A 24-year-old Boulder resident faces arson charges after lighting his own boxer shorts on fire in his apartment in the hope of prompting a police response.
Most people call 911 when there is an emergency. Leave it to Daniel Flaherty of Boulder, Colorado, to escalate all the way to lighting underwear on fire to get a police officer’s attention.
Boulder Police are saying that Daniel Flaherty deliberately lit his boxer shorts on fire in his apartment in order to call police attention to a non-existent mass shooting. Yes, you read that correctly.
According to the arrest affidavit, Flaherty began calling 911 early in the morning on Tuesday to report a gunman who was going door to door and “gunning people down.” The only problem with his police report is, well, that wasn’t happening. Police realized that the call was a false alert and began disregarding his warnings. Flaherty explained to police that he must have just been having a bad dream and decided to go back to sleep.
However, Daniel Flaherty decided to take it to a whole new level at 6:50 a.m. when he lit his boxer shorts on fire and then walked out of his apartment.
This time, police and the fire department responded. While the fire was out by the time firefighters arrived, the flames did damage the apartment’s wood flooring and smoke from the blaze damaged the apartment unit. Firefighters reported that in addition to torching his underwear, Flaherty had also ignited some toilet paper and snack crackers.
Police officers soon discovered Daniel Flaherty nearby, who told them that he started the fire to get police assistance because his phone wasn’t working. They found a fixed blade on his person — which he said was for self defense — and discovered evidence of marijuana and cocaine use inside the apartment. The 24-year-old Boulder resident was arrested on charges of first-degree arson and false reporting to authorities.
While being booked at the police station, officers discovered a single pill lodged inside of Flaherty’s boot, leading them to tack on the additional charge of “introducing contraband.” Colorado law defines this crime as the attempt knowingly and unlawfully introduce contraband into a detention facility. However, since Flaherty likely did not know he would be arrested when he put the pill in his boot, it is unlikely that this charge will stick.
There are a lot of lessons that we all can learn from this story. First of all, don’t call the cops and report a mass shooting if there isn’t a mass shooting going on. That seems like the easiest way to avoid something like this. But, if you do decide to cry wolf and police begin ignoring your false reports, lighting your underwear on fire is definitely not the solution. And finally, if you have even the slightest inkling that you’re going to be spending time in jail, maybe you shouldn’t try hiding pills inside your shoes.
What is the craziest thing you’ve ever seen in an apartment complex? Tell us your story in the comment section below!