Anna Ayala served four years of a nine-year sentence after pleading guilty (with Jaime Plascencia) to attempted grand theft and the filing of a false insurance claim in the famous Wendy’s chili incident. Now she’s facing charges over new fibs allegedly told to the police to cover for her son in a gun possession case [San Jose Mercury News, earlier]
Police say her scheme of planting a cooked rat in her lunch was miscalculated because the restaurant doesn’t use microwaves. She’s facing nine months in jail. [Appleton Post-Crescent via Obscure Store]
Speaking of national media hoaxes, today’s San Jose Mercury News profiles the post-incarceration life of Anna Ayala. The digital pioneer is divorced from co-conspirator Jaime Plascencia, who is still in prison. Ayala’s greatest trauma from her four years in prison (out of her nine-year sentence) seems to be that everyone called her the Finger Lady. She’s permanently banned from Wendy’s, so she’ll miss out on the Baconator.
Newcastle, England leaflet distributor (and former Labour Party council member) Mark Hunter is suing a dog owner whose Jack Russell terrier, the imaginatively named Jack, allegedly bit off the tip of the leafleteer’s finger as he pushed election paraphernalia through a front-door letterbox. While both Hunter and dog owner Mark Monroe seem to agree that part of Hunter’s bloody finger did indeed end up on the floor of Monroe’s home, it’s unclear how Jack could have bitten Monroe through the letterbox–which boasts a contraption known as a “letterbox guard”. Also unclear: why Monroe put Hunter’s finger in his freezer (keeping it for several months before ultimately tossing it in the rubbish), and why neither Hunter nor Monroe immediately reported the incident to police. Hunter is seeking about $25,000.
Though Monroe froze the finger, he was kind enough not to toss it in the chili. (“Labour campaigner’s ‘finger bitten off by dog’ as he pushed leaflet through letterbox”, The Daily Mail, Sept. 22).
Ricky Lee Patterson had been seeking a $500,000 settlement from Cracker Barrel restaurant. “Prosecutors brought charges after an examination of the mouse found that it died of a fractured skull, had no soup in its lungs and had not been cooked – all of which suggested the rodent was dropped into the customer’s soup after it had died.” (AP, Sep. 14).
Headline of this Traverse City, Mich. tale says it all: “Man Who Put Dead Mouse in Burrito at Taco Bell Given Prison Time” (AP/FoxNews.com, Jun. 2). One word of advice: if you’re going to pull this kind of stunt, don’t use the kind of frozen mice that pet stores sell as food for snakes, at least not if anyone can testify to your having bought them.
Fickle finger of fate, cont’d: dissatisfied Wendy’s customer Anna Ayala drew a nine-year sentence while Jaime Plascencia, her boyfriend and the procurer of the severed digit, drew twelve years. “The two pleaded guilty in September to conspiracy to file a false insurance claim and attempted grand theft with damages exceeding $2.5 million.” (“Chili Finger Couple Get Stiff Sentences”, AP/NBC San Diego, Jan. 18). Our previous coverage: Apr. 8, Apr. 9, Apr. 13, Apr. 20, Apr. 22, Apr. 27, May 16, Sept. 10.
Anna Ayala and husband Jaime Placencia, the couple “accused of conspiring to put a human finger in a bowl of Wendy’s chili[,] pleaded guilty today in a Santa Clara County courtroom.” (San Francisco Chronicle, Sept. 9). See May 18, May 16, etc.
“The Las Vegas man whose severed fingertip ended up in a cup of Wendy’s chili gave his mangled digit to a co-worker to settle a $50 debt — but had no idea it would be used in an alleged scheme to swindle the fast-food chain, the man’s mother said Tuesday.” (Alan Gathright and Meredith May, “Worker gave his finger to settle $50 debt”, San Francisco Chronicle, May 18)(see May 16, etc.).
San Jose police say the finger that Anna Ayala says she found in a bowl of Wendy’s chili (Apr. 27, Apr. 22, etc.) has now been identified; it belonged to a co-worker of her husband, James Plascencia, who lost it in the tailgate of a truck in an on-the-job accident. Authorities believe it then fell into the possession of Mr. Plascencia. (Dan Reed, Linda Goldston and Chuck Carroll, “The jig is up”, San Jose Mercury News, May 14; “Worker: Finger found in chili severed in tailgate”, AP/CNN, May 15).
Anne Haight is photoblogging the scene of the finger incident (Apr. 25)(via Instapundit)(see Apr. 22, etc.)
Anna Ayala was arrested late last night, and San Jose police will hold a press conference at 1 this afternoon to announce charges–bad timing for Wendy’s, since this means that the exoneration from a month of bad publicity from a finger supposedly found in its chili that has substantially hurt its sales in California and Las Vegas will take place in the Friday evening news cycle. Previous entries: Apr. 9 and Apr. 20.
There are ways, claims Mary Roach in the San Francisco Chronicle, channelling Walter Sobchak. (“Fingering the finger”, Apr. 18 (via Romenesko)). “I would put good money on the digit hailing from someplace other than the hand of a meat or tomato or onion processor who works in a plant that processes ingredients for Wendy’s. People who work in processing plants do not have long, well-groomed fingernails. Long nails are against the rules in these plants.” Scott Herhold of the San Jose Mercury News is reminded of a 1987 hoax involving a finger that wasn’t. (“1987 finger mystery just a lot of tripe”, Apr. 17). Earlier entries: Apr. 9 and link therein.