The Top Ten Dental Crimes
California: Unfortunately, hit and runs often go unsolved – but one hit-and-run crash in Sacramento pretty much solved itself when the driver left behind his dentition.
James Brown might have gotten away with crashing a stolen truck into two cars and a fence, but when he fled on foot, he left behind something crucial: His dentures.
Florida: A man charged with practicing dental hygiene without a license was hit with some more disturbing claims after a woman accused him of providing some extra TLC when her dental procedure became painful. John Collazos, practicing out of a Hollywood apartment, allegedly injected painkillers into a patient’s buttocks to relieve pain from a toothache. After giving the patient the shot, he then kissed her on her derriere to make it all better. This was the second time in two months that police arrested Collazos for practicing unlicensed dentistry, and the second claim of unwanted sexual advances. Sounds like he just wants to make everyone all better.
Illinois: How can you tell if your “dentist” isn’t a licensed dental professional? When he makes you spit in a trashcan while you sit in a leather office chair. Fransisco Rendon, 49, rented a room on the south side of Chicago where he practiced dentistry under the guise of being a dentist.
Patients became suspicious when his dental equipment consisted of the leather chair and a power tool designed for polishing metal. He was otherwise well equipped, however: His “practice” was stocked with painkillers, syringes and even dentures. After being busted by police for misdemeanor providing medical service without a license, it’s probably safe to say his career is in the garbage – along with all his patients’ spit.
New Jersey: Advertising can be a frustrating endeavor, but one dentist in New Jersey is attracting plenty of attention with his practice’s giant tooth sign – plenty of attention from vandals, that is. Dr. Harry Mahoney’s molar-shaped wooden sign outside his practice has been a popular target for local ruffians, who have stolen or damaged the sign six times in 20 years.
It’s happened so many times that the local redbankgreen news outlet has an entire archive of stories on the missing tooth. “It’s getting ridiculous,” Mahoney told redbankgreen after the tooth was stolen for a second time in three months in 2011. “There’s not much I can do though but make it out of concrete or something.”
Mahoney makes the signs himself, and has traditionally made them from wood. When asked about prevention techniques, such as setting up a video camera to catch the miscreants, Mahoney said “It’s too much work. I’ve just gotten used to it.”
New York: While most people use dental floss to practice good oral hygiene, an inmate in a New York correction facility had a more ambitious use for it. Kourosh Bakhtiari decided that he didn’t like his accommodations at the prison, and decided to escape.
But how does one escape from a correctional facility? Why, by braiding together over 15 rolls of dental floss to make a rope! His dental floss escape rope was strong enough to support a 190-pound man. The flaw in his ingenious plan? He forgot to wear gloves: From sliding down the dental floss, he cut his hands so severely that he had to be hospitalized for severed tendons in his hands.
However, his efforts were not entirely in vain: Bakhtiari escaped from the hospital where he was being treated after the guard watching his room fell asleep.
South Carolina: When your dental license is suspended, the only clear solution is to move to another state and apply for another one, right? Easier said than done. Dr. David Holloway was arrested in his home state of South Carolina for getting a little too generous handing out the Vidodin. His conviction for unlawfully distributing the Schedule III Controlled Substance resulted in his dental license being revoked.
That didn’t stop Dr. Holloway from continuing his dream of practicing dentistry. He moved to New York and filed an application for recertification of his dental license. “Have you been convicted of any crimes,” the application asked. “Why, no, of course not,” the full-of-bologna Holloway answered.
As it turns out, the State of New York looks into that sort of thing. Holloway was busted for the lie, and was convicted on a single count of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a class E felony. He also had to surrender his license to practice in New York. No worries, Dr. Holloway, there are still 48 other states you can try once you get out of prison!
The toothless Evelyn Fuller decided the quickest path to new dentures was to get arrested. Fuller, who couldn’t get dentures through welfare until the following year, marched into the First National Bank right before it closed for the day, and demanded cash from the teller. She told the teller that she had a gun, and then patiently waited until the police showed up.
Philip Kienholz had a similar idea – but he took it to a new level, when he attacked his dentist with a tire iron so that he could be arrested and get a tooth extracted in prison.
Kienholz became angry with the dentist after he prescribed antibiotics for an infected tooth, rather than pull the tooth. Kienholz hit the doctor in the arm with a tire iron while he was treating a young patient, and then ran out of the operatory, probably instilling a lifelong fear of dentists and sneak attacks on the poor kid in the chair. After a quick subsequent arrest, Kienholz was charged with aggravated assault and possessing an instrument of crime. It is unknown whether or not he got the tooth in question removed during his luxurious stay in the state penitentiary.
Tennessee: The idea of the Tooth Fairy coming into a home to trade money for teeth becomes significantly less endearing when the Fairy turns out to be an adult male intruder.
Deputies were dispatched to a home in Cumberland County when a woman reported that someone had broken into her home overnight. The only missing item? Her seven-year-old grandson’s tooth, which he had lost the day before and placed under his pillow for the Tooth Fairy. Understandably, Grandma was shaken when she went to swap out the tooth for some cash and found that there was already a quarter beneath the pillow.
Police, who have no imagination and don’t believe in the Tooth Fairy, suspected that the boy’s father (who did not live at the residence) might have been behind the heist, as he had broken into the home previously in an unrelated incident.
This all begs the question of what is worse: having your house broken into by a fairy carting around a bag of teeth, or by a man handing out quarters?
Texas: A Texas man got an unwanted tooth extraction at the hands (wings?) of some very angry birds. Trucker Benny Hines was innocently walking back to his rig across a parking lot in Channelview, Tex., perfectly happy with the state of his dentition, when a bird swooped down and attacked his head. “I took off my cap and started waving it away,” Hines told a local media station. “All of a sudden, it was more than one bird.”
Four birds began dive-bombing Hines, knocking him over as he attempted to run away. “The more I tried to fight them off, the worse it got,” said Hines. When he fell to the ground, he was knocked unconscious – and also knocked out a tooth. After a trip to the hospital and some stitches to the gouges the birds put on his face, Hines was back on the road. It is doubtful that he will be stopping anywhere near Channelview ever again.
Washington: Lots of people talk about their pets incessantly, and dental assistant Tina Alberts was no exception. Alberts, whose family raised potbelly pigs, frequently mentioned them at the dental practice where she worked. So when it came time for Alberts to get some dental work done, dentist Robert Woo decided to have a little fun.
While Alberts was under anesthesia to have two of her teeth replaced with implants, Woo installed temporary bridges that he had designed to look like boar tusks. He snapped a couple of pictures of the porcine dentition before removing the tusks and installing normal replacement teeth.
Woo didn’t mention the gag to Alberts, who was unaware of it until coworkers presented her with pictures of it on her birthday. Horrified, Alberts quit her job and sued Woo.
The dentist’s insurance refused to cover the claim, saying it didn’t dabble in practical jokes, so Woo settled with Alberts out of court to the tune of $250,000, making it the most expensive joke in history. In defense of his humorous procedure, Woo then sued his insurance company for not covering it, claiming that although bizarre, the joke was an integral part of Alberts’ oral surgery. After several appeals, the state Supreme Court finally sided with Woo, saying that the surgery should trigger the professional liability coverage included in his policy.
Hopefully Woo will remember not to ham it up so much in the future.