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August 2004

9 August 2004

Drew Patterson of Bristow, Oklahoma, heard that there was an escaped prisoner in the area, so he armed himself with a .22-calibre pistol, which he tucked into his waistband with the hammer pulled back. When the gun went off, it shot him in the left buttock. He said he felt a burning sensation about 30 seconds later and figured out that the warm substance trickling down his leg was blood. He termed the incident 'one of my most embarrassing moments'.

The Houston Chronicle reports that 10 members of the Harris County, Texas, Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force burst into landscaping contractor Blair Davis's home with guns drawn and told him to lie on the floor. Eventually, the cause for the raid became clear: someone had mistaken the hibiscus in his front yard for marijuana. Davis said 'It's got white buds on it. Hello.' According to Davis, the officers spent about an hour in his house, discussing whether his bamboo was marijuana and asking him what he did with the melons growing in his back garden. The officers left a 'citizens' information card' with a note saying 'closed-report'.

Czech government inspector Michal Ronin said labour inspectors managed to convince a chain of retail stores to drop a plan ostensibly designed to help female employees. Under the plan, female checkout clerks would have been required to wear red headbands when menstruating. The rationale was that this would make it clear which employees legitimately needed to use the loo more often than the others. Ronin told the Mlada' fronta Dnes newspaper that the retail chain 'admitted it was stupid'.

In Kenton-on-Sea, South Africa, a football referee awarded a penalty against the visiting Marcelle team. According to police spokeswoman Mali Govender, unhappy players stormed the field and the referee reacted by producing a gun. Govender said that the referee shot two of the players and then the coach of the visiting team. One of the Marcelle players was treated at the scene, and the other was hospitalised for a wounded hand. The coach, from Ekuphumuleni, was hit in the chest and died before he could be taken to hospital. The referee fled and remains at large.

College student Warronnica Harris was watching the opening credits of a film in a St. Petersburg, Florida, cinema when her mobile phone rang. She says it was a family emergency and that she spoke so quietly that her mother, on the other end of the line, couldn't hear her. Officer John Douglas then approached Harris and her boyfriend. He said the pair refused to leave and needed a pepper-spraying. They are both being charged with disorderly conduct. Witness Marcia Grey, 49, said that Harris's boyfriend 'turned and asked the officer why he was making them leave and the cop just maced him in the face. They weren't yelling or touching him. The man bent over and the girl asked why he maced her boyfriend. Then the cop maced her, and she dropped her soda.'

The Indiana State Police report that Richard Brown rang several people and told them they could win $50,000 in a contest run by WNOU radio if they came to his home and stripped for him. Some people became suspicious and rang WNOU to check out Brown's story before taking off their clothes. A state trooper was at the radio station when these calls came through, and a prompt investigation led to Brown's arrest. When he made the calls, Brown was serving a home detention sentence.

Most of you may recall the story of Swedish pastor Helge Fossmo from June's Clippings (see He has now been sentenced to life in prison for inciting his children's nanny, who was his mistress, to kill his second wife and his next-door neighbour. The nanny is to be sent to a psychiatric institution. The court cleared Fossmo of responsibility in connection with the death of his first wife, who Fossmo said had hit her head on the tap and drowned in the bath.

On Monday, a man fell backward from a ladder while pruning a tree in his garden in Eltham, south London. The chainsaw he was using hit his wife, 57-year-old Pauline Pudney, causing trauma to the neck. According to a police report, she was killed instantly. Mr Pudney, 56, was taken to hospital, where he was being treated for shock.

Helene and Thomas Romano and paraplegic Steven Seidler were among the shoppers at a Brooklyn grocer's last Sunday. Seidler said the couple's two-year-old grandson pulled the fur of his helper monkey, Darla, three times from the shopping cart in which he was sitting. The couple apparently didn't respond when Seidler said: 'Get your kid away from my monkey!' They did react, however, when Darla bit Thomas on the arm. Helene says the five-year-old monkey 'does not belong with this man' and should be in a zoo.

Lina Morales worked as an administrative assistant at Florida telecommunications business Rising Star until she was fired for eating a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich in the lunch room. Morales said the company, run by Muslims, has a somewhat unclear 'no pork' policy. When CEO Kujaatele Kweli told a local television reporter that the company can and does accommodate all faiths in the same lunch room, the reporter said: 'But you've dismissed one of your employees for eating pork in the lunch room.' Kewli replied: 'Yes, pork is considered unclean.' Morales has now decided to sue Rising Star.

Jamie Hudgins, a clerk at the Pleasures adult toy shop in Decatur, Alabama, said a woman left with a sex toy hidden in her handbag. She also left a job application she had just completed. The suspect's mother has offered to pay for the item, but Hudgins said the staff will still seek a warrant for the young woman's arrest.

Nashville's Harold Whitton was robbed of his money and car at knifepoint on Tuesday. Three hours later, police officer Martin Burns was attending the Night Out Against Crime social event when he saw someone there who closely matched the description of the robber. After questioning, Burns arrested the man, Claude Meadows. Meadows was carrying a multi-tool containing a knife and Whitton's car keys.

Patricia Berg rang the Anne Arundel County, Maryland, police to report a possible prowler in her home. She provided her details. After a silence of 1 minute and 42 seconds on the 911 operator's end of the line, Berg said 'Hello' a few times and eventually received a response. The operator, 10-year veteran Louis Gerber, asked Berg the nature of her emergency. After she told him that he already had the data, he verified this in the computer and passed the call along to a dispatcher. It is unknown yet what kind of discipline Gerber might face for his apparent nap. No prowler was found in the Berg home.

Wayne Gethers, a 38-year-old man from Roxbury, Massachusetts, told the police that he had been 'enjoying the company of an unidentified female' in the back seat of his limousine when another limo approached. His wife was driving, and his four children, two of them hers, were the passengers. Yvesnane Gethers, 27, slammed her car into his several times. After he drove off, she continued to slam into him, in a chase that reached 40-50 mph.
Wayne explained that he and Yvesnane had been trying to mend their relationship. He had sought out the other woman's companionship after getting into an argument with Yvesnane about the way she was dressed.

A Los Angeles woman is accused of stealing a piece of outgoing mail, removing a cheque from the envelope, and altering it so that it featured her own name and was for more than 30 times as much. She then went to a bank to cash it. The teller, Horacio Lasam, recognised the personalised cheque as his own, so he excused himself and rang his wife, who reported that the cheque was supposed to be a $20 credit card payment. The suspect was arrested shortly thereafter.

Brian Teasley filled out the missing-luggage paperwork after flying home to Birmingham, Alabama. He said that when he got home 'these cars block me in my driveway - they've all got tinted windows, X-Files style'. One of the men had a gun showing. He soon found out what the problem was. Teasley, who is a member of a pop band, had packed his custom-made microphone so he could do some recording at home. His suitcase hadn't reached the carousel because it was under scrutiny after a bomb disposal robot noticed the wires and threading caps. He also didn't know that five gates at his originating airport had been closed because of the bomb scare surrounding his suitcase.

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© 2004 Anna Shefl