Real locksmiths don't use crowbars: Your story on these phony locksmiths ["Gypsies, Tramps, & Thieves," January 11] was the most inspiring yet. You should advise the victims to file charges with the attorney general, rather than the Better Business Bureau. I have been watching this company and five more like it that have spread all over the United States and are ripping people off. There was a customer in Cleveland who was charged $1,100 for a lockout by this company. They are truly scum of the earth -- and they are not real locksmiths. No respectable locksmith would remove a doorknob with a crowbar.
I forwarded a copy of your story to Larry Yellon of Fox News, who has done six or seven broadcasts about this company. He is now going to focus his investigation on the phone companies, such as SBC, who have set these crooks up in business around the country. They are well aware of what has been going on and so far, have refused to do anything about it.
If it sounds too good to be true . . .: These are the kind of people who give locksmiths a bad name. You should realize that something's going on if there are a dozen numbers published or you need to call an 800 number. There are honest lock services that have 800 numbers, but it's a giveaway that you won't be talking to a local.
Everybody wants cheap. Those ads should be a reminder that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The guy who quotes a ridiculously low price may be a "trunk slammer" who works out of his car. He may or may not be talented at his trade. You'll find out after he gets there.
The best thing to do is work with businesses you and your friends know. Any decent locksmith will give you an idea of cost in best- or worst-case scenarios, but exact amounts may vary, due to circumstances.
Don't let them get away with it: I just read the article on the locksmiths. I was one of their victims. Is there any way of getting any money back? I was charged $308 to get my door unlocked. I was in a dire situation, so I just paid the bill. I was mad then -- and after reading your article, I really wish I could get my money back or get these people arrested somehow. Any advice you have would be great.
Editor's note: To file a complaint, call the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office at 216-443-7800.
Phishing With the Dead
I'm not a Deadhead -- I just listen a lot: Great article ["Dead Like Me," January 11]. I am not a Deadhead by any means, but I dig them a lot. I like a lot of freedom in music, and it reflects in the culture. I got into Phish too. It's good stuff. I can definitely understand why some people dislike the long, extensive, and sometimes superfluous jamming. Acquired tastes, I presume. But great article -- funny read!
Don't Forget Dan
The scourge of Eastlake gets his: As a former resident of Eastlake under the Dictator Dan DiLiberto regime, I am sorry to see that the former mayor did not receive the Art Modell Award [January 4] again this year. I was glad to see that he did get a four-count felony and two-count misdemeanor indictment for theft in office and other related charges. I hope he gets what he deserves -- jail time and fines.
The DiLiberto Felonious Mention Award: The bar was certainly set high this year, but I wonder whether some dishonorable mention could be given to ex-Eastlake mayor and now indicted felon Dan DiLiberto. He did bankrupt a city, after all.
Cop a New 'Tude
Now, there's a thought: After reading your article "Who Do You Believe?" [January 4], it dawned on me that there may have been a way to avoid the entire incident as it unfolded that fateful day. In fact, I believe my suggestion would probably eliminate 99.9 percent of all complaints concerning police brutality, wrongful deaths, and harm to innocent bystanders. If all of us did one simple thing, there is no doubt that the world would be a much better place to live. My suggestion? Listen to the police. Do what a police officer tells you to do.
This includes such commands as: "Don't move!", "Show us your hands!", "Drop your weapon!", "Stop resisting!", "Pull over your car!", and "Don't park here!" to name but a few. You may not agree with the officer at the time or even feel a little mistreated along the way, but you always have the right to complain later. This rule applies to everyone, including good guys, bad guys, rich people, poor people, and even ex-girlfriends who have worn out their welcome.
A police officer's job by nature is to overcome all resistance and win all confrontations, whatever that may entail. In this particular case, if parking tickets were not issued when warranted, there is a good chance that eventually a headline or broadcast would announce "Police Give Influential Businessman Preferential Treatment for Discounted Coffee." It's not easy being a police officer, but it could be, if only people followed their instructions.