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February 2010

14 February 2010

Wisconsin's Julia E. Laack wanted to avoid being arrested in front of her children for shoplifting. When police arrived at her home to collect her, she began removing her clothes and drunkenly explained that they couldn't arrest her if she were naked. She was incorrect, and she has been sentenced to six months in jail.

Mika Jokinen's job as a physician at the municipal health centre in Karkkila, Finland, didn't last long. After a few months, staff discovered that his name wasn't included in a register of health care professionals. The 23-year-old Jokinen, who had never studied medicine, didn't let that deter his career, and he applied for - and was granted - a job at a private clinic in Karjaa, where he worked for another eight weeks before again being caught. He faces two charges of forgery and practising medicine without a licence.

A Buffalo, New York, neighbourhood turned pink during a factory demolition project. Contractor John Yensan explained that his workers inadvertently released two or three kilos of red dye powder from a pipe at the factory, where food colouring had been manufactured. The wind carried the powder over the area's snow, homes, and cars.

The last time the US printed $500 bank notes was 1945. A cleaning lady at a hotel in Malaysia didn't know this when 50-year-old Lebanese guest Elie Youssef Najem presented her with one as a tip, but, thanks to a local money-changer, she soon did.
Izany Abdul Ghany, the head of Kuala Lumpur's commercial crime unit, reported that police found bundles of $500, $100,000, and $1 million notes in 'Lord Elie''s hotel room. He could face up to 10 years in jail. There is no word yet on the billion ringgit he has pledged to the Malaysian Cancer Council.

April Wright said that her son Hayden broke a security device from a door at her Tennessee home and ran away. The four-year-old boy was found wandering down a nearby street. He was wearing a dress, stolen along with four other presents from under neighbours' Christmas tree, and drinking a beer from his grandfather's cooler. Wright, who will retain custody of Hayden, explained that Hayden does this sort of thing because 'he wants to get in trouble so he can go to jail because that's where his daddy is'.

A Transportation Safety Administration worker found a plastic bag of white powder while screening Rebecca Solomon's carry-on luggage. The University of Michigan student said she began panicking and the worker told her that he had put the powder there himself as a joke. She didn't find it funny, and the man - whose name the TSA will not release - is no longer with the agency.

Stefan Gonda returned to Dublin from Slovakia with 85 g of the high explosive RDX concealed within the hip strap of his rucksack. He didn't know this and was somewhat confused a couple of days later when bomb disposal experts and an anti-terrorism squad showed up at his flat. The Irish police explained that they had received a vague tip from Slovak counterparts indicating that Gonda was suspected of possessing explosives.
He was released after Slovak authorities explained the whole story: airport staff in Bratislava had detected all but one of eight contraband items planted in unsuspecting passengers' bags as part of an airport security exercise. The dog-handler who had forgotten to remove the explosives from the bag didn't mention this to his supervisors until a couple of days later (he did tell air traffic controllers, but they believed he was speaking of fake explosives).
Slovakian Minister of Interior Robert Kalinak has apologised, and Gonda has received an unspecified amount of compensation.

We now turn to the US, where Robert Holt did want to cause damage. Police in Thomson, Georgia, say the 25-year-old man wanted to get revenge on his former girlfriend by throwing a Molotov cocktail through her window and burning her house down. He threw the firebomb into the wrong home, where no-one was injured. Holt was seen and taken into custody on charges of first degree felonious arson, possession of an explosive device, and aggravated assault.

Police in Evans, Colorado, report that Raul Gaucin-Valenzuela and a friend broke into the home of a friend's ex-wife, with the goal of beating up her boyfriend. The plan fell apart when the children in the woman's home recognised the bandana-wearing Gaucin-Valenzuela. They were his children, and she was their child-minder. Gaucin-Valenzuela was jailed on a variety of charges.

The sheriff's office in Monroe County, Florida, say they found marijuana plants in a wooded lot and removed them. In their place, they left a ransom note stating 'Thanks for the grow! You want them back? Call for the price' and providing a telephone number. Steven Alan Locasio rang the number a few minutes later to offer $200 for the plants. He was arrested when he showed up for the exchange.

Elsewhere in Florida, Gregory J. Oras rang emergency services three times, telling the dispatcher that he had a broken nose and bleeding ears following a beating and that people were shooting at him. His idea was to get someone to pick him up and give him a ride to another bar. That didn't go as planned, and he ended up kicking a sheriff's deputy in the knees and being Tased. The 37-year-old Oras faces charges of misuse of the 911 system and battery of a law enforcement officer.

Michael Maloy told a clerk at a Florida Walgreens store to give him money from the till. We know it was Maloy because he threw a handful of peanuts into his mouth, giving the surveillance cameras a good view of his face. Some peanuts fell from his pocket as he rushed from the store, but he still had peanuts in his pocket when arrested. He has been sentenced to three years in prison and five years probation.

Private investigator John Carbona received an e-mail message from commercial model Bree Condon, asking him for money. He became suspicious and met with Condon, who knew nothing of such messages. With the aid of her own private investigator, the culprit was soon caught in a sting operation. Justin Brown, 24, had already fooled several businessman on a social networking site into giving him as Condon money, while he led them along with online and telephone 'dates'. One doctor sent Brown $15,000.
Carl Satterlee, the case detective, confirmed that Brown, who is now in jail on charges of fraud, 'has a very feminine voice'.

A 25-year-old man from Aikawa, in Japan's Kanagawa prefecture, rang the police from the car park near his home to report that foreign-looking muggers had just stolen 410,000 yen from him. About 38 patrol cars and 137 officers later, he admitted having lied about the mugging, and about a home robbery he had reported on 19 January. He explained that he hadn't wanted his wife to find out that he hadn't really found a new job. She 'was expecting salary payments, and I couldn't do anything', he told police.

On 18-25 January, Holiday Inn tried out a new service at three hotels in Britain. The sales gimmick is that a staff member donned a fleece sleeper suit and warmed up the interested guest's bed to 20 degrees Celsius before the guest retired for the night. 'The new Holiday Inn bed warmers service is a bit like having a giant hot water bottle in your bed', according to Holiday Inn spokeswoman Jane Bednall.

According to AFP reports, Indonesian security guard Andi Susanto lost six teeth when a cigarette exploded in his mouth. PT Nojorono Tobacco Indonesia officials spoke with his family and agreed to pay for the medical expenses (the equivalent of 350 euros). Susanto emphasised from his hospital bed that he wasn't chewing anything when he lit what had seemed to be a normal Clas Mild cigarette. He also emphasised that he has given up smoking.

Police in Riverton, Wyoming, didn't have to work hard to catch a man who had run out of a grocery store with a bottle of Schnapps and a package of cough drops. After running from the scene, 26-year-old Jason Antelope hid in a nearby building. That building was the police station. A dispatcher spotted him on a surveillance camera, and the intoxicated Antelope was taken into custody shortly thereafter.

A 62-year-old Michigan man wanted a little extra speed at his sledding party. To this end, he strapped a homemade rocket to his back, consisting of an automobile silencer filled with petrol and gunpowder. He lit this in hopes of a 'rocket-launch effect'. According to Oakland County Undersheriff Mike McCabe, the container blew up as he headed downhill and the man suffered a fair few burns.

Chamil Guadarrama decided to steal a few small, high-value items from a Massachusetts Bath and Body Works shop. He opted to shoplift body lotion, 75 bottles of it. With a little under 20 litres of lotion cunningly concealed in his trousers, the 30-year-old Guadarrama found it hard to run away. When he was arrested, several bottles had to be removed from his trousers just so that he could bend enough to enter the police car.

According to Reuters, a Slovenian doctor's three bull-mastiffs seriously injured a passer-by outside his house four years ago. The dogs were taken into custody and later, after one of them attacked a handler, ordered to be euthanised. The 52-year-old doctor was able to get the order overturned last June. About a week ago, police spokesman Maja Adlesic reported that the dogs had bitten the doctor and mauled him to death.

China Daily reports that a 21-year-old woman named only as 'Xiaoqing' broke up with her boyfriend about a month ago after an 18-month relationship in the shadow of his obsession with actress Jessica Alba. Things such as him buying her a blonde wig to wear had taken their toll. However, speaking from the Shanghai Time Plastic Surgery Hospital, she reported that the break-up had left her very sad and she took her friends' advice to seek surgery to look like Alba. For publicity, plastic surgeon Liu Qi will perform the eyebrow, eyelid, and nose operations involved, at no charge.

The driver of a pickup truck near Kitchener, Ontario, didn't stop for police. Officers pursued the truck until it became stuck in a ditch, whereupon its driver and a passenger ran off. The 23-year-old driver crossed a river on foot and buried himself up to his neck in snow in order to evade officers. When found, he required hospitalisation for hypothermia. Police reported finding a stolen snowmobile in the back of the truck and a substance suspected of being methamphetamine in the cab.

A class action lawsuit accused Windsor Fashions, Inc. of invading customers' privacy by requesting personal information during credit card payments. An attorney arranged a settlement whereby the company would give the customers $10 coupons for women's apparel. Since the attorney considered that to be reasonable compensation, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Brett Klein ordered that the attorney's fee, $125,000, be paid in $10 coupons for women's apparel. California's Commission on Judicial Performance has decided that this was biased and abusive. Klein, who is now retired, rescinded the order.

New Mexico state police found that 40-year-old Henry Alan Lowe had crashed his sedan into a pile of snow. They noticed tracks in the snow that led back and forth from the boot of the car to a nearby flyover. Investigating, they noticed plastic-wrapped bundles partially concealed under the flyover; within was marijuana with a total weight of about 110 kilos. Lowe was treated for injuries sustained in the accident and then arrested.

Joshua Alger of Colorado Springs allegedly passed out drunk in a children's play area at a local McDonald's. When officers arrived and found that he had an outstanding arrest warrant for failing to appear in court, they rang his children's mother so that she could collect them while he was taken into custody. The 28-year-old Alger didn't like this idea so told his children to bite the officers' faces off. The police used a Taser to subdue him and arrested him on the old charges as well as for second-degree assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, and possession of marijuana.

The Medford, Oregon, Mail Tribune reports that a man entered a local pharmacy and demanded the prescription painkiller oxycodone at knifepoint but quickly fled the scene. On the same day, he demanded the painkiller at a larger pharmacy but again left empty-handed. Then, after closing time at the first pharmacy, someone broke out a window and grabbed all of the prescriptions in the 'O' section behind the desk. The thief probably was unaware that the drugs in this area, awaiting collection, were filed by customer surname. A composite sketch of him has been released.

The owner of a grocery store in Clay City, Kentucky, posted a reward for information concerning the theft of 17 cartons of cigarettes from his premises. Powell County Sheriff Danny Rogers said that Brandon Pennington, 20, shortly thereafter showed up at the store with an article of clothing seen on one of the suspects in the surveillance videos and a carton of the stolen cigarettes, in hopes of collecting the reward. It is unclear how he explained having the items, but it is clear that he rather closely resembled one of the men in the surveillance video. Both he and accomplice Scotty Moore, 26, have been arrested.

Kevin K. Johnson, 59, arranged a private dance lesson at the Madison, Wisconsin, home of a male dance instructor. When the man opened his door, Johnson began shocking him repeatedly in the neck with a stun gun he had bought online. Johnson did not use the sledgehammer concealed in his trousers. He later explained to a detective that his church believes that touching during dancing is sinful and that the instructor 'defiles married women and is a peeking Tom'. He explained that, to 'tell him to leave the women alone', he had to 'take the electric thing and go zap and scare him.'

According to Michigan's Flint Journal, a man told police that he was robbed at gunpoint while trying to make a purchase with a credit card. He had been trying to buy crack cocaine. The man reported that his 2003 Chevy Malibu had been stolen. However, according to the police, the vehicle in question had already been stolen, from another area town. The man who reported the theft is staying at the Genesee County Jail.

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