“It is hard when you hear things like that because it is kind of funny,” Bellavance said. “We are all people, and we all have a sense of humor.”
But Bellavance added officers must keep their cool when dealing with these situations.
“You try your best in front of the people you are dealing with to stay professional,” he said. “But once you get out of the public eye you are allowed to talk a little bit about the ridiculousness of what happened.”
But Chapel Hill police officer Bryan Walker said the victims don’t always find their situations humorous.
“It’s absurd that cheese was eaten in a break-in, but the owner of the house doesn’t find it absurd that their house was broken into,” Walker said. “It’s an invasion of their privacy, and their door was damaged.”
Lt. Josh Mecimore, spokesman for the Chapel Hill Police Department, said the officers must learn how to deal with absurd cases through experience, not training.
“You learn how to be sensitive to their needs but at the same time doing your job well,” he said.
Walker said the department has also gotten calls regarding situations that aren’t typically handled by police.
“I had one where an elderly woman couldn’t get her jar of pickles open,” Walker said. “She ended up calling the police department, and an officer went by and opened the jar for her.”
Many of the comical situations and crimes are common wherever you go, Mecimore said. But he added that alcohol is typically involved in most cases in Chapel Hill.
“We have a lot of access to alcohol and alcohol-selling establishments in Chapel Hill,” Mecimore said. “In my experience, the commonality between interesting calls is frequently alcohol.”
He added that alcohol was also likely involved in the cheese-eating incident and that the perpetrator thought it was his own home.
“He had went into the apartment, kicked off his shoes, put up his feet and then just starting eating another guy’s block of cheese,” Bellavance said.
Mecimore said alcohol is also a commonality between fairly dangerous calls as well.
“Some people get very happy and funny when they are under the influence of alcohol, and others get nasty,” Mecimore said. “There’s no guarantee which spectrum a person will fall under.”
Walker said some victims of odd crimes are able to make light of their situation.
He described a previous case of a car that was broken into. The person stole a UNC quidditch jersey.
The department posted about the missing jersey on social media, but added a twist.
“We injected some humor into the situation saying that Lord Voldemort wasn’t a suspect in the tweet,” he said. “The victim actually thanked us for making him laugh at the situation even though it was unfortunate his stuff was stolen.”