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February 2003

9 February 2003

The Belfast Telegraph reports that David Cameron, 18, used a cigarette lighter to set the back of his friend's Halloween costume ablaze. Robert Lloyd, with toilet paper wound round him in imitation of an Egyptian mummy, suffered burns to 34 per cent of his body before other Bath University students put out the fire. Lloyd's room was also gutted. A judge at Bristol Crown Court has ordered Cameron to pay compensation and do 240 hours of community service.

This report comes from Antipolo City in the Philippines. Policeman Joseph Pueblo said that Eduardo Cristomar, 40, was allegedly shot dead for refusing to show his penis to others at a drinking party. It was Cristomar's idea for all attendees to compare penis size. Arnel Orbeta displayed his member first. Then, Pueblo said: 'Cristomar laughed at Orbeta instead of showing his penis, infuriating the suspect.' Orbeta then allegedly produced a gun and shot Cristomar repeatedly, before fleeing.

Eric A. Shaw, 36, married a Weston, Illinois, woman last year after a two-week romance. He is now wanted for stealing $33,000 in retirement funds from her. He had told her the money would help him start a business venture. The 31-year-old woman later told police that 'after he received that money, he treated me like a dog [...] he was throwing money away and flaunting it'. After she became pregnant by him and moved back in with her parents, she maintained telephone contact with him and thus got to hear about Shaw's plans for a new business venture: hiring prostitutes to sell drugs. When the woman's uncle called police, an investigation revealed that Shaw was still married to an Ohio woman.

An Olympia, Washington, man found a corpse hanging by its neck from a tree, so he notified police - after waiting about a year. He explained that he waited because there were warrants out for his arrest at the time, said police Commander Tor Bjornstad. The body, 40 feet off the ground and removed with the aid of a boom lifter, was found in a mummified state, said Thurston County Deputy Coroner Terry Harper.

The Terrebonne, Louisiana, Sheriff's Office reported that a man has been charged with disabling the flushing mechanism on a toilet in a women's loo at a department store in Huoma, hiding in an adjacent stall, and commiting 'ritualistic acts'. After Kenneth Patrick Porche, Jr, 22, had locked himself in a stall for 40 minutes, he emerged to face an officer, who found him carrying four plastic bags with labels attached. One read 'old woman'. The bags apparently contained female urine. Porche also was carrying household tools and empty bags. Porche did not tell police what he had planned to do with the liquid.

A DuPage County, Illinois, apartment complex played host to a theft spree in which more than 200 pairs of ladies' knickers were stolen from laundry rooms. Confronted with evidence from surveillance cameras, complex resident Lee M. Pippin, 21, admitted to committing the crime while on probation in connection with arson and burglary convictions. He has now been sentenced to 18 months in prison.

David Lawson Franklin, 21, showed up as a substitute teacher at Horizons Alternative School, for children with discipline problems, and noticed two students playing with a girl in a sexual manner, according to the police's Sergeant Dave Stamp. So Franklin told the boys he would show them how it should be done, proceeding to rape her. He then told the seven other students in the room not to tell anyone what they had seen. Stamp said the students' reports of the incident are 'all very consistent, the terminology as well as the details of the offence'. Franklin was arrested after one of the students told his mother what he had seen. He has also been fired.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin describes a man falling to his death from a 44-storey Waikiki hotel in an apparent suicide. Camaron Tuupoina, 22, landed atop the van of a 32-year-old woman, parked at a stoplight below. James Hagar III, heard something hit the van behind him, and he took shelter at the side of the street 'in case anything else fell from the sky'. The van rolled over his moped and stopped moving. Paramedics resuscitated the woman, whose breathing and heart had stopped, en route to hospital.

In Reading, Pennsylvania, Eduardo Rivera was bored while waiting in court to face charges for receiving stolen property. Deputy Sheriff Kenneth J. Segert, Jr, said the 43-year-old Rivera 'was really working on something back there'. He walked up behind Rivera and found he had carved his nickname, 'Duardy', into the bench with a quarter. After he was removed from court in handcuffs and came before the judge later in the day, his bail was revoked.

The Orlando Sentinel tells us of a DeLand, Florida, man who was pulled over for driving while intoxicated. David Wesley Johnson, 43, had an open beer at his side and didn't have his lights on when police saw him driving a Harley-Davidson golf cart along a busy road. The arrest report states that he told the police that 'I got to get this golf cart back' and refused to submit to field sobriety tests. With an officer clinging to the back of the cart and others chasing him on foot, Johnson drove a few blocks at about 30 km/h before his arrest, according to Officer Marc Gilotti.

Duane Christopher Bradley, 23, of Abbotsford, British Columbia, thought he could use decoys to keep the 75 kilos of marijuana that he had hidden in his trailer from being detected and seized at the US border. The decoys were two black bears. The drug-sniffing dogs were not deterred, and neither were officers. Bradley has been arrested and the obese bears, which had been fed raw turkey, have been impounded and placed on a more healthy diet.

Reuters reports that burglars in Lille, France, made off with 15 guns as well as heroin, cocaine, cannabis, and money. With the help of a faulty security alarm and a blowtorch, the burglars cut through the metal bars of the police investigation headquarters window. They are also believed to now be in possession of police uniforms.

In a report from Waco, Texas, Timothy Baker, convicted of aggravated robbery and sexual assault, broke out of jail. He then sneaked into the Baylor University theatre department, where he left his prison uniform and picked up a new outfit. The McLennan County sheriff indicated that the clothes Baker chose - a green coat and trousers - might well have been key to his arrest. Baker 'looked like a leprechaun'.

18 February 2003

In St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, Bobby Lynch rang 911 to report his van stolen, then admitted he let some men use the vehicle in exchange for two rocks of crack cocaine. Police spokesman James Hartman said: 'He was politely admonished about the evils of cocaine and told to have a nice day.' Lynch's wife rang 911 about 15 minutes later to report that the men had returned but now also wanted money for the crack. Nine minutes later, Lynch called 911, berating the shift supervisor for not having police look for his van. The 26-year-old Lynch challenged the supervisor, about 20 cm taller and several dozen kilos heavier, to a fight. He declined. So Lynch left a threatening message on the sheriff's answering machine.
Police issued warrants for Lynch's arrest for misusing 911 and threatening a public official, Hartman said.

The Baltimore Sun reports on James A. McCormack, who explained that he was 'highly intoxicated' when he stole an earth-mover from a hotel construction site and drove it to - and through - the nearly completed Bellows Elementary School, three kilometres away. He then made two more holes in the building, using a different earth-mover. Police didn't catch him until he bragged to friends.
In court, he added that 'I would not normally do something like that'. He was also charged with sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy who was asleep after smoking marijuana in McCormack and his 17-year-old girlfriend's apartment. McCormack said he had consentual sex with the boy.

The AP report that 20-year-old Joshua Brown and 19-year-old Timothy Neunaber of Vinton, Iowa, were charged with burglary in connection with the theft of $400 worth of audio equipment from a car. They and three juveniles were tied to the theft when one of the suspects described the incident in a chat room. Police Chief Jeff Tilson said the online confession occurred in the virtual presence of a friend of the victim. Tilson said the operation itself was slick, involving 'lookouts and a getaway driver circling the area looking for patrol cars while the others broke into the car and stole the items'.

In New Jersey, mugger Justin Graci, 19, dropped his mobile phone as he and a partner allegedly scuffled with, and then stole $20 from, two Rutgers University students. Officer James Bobadilla was called to the scene and answered the device when it rang a few minutes later. The caller was Graci, who said 'you have my phone' and offered a $10 reward for its return. The telephone rang again a short while later: Graci wanted to know if a bag of marijuana would be an acceptable substitute for the $10. At the rendezvous point, Graci made an unsuccessful attempt to flee when he saw a patrol car. Police kept the marijuana and the mobile.

Koh Santipheap reports that Hong Bunrith, from Battambang province in Cambodia, ran out of wine when entertaining five friends. He told his wife, Leang Kimleap, to buy more. She told the newspaper that there was no more money and only battery acid to drink. When she told her husband this, he reportedly said that he would drink any kind of water and would kick her to death if she refused to give it to him. She then presented him with a glass of battery acid. Bunrith is in hospital with burns to the mouth, face, and chest. It is reported that his wife is in police custody.

Elkhorn, Wisconsin, handyman Reinier Ravesteijn kidnapped Hedwig Braun, from her home and shackled her in a trailer by his home less than a kilometre away. His first telephone call to her wealthy family didn't succeed, as the party had left the country. He finally had her call another family member, as he feared his Dutch accent would identify him, but used his own mobile telephone for this. His ransom note, which went undiscovered for a day, used English atypically, reading: '3 million (in black sport bag) is the sum of life.' Further helping police identify Ravensteijn were the e-mail messages he'd sent from an Internet café. He was arrested during a traffic stop.
Braun is being treated for a blood clot caused by the shackles and for frostbite. While in the trailer, after being given her daily meal of a cheeseburger and orange juice, she used the burger to warm her body.

New York's Buffalo News reports that 74-year-old, wheelchair-bound, arthritic Henry Ward asked friend Gina Smith, 46, to help him peel a turnip. When she refused, Ward, who had been drinking, attempted to ring someone else. Smith kicked the mobile phone away from him, according to police department spokesman Lieutenant Jake Ulewski. 'He grabs her and twists her down, and then grabs her around the neck and then puts a choke-hold on her until she went limp', said Ulewski. Ward gave police a statement and was taken into custody.

Police in Greendale, Wisconsin, cited Allison M. Ritter for shoplifting two boxes of Christmas cards from a Hallmark store. After she left the store when the manager confronted her, the cards, worth $19.98, were found in a planter at the shopping centre. Ritter, 34, has now resigned from her job as assistant district attorney. She had worked in the DA's office since 1996. The stolen cards featured an elf telling a boy that 'with any luck Billy, we can plea bargain you down to a count of mischievous' (maybe Hallmark need a proofreader).

Newly released from prison, a 20-year-old man from Savonlinna, Finland, stole a car and embarked on a shoplifting spree, taking beer and cigarettes from several petrol stations and cafeterias. Four days later, following a theft at a store in Leppävirta, the man jumped into the back of a car. In the front seat was an off-duty officer who was investigating the string of thefts. The AP quote Chief Inspector Harri Pyösti as saying: 'It was real fate.' The culprit left the car quickly, but store guards caught him and he confessed his crimes. Pyösti said he was released but, after breaking into a pharmacy, store, and petrol station the next day, is now in jail awaiting his court date.
In Fort Worth, Texas, Jamie Sidener arrived at work to work to find that someone had left an unflushed toilet and a pistol in the lavatory. She found a burglar asleep in a bed that was part of a store display. When police awakened him, he protested with 'hey, I was asleep!', according to Sidener.

A Bluffton, South Carolina, police officer was suspended and later resigned from the force over a cup of coffee. Patrolman Kevin Webb let his brother, Chester Lee Ginn, 40, borrow his police badge in order to get a free cup of Caramel Macchiato coffee at Starbucks. The employees checked out Ginn's story of being an undercover officer while Ginn sat with Webb and sipped the $4 coffee. When officers arrived and demanded to see Ginn's badge, he produced it and told the truth. Webb initially said he didn't know his brother had flashed a badge to get the coffee, but he later said he gave Ginn a badge for his collection of police memorabilia.

In other police news, Matthew Olson, an off-duty officer in Minneapolis, was a little tipsy after a department Christmas party. A criminal complaint alleges that Olson, 27, was driving the wrong way and stopped when encountering Will Cash's car. Olson allegedly announced that he was drunk and aimed his handgun at the other driver's head, threatening to blow it off. In the fight that ensued, Olson dropped his gun (whereupon someone ran off with it) and was injured. Cash asked witness Charlie LaPierre to call the police. Tests at the hospital showed Olson's blood-alcohol level to be twice the state's legal for driving.

A couple in Moundsville, West Virginia, planned for a Valentine's Day wedding. However, Denise Rose and Luigi Corvino Senior were arrested before the ceremony instead. Each had been arrested in the past for domestic battery of the other. Both had posted bond, or had it posted for them. One condition set for bond was that they not have any contact with each other.

Jennifer Jones, 21, of Elgin, Illinois, left her newborn baby with the father, who decided a few days later that he needed to get his car fixed and couldn't care for the child anymore. He and a friend went to the salon where Jones was having her hair done and, after an argument, the father set the baby, in a car seat, on the sidewalk next to Jones and left the scene. Jones set the car seat in the left driving lane and returned to the salon. Cars swerved to avoid the three-week-old girl until a man in a barbershop rescued the child. Jones has been charged with misdemeanour counts of child endangerment and reckless conduct.

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© 2003 Anna Shefl