Sometimes thieves steal for the money — swipe an item, sell it, pocket the dough. But then there's a far rarer breed: the thieves who steal because they just gotta have the item. Like, Catwoman and jewels, Gollum and the Ring, or Petaluma 18-year-old Benjamin Hawkins and, allegedly, women's underwear. Lots and lots of women's underwear.
According to Petaluma Police Department spokesperson Sergeant Paul Gilman, Hawkins was tooling along on his skateboard with five pair of purloined panties shoved down his jeans when he was nabbed. But that was just the tip of the lingerie iceberg.
The Petaluma Argus-Courier reports that Hawkins first came under suspicion when a neighbor of his reported Tuesday that her underwear and two guns were stolen from her home, at around the same time another neighbor reported seeing Hawkins with a suspiciously-similar gun case.
When police approached Hawkins, he told them that they were welcome to search his mother's home (in which he resides), as long as they stayed out of his room. Brilliant plan!
When cops came back with a warrant, they say they found both stolen guns, a 22 rifle, a double barrel shotgun, stolen jewelry, and over 500 pairs of panties.
Most of the panties were likely stolen “during lawful visits with his friends and residential burglaries,” Petaluma PD Sergeant Rick Cox told the Chron, but since then, Gilman says that "People started calling us saying, ‘I know that kid, he’s been in my house and my panties were stolen.'"
This isn't the first time Hawkins has attracted police attention: as a juvenile, Hawkins was reportedly charged with prowling and trespassing, and had repeatedly been found in neighbor’s backyards, the Argus-Courier reports.
"What we’re looking at is someone with a fetish...but how he goes about that fetish is against the law," Gilman said.
Well, it's grownup-charges time now for young Mr. Hawkins, including two felony burglary charges and possession of an unlawful shotgun. He's presently being held in the Sonoma County Jail on $40,000 bond. Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Petaluma Police Officer Robert Hawkins (presumably, no relation) at 707-781-1246.