Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

We uncover naked people making the news

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Now that another snowstorm has left our city looking like Antarctica -- which is appropriate considering the zoo will soon be home to a "waddle" of penguins -- it seems like the perfect time for another instalment of our semi-recurring feature Naked People in the News.

Normally, this is a journalistic topic we only confront when the weather turns warm, but we are willing to make an exception today because we have become aware of a dangerous trend involving people making headlines via the technique of doing incredibly stupid things without the benefit of clothing.

As a crusading investigative journalist, we have also become aware of the fact that, if you repeatedly type the word NAKED in big block letters, you will get kajillions of Internet hits from bored office workers who are trapped in tiny cubicles and have way too much time on their hands.

Our new journalistic motto is: "If you are NAKED, we will cover you." NAKED! NAKED! NAKED! Please don't thank us. We are just doing our job.

Which, not surprisingly, brings us to our first nude newsmaker, a 24-year-old Iowa man named José Angel Perales Jr., who was arrested after being captured on surveillance video breaking into a lingerie store after hours and stealing goods.

According to news reports, the security footage reveals the burly suspect wandering around the boutique for several hours and trying on various lingerie items before leaving in (why not?) a red dress and a blond wig.

The stories state police did not have a lot of trouble tracking down their suspect. This was partly due to good old-fashioned policing, but we suspect it didn't hurt that, when they examined the security video of Perales wandering around NAKED, they noticed he had his last name tattooed on his back.

We know what you are thinking here. You are thinking: "Do not rush to judgment, Doug. This is the kind of unfortunate incident that could happen to anyone."

Well, you are correct, but if we have said it once, we have said it a million times: "If you are going to rob a lingerie store, at minimum you should take the standard precaution of wearing a camisole, a negligee and several brassieres, especially if you are a full-figured bandit."

But we don't have time to ponder the implications of this groundbreaking case, because we need to devote our mental energy to our next naked newsmaker, whose unclad antics have gone viral.

If you want to check this one out for yourself, just go to the video-sharing site and search for "naked man in hotel hallway." Here's a helpful research tip: Try to do this when your wife is not home if you want to avoid embarrassing conversations such as this:

My wife: "What the (bad word) are you doing?"

Me: "Just researching a column, honey."

My wife: "You're not the man I married."

Getting back to our story, according to several hard-hitting online news reports, what happened is a man at an unidentified hotel managed to lock himself out of his room when he stepped into the hallway to leave some dirty room-service dishes for hotel staff to pick up.

When the door to his room closed behind him, the man realized he was locked out because he didn't have his key with him. This is probably because he was wearing nothing but his birthday suit at the time.

Closed-circuit security footage uploaded to YouTube shows him wandering naked through the hallways, past other guests and into an elevator, using two plate covers to shield his modesty, as he casually makes his way to the front desk.

"I locked myself out of my hotel room," the naked man can be heard explaining on the video clip.

"Do you have any ID?" the front desk clerk responds. "I just need to see your driver's licence."

The naked man is indignant. "How can I have a driver's licence if I'm naked, man?" he snorts.

So far, thousands and thousands of people around the globe have watched this clip and more than a few viewers have suggested it might be a stunt, which is entirely possible. I mean, who among us has NOT strolled with no visible means of support through a major hotel simply for comic hijinks?

Regardless, the bottom line (if you catch our subtle drift) is this tragedy could happen to anyone, so if you plan to stay at a posh hotel in the near future, please remember this important safety tip -- Never EVER order room service!

doug.speirs@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 6, 2013 A2

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