Posted by: Idioma Extra | April 5, 2011

The Weird and the Wonderful

Spanish police arrest the fax escape man

From: www.

MADRID — Spanish police say they have arrested a man who twice escaped from custody by having his wife send fake faxes ordering his release.

Fifty-seven-year-old Jose Carlos Serna was taken into custody at his home in San Lorenzo del Escorial, a suburb north of Madrid, on Friday, while hiding in a hollowed-out sofa, police said.

In December, he was in a cell at Arganda del Rey courthouse awaiting trial when officers got a fax purportedly from a regional court. It was followed by a phone call purportedly from a court official, corroborating the release order.

Officers tried to verify the order, but their calls went unanswered. When they received a second call confirming Serna’s release, he was freed to a waiting taxi. Both calls came from his wife, Gema Maria Serna, whom police tracked down to a house in the northern suburb and arrested on March 3.

It was not the first time Serna used the trick on police. He escaped from Valdemoro jail in October using the same tools.

He had been in prison for heading a gang that in 2008 kidnapped a Spanish businessman and held him captive in the southern Portuguese beach resort area of the Algarve.

Since his last escape Serna had rented several houses, including the heavily fortified suburban home where he was arrested.

Police said Serna had equipped the house with reinforced window protection and a secret entrance that could not be easily detected or approached. He had also hired a number of men to drive him around while pretending to be an Italian university professor.

Officers broke in through a skylight to find Serna hidden, the police statement said.

Word of the Day

re·in·force: \ˌrē-ən-ˈfȯrs\
Origin: re- + inforce, alteration of enforce
First Known Use: 1567
1: to strengthen by additional assistance, material, or support : make stronger or more pronounced <reinforce levees> <reinforce the elbows of a jacket> <reinforce ideas>
2: to strengthen or increase by fresh additions <reinforce our troops> <were reinforcing their pitching staff>
3: to stimulate (as an experimental animal or a student) with a reinforcer; also : to encourage (a response) with a reinforcer

More Vocabulary

Cell: n. a single room (as in a convent or prison) usually for one person
Custody: n.
immediate charge and control (as over a ward or a suspect) exercised by a person or an authority
Fortify: v.
to make (someone or something) stronger
Purport: v
. to have the often specious appearance of being, intending, or claiming
Skylight: n. an opening in a house roof or ship’s deck that is covered with translucent or transparent material and that is designed to admit light

Love those Phrasal Verbs

Break in: to enter by force or craft

  • Someone broke in and made off with all the office computers!

Track down:  to pursue until caught or captured; follow

  • I need you to track down the investors or you can consider yourself out of a job!



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