictures of many places and he acknowledges that he's pretty certain this is one of the houses he broke into. He couldn't be 100 percent positive, but he thought he got a little money out of there. We're pretty certain that it's him, but a question he asked that came up but we could not answer for him was if there were any chickens running loose in the yard.

"He thought that this house would have had some chickens running loose when he was there and if that's the case, he is certain that he broke into your house.

"So please give me a call, number one to let me know you got the message and number two to see if you had any chickens running around in your yard back in October when this happened.

"Unfortunately, well, not unfortunately this guy was interviewed in January and I'm just getting all the reports rounded up. There has been a delay and I apologize for that.

"Last I know, the guy was locked up in Genesee County jail. He's on parole and he'll probably go right back to prison after whatever happens there and here. He's been in many counties doing this.

"Please leave me a message to let me know if there's a good time during the day to talk to you. I can give you more details when you give me a call."

What can I say? The guy's been chicken fingered. Simple as that. Those little hens probably tried to run him off the property. They're very curious and quite territorial. While he was tearing through my house like a chicken with his head cut off, the chickens were running around making an impression. He's been fingered. The big chicken!!!!

I don't know why I'm getting such a kick out of this. Probably because the guy's been caught—chicken fingered as I seem to want to say again and again. The absurdity of the situation tickles me, kind of like a feather...(forgive me).

...Actually, I know all about the guy. We wrote about him back in January when he was picked up in Genesee County and tied to a bunch of Lapeer and St. Clair county home invasions.

"This guy (his name) is a parole violator and a repeat offender who was breaking into a lot of homes in October," said Lt. Det. Gary Parks of the Lapeer County Sheriff's Dept. when interviewed for the story.

Parks said the guy was arrested while driving a stolen truck that contained goods taken from a residence near Ubly. They found a bunch of other stuff, too.

"That truck was filled to the brim," Genesee County Sheriff Lt. Kevin Shanlian said. "(Chicken-fingered) said he couldn't remember all of (the break-ins), but he gave us details on about 15 or 16 B&Es."

Ho hum. How very tedious it is breaking into other people's homes. Yawn, how absolutely boring it must be to take stuff that others worked hard to earn...Unless, of course they have chickens...

"Shanlian said (chicken man) targeted secluded rural homes, many of them a distance from the road or camouflaged by trees," the story continues. "If he didn't see any cars, he would go up, knock on the door and if no one responded...he would break in."

I suppose he'll have to change his M.O. Breaking into a house with chickens really is for the birds. And the bird-brained.

Okay. I'm done now.

Email Catherine at cminolli@pageone-inc.com

Catherine Minolli is Managing Editor of the Tri-City Times. She began as a freelance writer with the Times in 1994. She enjoys the country life, including raising ducks and chickens.
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