The modern American police blotter was born in 1833, when George Wisner, a New York crime reporter, began regaling readers of the Sun with pithy one-liners from the city's 4 a.m. hearings, says the Texas Monthly. Almost 180 years later, Wisner's droll sensibility lives on in the blotter of the Lufkin Daily News, a wry account of the strange, sad, and surprising misdemeanors and felonies that afflict the East Texas city of 35,000. Items run from the mundane (“A purse was found floating in a ditch full of water”) to the bizarre (“A man reported finding a steak knife stuck in the ground outside his apartment”).
Themes emerge. Like meat thefts: “Pork chops, pork loin, and ground ham-burger were reported stolen from a home,” and “A mother reported her son stealing meat from her.” Also, assaults with everyday objects: “A woman handing out sweet roll samples [ ] reported that a customer took a sample and threw it in her face,” and “A Lufkin woman was arrested for reportedly striking her uncle with a handheld vacuum cleaner.” The blotter is the first thing many Lufkinites turn to when they open the paper, and the mind behind it is Jessica Cooley, 27, who says the feature is “basically one part daily media report from Lufkin police and one part my morbid sense of humor, topped off by my editors' clever headlines.” For instance: “Dust-Busted.”