Ohio State troopers have truly amazing powers of observation. They stopped Norman Gurley on a routine speeding violation. But, the sharp-eyed officers noticed “several wires running to the back of the car.” So, rather than figuring it was none of their business whether or not Gurley’s vehicle had wires, they followed them and found a secret compartment in the vehicle.
I’m curious about what sort of secret compartment uses wires that anyone can casually notice by looking in the vehicle. But that issue is not addressed in the original story—which, as the Reason blog notes, demonstrates “no notable journalistic skepticism whatsoever.”
Channel 3 was not able to shoot video of that car right now because it is being held as evidence, but we can tell you it’s “hide” was accessed electronically, meaning you needed to perform a series of events in the correct order, and the false floor seats or taillights would then pop out, revealing the secret compartment.
The secret compartment or “hide” was “big enough to carry several pounds of drugs.”
So how many pounds of what drug did they find in there?
Troopers arrested 30-year-old Norman Gurley, who didn’t even have any drugs on him, but it didn’t matter, because in Ohio, just driving a “trap” car is now a felony.
“Without the hidden compartment law, we would not have had any charges on the suspect,” says Combs.
But because of this law, one more “trap car” is now off Northeast Ohio roads.
“We apparently caught them between runs, so to speak, so this takes away one tool they have in their illegal trade. The law does help us and is on our side,” says Combs
They “apparently” caught a guy who had an empty compartment in his car. The rest is guess work. But we are all supposed to feel thankful to the Ohio Legislature for empowering state troopers to accost people who secretly smuggle air through the state. The Reason blog notes:
As for the car itself, the Institute for Justice’s 2010 “Policing for Profit” report calculated that law enforcement officials in the state have collected more than $80 million in shared proceeds from asset forfeiture funds. Oh, and the hidden compartment law exempts vehicles being operated by law enforcement officers, so if state troopers can come up with an excuse to use the ride they just grabbed, they may be able to keep it for themselves.
If you live in Ohio and have a geeky child who owns a care and likes to innovate, put them on notice they had better check local laws before Han-Soloing their automotive Millennium Falcon.