BLOG: Meth Made Him 'See' Prisoner on a Barbecue, Police Say

2013-06-06T10:50:00Z BLOG: Meth Made Him 'See' Prisoner on a Barbecue, Police SayBy Alison Gene Smith alismith@magicvalley.com Twin Falls Times-News

Each day at work, I sit next to the police scanner. Usually, it's pretty mundane. Occasionally some serious breaking news happens, and sometimes it's pretty hilarious.

Last week, I overheard on the scanner that someone called police about a woman who was outside, handcuffed to a barbecue.

My ears perked up. If true, it could be a big story of some poor woman held captive. I continued to listen as police officers and dispatchers talked back and forth on their radios. Police wanted a description of the woman, and exactly where she was and where the caller was.

The dispatcher replied with the caller's location. He could see the woman from his bedroom window, the dispatcher said.

Another officer chimed in on his radio and said he saw a woman, leaning against a barbecue, smoking. No handcuffs.

In the newsroom, we were relieved. No one was in danger.

But the story wasn't over.

A few days ago, I was going through new court cases and found one where the story sounded familiar.

"Police dispatch received a phone call from a male identified as Randell Zimmerman," the report says.

Zimmerman told dispatch that he was looking outside his window from his home in the 200 block of Heyburn Avenue and could see a woman handcuffed to a barbecue in the front yard of his neighbor's house.

"As I was speaking to Zimmerman, I suspected that he was under the influence of a central nervous system stimulant, specifically methamphetamine," an officer wrote.

Zimmerman then walked an officer up to his bedroom window, where he pointed out the place he had seen the handcuffed woman.

"I did not see anyone," the officer wrote.

Eventually, after talking to other people in the house, police found a small baggie of meth near the stairwell leading to Zimmerman's room, the report says. Other officers saw bags of meth in plain sight in Zimmerman's bedroom.

Zimmerman declined to let officers search his room for more drugs. Officers arrested him on a charge of possession of methamphetamine.

Was the barbecue scene a meth-induced hallucination? Police say it probably was.

Copyright 2015 Twin Falls Times-News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Staff Writer

Alison Smith writes about public safety and the criminal justice system for the Times-News, which she joined in December 2011. Alison has worked for North Central Washington Media in Wenatchee, Wash., for The Anniston Star in Anniston, Ala., and for The Shoshone News-Press in Kellogg, Idaho. Alison has a master's degree in community journalism from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, and a bachelor's degree in journalism with a photojournalism emphasis from the University of Montana in Missoula.

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