Good newspaper headlines are concise, descriptive, clear, and––occasionally, just occasionally––nothing short of genius. And then there’s “Man who stole car with baby faces more charges.”
Originally published yesterday on The Star‘s website without a clarifying subheadline, the wonderfully ambiguous title evokes at least three possible scenarios when left by itself:
1. The man and baby stole the car together. As infants are both prone to fits of uncontrollable rage, and are technically able to buy cars to train on, a scenario in which a baby angrily carjacks someone and competently drives away is not entirely out of the question. The headline also informs the reader that only the man is facing charges, as, presumably, the accomplice baby (who cannot be named under the Young Offenders Act) will be tried separately.
2. The man used the baby as some kind of tool to break into and steal the car. Overwhelming cuteness; tiny, door lock–sized fingers; and heavy, window-sized bodies: these are all useful things that thieves can make use of.
3. The baby was inside a car that the man stole.
(And that’s excluding the myriad of interpretations possible if it’s no normal car, but a “car with baby faces” that the article is talking about.)
Turns out that the third possibility––the least likely one, according to the headline’s grammar and structure––is the actual one: in Newmarket, Viet Nguyen (the man) is alleged to have broken into and stolen a car with a 6-month-old (the baby) in its back seat. Fortunately, the baby is alright––and, thank God, not all right.
Photo by juliehicks75.