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Bluff The Listener


BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT, WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis. We're playing this week with Joel Kim Booster, Paula Poundstone and Maeve Higgins. And here again is your host, a man whose tulip display just won first place at the local garden show, Peter Sagal.


Thank you, Bill. Right now, it is time for the WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to play our game on the air. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

KARI SHERRY: Hi. This is Kari Sherry from Flagstaff, Ariz.

SAGAL: Hey, how are things in beautiful Flagstaff?

SHERRY: They are beautiful.

SAGAL: Oh, it's great up there, I know. What do you do there?

SHERRY: I am a school bus driver for the local school district.

SAGAL: Hey, famously, school bus drivers are known for their colorful personalities.

SHERRY: (Laughter).

SAGAL: So do you have a - have you tried to cultivate the kids with your own colorful personality?

SHERRY: Oh, yes (laughter).

SAGAL: Oh, really? So what kind of routines do you do over the PA?

SHERRY: I make sure they know all the rules of the bus. I make sure they know there's cameras everywhere (laughter). And then I - with the little kids, I say, now, if you were listening so good right now, you give me a big yee-haw. And I let them scream as loud as they want to.

SAGAL: Well, Kari, it is great to have you with us. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what's Kari's topic?

KURTIS: You're busted, buster.

SAGAL: Nobody wants to get caught red-handed unless, of course, you're one of the original cave painters of Lascaux. That is the most NPR joke ever told. Our panelists are going to tell you three stories of someone who got busted in a surprising way. Pick the one who's telling the truth, and you'll win our prize. You ready to play?


SAGAL: Let's hear first from Maeve Higgins.

MAEVE HIGGINS: Big news out of D.C. basketball this week as Virginia Warhawks player Moses Townsend (ph) was finally sentenced for his part in last year's criminal conspiracy that shocked the NBA. Townsend and his associates broke into their opponents' training grounds and replaced the air inside their basketballs with bowling balls.


HIGGINS: The crime caused some bruised toes and a lot of crying. Townsend had broken his bail and absconded. As police searched for him, it's thought he was working as a hat stand in a nice hotel. That is, until he walked into the wrong kind of court. Busted. Townsend thought he was going to a basketball court but ended up in a court of law. His big, old feet betrayed him by walking there. A mistake, for sure. But why? Maybe because, like so many ballers, he's tall, meaning his feet are very far from his brain.


SAGAL: So, Kari, your guess is as good as mine as to what happened there. And in the meantime, your next story of someone caught with their metaphorical...

HIGGINS: It's a story - it's a real story from the news, Peter.

SAGAL: It's a - OK. All right. Your next story of someone caught with their metaphorical pants down comes from Paula Poundstone.

POUNDSTONE: The order for the arrest of Italian mobster Marc Feren Claude Biart on charges of drug trafficking for the Cacciola clan was issued in 2014. Biart fled to Boca Chica, a beach town in the Dominican Republic. To avoid capture, he and his wife laid low, kept to themselves. The beautiful beach of Boca Chica is a vacation destination for many Italians. There was plenty to do there. There are bars, restaurants, kayaking, books, a variety of bird species. The capital city is only 19 miles away.

Soon, the desire to make a YouTube Italian cooking show grew too much for them. Biart was careful to avoid showing his face on camera. The tattoos on his arms, by which he was identified, however, were in clear sight. Biart may now be shopping to interested networks, prison cooking shows such as "Chiffon Irons," "The Great British Off" and "It Will Be A Shame If Something Happened To Your Top Chef."

SAGAL: An Italian mafiosa on the run from the police is caught when he starts posting cooking lessons to YouTube. Your last story of someone seized at last comes from Joel Kim Booster.

JOEL KIM BOOSTER: Nancy Sutton's (ph) family had been in possession of a priceless Regency wall clock for generations until it was stolen, along with various other valuables, during a burglary in 2018. With no leads and no suspects, Sutton was devastated by the loss and resigned herself to never seeing her family's precious clock again. That is, until one fateful evening watching her favorite TV show with husband Bill, "House Hunters," there it was, plain as day right on the wall of a two-story duplex for sale in Philadelphia, Sutton explained, recognizing the clock almost immediately.

I couldn't believe what I was seeing, her husband adding, and I couldn't believe that the couple thought they could afford a four-bedroom on their budget. Sutton was soon on the phone with the producers of "House Hunters," telling them that the house had been carefully staged for sale with her possessions. And then she called the police. Initially, the homeowner said he had gotten all the items at an estate sale. But when asked how much he paid for them, he slipped and said - what do you mean, pay? He was arrested and soon confessed and asked why he would allow cameras into his home to document his crimes. He simply said "House Hunters" routinely gets you 20% over asking. It's like stealing - well, sort of.

SAGAL: All right. Here are your stories of someone being caught for a crime they might have gotten away with. From Maeve Higgins, an NBA player who replaced basketballs with bowling balls for the opposing team, caught by his own feet; from Paula Poundstone, an Italian mafia boss on the run and in hiding who revealed himself by doing a YouTube series on Italian cooking; or from Joel Kim Booster, a thief who got caught when he decorated his house with stolen items and put it on "House Hunters" for sale. Which of these is the real story of someone being nabbed in an unusual way?

SHERRY: Oh, boy, this is a tricky one. I think I'm going to choose B.

SAGAL: OK. Your choice is Paula. Well, to bring you the correct answer, we spoke to someone who covered the real story.

TEO ARMUS: He was filming YouTube videos of himself teaching Italian cooking recipes in which he would cut out his face but still have his tattoos visible.


SAGAL: That was Teo Armus, a reporter at The Washington Post, the person who reported this story. And as you heard, the guy got caught because even though he was careful not to show his face, you could see his tattoos, which, you know, associates of his recognize. Congratulations. You've won a point for Paula, and you've won our game. Congratulations.

SHERRY: Oh, thank you so much. This is a total bucket list thing to do.

SAGAL: Oh, I'm so glad.

HIGGINS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Thank you so much. Take care.


SAGAL: Bye-bye.

SHERRY: Bye-bye.


RAY CHARLES: (Singing) My bills are all due, and the baby needs shoes. And I'm busted. Cotton is down to a quarter a pound, but I'm busted. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.