Welcome, once again, to another installment of the latest in unusual credit card crimes, and your ticket to feeling good about yourself. You may have a lot of stress or frustrations going on in your life, but, hey, at least you're not being featured in a column about your crooked credit card con gone wrong.

Not much of a vacation

The Chronicle Telegram reported that this happened at a Red Roof Inn in Elyria, Ohio, but it's part of a nationwide scam that's been going on, apparently mostly at Red Roof Inns and Super 8's. Recently, a customer at a Red Roof Inn received a phone call from the hotel manager, only it wasn't the hotel manager. He said that the company had lost its Internet connection, and with it, all of its reservations. He then asked for the credit card with which she had reserved her room. She provided it.

But wait? What does the Internet being down really have to do with her credit card information? Sure enough, the next day, she found that her credit card had been charged $265, and not to the Red Roof Inn.

Did other guests received the same call at the same inn? And they were savvy enough not to give out their credit card number? Still, it seems like a pretty clever trick. Can you hate the crime but admire the ingenuity behind it?

Yet another tale of a credit card thief brought down by his nicotine addiction

A man named Deverious McCray tried to use his own credit card at 3:20 a.m. to buy cigarettes at a convenience store in Lincoln, Nebraska. Unfortunately, his card was declined, and moments later, he came back in with a gun and told the clerk to give him his cigarettes -- and while he was at it, all of the money. Of course, he had already swiped his credit card, and so it wasn't difficult for the police to find him later that day. This happened last summer, but he was only recently in court to receive his sentencing.

"I'm a recovering addict, and I know I need help," said 31-year-old Deverious McCray in an apology, as reported by the Lincoln Journal Star.

Sounds like he was pretty contrite, but the judge wasn't too swayed, telling him that the convenience store clerks were doing their jobs and one of the scary parts of the job "is people like you. It happens all too often and it needs to stop."

McCray was given five to six years in prison.

Daughter needs to find better friends

Sad story in Columbus, Ohio. Channel 10 TV, out of Columbus, reports of a widow, Debbie Addy, who, almost a year after her husband's death, received a bill for over $33,000. If I received a bill like that, I'd have to go find a chair, so I could fall out of it.

Anyway, it was a bill from her late husband's credit card issuer. Seems Addy's husband George had been spending a lot of money lately, which, of course, was impossible since he died last February.

It was eventually discovered that the culprit is allegedly Christopher Burcham, a friend of Addy's daughter. She had invited the 23-year-old over to play on the family's Xbox. Apparently, Burcham went wandering, found George's wallet and helped himself. Shortly before Christmas, he went on a two-day shopping spree, going to places like Macy's and staying in a downtown Columbus hotel where he had roses delivered to the room. He's now in jail and presumably wishing he had just stuck with playing the video games.

Bet this won't be in this guy's holiday letter next year

It sure looked like police were on the verge of finding a poignant Christmas tale last month. Authorities in Santa Monica, California, heard of a report that a guest at the Le Merigot Hotel might be staying with a stolen credit card. The police, according to the Santa Monica Mirror, showed up and spoke to a hotel employee, who said that he had spoken to a person, claiming that his credit card had been stolen and had been used to make fraudulent purchases and was being used at the hotel.

The police confronted the "guest" and discovered a 57-year-old homeless man in a wheelchair. The man immediately gave his name and confessed that it was, indeed, not his credit card. He had used it because he wanted to stay in a nice hotel for Christmas.

Definitely wrong, but you can't help get a little choked up. Maybe I've just overdosed on too many episodes of Law & Order, but I can just pictures the cops saying to each other that they shouldn't be too hard on the guy. You know, it's Christmas, and here's this homeless, wheelchair-bound guy, who up until now has probably been a model citizen, and… no, wait, scratch that. As the police soon learned, the homeless fellow hadn't actually given his real name and was already on probation for fraud and had a previous arrest for theft.

He was spirited off to jail for the holidays, where the accommodations probably weren't quite as nice as the Le Merigot.