Everyone has bad picture days, including wanted criminals. Like school portraits and driver’s licenses, mug shots seem to number among those occasions that yield unflattering photos.
Donald “Chip” Pugh, 45, learned this the hard way. Recently, after he allegedly failed to appear in court in Lima, Ohio, city police posted his mug shot on Facebook last week notifying the public of the search for him.
“Mr. Pugh is also currently a person of interest in several other cases,” the post reads, including for “arson and vandalism.”
The post caught the attention of the alleged fugitive himself, who was appalled by how he was rendered. Apparently, he thought the mug shot failed to capture his good side.
Pugh promptly sent police a replacement. “Here is a better photo that one is terrible,” he wrote in a message accompanying a selfie that shows him wearing a houndstooth-patterned suit and sunglasses in the front seat of a car.
Ever the obliging police department, it added the selfie to the post, along with a note to Pugh: “We thank him for being helpful, but now we would appreciate it if he would come speak to us at the LPD about his charges.”
The department confirmed to The Washington Post early Tuesday that Pugh remains on the lam, though that didn’t stop his appearing on a local radio show to tell his story.
After his mug shot and selfie started circulating on the Internet, the city’s classic rock station 104.9 Eagle featured Pugh on its”Idiot of the Day” segment. He is the first “idiot” to have been interviewed on-air, according to the hosts, albeit over the phone and not in person.
Pugh, who said he was born and raised in Lima, lamented his aesthetic misfortunes.
“They just did me wrong,” he said. “They put a picture out that had me looking like I was a Thundercat or somebody, man.”
He identifies more with the gingerbread man, the star of a bedtime story that his grandmother told him when he was a kid. Pugh still knows some of the lines by heart.
On-air, he reminisced: “My hero was this character, who used to say, ‘Run, run, fast as you can. You can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man.'”
The radio show’s hosts, Phil Austin and Ryan Staley, repeatedly asked where Pugh was located, to which he gave varying responses.
First, he was “standing in the middle of Town Square holding the sign that says, ‘Not guilty.'” Then he was “sitting in a bunker next to Chapo Guzmán … trying to build a tunnel to get to McDonald’s.”
Last, he observed that he could see “a rooster and some hens,” so he must be in a chicken coop.
Pugh described himself as “the hometown hero” because of the attention he has attracted. Pugh said he was arrested on a DUI a few nights before Thanksgiving and failed to appear in court Dec. 28.
“I just chose not to go,” he said. “Lima news put it out there like I burned down someone’s house … going around like Bonnie and Clyde. After this [Facebook post] took off like it did, I started having fun with it. … I did it for all my idiot friends.”
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