Sometimes, you just have to admire the creativity of the police. When they don't have enough real criminals (or perhaps the word is "cash"), they can be endlessly inventive. In fact, the best among them can create nefarious miscreants out of saintly do-gooders.
That's exactly what happened up in Regina, Canada, last week, when police caught a man named Dane Rusk not wearing a seatbelt.
Why had Dane dared to disengage the safety device? He had been leaving the local mall, all buckled up, when he came to a stop sign:
"I stopped and looked and I saw this homeless guy holding a sign," [Dane] Rusk said. "I instantly felt sorry for him."
He unbuckled his belt to get to his wallet and give the guy $3. And for being in a car with his belt unbuckled, he received a $175 traffic ticket.
The panhandler was actually an undercover cop.
Moments after giving the guy some money:
Rusk was pulled over by police and issued a ticket.
"I said, 'What do you mean? I didn't talk to any police officer,' and he said, 'Well ya, you gave him money,'" Dusk said.
"I said, 'Oh, the homeless guy?'"
The person Rusk handed change to was an undercover cop, and Rusk received the fine for not wearing a seat belt.
Rusk said he was "pretty shocked" by the incident. "The ticket's $175 and the three dollars I gave to him – I'm out $178 all because I was trying to help out a homeless guy."
The police went on to explain that the real reason they went after Rusk was that intersections are dangerous and somehow he was contributing to that. But perhaps the biggest crime in Regina is trying to be a decent human being.