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April 2006

11 April 2006

Witnesses reported that Courtland Page Johnson, a 30-year-old resident of East Naples, Florida, was driving erratically before he crashed his car into several barricades. He got out of his car, wrestled with a snake that was around his neck, and drove off again. When questioned later by authorities, Johnson said that he had crashed into another car, but he later admitted that he'd panicked when his pet snake, which he had wrapped around his neck, bit him. He was charged with leaving the scene of an accident.

Canton Township, Michigan, police sergeant Rick Pomorski said a woman was servicing a bank's cash machine in Detroit when an armed man pushed her inside the closet-like work space behind the machine, bound her with duct tape, and locked her inside. He took off with some money from the ATM, in the woman's company car. About 90 minutes later, bank customers found that the cash machine wasn't working correctly, and they heard muffled cries from within. The police were summoned, and firefighters cut the door open to free the woman.

Reuters reports that Fulgencio Eleocadio and son Daniel, of between Cuernavaca and Acapulco, Mexico, lowered themselves into a 20-metre-deep well to clean it. The small petrol-powered generator they took with them to power electric work lights produced sufficient carbon monoxide that both men died. A neighbour decided to check on the pair and met the same fate, as did two soldiers from local barracks and a police officer who tried to rescue them.

Konoshin Kawabata, 48, found an unlocked building in Osaka, Japan, and crept inside. He was looking for items to steal when he was happened upon by 'Dewanosato', one of the sumo wrestlers who were using the building for training and lodging. The 131-kilo Dewanosato said: 'Without thinking, my body moved. I caught the guy and bear-hugged him.' Kawabata is quoted as telling police: 'When the lights turned on, I was surrounded by more than a dozen sumo wrestlers. I was surprised.'

The owner of a kennel in Sweden decided to sell a puppy to a woman but later changed her mind upon discovering that the woman was living with a lesbian partner. The government discrimination ombudsman's office filed suit against her at the Nacka District Court, which fined the kennel-owner the equivalent of 3,000 euros.

Three people were arrested after an argument at a Springfield, Massachusetts, baby shower erupted into physical violence. Authorities said that Aristotle Garcia and Antonio Santiago, who is dating Garcia's ex-girlfriend, began arguing over whether she had let her five-year-old girl, Garcia's daughter, drink beer. Two others joined the two men in the confrontation: Jazz Rivas and Juan Velazquez. According to police lieutenant Cheryl Claproof, the hostess of the event tried to intervene, and Rivas then began hitting various guests with a large stick. This included the mother-to-be. For Velazquez, the weapon of choice was a gun, which he fired into the air and then into the crowd. Garcia, 26, was hit in the stomach.
Santiago, Velazquez, and Rivas all pleaded not guilty to the assortment of charges against them.

The Ohio State Chiropractic Board has accused James Burda of Athens, Ohio, of being 'unable to practice chiropractic according to acceptable and prevailing standards of care due to mental illness'. Burda says he is not mentally ill and that he really has developed a technique for treating patients by reaching back in time to when their injury occurred. He said the skill, which he named 'Bahlaqeem' - an acknowledged 'made-up word' with a 'soothing vibrational influence' and 'the very special number of nine letters' - came to him when he'd simply told his foot to realign while he was driving. The board are considering barring him from offering this 'long-distance healing service'.

Robert Colla was teaching an adult education class in Ventura, California, when he decided to squash a bug with the paperweight on his desk. The paperweight exploded, blowing off part of his right hand - perhaps because it was a 40-mm artillery shell he had found while hunting some years earlier. Colla suffered minor shrapnel wounds to his forearms and torso. The bug's status was not reported.

Elliot Voge, a 14-year-old student at Stonybrook Middle School in Indianapolis, said he was walking into school when he felt the Swiss army knife in his pocket. The Warren Township Schools code of conduct states that students are required to report knowledge of weapons to the school administration, and he knew that a student had been expelled after a knife fell from his pocket. Therefore, Voge went directly to the school office and turned in his knife, explaining that he'd brought it to school by mistake after doing some whittling the day before. Principal Jimmy Meadows suspended Voge from school for 10 days, the first ever blemish on his discipline record. Meadows also has recommended that Voge be expelled.

In New Port Richey, Florida, a 30-year-old unemployed mother approached neighbour Nicholas Quiles and threatened to call the police because he had raped her seven-year-old son. Quiles, 48, persuaded her not to turn him in. Instead, he gave her $600 in exchange for permission to molest the boy again. Detectives said that the boy later told his 11-year-old sister that Quiles did 'bad things' to him. An anonymous tip led to the arrest of Quiles. Police lieutenant Jeffrey Harrington said: 'I hope we never have to investigate anything like this again.'

Officers in Millard County, Utah, were watching an abandoned car. Meanwhile, John Whitehead decided that it was time to break into a car.
One of the deputies carrying out the surveillance said that a black-dressed Whitehead pulled up next to his cruiser and, wielding a torch in the manner of a club, walked up to the window. The officer greeted Whitehead at gunpoint, whereupon Whitehead said he'd just wanted to make sure the officer was okay. Whitehead was connected to several abandoned-car break-ins in the area and was arrested.

Mainichi Shimbun reports that a 16-year-old Japanese girl in Oita wanted to get a better view of a fight occurring on the street below at about 3am. Leaning over the building's one-metre-high guardrail, she lost her balance, investigators said, and fell from the fourth floor to her death.

James Ralph Snyder, 36, and Mary Jo Elizabeth Jensen, 33, of Waterloo, Iowa, wanted some time off work in December, so they explained that Jensen's 17-year-old son, Daniel Reddout, was in hospital with a serious illness. It was only natural then to resurrect the excuse the next time the couple wanted a few days off work. Snyder gave the local newspaper an obituary for Reddout, which explained that he had died at the Mayo clinic after a lengthy illness. Later in the week, family acquaintances saw Reddout in a local restaurant and contacted the authorities. Jensen and Snyder were arrested.

Mayvis Coyle, 82, has been fined $114 for taking too long to cross the street. She said that the motorcycle officer who ticketed her in California's San Fernando Valley told her she was obstructing traffic after the light turned red when she had made it only halfway across the five-lane road. Los Angeles police sergeant Mike Zaboski said police are cracking down on those who cross streets improperly and that 'I'd rather not have angry pedestrians, but I'd rather have them be alive.' Others contend that the light in question doesn't make it easy for the elderly, or anyone, with the LA Daily News reporting that on Friday the light remained green for 20 seconds per cycle.

23 April 2006

Lieutenant Rod Hauge of the Gillette, Wyoming, police said that a 17-year-old boy, with a friend, reported that someone had thrown petrol on him at a service station and lit him on fire. After the boy was taken to hospital with second- and third-degree burns, officers investigating the incident determined that the boy had spilt petrol on his own trousers while siphoning it from a firefighter's car. He had then used a cigarette lighter in an attempt to see how wet his trousers were, Hague reported. Both boys were ticketed for larceny.

Walter S. Fordyce, 58, told the police in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, that he began arguing with partner Mary McCann, 58, when she refused to heat up sandwiches for him. He threw her to the floor and threw a microwave oven onto her chest. After then banging her head on the floor until she passed out, he said, he went to a neighbour's home to ring emergency services. Returning home to find that McCann no longer had a pulse, he drank a beer, then visited another neighbour's home to have the 911 call made. Fordyce later said of McCann's fatal injuries: 'It was an accident. I didn't do it on purpose', according to a police report.

In a story from Manhattan, someone noticed a minivan inside which sat a device with loose wires and a digital display with changing numbers. The police bomb squad responded to the call and used a water-propelled charge to blow out the back window and three side windows of the vehicle, said police spokesman Dennis Laffin. A police robot entered the van to take photos of the device, which officers quickly determined was a piece of stereo equipment.

Police are on the lookout for the man who entered the Walgreens store on Denver's South Quebec Street and threatened the clerk with 'what appeared to be Mace or a stun gun'. After a struggle, the robber headed back the way he had come, and the clerk threw the first thing to hand at him. This was the cash drawer. The robber was thus able to grab a few handfuls of money before making his getaway.

A delivery truck dropped off a 32-kilo package on a woman's Lynnwood, Washington, porch when she wasn't home. According to police spokeswoman Shannon Sessions, thieves were apparently following the truck and had soon snatched the box. A man later took the electronic device inside to a local pawn shop and received $300 for it. Meanwhile, the woman asked the delivery company why her universal protocol tester hadn't been delivered, then reported it stolen.
The police found the unit, worth an estimated $1.7 million, and arranged to collect it from the pawn shop. While they were there, the man who had pawned it arrived to try to get more money for it, Sessions said. The man is believed to have been given the protocol tester by a man who stole it from a drug dealer. The latter thief was later arrested.

A teacher at Alabama's Coffeeville High School is accused of having sex with several students. Perhaps 30-year-old Sharon Linton Rutherford knew that this no longer makes her unique; also, according to Clarke County sheriff's detective Ron Baggett, she involved one of these teenaged boys in a plan to eliminate her husband.
The first accusation was levelled against Rutherford in 2004, but school officials felt there was not enough evidence. The current investigation began after the school principal was approached by one of the students involved. Rutherford has now been placed on administrative leave and is in jail.

James Earl Clark, Jr, 37, of Weirton, West Virginia, set fire to a car, leaving it totally destroyed. He explained that he did this to repay Dustin Sager 'for hitting me'. The only problems were that the car wasn't Sager's - he had been driving a relative's vehicle rather than his own - and that Clark ended up in need of medical treatment as a result of the incident. He went to the Weirton Medial Center, explained the situation, and was arrested on charges of third-degree arson.

Maria Ramoutar was returning home after celebrating with sister Andria and friends in Miami Beach, Florida, when she saw two cars crash into each other after both trying to get a fast start when a traffic signal turned green. One of the cars then hit a guard rail and a tree, then burst into flames. Thanks to her quick reactions, Ramoutar was able to capture a video of the crash on her mobile telephone. She said she did think: "I wonder if anyone was in there"'. She said that, as the scene unfolded, she stood behind the police tape and just watched. The next day, Ramoutar was informed that her sister and three of the four people she was driving back from Miami Beach had died in the car accident.

Neal Stevenson of Kingsport, Tennessee, reported that his car had been taken from him by force at a shopping centre. Officers found the car being driven the next day. The 16-year-old boy who was in possession of it told officers that the 21-year-old Stevenson had sold it to him for a bag of cocaine worth about $150. The teenager produced the title to the car, signed by Stevenson, to back up his story. Detective Ralph Cline said of Stevenson: 'I would assume his high started leaving him [...] he got mad and felt he got ripped off.'
Stevenson was arrested for filing a false police report, and the teenager faces a charge of being a runaway and drug charges related to items found during his questioning.

A longstanding legal dispute in China's Chongqing City has now been settled by the courts. The China Daily reports that a 76-year-old man who wanted a divorce on account of his sexless marriage has had his request denied. The court argued that the man must have a strong and stable, albeit platonic, relationship of love with his wife since they have been married for 50 years now. The septugenarian had hoped to be given leave to live with his girlfriend, in her 40s, who he feels can offer him a more fulfilling relationship.

Another 76-year-old man had a different approach to obtaining sexual gratification. Carrying a black bag and representing himself as a physician from a local hospital, Philip Winikoff went on a door-to-door mission in Broward County, Florida, where he offered free breast examinations to women in their 20s and 30s. At least two women accepted the offer, one of them becoming suspicious after Winikoff asked her to remove all of her clothing and began conducting a rubber-glove-free 'genital exam'. He fled, and the woman contacted the police. Winikoff was arrested at another woman's home.

A 64-year-old man in Kiel, Germany, reported that his plumbing had become clogged. Workers sent to handle the problem in the pipes under the man's home discovered that the cause was about 30,000 DM in bundles of soggy banknotes. While the serial numbers on the money were being checked for links to wrongdoing, the man who had reported the blockage was contacted. He explained that he thought the retired currency was now worthless so had flushed it down the loo, according to police spokesman Uwe Voigt. Another 30,000 DM created a bottleneck in local sewers, and most was fished out. After the man dried the money in his 'spartan' home, officials accompanied him to a bank to convert and deposit it.

A member of the US Congress gave a personal touch to a letter to constituent Bill Jones. Jeff Connor, a spokesman for US Representative Jo Ann Emerson's office, said Emerson personally signed the letter and wrote 'PS - please forgive the delay in responding' at the bottom. The letter, a response to questions about testimony of oil executives before a Congressional committee in 2005, was otherwise unremarkable - except that it ended with: 'I think you're an asshole'.
No-one has been disciplined, as it's unknown who is to blame. However, Emerson said, 'it is on my letterhead and the responsibility for it lies with me'.

After flying to Florida from New Jersey, Debra Sander found a Transportation Security Administration uniform shirt folded among the rearranged clothes in her luggage. She immediately thought of her neighbours who had died in the World Trade Center attack and worried that there might have been a botched attempt to pass the uniform on for nefarious purposes. Reporting the matter, she was told that there'd have been a note if her bags had been searched by a TSA employee
Later, Mark Hatfield, director of security at Newark Airport, where Sander's flight originated, said her luggage had indeed been screened and that the shirt probably fell from a nearby hook in a bag room where 'we do allow the officers to work in t-shirts to deal with the extreme heat variations'. Hatfield said the officer 'reported it appropriately right after the incident happened'.

According to police captain Darlene Jenkins, a man entered the Uihlein Soccer Park in Milwaukee and, armed with what appeared to be a gun, tried to rob a woman in an office. She had no money. He then mugged a man whose wallet turned out to be empty. The would-be robber then tried to leave the park but couldn't find the exit. This gave bystanders time to realise that the man's gun wasn't real. He was detained, and the police were summoned. When the authorities arrived, he complained of chest pains so had a quick trip to hospital before being delivered to jail.

One of carpenter Percy Honniball's clients returned early to his California home and found the 50-year-old Honniball building bookcases while naked. Honniball explained that he'd wanted to keep his clothes clean so had taken them off before crawling under the house to do electrical work. That explanation did not keep him from being fired. The homeowner paid him for the completed work, less $200 'to change his locks', said Oakland police officer Jesse Grant. Honniball is being charged with misdemeanour indecent exposure.
Three other times in the last six years, Honniball has been caught working in the buff. He says that, while work such as demolition requires protective clothes, other work benefits from the greater range of motion that nudity allows.


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