Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Sultan of Spectacles

On July 17, a 38-year-old Illinois man named Jerry Lowery allegedly robbed a suburban Milwaukee optical store at gunpoint. After leading police on a high-speed chase through local neighborhoods, Lowery escaped, but later turned himself in to authorities. He is also charged with the armed theft of two other optical stores since April.

Lowery has admitted to a bizarre eyeglasses fetish in which he "really likes to be around glasses." Lowery told police that this fetish has plagued him for the last fifteen years, saying that he likes to put on the glasses, pose in front of a mirror, and then dispose of them. In the burglary of July 17, Lowery stole 575 pairs of eyewear.

This is a fetish so weird that it doesn't even have a Web site yet.

Yet what fascinates Mount Drinkmore is not the heretofore unheard-of eyeglasses obsession that deserves an entire DSM-IV of its own, but rather the unsettling resemblance of Lowery to Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Even more disturbingly, these thefts occurred in and around Milwaukee—where Hank Aaron spent two thirds of his Major League career.

You might say that Jerry Lowery is the Hank Aaron of armed-glasses theft.

After all, he did steal 575 pairs of glasses on this caper...and while that's still far short of Hank's 755 home runs, it puts the 38-year-old Lowery on pace to pass Aaron in a few years. (Remember that Hammerin' Hank aged like fine wine and swatted 116 homers after his 38th birthday.)

Lowery, who was on parole at the time of his arrest and owns a laundry list of armed-robbery convictions, faces a maximum of 123 years in jail. But if he can cut his sentence down to, say, two years with good behavior and a switch to contact lenses, Very Bad Jerry will still be young enough to catch Bad Henry upon his release from prison.

So let's keep a close watch on this guy, because, one day, we all might be saying, "There's a new eyeglasses thief of all time...and it's Jerry Lowery!"
(Mugshot photo courtesy Fox Point Police. Hank Aaron baseball card copyright Topps, Inc.)

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