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April 2007

1 April 2007

Led by minister Owen Pridson, a group of Seventh-Day Adventists in Beaverton, Oregon, may be subject to church sanctions following their request for special blessing of the Willamette River for immersion baptism of the newest members of the church. Responding to questions from the North Pacific Union Conference about matters such as what was wrong with the current baptismal facilities, Pridson said, he explained that the group plan to baptise horses. He said: 'I don't know what the problem is. Our "Great Commission" involves spreading the faith to all.'

Yuki Akizuki, 22, approached police in Japan's Fukushima Prefecture to report that she had been sexually attacked in a park. She escaped when her attacker stopped to open a bottle of cooking oil and apply it to his genitalia. Officers arrested the still-oily and inebriated man, 44-year-old Yojimbo Norigato, as he was leaving the park. Under police questioning, Norigato explained: 'I did not want to wait until I was home to try this rape seed oil.' The incident, which came to light last week, has led to calls for Japan's Food Safety Commission to enforce stricter monitoring of translation issues in product labelling.

In a medical helicopter run to Finland's Turku Hospital, two paramedics and the pilot both were killed after the aircraft's tail rotor became caught in the helipad's wind sock. Surviving the crash was the 57-year-old patient, who was being transported from the nearby town of Aura after suffering a heart attack.

A pre-Easter game in southern Uruguay, in which two men blow mud at each other through ceremonial straws, ended in tragedy on Friday. As more than 30 American tourists looked on, one man inhaled his mud and, unable to breathe, began clasping at his throat. Locals were unable to reach the man in time to render assistance. One of the tourists, Tobias Vornholdt, 69, of Missouri, said: 'It looked like a native dance that was part of the game, and some of us were clapping [...]. I really feel a bit guilty.'

[IMG: Heely warning] As a reward for not skipping school, Ralph Stotson of Bowling Green, Ohio, bought a pair of 'Heelys' roller-shoes for his 10-year-old son before taking the youth to school on Tuesday. The boy soon was sent home for skating in the halls, so Stotson took him to return the shoes. However, clerk Veronica Westerton, who had served the Stotsons earlier in the day, refused to take back the shoes, which were a clearance item. Witnesses reported that Stotson, 31, then hit Westerton in the head with both shoes.
After receiving medical treatment, Westerton confirmed that it was she who had removed the sticker from the bottom of the shoes for the boy, which reads, in part, 'By peeling off this sticker you agree to waive the right to sue for any injury from the use of Heelys.' Accordingly, Stotson was released from custody.

Operations at Poland's Zarnowiec nuclear power plant were suspended in early March after more than 200 people who had visited the plant in the previous three weeks reported symptoms such as an itchy scalp and nausea. Initial checks of the plant revealed nothing amiss in terms of radiation levels, prompting a more in-depth investigation. Spokeswoman Ewa Jasinska said: 'After three weeks of tests, the EJZ [Electrownia Jadrowa Zarnowiec] investigators determined that our problem was not in the reactor but in the visitors' theatre: contamination in 480 33-cl bottles of French mineral water.'

3 April 2007

Australian police report that a 25-year-old man climbed through a police station window in Palmwoods and stole property that police had seized from him earlier in the day. About an hour later, police officers paid a visit to his home, where they found him and the stolen property. He is due to appear in Maroochydore Magistrates Court on April 20.

Magistrates in Blackburn, Lancashire, heard that Matthew Currie, 18, dropped his mobile telephone while running from police after committing an alcohol-fuelled burglary. The court heard that, after the police picked up the telephone, it rang. Prosecuting, Neil White said: 'Naturally the police spoke to "mum" and then went round to see her'. She refused to give a statement, but during the visit the telephone rang a second time. The calling number this time belonged to a mobile telephone taken during the burglary. Realising that Currie was listening for his ringtone back at the scene of the crime, they met with him there and arrested him.

Police say that Kearney, Nebraska, woman Brandy Killin didn't want to work over the weekend. She was supposed to show up for work at 10:00am. At 9:52am, the credit card service centre where she had been working for three months received a bomb threat called in from a phone box. Killin, 26, faces felony charges of threatening to set off an explosive device, but she now doesn't have to go to work in the mornings.

Australia's Melbourne Herald Sun reports that two men from Beachmere checked in to a Queensland motel and began manufacturing drugs. Other guests at the hotel, senior police officers staying there for the Roma Police District conference, investigated the odour emanating from the two men's room and discovered several suitable charges to file against the men, ages 30 and 35.

A clerk at a PostNet mailing outlet in Oregon noticed that a FedEx package bound for Maryland didn't smell as might be expected from the declared contents: five bags of Lays Potato Chips. Suspicious, she exercised her posted right to open the package. Inside the sealed crisp packets were hallucinogenic mushrooms. While the sender, Joshua Michael Sturtevant, left no name or contact details, he did ring PostNet two days later to ask why the package hadn't arrived. The telephone number he left enabled him to be charged with the manufacture, delivery, and possession of a controlled substance.

Officers took a Maryland driver into custody for not having a valid licence and then asked passenger Vincent Lloyd Massey, 48, for his own details. Checking out the name, address, and birth date supplied by Massey, officers discovered a link to several arrest warrants, some in relation to federal felonies and summoned backup. Once taken into custody, Massey explained that he'd provided false details, and his true identity was confirmed. There were no warrants for Massey's arrest, so he faces charges only of giving a false statement to police.

The Broward County, Florida, sheriff's office reports that Peter Kafafian, hefting a Phillips-head screwdriver, attempted to hold up a convenience store. When a clerk produced a knife from behind the counter, Kafafian fled. He cruised through a red light, make a U-turn over a cement median, and crashed into another car, rendering himself unconscious in the process. Officers collected him without incident.

Elsewhere in Florida, a Boca Raton police officer stopped to investigate three stopped cars, assuming there had been an accident. One driver was in handcuffs, another explained that he was an off-duty sheriff's deputy making an arrest for road rage, and the third motorist had helped in the arrest by boxing in the first. The sheriff's officer asked the Boca Raton officer for code 94 (backup), whereupon the city officer asked for identification and the handcuffs were removed.
The man was not a sheriff's officer, or a man. Rachel Lyndsee Otto, the 21-year-old grand-daughter of NASCAR co-founder Edgar Otto, was arrested for impersonating an officer and making a false arrest. A woman in the passenger seat of Otto's car expressed surprise that the officer with whom she had been living for a week or so was female.

South Carolina's Island Packet reports that Kellee E. Knight, 34, was drinking with neighbours when a 46-year-old man told her that she was sitting on his credit card. This apparently wasn't what Knight wanted to hear, so she bit him on the cheek, breaking the skin and leaving two rows of tooth marks. A woman who tried to intervene suffered a bite to her nose and required plastic surgery. Bluffton Police Chief David McAllister said: 'She basically almost bit this lady's nose off.' Knight awaits trial.

Police in Apex, North Carolina, responded to a call that sheep were eating the flowers in the town cemetery. Not far away was the home of David Watts, who lived upstairs and shared his home with about 80 sheep, some of which he took on occasional strolls through the neighbourhood. Watts has been charged on 30 counts of cruelty to animals, for each of the sheep that were euthanised by animal control officers. The other sheep were put up for adoption. Many of the animals had never had their hooves cut and thus walked on their knees on account of the sores on their feet. The remains of others, along with faecal matter, created a stench that had prompted neighbours to complain for years.
A parallel investigation has been opened concerning a flock of about 60 more sheep owned by Watts, in another county.

Authorities in Lee County, Florida, report that it wasn't hard to point the finger at David Novak for breaking into a local pharmacy. An employee recognised him from surveillance camera footage because Novak had visited the pharmacy several times. Another hint to his identity was provided by one of his burglary tools, apparently left on the scene. The initials 'D.N.' were carved into the handle.

Natalie Kuhn of Ottawa was on her way to work when the bus driver told her that her perfume made it hard to focus. He asked her not to wear it again, or be kicked off the bus. After checking with city officials, who informed her that there are no rules against perfume on public transport, she wore the scent the following day. The driver walked off the bus, explaining to passengers that he wouldn't continue the route until Kuhn's perfume was gone. A supervisor drove her to work. The same happened on the next work day, last Monday, only it was a different bus driver who pulled over and asked her to get off the bus. Subsequently, Calgary transit supervisors suggested that she sit at the back of the bus, with the window open. She complained: 'I think it's ridiculous [...]. You don't single out one person.'

After 10 days of awaiting a court appearance at the Hamilton County, Tennessee, jail for the statutory rape of a 15-year-old girl, David Cross was asked to take a shower. It quickly became apparent to other prisoners, his accuser, and jailers that Cross is a woman. Also known as Elaine Ann Cross, the 42-year-old woman has pleaded guilty to aggravated statutory rape as part of a plea deal that keeps her out of jail. District Attorney Boyd Patterson said that the 15-year-old girl, who had some sort of sexual relationship with Cross, was 'enamored' with her and had planned to marry her.

In January, I reported on Chana and Simon Taub, who put up a wall in one of their homes as part of their divorce proceedings. On Wednesday, jurors rejected Chana's grounds for divorce, 'cruel and inhumane treatment'. Simon Taub's lawyer said that the case has been an extraordinary waste of resources and called for New York to allow no-fault divorce.

Security personnel at a power station in Ontario heard screams for help coming from the direction of Niagara Falls. Investigation revealed a Spanish man on an inflatable mattress on board a chunk of ice. Speaking for Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board, Charles Hawkins said that the 42-year-old man 'claimed he was going to lie down on the mattress to relax and he fell asleep, and the next thing he knew he was on the river'. Following treatment for mild hypothermia, he was taken into custody to face immigration-related charges.

The Toronto Star reports on a man and woman who allegedly burgled and stole several vehicles in Newmarket. When driving one of them, an SUV, to Alberta, they decided to rely on the vehicle's GPS device. As its optimal route the system chose a southerly path rather than the Trans-Canada Highway, according to Detective Duncan MacIntyre of York Region police. The couple soon found themselves at a US border crossing, where guards checked the vehicle's licence number, and the pair were detained. Among the items recovered from the theft spree, which have an estimated total value of CN$65,000, were ammunition and equipment from a police car.

Melissa Byrum York, 40, wove through a Sylvania, Alabama, street at midnight at low speed, with several cars narrowly missing her. She also rammed a police car. When she tried to flee the scene, her vehicle was not co-operative, so she decided to escape on foot. However, her foot became caught in one of the vehicle's stirrups and an officer took her into custody with ease. She was charged with driving under the influence; cruelty to animals; and drugs charges related to the crystal methamphetamine, marijuana, and pills that she was carrying. The horse was not charged.

23 April 2007

John Ferrell suffered serious burns when his pickup truck exploded. Montgomery County, Tennessee, sheriff's office spokesman Ted Denny said that, apparently, when the 22-year-old Ferrell loaded a hot grill onto the bed of the truck, 'he still had hot charcoals, which somehow got too close to the propane tank, and it exploded. Obviously, we would urge people not to drive with burning grills in their vehicles.' The 1978 Chevrolet pickup was in flames when paramedics arrived. Ferrell was taken by helicopter to Vanderbilt University Medical Center for burn treatment, where he was listed as in stable condition.

Portuguese newspapers such as Diário de Noticias report that two policemen in the Cova da Moura area of Lisbon stopped a man for walking his dog without a leash and muzzle. The 35-year-old dog owner threatened the officers with the dog, but the animal had other plans and ran off. Therefore, the owner bit one of the policemen himself, on the wrist. The other officer suffered a broken finger before the man was arrested. He is under house arrest, and the dog has not been found.

While robbing an Arizona bank, a woman told the teller that her accomplice outside the bank would enter if necessary. It wasn't - she took the cash just fine, and the pair fled on foot. It was the accomplice, Cordae Black, who had problems, dropping some of the cash while crossing the street. He also dropped his wallet, which contained several pieces of photo ID. An hour later, a Detective Liska who was interviewing witnesses saw Black wandering around the car park and approached him. When Black explained that he was looking for his wallet, Liska said: 'Let me guess. You lost it about an hour ago?', to which Black replied that he'd actually lost it 'a couple of hours ago'. When Black was taken into custody, further tying him to the crime was 'evidence from the robbery on him'. The female robber remains at large.

Canada's Edmonton Sun reports that Halifax police responded to a report of two men trying to break into a parking meter at about 3am. One was wearing all black, and the other was dressed in a bathrobe. Police found a likely suspect near the crime scene and began looking for the other man. They soon heard the sound of a mobile telephone ringing from within a large rubbish bin nearby. They soon had their second suspect: the man inside was taken into custody.

California's Palo Alto Daily News reports that Amilcar Gomez, 29, of Redwood City decided it would be clever to steal and resell the surveillance camera from the McDonald's where he worked as a cashier. The next morning, delivery men noticed that something appeared to be wrong with the camera, and the restaurant's manager watched the night's security film. It showed Gomez trying to remove the camera and then giving up. When arrested, 'he knew why we had brought him in', said Police Sergeant Sandra Brown.

Benjamin Houghton, 47, decided to have his left testicle removed on account of pain and the likelihood of cancer. After his scheduled surgery at the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center, he discovered that it hadn't been removed. The other one had. Dr Dean Norman, chief of staff for the Greater Los Angeles VA system, made this statement: 'We are making every attempt that we can to care for Mr. Houghton, but it's in litigation.' Houghton is seeking $200,000 for future care and in damages. His left testis remains with him, at least for the moment.

Maria Pantalone, the 49-year-old principal of a primary school in Toronto, recently admitted to throwing faeces at a 12-year-old boy who was not in her care, hitting him in the shoulder with the poo. What she described as an act of 'total frustration' will not give her a criminal record, on account of a plea agreement. She may also be reinstated in her job at Ontario's Keele Street Junior Public School and Mountainview Alternative, from which she has been suspended with pay throughout the investigation and court proceedings.

An 11-year-old girl in Fernando, Florida, woke one night in late March to find her bed covers being removed by a hook at the end of a long pole. The other end of the pole, outside her window, was quickly abandoned when the girl screamed and ran for her mother. Authorities checked on known Peeping Toms and known sex offenders in the area, finding no leads. Later, a forensics lab matched the semen found on the side of the girl's house to the DNA of neighbour Michael Derenberger, 40, who had been released a couple of months earlier from a stint in state prison and has a history of prowling and burglary.

Police in Middlefield, Ohio, say that Robert Perry knew he had a 'cheap stereo system' in the car he purchased recently. The man who stole it apparently discovered the same thing and had a teenage passenger return the stereo system to the vehicle after about 15 minutes. A surveillance tape showed both visits, and police officers recognised the truck of the miscreant, because he delivers the Star Beacon newspaper to, among others, the Middlefield police. John Melvin, Jr, 26, was arrested without difficulty. He later told police that the theft was a joke. Melvin has been charged with theft, and Perry has replaced the car radio.

Georgia's 19-year-old Jennifer Natbony claims that she doesn't remember whether she had permission to take her mother's Lexus out for a night on the town. She doesn't remember what drugs she took, nor does she recall many details of the 20-minute high-speed chase that ensued when Cobb County police officer J.E. Van Alstine noticed her speeding. She did say she was afraid to be caught speeding again, since her father would take away her car, though she claimed not to remember driving the wrong way down one-way streets at 5am with the car's lights off. The chase ended when officers bumped the Lexus to stop it. After Natbony locked the car doors and officers saw a gun inside, they broke the windows. Natbony was sentenced to probation.
This was in 2003. Now, her father, Michael Natbony, has filed suit to get his insurance company to pay for the $12,612 in damage to the Lexus since the company has disclaimed liability for 'lawful damage'.

Police in Spring Township, Pennsylvania, report that Theresa Cannon, 27, stabbed her live-in boyfriend's one-year-old pit bull in the neck with a steak knife to accentuate a point during an argument. The boyfriend, 29-year-old Gilbert Concepcion, retaliated by reporting Cannon to the police for having 22 kilos of marijuana in the boot of her car. The drugs, which she was keeping for an acquaintance, were confiscated, along with the car, and the dog is recovering.

This kind of thing probably happens fairly often, so I won't report on such cases in the future unless there is an added element.
An Arkansas man was arrested for drink-driving after an officer saw him run into a kerb. The man, who identified himself as Antonio Moreno Nabor, failed several field sobriety tests and a breath test. He decided to ask his brother to post bail for him. His brother is the real Antonio Moreno Nabor, who supplied the police with papers showing that the man in their custody was in fact Sebastian Nabor, 28. In addition to the charge of driving while intoxicated, the latter Nabor is charged with criminal impersonation.

Dennis Kocken, the sheriff of Brown County, Wisconsin, said that he was following an apparent speeder last month when he suddenly changed lane to avoid a snow plough in his lane. He ended up hitting the rear of the speeder's vehicle as it began slowing to make a turn. The District Attorney's office cleared Kocken of responsibility for the crash, but he himself had doubts. Kocken, 52, told the Green Bay Press Gazette: 'Finally I decided to write myself a ticket. I felt it was the right thing to do.' The offence, making an unsafe lane change, carries a $160 fine. The driver hit by Kocken was ticketed for failing to wear a seat belt.

An officer checking out a vehicle at a petrol station discovered that its owner was wanted on a traffic-related warrant under the name Mark Villanueva. The officer recognised Villanueva from a previous arrest as a woman, 30-year-old Lorelei Corpuz. When the officer asked the 14-year-old passenger in the vehicle how she knew the driver, the girl said it was her boyfriend.
Corpuz had met the girl at a shopping centre in September 2005 and posed as a 17-year-old boy whose mother had died of cancer and whose father had killed himself. The girl's family soon let Corpuz move in. While the two had had sexual contact, the police said, Corpuz never let the girl see her 'private parts'. Police allege that Corpuz has beaten and molested the girl, as well as biting her on the back, in her year living with the family.

According to All Headline News citing the Jamaican Star, Old Harbour residents became suspicious of an unknown man repeatedly entering and leaving a local home. According to the report, the police were summoned by the homeowner, who explained that the crowd of locals wouldn't believe that the suspected burglar actually belonged there. An Old Harbour Police Station officer is quoted as saying: 'After we went to the dwelling [...] [i]t was pointed out to us that the husband had enlisted the services of the younger male for his wife, as he is unable to deliver.' Area residents expressed displeasure with the arrangement, but they were advised that a contract had been made between consenting adults.

Prison officials in La Grange, Kentucky, received a fax claiming that the Kentucky Supreme Court 'demanded' the release of 19-year-old Timothy Rouse, who was being held for psychiatric evaluation after allegedly beating an elderly man. Only two weeks after freeing Rouse did they realise that the fax, which was not on letterhead paper and had been sent from an area grocery store, was bogus. Greg Taylor, director of the facility, said that checking the origin of faxes isn't part of standard procedure but would have been a good idea.
Rouse was found at his mother's home and was re-arrested. It is unclear who sent the fax.

Daniel C. DeMay, Jr, needed money for the train from Oak Park to St. Charles, Illinois, so he started hunting for cash. Rummaging through the glove box of an unlocked Cadillac, the 49-year-old DeMay found a spare set of keys, so he decided just to drive to his destination: drug court. He was arrested on arrival. The two passengers he picked up along the way were released.

Doris Moore of Toronto said that, when her new sofa was delivered, her seven-year-old daughter looked at the label and asked 'Mommy, what colour is that?' The tag specified that the couch is 'nigger brown'. Moore, who 'never thought that's how she'd learn of that word', contacted the furniture store, whose owner, Romesh Vanaik, said: 'It's amazing. I've been here since 1972 and I never knew the meaning of this word.' The store's supplier, in turn, indicated that the problem was with translation software used by the sofa's Chinese manufacturer. The problem appears when the characters for 'dark brown' are typed into translation software from Kingsoft Corp. that relies on an older Chinese-English dictionary. Kingsoft Product Manager Huang Luoyi said it was a regrettable error. Moore, who is black, is consulting with a lawyer.


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