Headline News: Man Holds Elf Hostage

The headline in the Naples Daily News was irresistible: Man barracades elf in home with baby.

No, I wasn’t drawn to the story because my inner copyeditor groaned about the misspelling of the word barricades. It was the reference to the elf.

If you’re going to barricade yourself in a home with a baby, why not also include an elf as a bonus hostage? This is Florida, after all, the Candy Land of crazy.

At least when the cops showed up they weren’t confronting a guy who’d holed up with a viscous Skunk Ape or a rabid telemarketer. They can be problematical. Elves? No sweat.

A quick search on the internet provides numerous ways to safely coax an elf out of a house: You can offer the elf fried mushrooms, or a pretty flower to smell, or one respondent to that question on Yahoo Answers suggested: “Send in a Russian man in a yellow tuxedo to spray lemon juice all over him.”

I’m thinking the guy who wrote that may have spent too much time with the aforementioned mushrooms. And, in any event, the goal was to rescue the elf, not just lure him out. The baby, too, of course.

The hostage situation took place in Golden Gate Estates, a community east of Naples on Florida’s southwest coast. It took sheriff’s deputies four hours to coax the 30-year-old hostage-taker out. During the standoff, the SWAT team was called in, drones flew overhead to eyeball the house from above, K9 dogs sniffed the perimeter, and hostage negotiators did their thing.

Thankfully, even though the Florida man was armed with a rifle, it all ended peacefully, and the baby was fine.

The elf, however, was nowhere to be found.

That could be because the misspelling of the word barricades wasn’t the only error in the headline. It should have read:

Man barricades self in home with baby

STRANGE FACT: Elves come in all shapes, sizes, and with varying powers, but the most famous of all the elves are the ones employed in Santa’s workshop.

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