What began as a routine investigation of a malfunctioning fire-alarm system at a suburban New Orleans Residence Inn ended with police discovering a scene worthy of Quentin Tarantino and Dennis Hopper at their most depraved and the arrest of 44-year-old Russell Vanderwerf, a Houston-based agent of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
NOLA.com picks up the sordid tale:
A technician who was summoned Nov. 30 tracked the alarm problem to the second-floor room registered to Vanderwerf, the arrest report said. Inside, staffers found the smoke detectors in the bedroom and kitchen-den had been removed and the horn that blares alarms was hanging out of the wall.
But the staffers and a deputy sheriff also discovered that someone had removed the bedroom door from its hinges and replaced it with a 5-by-4-foot piece of plywood affixed to the frame and the drywall with hinges and screws, the arrest report said. The door had two locks attached from the bedroom side and a circular hole padded with duct tape. The deputy noted in the arrest report that the hole appeared to be used "in some sort of sexual act."
A desk staffer told police that she had received a complaint from a guest who told her that the front door to the room had been left propped open for much of the night in question, and that numerous young men had been seen entering and exiting. The guest also told the staffer that she heard "sex noises" coming from the room.
Channel 11 chimed in with a couple of prurient details: that police also found a child's sock and an Elmo toy -- possibly Mattel's latest: "Glory Hole Elmo," the hit of the Xmas season -- in Vanderwerf's room. While we were a little disappointed they didn't find a gimp suit and a canister of nitrous oxide, they did find a cache of caulk and paint, leading them to believe that handy-dan Vanderwerf had hoped to repair the room himself before he checked out.
Vanderwerf, whose job in Houston is described as "overseeing the inspection of all federal gun and explosives licensees" in the area, was arrested across the street at the Metairie field office of the ATF, where he was on official business. (Official, that is, if the agency that employed him was in actual fact the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Fellatio, but we digress.)
Vanderwerf told investigators that he disabled the fire alarms because steam from his shower was setting them off, and admitted to installing the makeshift door, but could not or would not explain why, or elaborate on [insert Chrissie Hynde voice] what that hole was for. [/Chrissie] He was charged with simple criminal damage and interfering with fire prevention and released on December 2.
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In what is probably either a clever fraud or a totally unrelated coincidence, a reader in New Orleans found something strange in the "casual encounters" section of Craigslist New Orleans... An ad popped up on December 2, two days after Vanderwerf's arrest, but several days before news of Vanderwerf's arrest became public. This ad claimed that a glory hole at the Metairie Residence Inn was "infected with stds." While the guest was said to give "great" head, the writer claimed to have contracted both herpes and hepatitis A as a result of one of his numerous visits.
Maybe the listing is a fraud perpetrated by someone with a vendetta against the ATF or Vanderwerf. Or maybe that Residence Inn is riddled with glory holes, and this refers to a non-governmental one.
But if it refers to our man in question, he can at least take comfort in being good -- indeed "great" -- at what he does, a rare example of a government bureaucrat who excels at his vocation, be it the one on his business card or not. And isn't servicing the people supposed to be what governmental agencies are all about? And when it comes to the government and sex acts, it makes a nice change to see we the people on the receiving end for once. (And -- just to be clear -- there could be an innocent, non-BJ explanation for everything. We suppose.)
ATF declined comment, citing the matter as an ongoing investigation.