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January 2007

17 January 2007

At Oklahoma City's H&H Gun Range, Anna Herrera-Gomez was practising target shooting with a 9 mm gun when a hot shell casing fell down her cleavage. Startled, she jumped and also managed to shoot herself in the leg. The police reported that she suffered only a minor wound and a paramedic who was shooting at the range came to her aid.

Two teenagers rushed to defend one of the females each who were involved in an altercation in Palo Alto, California. After the 17-year-old young man produced a handgun to defend Melevea Fifita, 19, the other youth, Absalom Tuimavave, 18, came to the aid of the second woman - his 21-year-old sister, Seu - with a shotgun, reported Police Lieutenant Tom Alipio. The men shot at each other, each hitting the woman he was trying to protect. Tuimavave hit his sister in the pelvis, and his opponent killed Fifita.

Jesse Dorris, a prisoner at Nebraska's Lincoln County Jail, allegedly was tired of cellmate Brian Bruggeman's flatulence. In mid-December, the 38-year-old Bruggeman allegedly broke wind near Dorris yet again and the two began scuffling. For injuring Dorris when pushing him into the bars of the cell, Bruggeman, who was serving a 90-day sentence, faces felony charges of assault by a confined person, and up to five years in prison.
Blaming the incident on overcrowding, Sheriff Jerome Kramer said: ' When you've got a guy causing problems passing gas, there's no way to get away from the smell.'

In tangentially related news, Japan's Kazuhisa Harada, 37, hit his father with a metal baseball bat, leading to the older man's death. Harada explained to the police that he had been driven to violence 'after getting into an argument over ventilation of the bathroom'.

A Twin Donut shop in the Bronx expanded its offerings to include chicken for around 50 cents a plate less than the Kentucky Fried Chicken meals available next door. When his business began to suffer, the KFC franchise owner, Kabeer Ahmad, used a hammer to breach the wall between the two shops in the dead of night, then sprayed petrol into the doughnut shop and threw a lit match in behind it, according to supervising fire marshal Robert Pinto. When the doughnut shop was no more, Ahmad confessed to the crime.
Mike Chhor, the owner of the Twin Donut shop, said: 'I don't know why he burned the store. I had no problem with him.'

Near Lochau, Austria, a man committed suicide by train at the end of December. The next day, responding to reports of human remains on the track, two police officers and a funeral parlour employee were taking care of investigations and various formalities in removal of the body as another train approached. All three were struck and killed. Passengers taking the train from Munich to Zurich had to wait several hours for the second accident to be investigated.

Kouadio Kouassi of Brooklyn, New York, decided that he could make a few million dollars if he held the deed to Manhattan's SoHo Grand Hotel. Accordingly, he tried to file a phony deed with the city to transfer ownership. Rose Gill Hearn, commissioner of the city's Department of Investigation, indicated that he tried this repeatedly, in fact. The 46-year-old Kouassi has been charged with attempted grand larceny and offering a false instrument for filing.

Florida's Sun-Sentinel reports that, after two robberies, Broward County and Lauderhill officers were able to tail the two men responsible. The officers captured one suspect soon after he neared a housing estate. The second man, 19-year-old Jeffrey O'neal, ran inside one of the buildings. Officers began a search. Meanwhile, O'neal broke into one of the flats, stripped naked, and jumped into the shower. Officers weren't fooled into believing that he was the tenant. He was taken into custody, and both men face charges of armed robbery.

A man entered a bank in Jersey City, New Jersey, and passed a hold-up note to the clerk. According to police, she responded by saying loudly: 'Sir, we don't accept notes here. How can I help you?' The man left. About half an hour later, a man of the same description entered another Jersey City bank. This time, the police said, the teller told him that no cash was kept in her drawer, then barked: 'Can't you read the sign on the drawer? It says "No cash".' The man fled. At last report, he was still at large.

When a 49-year-old social worker was murdered in 1991, police experts accused Roy Brown, who worked in nearby Syracuse, New York and six days earlier had completed a prison sentence for making threatening calls to a social worker whose agency he held responsible for placing his daughter in foster care. Although bite marks on the corpse pointed to an attacker with six upper teeth and Brown had only four, he was convicted and sentenced to a minimum of 25 years in a maximum-security prison.
In 2003, when a fire destroyed his trial records, Brown filed a request for replacements under the Freedom of Information Act. The documents released to him included statements he hadn't seen before, which implicated Barry Bench, whose brother had dated the murder victim for 17 years. Five days after Brown wrote a letter to him, Bench committed suicide by train. His daughter provided a sample of his DNA, which matched the bite marks.
In December, a judge decided to wait to make a decision on Brown's release until holding a full hearing on 22 January. Brown, who is awaiting a liver transplant, hopes to be released soon.

A man walked into Southampton's Royal Oak pub and ordered half a pint of beer. He then made several trips to the loo. A surveillance camera captured him leaving the pub with a bulging sack on his back, and a urinal had been removed from the pub. Landlord Alan Dreja said: 'He made a very, very expert job of dismantling it from the wall and turning the water off.' In the wake of publicity, the 42-year-old thief, whose identity was not released, turned himself in and returned the urinal. He claimed that he had taken it as a 'souvenir'. Dreja said that he plans to put the urinal on display now.

Collecting empty bottles for recycling before returning home, an Oak Park, Michigan, man fell asleep in a skip. He awoke when he was unloaded into a truck. The man had his mobile telephone with him and rang the police. Before the telephone's battery became dislodged, he was able to tell the dispatcher the location of the skip from which he'd been dumped. According to Police Lieutenant Mike Pousak, officers checked the area and pounded on several trucks. Eventually someone pounded back.

Alabama's Atmore Advance reports that local men Dan Gulley, Jr, and James Brooks, Jr, were at a friend's home when an argument erupted concerning late soul singer James Brown's height. Gulley, 70, decided to settle things by shooting the 62-year-old Brooks, hitting the younger man twice in the abdomen. Witnesses say Brooks fetched a gun from his car and returned fire. He missed. Brooks went to the Atmore police station to report Gulley, who showed up there himself a few minutes later.
Officers indicate that alcohol was not involved.

A teenaged girl from Pinconning, Michigan, rang emergency services to report that someone was ramming his car into the back of hers. The young woman, 17, said that the other driver smashed into her about 15 times and was pushing her through stop signs. State and county troopers finally caught him after a chase that reached 144 km/h. The suspect, also 17, explained that he had wanted a 'good-night kiss' from his girlfriend after a quarrel at a party, and he had been speaking to her on his mobile telephone while driving. He asked her to stop her car for a talk. When she sounded confused and told him that her car was stopped, he became angry instead of considering that the vehicle in front of his might be that of a stranger. Alcohol was involved.

The BBC reports that a woman ignored warnings concerning her size as compared to that of the Tunnel of Love obstacle in South Africa's Cango Caves. In the ensuing incident, on New Year's Day, she lost her footing and ended up stuck, legs akimbo. A rescue operation was mounted, involving several ambulances and a helicopter. After about 10 hours, she was freed, with the aid of a pulley and liquid paraffin. One of the 22 tourists who had been trapped on the other side of the woman had to be brought insulin during the wait.
Hein Gerstner, manager of Cango Caves, said it remains unclear who will foot the bill.

Burglary suspect Brian Valentino kicked out a back window of the police car that was transporting him to jail, escaped, and ran into a nearby building. The 33-year-old Valentino, handcuffed and covered in snow, hid behind a door in this building - the headquarters of the county sheriff's office. He was held until the officer he escaped from collected him again.

David and Derek Benton of Fordham have been found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal, for letting their 10-year-old Labrador dog reach a weight of more than 70 kilos. Vets working with the RSPCA said that the dog, which should weigh about half that, was so obese that walking more than six paces was impossible. Since being taken into animal welfare workers' care, Rusty has lost about 20 kilos. He is being returned to the two men on condition that they not let him gain weight.
David Benton said: 'The RSPCA have gone overboard on this. Rusty was overweight; we're not denying that. But he was loved; you'll never get another dog like him.'

Jennifer Strange of Rancho Cordova, California, took part in a radio station's 'Hold Your Wee for a Wii' contest, in which participants were given a 225-millilitre bottle of water to drink every 15 minutes. As the bottle size and bladder pressure increased, the 28-year-old Strange told fellow contestants that she was doing this for her three children. It was only hours later, after she went home from work early when her head was hurting badly, that it became clear what she had done. She was found dead at her home. Local assistant coroner Ed Smith said that the death appeared to be 'consistent with water intoxication'.

30 January 2007

Reuters reports that Trevor Doyle, 25, fell asleep on a bus in south-eastern Ireland and missed his stop. This caused him to miss his deadline to return to prison after his weekend release. Wanting to get back to prison as quickly as possible and thus not get into trouble, he stole a car. According to Wexford district court officials, he was given a six-month suspended jail sentence and fined 300 euros for failing to submit to a breathalyser test.

Discovering an intruder in his home, a homeowner in Dublin, New Hampshire, produced a gun and ordered the intruder to remove his trousers and shoes. State police sergeant Christopher Aucoin said: 'I believe his thinking was that by taking away the suspect's pants, it would slow him down or prevent him from trying to get away, or make it easier for us to find him if he did get away.' The intruder fled the scene and evaded police and their dogs. He remains at large.

Anthony Genovese approached a house in Queens, New York, and asked to be let inside. He told the woman who answered the door with her dog that he had dropped his keys through a sewer grating and that his pregnant wife was outside. Sceptical, the woman rang her husband, Patrick Lynch, who was on his way to work. When Lynch returned home, Genovese explained his presence in a car by the Lynch home by saying: 'The woman with the dog, I know her husband.' Lynch remained strangely unconvinced. A non-uniformed police officer, he arrested Genovese, who is suspected of several robberies in the area and was driving a stolen car.

Elsewhere in New York, Chana and Simon Taub, both 57, entered contentious divorce proceedings, pointing surveillance cameras and lawyers at each other. Simon said that, after forcing him from one of the pair's homes, Chana wants everything that remains in the wake of his bankruptcy and second heart attack. She argues that she wants only alimony, child support, and a fair share of property, and among her grievances are that he treated her like a slave for 20 years, making her help him dress, and that he even accused her of having too many pairs of shoes. Amid the bickering, Simon proposed a solution, which an appeals court now has upheld.
A drywall partition now runs through the middle of the house where both wish to live. Chana has the bedrooms and kitchen, Simon has moved back in and gets the dining room and lounge, and a shared door is barricaded on both sides.

Town officials in Lindenhurst, New York, say that three thieves thought that stealing and reselling mobile telephones was a good idea. They took 14 units from a municipal works garage. It didn't take long for the police to track down the devices, which actually were GPS units intended for installation in city vehicles. Kurt Husfeldt, 40; 20-year-old Steven Mangiapanella; and a minor were charged in connection with the theft.

Citing the Qilu Evening News, China's Xinhua news agency tells of a woman whose bag was snatched by a man on a motorbike. Instead of contacting the police to report the loss of her bank cards, cash, and mobile telephone, she called her number from a colleague's mobile. The man hung up on her, so she sent a text message: 'I'm Pan Aiying, a teacher from Wutou Middle School. You must be going through a difficult time. If so, I will not blame you.' She also wrote: 'Keep the 4,900 yuan if you really need it, but please return the other things to me. To err is human. Correcting your mistakes is more important than anything.' She sent 21 messages in total. Two days later, she found her bag in her courtyard. Nothing had been taken, and a note of apology was enclosed.

El Mundo reports that Darling Velez, 33, of Colombia applied for Spanish citizenship years ago and recently had her application approved. However, the public registry rejected her name under a law that prohibits names that are gender-ambiguous or could expose their owner to ridicule. To be registered as a citizen, she was told, she could choose a saint's name. She said: 'My name is part of my personality. If they force me to change it, I'll change it to a Basque name [Basque names used to be illegal there] and see what they say then.'

Workers at a women's shelter in Regina, Saskatchewan, told immigration officers that one of their residents appeared to be non-Canadian, and non-female. Robert Farley, who had used his sister's identity to obtain various identification papers, has pleaded guilty to using false documents. He is expected to be sent back to the US.

After the verdict was delivered in a court case in Kentucky, the foreman of the jury told Judge Geoffrey Morris that one of the jurors had become more and more disruptive as deliberations wore on. Morris soon delivered a verdict of his own: the woman was intoxicated, and the liquid in her plastic water bottle was vodka. Morris ordered a retrial and asked the woman's husband to collect her from the courthouse.

Before major renovation of the Richmond, California, City Hall council chamber, city workers labelled items that they wanted firemen to remove for storage. Fire chief Erik Newman was surprised that a mural of the city wasn't tagged, since 'it was too nice to be demolished', so he had five fellow firefighters help him to prise the 4-by-7-metre painting from the wall. When a manager of the renovation project found out, he was shocked and explained that the mural, worth over $1 million, was intended for later removal by professionals. Damage to the joints of the mural's panels is being assessed.

Employees at a Schwan's pizza depot in Colorado forgot to turn on the refrigeration in a distribution truck. Rucky Tulio discovered this the next morning, and his boss told him to dispose of the thawed pizzas. Since the skip wasn't big enough and he wasn't given money to take the pizzas to the city dump, he dumped the two tons of pizzas in San Juan National Forest. A jogger alerted forest workers to the two soggy mounds of pizza boxes and helped remove them.
Tulio, 29, took responsibility for the decision and was sacked from his job. He has been sentenced to two days in jail, while the judge said that his employer should pay the $674.52 in restitution for the clean-up work.

In another chapter in British rail system public relations, the South West Trains service left Waterloo and broke down near Woking at about 2:00am, so the rail company summoned a replacement coach. When it, too, broke down, the driver and guard of the train hopped into a taxi to get to their next appointment, in Basingstoke. The cab drove off, with five empty seats, leaving behind five dismayed passengers, three of whom were trying to get to Basingstoke. As snow began to fall, the coach driver reassured them that another coach would be along shortly. Adrian Yalland said: 'One man was wearing only a shirt, so I had to give him my jacket because he was so cold.' After an hour or so of waiting, they summoned their own cab. South West Trains have agreed to reimburse them for the 180 pounds in taxi fare.

Bosnian car mechanic Slobodan Mocevic was scheduled to have a kidney stone removed at the hospital in the small town of Kasindol, near Sarajevo, but the lithotripsy machine necessary for breaking apart the stone had been broken down for months. According to Oslobodjenje, Mocevic said: 'I was in agony, and there was no way I could have waited any longer.' He asked for tools and offered his assistance to another mechanic. Together the two had the machine repaired seven hours later and the kidney stone removal could go ahead.

In a routine traffic stop in Middletown, Ohio, officers noticed marijuana in a man's car. When booking him into jail, they noticed the 'Rashad' tattoo across his back and thus figured out that he had supplied a false name. They also noticed that he was chewing something. Rashad Darrell McCoy responded that it was gum, but he was asked to spit it out anyway. It was crack cocaine, according to police reports. The 28-year-old McCoy also had an outstanding arrest warrant for failure to pay child support.

Georgia's Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that police in Lilburn answered a late-night call about moaning and shouting sounds coming from the graveyard. They found a man trapped under a heavy granite tombstone and screaming 'No!' The man, whose leg had broken when the tombstone fell on him, said that he had been trapped for hours and admitted that he'd been knocking over headstones. Ezekiel Dejesus-Rodriguez, 24, has been charged with criminal damage to property.


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