Tattooed & Screwed

Each month, Premium subscribers get an extra story without a tagline, which they’re invited to supply — otherwise known as the monthly Tagline Challenge.

Two things usually come out of the Challenge efforts: 1) readers find out just how hard it is to come up with a good story tag, and 2) the collective brainpower of the Premium edition subscribers is a mighty force — the lineup of entries is usually quite funny.

The following story is from the June 2005 Challenge. Challenge stories aren’t usually posted on the web site, but this one is because of the photo that goes with it.

Marked Man

When police in Framingham, Mass., stopped by Justin Breakspear’s apartment to arrest him for suspicion of burglary, the 18-year-old ran. Officers chased him to the apartment’s basement storage area, where he was arrested within arm’s reach of a number of guns, including two illegal sawed-off shotguns. “Those aren’t bird-hunting guns,” said Deputy Police Chief Craig Davis. “That was a serious crime waiting to happen.” Despite being hidden in a common area of the apartment complex, Breakspear will have a hard time trying to claim the guns weren’t his: he has a tattoo of one of the guns, a .380 caliber pistol, on his abdomen — complete with a serial number matching one of the recovered weapons. (Framingham Metrowest Daily News) …

The photo is below, with the results of the Challenge.

Please do not send an entry to the Challenge — it’s over! If you want to play in future Tagline Challenges, you have to upgrade!

Challenge Results

“That’s Not Mine”: A snubnose — the biggest gun he has on him. And it wouldn’t be this big if it weren’t for his good appetite. Justin Breakspear’s gun tattoo even shows the serial number from the actual pistol. Photo: Framingham Police.

There were 67 entries. Tom in Virginia was the first of several who suggested, “…Thus saving the state of Massachusetts having to come up with a prisoner number for him.” Also quite good in this line was Jeff in California: “…He’ll be adding to his serial number collection soon.”

There were also several in this vein, provided first by Mark in Georgia: “…Bringing new meaning to the phrase ‘screwed, blued, and tattooed’.” Another goodie from Eric in Tennessee: “…Tattooed, pursued and screwed.”

One amusing theme was what else he might have tattooed on his body. Renee in California: “…While processing him, the police discovered a list of addresses of unsolved burglaries tattooed on his back.” Scott in Japan: “…Pretty soon, something else will be tattooed on his butt.” John in California suggests, “…Perhaps he should get a tattoo of a brain put on his head.” And Dick in Michigan: “…It was also revealed that he has another tattoo on his foot — a bullet hole.”

In the more general category, David in Colorado offers the thought-provoking, “…Love is always a man’s undoing.” John in Texas: “…Honest officer, I was just holding the tattoo for a friend!” Ian in Singapore: “…When the arresting officer was asked how he knew who the guns belonged to, he said, ‘I don’t know, it was just a gut feeling’.” Keith in California: “…Guns don’t kill brain cells, people do.” Matthew in Michigan: “…I think he’s a bit confused about what a gunfighter means when they shout ‘Draw!'”

The runner up is from Charles in Texas: “…The police got him Glock, stock, and barrel.” (Ouch!)

And the winner is Hyman in New Jersey: “…If the tattoo ever gets fired, he’s going to be sorry he had it aimed that way.”

2018 Update

You probably won’t be shocked to learn that Breakspear had more run-ins with police — and more gun-related arrests.

First, Breakspear pleaded guilty in the above case sentenced to five years and one day; he was released in January 2011. But he served nearly two years more starting in 2013 for violating probation.

Then, in July 2017, he was arrested after a domestic dispute with his girlfriend, during which he allegedly menaced her with a rifle. “He told her he would kill all of the Framingham police officers for what they’ve done to him in the past,” the prosecutor told the judge. “He told her he was not going to go back to prison.”

Breakspear’s 2017 mug shot. Even here you can see he has more tattoos than his famous one.

When police arrived, Breakspear, then 31, met the officers outside — and started shooting at them, the prosecutor said. “Started” is the key here: he fired one shot, then dropped the rifle and ran, which seems to be his M.O. He escaped in his car to a strip mall, where he climbed to the roof of his own pizza parlor and held a SWAT team at bay until he finally surrendered.

The prosecutor asked that he be held without bail until Breakspear completed a psychological examination. She noted that he had been convicted numerous times for gun charges, as well as drug and assault charges — 30(!!) convictions total. The judge agreed.

In September 2018, he earned conviction #31: five counts of assault with a dangerous weapon (apparently there were five officers in his line of fire), six counts of possession of a high capacity magazine, two counts of possession of ammunition without an FID card, and one count each of possession of a gun, possession of a large capacity gun, discharging a gun within 500 feet of a dwelling, and possession of a loaded gun.

Likely influenced by his many priors, Breakspear was sentenced to 20 years at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center, a maximum security prison in Lancaster, Mass., where he is known as Inmate W111826.

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