The Power of Bad Persuasion

It's quitting time on May 6. A middle-age women leaves her job, arms loaded with a bulky television set. She makes her way through the parking lot, approaches the tailgate of her Jeep Wrangler, and unloads the TV. Then she looks up and sees something that surprises her: a man in her front seat.

Once confronted, however, the mysterious man claims that this is not her Jeep at all—in fact, it's his car. Could this possibly be true? Has she made some incredible mistake? No, she's sure this is her Jeep, and tells him so. Confronted by such decisiveness, he responds by abruptly yanking out her in-dash stereo and running away.

Determined not to lose her $180 stereo, the emboldened woman grabs a shoulder strap on the man's backpack. After a quick tug-of-war in the parking lot, the man relinquishes the stereo and flees the scene. The woman quickly reports the attempted robbery to the Knoxville Police Department, and officers apprehend the suspect 45 minutes later. He's brought to the station where the victim, and a witness, confirm he is the perpetrator. The man is read his rights and taken into custody.

But after his arrest, he has a new story: He had let himself into the vehicle, which he claims was unlocked, merely to bum a cigarette. Is that so bad?