Mike Nichols in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wins a prize for discovering the best unusual application for plastics yet this year: detaining a suspected vandal. Nichols' Feb. 3 column tells the story of Kevin Nelson and Ray Severson, a couple of guys at T&R Wood Products in West Bend, Wis., who didn't know what to do with a 19-year-old suspect they caught puncturing a truck tire in the company parking lot.
I suppose you could sit on him, but that's a lot of work and kind of weird. And anyway, said Nelson, the guy smelled like he'd been drinking. There is no way Jack Bauer would lower himself to simply sitting on some guy who had been drinking. Clearly, the guy needed to be restrained somehow, though. And, unlike Jack, they did not have a weapon or a cord from a lamp or a telephone or something that they could just yank out of the wall. Wire? No. And it was then, said Nelson, "the light bulb went on." Shrink wrap! T&R makes displays for stores, and uses the stuff to both protect veneers and keep finished products from sliding around and getting damaged on pallets. "So," said Nelson, "that's when we brought him in the building and shrink-wrapped him."T&R workers wrapped up the suspect on a pallet, which held him pretty securely until police arrived. "This is just fantastic to have our suspects immobilized and ready to go," said an appreciative police captain, Toby Netko.