Two days ago, Ed Niedermeyer received a tip from an anonymous tipster that James Sikes, the guy who couldn’t stop his runaway Prius until a cop pulled up next to him and told him to, is, well, a bit exposed.
The tipster pointed out that a James Sikes had also started a business called Adultswinglife, LLC. A look at the phone numbers showed that Adult Swing Life LLC (619) 957-7355 shared the same phone number as the real estate business of Patty & Jim Sikes (619)-957-7355. We left it at that. Times are rough, and one needs to find extra streams of income.
A few hours later, an anonymous poster that went by the name “CincyJazzy” posted on the CBS news website that Sikes “is caught in 2 attempts to defraud his insurance company out of $60K, Just lost his house, and was fired for ‘unethical behavior’, in the middle of bankruptcy, and now this.” No reaction from CBS.
Then, nothing. Until ...Yesterday, Jalopnik was on the story. First, they had not much else to report than the swinger site. One of the Jalopnik commenters pointed out that Jalopnik has “a sibling site” called Fleshbot (definitely NSFW), so who’s to throw the first stone? That didn’t deter the Jalops. They kept on digging.
Through adroit use of Google, they found that someone had posted on Hobbub.com that in a foreclosed house, previously owned by a Jim and Patti Sikes, ”before giving possession back to the bank ‘someone’ stole the ENTIRE kitchen out of the house……….Granite countertops, cabinets, appliances and even the lights!”
Jalopnik decided that something was fishy, and, Fleshbot be damned, they called up their colleagues at Gawker. They fired up their public records search engine – and found a – by Jalopnik standards – morass of incriminating information about Sikes.
This led to the Jalopnik headline “Did Bankrupt Runaway Prius Driver Fake “Unintended Acceleration?” They unearthed a bankruptcy filing that allegedly (it was redacted) said that the Sikes “have a combined liability of over $700,000 dollars in debt.” According to the document, Toyota Financial Services was named as a creditor to the tune of $20,494, owed at the time of bankruptcy. Jalopnik contrasted this to an email they received from Jim Sikes that claims “we are and have always been up to date on all payments.”
Then, Jalopnik heard “rumors that Sikes has a history of items in his possession being stolen and him filing for insurance claims.” The bankruptcy documents named a saxophone and clothes, stolen from a car (of unnamed provenance) with a value of $2500, and an insurance payment of $7.500.
After that, all hell broke loose. Fox News “uncovered a new business that Sikes appears to have started: the website AdultSwingLife.com.” (Well, they didn’t uncover it, it was the anonymous tipster, but hey, it’s Fox.) We would have expected some on-premises candid camera work, but no. Fox did their own internet search and found more dirt on Sikes:
“In 2001, Sikes filed a police report with the Merced County Sheriff’s Department for $58,000 in stolen property, including jewelry, a prosumer mini-DV camera and gear, and $24,000 in cash.” Sikes seems to be a victim type.
Fox found “a neighbour near Sikes’ former home in Atwater” who said “I’m not surprised [if] he’d try to get money.”
Fox also found “a spokesperson with Toyota” who told FOX40 News “they’re aware of Sikes’ background.” (Hmmmmmm.)
The breathtaking piece of investigative reporting brings Fox to the conclusion: “While the California Highway Patrol doesn’t question his story, bloggers and radio listeners are wondering whether this is another ‘balloon boy’ style hoax, done for the publicity or the money.”
Ever since, speculations of a hoax by a couple with a salacious sidebusiness are all over the web and social network sites. What took them so long? (Hat tip to Jalopkink: In 10 minutes on Public Records, they found more than Fox in a day.)