'I tried to look her straight in the eye', the restaurant manager explained, 'but given her advanced state of undress, that wasn't easy for me! I thought at first that her tears signified extreme embarrassment. I looked again. They were tears of disappointment. She felt rejected. What could I do?' he pleaded. I wondered how to answer him. I hoped he would elaborate without further prompting. He did not. What did he do? I wondered idly. When the police arrived, the manager of the Taco Bell Restaurant, Fountains Hill, Arizona told the whole story (well, without that interesting ending, anyway!). 'The caller on the phone said he was a police officer', he explained. 'He asked me if there was a young female customer with a red jacket and long blond hair sitting alone. He described her to a T. He told me she was suspected of theft. He wanted me to give her a body search. He said it was my legal obligation so I ordered her into a back room. Then he told me to order her to disrobe and to give her a thorough all-over body search. So I did. It was only when he told me to make her stand on one leg and then do jumping jacks that I became suspicious. I asked him how I could be sure he was a police officer. To prove that he was he started to pledge allegiance to the flag. But he forgot the words and then hung up. I realised all was not what it seemed. I tried to explain to the young lady. That's when her tears began to flow.' The report was the latest in a series of hoax strip-searches that have been plaguing fast-food restaurants throughout America. 'It's mind-boggling how he gets away with it,' said Sheriff Joseph Arpaio of Maricopa County. 'Why would any responsible person do something like this just because some guy calls them on the telephone and tells them he's a cop?' I could think of a reason but I didn't like to interrupt. 'Yet we've documented more than seventy of these hoax calls and in almost every case the manager has agreed to perform the strip-search. Even more incredibly, the female customers have almost always gone along with the scam.' What was the outcome at Taco Bell? I wanted to know, but he was unusually coy on that account! 'This guy is clearly a sexual pervert looking for a cheap thrill. But as he has gone on, it's become more about power and his orders have become ever more bizarre. We think he walks past a restaurant, sees a girl he likes the look of, then phones from across the street while looking through the window. He never gets to see what goes on in the back room, however... unless.. Wait a minute. I've got a phone call to make!!'