A good rule to live by is: real life is not like the movies! In films and popular TV shows, people involved in criminal enterprises often appear to lead glamorous and interesting lives and get away with all manner of illegal shenanigans without ever getting caught. In real life, people involved in criminal enterprises often spend a great deal of time covering their tracks, stressing about who knows what and how much, and almost always get caught.
Which is certainly the case for 34-year-old Fred A. Burlingame, the Rhodes resident who police say was driving around in a “Breaking Bad” style meth-cooking RV. Realistically, of course, Mr. Burlingame’s RV was not nearly as elaborately decked out as the infamous Walter White’s mobile meth lab. But the lack of TV inspired criminal chemistry didn’t earn him any less felony charges.
He was discovered in the act of drying meth in a microwave
According to police records, police were investigating a claim of a stolen truck which led them to Burlingame. Police received a tip revealing his whereabouts, and then entered the apartment where he was discovered in the act of drying meth in a microwave. Also found in the apartment with him was a book bag containing meth lab components. He was apparently arrested without a fight.
It was then that police encountered his 1988 Chevrolet Allegro RV – the alleged “Breaking Bad” vehicle that Burlingame used as both cook site and mobile meth shop. Upon entering the RV, which was uninsured, unlicensed and unregistered, the Michigan State Police Meth Lab Response Team found two meth labs and a number of pipe bombs.
But as it turns out, none of that matters. The charges brought against Burlingame by the Bay County Prosecutor’s office, for maintaining a meth lab, delivery of a controlled substance, possession of a dangerous weapon, and being a felon in possession of a firearm have all been dismissed in the face of a recent federal indictment.
The grand jury indictment, which has resulted in federal charges against Burlingame, is for a single count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. However, it is worth noting that since the state charges against him were dismissed without prejudice, they could technically be reinstated at any time in the future, as long as it fell within the state’s statute of limitations.