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February 2009

8 February 2009

When the Royal Canadian Mounted Police responded to an emergency call in White Rock, British Columbia, the 29-year-old man who came to the door was surprised. It didn't take long to deduce that the call was related to the man's latest way of keeping his 11-month-old son amused, as the boy was still playing with his father's mobile phone in another room.
Constable Janelle Canning said that the officers then made a routine inspection of the house and smelled marijuana. Their noses led them to 500 suspicious plants that the man had been growing in the basement. The plants and the man have been taken into custody.

The New Zealand Herald News reports on a prisoner escape that was captured by CCTV cameras in Hastings. Inmates Regan Reti, 20, and Riranara White, 21, made a run for it as they were being led from their cells. According to Senior Sergeant Dave Greig, the two men, who were handcuffed together, 'fell over and were sprayed with pepper spray, but they got up and ran out of the court onto the street, across the road to a car park'. There they passed a light pole, one running to the right of it and the other to the left. Their handcuffs prevented them from running any further, and jailers caught up with them as they struggled to their feet.

Workers at a steel plant in Henningsdorf, Germany, receive a shipment of scrap metal each week from Berliner Postbank for recycling. On 14 January, the scrap metal began spraying money when the workers cut into a safe. Police called off their investigation into whether the safe had been stolen, once the bank had explained that staff responsible for the move of a branch office had been careless and not emptied the safe completely. They had left 170,000 euros inside.

Police investigators in Stockton, California, report that a 46-year-old man robbed a Bank of the West branch and then drove off. In his haste, he collided with another car. The driver of that car later told the police that the man had offered her a share of his ill-gotten gains in exchange for her silence. She contacted the police instead, and the man was arrested.

Police in Gardiner, Maine, report on someone who really doesn't like litter. In one incident reported to the police, a man posing as a state trooper stopped a woman who had thrown a cigarette butt from her car window. The faux cop, whose 'patrol vehicle' was a pickup truck with a dashboard-mounted flashing blue light, told the woman not to do that again and was on his way again.

When a resident of Jersey City, New Jersey, reported a water leak in an area basement, dispatchers sent a fire truck to deal with it. Weakened by the leaking water, the street collapsed under the rear wheels of the 33-ton vehicle. The crew were able to jump to safety as the sinkhole grew. Tow trucks were unable to rescue the fire truck. A few hours later, a crane was able to hoist it out of the hole, which had grown to about 20 metres in diameter.
Water trucks will supply residents with water until the water main is fixed.

A young police officer showed up at a Chicago district police station and explained that he had been sent from another district. The officers there sent him out on patrol with another policeman. It was some time later when the police worked out that the young man was not a real police officer - they noticed that his uniform lacked the requisite star emblem.
It turned out that the imposter was a 14-year-old boy who wants to be a police officer when he grows up. The teenager reportedly will not be charged in connection with this security breach.

Commodities broker Ryan Brinkerhoff was intoxicated when he went to his World Trade Center office at around 3am and became trapped in the freight elevator one floor from his office. He couldn't open the door because he didn't know that floor's security code, so he decided to spray the lift with cleaning fluid and set it on fire. Officers believe he did this to signal for help. It might have been, however, that he knew the smoke would activate an alarm, which would then send the lift to the ground floor.
It was on the ground floor where the police were waiting to arrest him on four counts of arson.

Michael Farrell, who used to deliver the Express-Times of Easton newspaper in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, decided to resume his rounds. To do this, he would steal stacks of newspapers from the boxes where they awaited delivery. For three years, he delivered these to unsuspecting customers, some of whom made a cheque out to him every month for their subscription. Farrell, 53, was arrested recently.

Another man caught making illegal deliveries was Robert Holding, 72, a milkman in Burnley. Prosecutor Sarah Statham said: 'He said he sold the cannabis to existing customers because they were old and had aches and pains.' Judge Beverley Lunt gave him a 36-month suspended prison sentence, describing this sentence as an 'act of mercy'. The judge stressed: 'You were not some philanthropist helping out the elderly out of the good of your heart. You dealt drugs for profit in a calculated way. It was a business.'

A man paid a visit to several holiday homes near Webster Lake, Indiana. He focused on those where no-one was home. Sometimes he would drink the homeowners' beer. Other times, he would wear their clothing. It was because of the latter that the culprit was discovered to be 31-year-old Alex Kupczynski: in an overalls pocket, one homeowner found Kupczynski's wallet. Officers later found Kupczynski hiding in a nearby home's closet.

Ohio's Alejandro Melendez rang the emergency services, telling the dispatcher that two men with guns were watching him. He then hung up. When the dispatcher rang him back, Melendez asked to have a moment before resuming the discussion. The dispatcher then heard the caller agree to sell someone a '10-pack' of heroin.
The dispatcher reported this to the police, who paid Melendez a visit and found cocaine in his trousers.

Another drug dealer - a 24-year-old man illegally selling prescription painkillers and other drugs - showed questionable judgement in his choice of drug deal setting. According to Everett, Washington, police sergeant Robert Goetz, the man was arranging a drug deal via his mobile phone while in the loo at the local police station. When the man left the stall in which he was doing his business, he noticed that an armed plain-clothes officer had overheard at least part of the call. Goetz said the drug dealer confessed and turned over his stash at this point.

Minnesota's John Alfred 'The Impaler' Sharkey, 44, is a self-described 'vampyre' who 'needs to drink human blood for strength'. In 2007, he began an online relationship with a 16-year-old supporter of his bid for the US Presidency. The teenager said that Sharkey didn't respect her desire to end the relationship and that he claimed she was already his wife.
She later told the police that 'in a desperate attempt' to ditch Sharkey, she told him that she was a member of a vampire hunter society. He still wouldn't leave her alone, so she took him to court.
He was granted a delayed hearing on account of a professional wrestling injury and missed a later court date. A warrant is out for his arrest.

Last Thursday, police decided to stop a man who was driving at five kilometres per hour in Mountlake Terrace, Washington, at 3am. The 29-year-old driver explained that he was just going to the store. This prompted the officers to ask why he was doing so in the bucket of a Genie Boom construction lift. The man, who had a six-pack of beer and a bag of beef jerky with him in the bucket, admitted that a dare from a stranger on the Craigslist Web site was involved. The lift had been liberated from a construction site.

Also making things easy for authorities was a 24-year-old man in Capac, Michigan. The man broke into a petrol station, then rang the police from inside to explain that he wanted to join his brother in jail. St. Clair County Sheriff Tim Donnellon said that deputies granted his request for arrest.

Deputies walking their beat in Monroe, Louisiana, encountered a 21-year-old woman who had just shot her boyfriend in the hip and left him in his car at a nearby junction. She showed the Ouachita Parish sheriff's deputies where she had discarded the handgun and explained her motive in the shooting: her boyfriend wouldn't let her sleep.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety reported that officers stopped a 26-year-old man in Phoenix for running a red light. After handing the officer his driving licence, the man ran behind a convenience store and disappeared. His hiding place was soon revealed, when he was run over by the moving truck under which he'd hidden. He will be jailed in connection with the incident and on several warrants after his injuries are treated.

Another interesting hiding place was chosen by a 16-year-old prisoner who escaped from a holding cell in a Michigan courthouse. According to the Macomb Daily, deputies hunted for the youth for about an hour in the area near the courthouse before a security guard noticed a photograph on the ground next to Judge Peter Maceroni's car. The teenager was found in the boot of the judge's car. Maceroni says he will lock his car from now on when at work.

A man in Port Huron Township, Michigan, drove onto the frozen Black River while looking for his dog. He got out of the car to continue his search and discovered that he had locked himself out of the car. He watched as the heat from the idling Buick - on loan to him while his own car was under repair - melted the ice. A police dive team were called in to pull the car from the river.

In upstate New York, a 57-year-old man reassembled the empty shell from his lobster dinner and then paid a visit to the local Price Chopper store where he had bought the lobster. He claimed that the lobster had gone bad and demanded that the store give him a $27 bag of crab legs in exchange. The manager nearly agreed but then noticed the ruse, whereupon the customer ran off with the crab legs.
When officers found him at his home, he had already eaten the crab legs. There is still enough evidence against him that he faces a charge of petit larceny.

16 February 2009

While in the basement, Patrick Rosario heard burglars in his Bellevue, Washington, house. He rang the emergency services as he sneaked out of the house. Once outside, he noticed a white van with the keys in the ignition. He drove it to a friend's house. Left without a getaway vehicle, the burglars left Rosario's three flat-screen television sets, laptop computer, and jewellery box by the door and left the scene on foot. The local sheriff's office said that no arrests have been made.

During Prime Minister's Questions, opposition leader David Cameron recently said: 'The prime minister never gets his facts right. You told us the other day you were like Titian aged 90. The fact is Titian died at 86.' While there is some debate as to how long the Italian artist lived, what is beyond doubt is that, within minutes of Cameron's statement, someone described by Conservative Central Office as an 'over-eager member of staff' altered the death date on the Wikipedia page devoted to Titian. Two minutes earlier, someone else had changed Titian's date of birth, with the combined effect putting his age at death as 82.

Michigan state law requires all counties with more than 12,000 residents to have a drain commissioner. The requirement made sense in 1837, when municipal officials worked to drain swampland. However, the county of Cheboygan, with about 27,000 residents, has no drains. Its current drain commissioner, Dennis Lennox, was elected on a campaign promise of getting rid of the position. Attempts to do this in the 1950s failed, so Lennox, 24, has set his sights a little lower - trying to raise the threshold to 35,000 residents.

Florida's Charlotte County Sheriff's Office reports that a young man recently robbed a Cape Haze petrol station at knifepoint. He remembered to take the money and his Bowie knife with him, but he didn't stock up on everything he needed. When police officers were looking for evidence, a newspaper carrier in the area told them that a car matching their description of the robber's vehicle had run out of petrol nearby. The 23-year-old culprit was arrested.

After being hit by an SUV in Queens, New York, a pedestrian who had been returning home from his 26th-birthday party was swept under a van. The van's skid plate lodged in the man's sternum. Three highways and about 30 kilometres later, in Brooklyn, a pedestrian pointed out to the van's driver that there was something dragging under his vehicle. The driver, who had stopped twice in the previous 45 minutes to check his engine and oil because he thought he had smelled something burning, only then noticed the corpse. Police are searching for body parts along the route.

A Chardon, Ohio, woman has pleaded guilty to reckless homicide for exercising her husband to death. Surveillance video shows 41-year-old Christine Newton-John (also known as John Vallandingham) pulling 73-year-old James Mason around a backyard swimming pool by the arms and legs for some time. After watching surveillance camera footage, Middlefield police chief Joseph Stehlik said that he counted 43 times in which Newton-John prevented Mason from leaving the water when he was gasping for breath. Mason died of a heart attack.

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© 2009 Anna Shefl