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April 2008


7 April 2008

When stopped by a Connecticut state trooper for speeding, 28-year-old Justin Vonkummer explained that an Oreo cookie had fallen into a cup of milk while he was dunking it. He said he was trying to fish out the soggy Oreo when he lost control of his car. Vonkummer is being charged anyway, with both driving in excess of the speed limit and driving under a suspended licence.

Some eight- and nine-year-olds at a US primary school were apparently upset at their teacher having scolded one of them for standing on a chair. Therefore, the group of learning-disabled students at Georgia's Center Elementary School brought handcuffs, duct tape, a broken steak knife, ribbons, and other items to school, with plans to attack her. After a pupil warned a teacher that one girl had brought a weapon to school, school officials contacted the police. Nine children have been suspended from school in connection with the incident.

According to Reuters, Serbian farmer Branko Zivkov agreed to give his now former wife half of everything earned in the course of his 45-year marriage to her but was less keen on giving her half of his agricultural equipment. The 76-year-old Zivkov therefore bought a grinding machine to cut his tools and machinery in half. After splitting, among other things, a harrow and a sowing machine, he told Belgrade newspaper Kurir: 'I still haven't decided how to split the cow. She should just say what she wants - the part with the horns or the part with the tail.'

For conveying 15,000 or more passengers on the Dublin-Norwich route in April 2007 through March 2008, budget airline Flybe was to receive a 280,000-pound rebate from Norwich airport. Falling just short of this target, Flybe decided to pay 172 people to fly back and forth a few times to make up the difference. These temps were offered 30-40 pounds each plus free drinks and in-flight entertainment. Richard Jenner, managing director of the airport, called the move ludicrous, and Flybe chief commercial officer Mike Rutter threw the same word back at him.

Indiana's Brent Leisgang, 30, is accused of stealing catalytic converters from a car lot in Ohio. Leisgang, who probably intended to sell the parts for scrap, ran from police but left identifying materials behind, in the form of his 12-year-old son. Officers believe that the boy was supposed to help with the thefts.
Leisgang faces charges including child endangerment, possession of tools for a crime, possession of drugs, criminal trespass, and theft.

Amy Rice of Minneapolis decided to defend her Labrador retriever, Ella, from a pit bull terrier that had jumped over a fence into her garden. After trying to pull the pit bull's jaws from Ella's head, she bit the canine aggressor on the nose. The pit bull has been placed in quarantine, Ella has had staples and stitches, and Rice is to be tested for rabies.

Ruben Zarate, 18, held up a Chicago car parts store at gunpoint. When told that there was no money in the till yet, an angry Zarate left his mobile telephone number with the employees and demanded they contact him when the manager arrived to open the safe. Mechanic Jose Sida said: 'He said: "You guys better call me because otherwise I'm going to come back and shoot you."' After Zarate left, plainclothes officers had the employees report that the money was available. When Zarate returned, he produced his gun, and pointed it at a policeman who identified himself as such. Zarate was shot in the leg and arrested.

Residents of Burjassot, Spain, alerted the police when they heard someone break into the Crespo funeral parlour late at night. When officers and the owner arrived, they looked around and eventually found a 23-year-old not-yet-dead man lying on a table in a chamber used for viewings during wakes. He was given away by what a local policewoman described as 'everyday clothes that were wrinkled and dirty', as well as the fact that he was breathing. The man, who has a record of robbery, was arrested.

When police officers in Louisiana pulled over a car for a traffic violation, the driver's lack of documents caused them to suspect that the car was stolen. The officers rang the registered owner, Jill Foreman, and left a message. Foreman apparently interpreted the message in an unintended manner and believed it was from a drug dealer. She therefore tried to buy $150 in crack cocaine from the police and was later arrested.
It turned out that the car hadn't been stolen.

The New Straits Times has reported that three men stole the equivalent of 100 euros from a restaurant in Malaysia and returned a few minutes later for more, this time with a protection scam, promising anti-burglary services for about 450 euros a month. While they had worn motorcycle helmets for their first visit, the restaurant owner recognised their clothes as the same and called the police.

Mary Frances Stone of Ogden, Utah, was walking to her mailbox when a pickup truck hit her, leaving her with a broken pelvis. Behind the wheel of the vehicle, which was assigned to police officer Taylor Finder, was the cop's partner, Ranger the police dog. Ranger knocking the automatic transmission into gear led to a $300,000 settlement. Stone said: 'I would like to get more. [...] If my car had hit a cop, I would be in jail.'

Nathaniel King was a firefighter in Saratoga Springs, New York, until he failed to complete the department's newly required training for full certification as a paramedic. His problem is that he fainted whenever trying to administer an injection or start an intravenous line. King, who said he even tried hypnosis to address his issue with needles, is suing for the return of his job, as well as for back pay.

Meanwhile, another former fireman has had his day in court. According to AP reports, Switzerland's Untertoggenburg-Gossau district court sentenced the man, a 31-year-old farmer, to 7.5 years in prison for starting 20 fires across the northern part of the country in 2002-2004. One of the fires he set was on his own property.

Ayumu Shiraishi, a 22-year-old student at Japan's Kwansei Gakuin University, donned an airline pilot's uniform and entered a Japan Airlines office at Narita Airport. He made off with 13 stickers of the sort usually given to children - worth, in total, about 80 euro cents. An employee thought something about him seemed odd and thus contacted the police, who arrested him for theft. He admitted to the charges and explained his behaviour thus: 'I love airplanes.'

30 April 2008

Awaiting trial in Arkansas on a charge of murdering a man and then setting his home on fire, Broderick Laswell is complaining of inhumane treatment in jail. Laswell, who weighed roughly 200 kilos when jailed, is suing the prison because he has lost 140 kilos in the eight months since. He explains that the jail's 3000-calorie-a-day diet isn't enough. Laswell said: 'If we are in a small pod all day (and) do next to nothing for physical exercise, we should not lose weight. The only reason we lost weight in here is because we are literally being starved to death.' The suit also asks that the county be forced to serve hot rather than cold meals.

While a Cleveland, Ohio, television news crew were doing a man-on-the-street report on bank problems, the passenger in a passing car asked them for directions to a bank. The driver of the car, meanwhile, signalled to the newswoman and cameraman that he was being held at gunpoint. The news crew rang the police and followed the car until officers arrived. Police lieutenant Thomas Stacho reported that the 19-year-old armed carjacker has been arrested.

Minoru Wakao, a trucker from Kani, Japan, stopped and offered to help when a 19-year-old woman's car broke down. After repairing the car, he told her that she had to pay for the help, via sexual favours. When the woman rang a friend for help, Wakao fled the scene. He has been arrested anyway and has admitted to using this approach with 14 or 15 women: sabotaging each woman's car by, for example, destroying the brakes and ensuring that a wheel would fall off. He would then tail her until the car broke down and he could offer his help. He reportedly told the police: 'I wanted to go out with the women. I wanted to be a hero.'

Reuters reports that a man in Naples ate his ballot paper for Italy's parliamentary election, as a protest at the state of the country's politics and its politicians. He explained that all Italian politicians 'are crap' and that he was making a statement 'against the system'. The police in Naples have charged the 41-year-old businessman with destroying election materials.

According to the New Straits Times, a Malaysian policeman is accused of breaking into a Mercedes-Benz parked at a hotel in southern Malacca state. While trying to free it of its compact disc player, the officer - reportedly under the influence of intoxicating drugs - fell asleep in the car, where he was found later and arrested. He is accused of being part of a gang responsible for various break-ins and motorcycle thefts. According to the press report, he has fingered three others linked to the police force, accusing them of being fellow members of the gang.

Police in Athens, Tennessee, say that David A. Lundsford and Roger Gifford were driving along when their car ran out of petrol. They began walking to a petrol station, but on the way, they started to argue about who should pay for the petrol. The argument escalated, with a witness reporting that she saw Lundsford punching Gifford. Gifford stabbed Lundsford in the abdomen with a pocket knife. In the end, both men were given a free ride, to jail, and have been charged with public intoxication.

Russia's Komsomolskaya Pravda reports that Yury Lyalin's wife noticed her husband finally get up after he had slept off a night of drinking. When he bent down to get some food from the refrigerator, she noticed a knife sticking out of his back. The 53-year-old Lyalin was rushed to hospital in Volgoda, and the knife, which had missed all major organs, was removed. While Lyalin downplayed the knifing, prosecutors are bringing a case against his drinking buddy, who could face eight years in jail.

The staff of the Preuss Animal House in Lansing, Michigan, report that a woman left their pet store with a small boa constrictor hidden in her trousers. The incident was captured on surveillance cameras. Rick Preuss, who said 'I'm far less concerned for the person than the snake', soon found the incident resolved. The woman wasn't sure what to do next with the $174 snake, and she returned it the pet shop, running away again, Preuss said.

Police in Melville, New York, say that they spotted 31-year-old Cyheam Forney making an illegal left turn. It turned out that more than the left turn was illegal, as Forney's driving licence had been suspended. When he was arrested, he offered the officers $50 as bail money. The $50 banknote wasn't legal either, and Forney is now being held also on a charge of felonious possession of a forged instrument.

In East Point, Georgia, Marcus Chisholm had a taxicab collect him at his flat and take him to a local bank. The driver waited while Chisholm robbed the bank and then took him back to his home, as requested. The taxi driver supplied police officers with Chisholm's address and identified him in the bank's surveillance video. Chisholm was arrested at his home.

After his release from psychiatric observation, Mickey Stevenson Terry found an ambulance outside and took off with it while the crew were depositing its passenger in the hospital building. As the 35-year-old Terry sped along at up to 160 kilometres per hour, helpful motorists yielded the right of way. Sheriff's deputies stopped the ambulance briefly, but Terry sped off again. Officers abandoned the chase for safety reasons, and Terry eventually lost control of the vehicle at a crowded junction, hit a central reservation, broke an axle, and fled on foot. When he then passed out, another ambulance collected him, returning him to hospital, this time under police guard.

About two years ago, a Frankfurt man began receiving nuisance telephone calls from Hamburg. When the 58-year-old man tired of paying for a blocking service, he brought in the police. Frankfurt police spokesman Manfred Fuellhardt described the problem as follows: 'When he picked it up he got no answer, and there was no response when he called back either.' Police traced the number to a hairdresser's shop. Each time the shop accepted payment by card, the misconfigured payment system dialled the Frankfurt man's number. Staff, who had been unaware there was a problem, are working on it.


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