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July 2005

7 July 2005

A teenaged girl was using an outdoor toilet beside a New Hampshire log cabin when she noticed that she was not alone. A man was staring at her from below the seat. Police Captain John Hebert said the police pulled 45-year-old Gary Moody from his hiding place in the waste tank, treating him 'as if he were hazardous material'. Firefighters hosed down the Gardiner, Maine, native before he was handcuffed and charged with criminal trespass. He could face other charges.

A member of the Oregon National Guard returned from his tour of duty in Iraq to discover that someone had withdrawn over $10,000 from his bank account. Eleanor Alloway, 51, of Eugene is facing charges of identity theft. She is the serviceman's mother. Bank surveillance camera footage shows her repeatedly using her son's cash card to make withdrawals from his account. Alloway told the police that she used the money for video poker, home entertainment systems, and daily expenses.

A recent attempt to erect the world's largest 'ice pop' went awry when the 7.5-metre-tall mound of frozen Snapple juice began to melt quickly, flooding Manhattan's Union Square with kiwi-and-strawberry-flavoured liquid. The aftermath of the world-record bid was probably not the kind of publicity Snapple spokeswoman Laurent Radcliffe was hoping for. She said of the incident that the summer heat was a factor 'and it may not have been frozen all the way through'. Firefighters closed off several streets while they washed away the liquid.

Asheana Maihepat, an 11-year-old girl from Queens, New York, was absent from school on the day that photos were taken for the school yearbook, so a separate photograph was taken of her by a student photographer at a later date. Maihepat said the photo 'looks ridiculous', and her mother, Michelle, said that all 200 yearbooks should be recalled and new ones issued. The image, which Michelle emphasised that she did not authorise, will in her view haunt the girl for the rest of her life.
Principal Henry Somers said the school doesn't have the funds to print 200 new copies of the yearbook but did refund the Maihepats' money and arrange to have a separate yearbook published for Asheana containing a photo of her choice. Michelle says this is not good enough.

In a case that could be likened to the Toyota / Toy Yoda incident covered in the Clippings in August 2001, Lexington, Kentucky, radio station 'Hot 102' promised a woman '100 grand' for being the tenth caller in a contest. When Norreasha Gill went to collect her prize, she was told to return to the radio station later. She subsequently received a telephone message telling her that the prize was a caramel-filled candy bar, Nestle's '100 Grand', as opposed to $100,000. Gill has filed a complaint in Fayette District Court without being swayed by a promise of $5,000 from Cumulus Media, owner of the radio station.

Philippe Patricio, 20, is accused of liberating a small aeroplane from its owner in Connecticut and then taking two 16-year-olds on a three-hour jaunt. When he brought the aircraft in for a landing at the Westchester County airport in New York, the police arrived to greet him. Authorities say they saw beer cans roll out the door when Patricio left the plane. While New York has no law against flying under the influence, Patricio was arrested for driving while intoxicated since he was inebriated when taxiing down the unlit runway.

Japan's Mainichi Shimbun reports that Takeshi Fukuhara, 29, went to Ageo Police Station on Wednesday and admitted to strangling his wife with pyjama trousers a few days earlier. He explained: 'I couldn't tolerate seeing my wife suffering from depression' and told the police that he dismembered her body with a saw and paper cutter because it had begun to decompose. The body has been recovered from Fukuhara's closet, and an autopsy is to be conducted.

Shyam Behari of India's Uttar Pradesh state has been accused of attacking 23-year-old wife Kunti with a butcher's knife and chopping off her nose in rage upon hearing that she had given birth to a second daughter rather than a boy. Kunti told reporters 'my in-laws tried to rescue me, but he did not let them do anything' and that she was given medical assistance when her father came to the home two days later. Police officer Suleman Khan said that Behari has been arrested. He maintains his innocence, saying: 'There was no altercation - I don't have a problem with a daughter; I am completely fine with it'.

Nebraska's North Platte Telegraph reports that Arthur Richardson of Denver wanted to get into friend Andrew Allen's 1977 Chevrolet pickup truck. He said that after Allen gave him the key 'I was acting like I pretend swallowed it, but then it actually went down into my stomach'. After unsuccessful attempts to induce vomiting, the men went to Great Plains Regional Medical Center 'to find out what to do to get it out', said Richardson. Told that it would take two or three days to work its way through Richardson's system, Allen asked locksmith John Somers to make another key from the ignition. Somers said that when he heard an x-ray had been taken, 'I thought that depending on how it was laying, it would be possible to make a copy of it', adding 'I'm always up for a challenge'. He said the key had a perfect silhouette and that it took only a few minutes to make two new keys with the image as a guide.

Officials at one of China's eight Japanese schools contacted China's Dalian customs office to enquire about a shipment of 128 social studies books that hadn't arrived from Japan. Customs officials explained that the texts had been confiscated because they contained maps showing Taiwan in a different colour from that of mainland China. After producing an explanatory note and paying a fine, the school was allowed to have most of the books. Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoya said that Japan's government might ask China which law was the basis for the confiscation.

Washington state's Spokesman Review reports that Rachel Dunham, 25, obtained a restraining order against 49-year-old boyfriend Rodney Tomsha after twice reporting him for domestic violence. He was arrested a short while later in connection with further abuse of Dunham. A little over a week later, police received a tip that Tomsha had disobeyed the order and was within two blocks of Dunham - at the reception for his marriage to her. Tomsha is now in the Spokane County Jail rather than with Dunham for a Mexican honeymoon. The police waited until the reception was over before arresting him.

16 July 2005

According to a Jacksonville, Florida, sheriff's office report, a Starbucks customer told the server 'I left your tip on the counter' as he was leaving. The gratuity was a small amount of marijuana. The customer returned to the Starbucks the next day, and the server pointed him out to the shop's security guard. The guard tried to stop the man, but he fled, and the police intervened. A scuffle in the car park ensued, during which the man dropped a box containing marijuana and rolling papers, officers said. Delshawn Prejean, 35, has been charged with resisting an officer and possession of marijuana, among other crimes.

Japan's Mainichi Shimbun reports that Tokyo's Tsukasa Saito, 34, is suspected of throwing acid onto the buttocks of several jeans-clad women whom he'd deemed to have attractive posteriors, this summer and last. In the specific incident for which he was recently arrested, he hurled acid onto the buttocks of a dental nurse as he rode past her on his mountain bike. He explained to the police that 'it really turned me on to see a butt in a pair of jeans'. He is being charged with willful destruction of property.

A T-ball (a children's form of baseball in which the ball is batted from a tee) coach in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, is accused of acting to keep an eight-year-old boy on his team from being able to take part in a game, as the coach considered the boy untalented. Mark Reed Downs, Jr, offered one of his players $25 to hit the mentally handicapped child in the head with a baseball. The boy remained on the bench after being hit in the groin and ear. The injured child's mother, who had noticed that her son often sat games out, approached the player who threw the ball and he told her about the payment offer. State police trooper Thomas B. Broadwater said the 27-year-old Downs 'was very competitive'.

The Dallas Morning News reported that motorist Mary Ellen Douglas switched lanes to avoid a parcel that had fallen from a pickup truck onto a Texas motorway. She said that the parcel appeared to be strapped to a gurney and that, as she drove past, she saw feet sticking out from under the sheets covering it. 'It was too freaky for me', she said. After her, other drivers too managed to avoid hitting the pickup's former cargo. A traffic jam eventually developed. When the pickup's driver noticed that the back of the truck was open and that the corpse he was meant to be transporting from Texas to a Louisiana funeral parlour was no longer there, he headed back to the scene of the body's escape. The corpse was retrieved intact.

Delivery room staff at a California hospital asked Steven Passalaqua to help steady his wife while she was given a pain-killing epidural injection. Upon seeing the needle, he fainted, hitting his head on an aluminium cap moulding at the base of the wall. Jeanette Passalaqua gave birth to a boy, and her husband later died of a brain haemorrhage. She announced last week that she is suing Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Southern California Permanente Medical Group. The complaint says that since staff asked Steven to help, they 'owed him a duty to exercise reasonable care to prevent foreseeable injuries resulting from his participation'.

Police broke up a New Year's party in Boston and took Eric Laverriere of Portland, Maine, to jail to sober up. The 25-year-old Laverriere, who was kept in the cell for nine hours, has filed a lawsuit in which he argues that he had a Constitutional right to drink on private property as long as he didn't create a public disturbance. He said 'one thing people should be able to do is drink in their own house', in what legal experts say is the first suit to challenge the Massachusetts Protective Custody Law, which allows the police to lock up drunken people against their will for their own good.

Police in Oakland, California, say Stephen Holloday is a man of habit - he robbed the same bank four times in a little over 10 weeks. His attempt to hold up the bank a fifth time did not go according to plan. When a teller recognised and confronted him, he fled the bank. He was arrested a short while later. A demand note was found in his pocket.

LarHonda McMillan, 23, of Nashville, Tennessee, didn't strap her toddler into a car seat and failed to notice the child tumble out of the car through an open door as she rounded a curve. Passers-by rescued the child from the street and tried to get McMillan's attention by honking their horns and yelling. They failed, and the child was not identified until other members of the family saw a news report on the topic. McMillan was booked on charges of child neglect, driving under the influence of an intoxicating substance, and reckless endangerment. Explaining herself, she told a judge when her bail was set that she has been under a lot of stress, works third shift, is a single parent, and is working to overcome an addiction to cocaine.

According to investigators in Arizona, trucker Keith Lowery's friends paid $25 for him to get a birthday treat at a Jacksonville nightclub. He was handcuffed and spanked by two strippers wielding a belt and paddle. Later, the strippers, along with nightclub managers, were arrested - it seems Lowery's buttocks were severely bruised. The strippers were charged with misdemeanour battery and the employees with participating in an obscene performance at a live public show. Spankings at the club are to be discontinued.

Mainichi Shimbun reports that three people stepped into a lift on the first floor of Nagoya's Sunshine Chugo building when the doors opened. They didn't notice that the lift car hadn't arrived. The two men and one woman fell 1.5 metres to the bottom of the shaft, suffering light back and arm injuries. Officials at Nakagawa police station said that the lift appeared to have broken down on the fourth floor and an investigation is being conducted.

The Canadian Press reports that 19-year-old Alkarim Nasser of Halifax and two others were caught by waiters in a bar upon trying to pass funny money. Constable Dana Drover said the high-quality fakes had copied the security features of Canadian $10 notes faithfully - 'They were certainly very high-end' - but when the men tried to buy drinks with the non-money, liquid caused the ink to run. The trio are accused of passing CN$16,000 in counterfeit currency.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has said that he will sponsor a statewide ban on 'Pot Suckers'. Marketing for the controversial marijuana-flavoured lollies features slogans such as 'Every lick is like taking a hit'. Blumenthal described the novelty lollipops, which are flavoured with (THC-free) hemp essential oil, as a 'gateway product' that 'glamorizes drugs for children'. Five other states have banned or are considering banning the product. Steve Trachtenberg, in charge of distributing of the green lollipops, said his company has shelved plans for related items, such as a hemp-flavoured chocolate bar, in light of the outcry.

South Africa's Superintendent Ailwei Mushavhanamadi of the Vhembe police said a bruised 44-year-old woman from Madombidzha village reported to the police that she had been accosted by three highly intoxicated men who accosted and overpowered her along a road late at night. She said that when they thought she was weak enough, two of the men stepped away to allow the third to rape her before taking their own turn. She strangled the man, and the others fled when they realised that he was dead, said Madombidzha. The woman is in custody to face charges of murder.

This story is for those who worried that there were no fireworks stories for US Independence Day this year. A bottle rocket exploded in the mouth of three-year-old Amendo McKee. While the Alabama boy's immediate family apparently weren't around when this firework and others were set off, his uncle said that a 13-year-old neighbourhood boy had told Amendo to put the bottle rocket in his mouth 'and it went down his throat'. The police have not released the teen's name. It is unclear who lit the fuse. When a reporter asked 'Why would he do that?', the uncle replied 'I don't know, but I don't think he was trying to hurt him'. Amendo was treated in hospital for two days.

Japan's Yuji Abe, 47, an assistant inspector at Hokkaido Prefecture police headquarters, entered a man's unlocked home at about 6:40am after a night of drinking with fellow officers and on his own. He later said he 'mistook it as the hotel where I was staying', which was about 500 metres away. Abe removed all of his clothes except for his shorts before heading upstairs. The homeowner's son saw Abe and told him to get dressed and leave. The police were alerted later and Abe arrested.

New Mexico police say Melissa Chavez, 26, waved down a police officer in Santa Fe and asked whether she could hitch a ride. The officer gave her a ride - to the Santa Fe County jail. He had conducted a routine warrant enquiry and discovered that Chavez was wanted for failure to comply with court requirements in connection with a charge of criminal damage to property.

When not on duty as a US Transportation Security Administration luggage screener, Bassam Khalaf created rap music. Under the name 'the Arabic Assassin', he released a CD on which he rhymed about overthrowing the US government and blowing up aeroplanes. When the TSA found out about his album Terror Alert, they fired him. Khalaf said he wouldn't have let a bomb on board a plane but that the current situation could be good for his rap career: 'Controversy sells'.

29 July 2005

Douglas Kelly told the Louisiana police that he had been robbed of $500 when he went to a local convenience store to buy dog food at about 1am. He described being forced into the boot of his car and escaping with the aid of the emergency release lever. The police questioned him about such things as his account of being hit in the back of the head while facing his attacker head-on and why he still had $400 in his wallet after the robbery. They also noted that Kelly's car boot has no emergency release lever and that the Exxon station doesn't sell dog food. Detective Reggie Relf said that Kelly then explained that he had hoped 'to insulate himself from the wrath of his pregnant girlfriend finding out he had been at Scuttlebutt's', a strip club. He was released from custody after paying a $500 fine for filing a false police report. Capt. Rob Callahan said that 'the wrath is still going to be there now'.

In Portage, Indiana, Kaylyn Kezy and Melissa Fredenburg were taking turns pushing a car that wasn't running, one pushing and the other steering. The car ended up crashing into a parked vehicle. When the police arrived, they tested the women and found their blood-alcohol level to be over twice the legal limit. Considering possible charges of driving while intoxicted, Prosecutor Adam Burroughs said that the women were in fact operating the vehicle but acknowledges that the case could prove a hard one to make stick in court.

Trevon Smith, 18, reported to police in California that his car had been stolen, with his four-year-old niece inside. Two hours later, the 'Amber Alert' was called off when the police saw videotaped footage of the theft. Officer Trish Coyle said 'his car was stolen, but there was never any child in the back seat'. Smith explained that he had hoped that reporting a kidnapping in connection with the theft would help him get his car back. It did help him earn an arrest for making a false police report. The car has not yet been found.

When Framingham, Pennsylvania, police went to Justin Breakspear's flat with warrants for his arrest, he hid in the basement, where the police found two sawn-off shotguns, a non-registered handgun, and some ammunition. The police said the 19-year-old Breakspear initially argued that the basement was open to everyone in the building and that the guns could therefore have belonged to anyone. The police then discovered a large tattoo on his hip - depicting the handgun. It included the serial number. Breakspear has been indicted by a Middlesex grand jury.

Mainichi Shimbun reports that 20-year-old Naoto Yoshida and a 19-year-old fellow student repeatedly kicked a homeless man in the head in a Sumida-ku park after an evening of drinking. The police said that the younger of the two explained that 'we just wanted to vent our frustrations' because an unrelated man the pair didn't know had wanted to join their drinking party. The victim was killed in the attack.

An Ellwood City, Connecticut, man was reported to the police for allegedly causing a disturbance at a bar. The man, wheelchair-bound 41-year-old John Alan Pounds, left the bar at this point but returned later with a 30 cm knife and his 11-year-old nephew. The wheelchair's battery was flat, so Pounds made the boy push him toward patrons so Pounds could threaten then. Two people at the bar relieved Pounds of the knife. The police reported that Pounds exposed himself and tried to bite the police, then yelled that he has AIDS. He was described as being highly intoxicated.

The Chicago media report that Miguel Espinosa knew he needed to get to work in the morning so decided to steal a marked squad car that he saw parked at a restaurant at suppertime. The driver of the police car had left the keys in the vehicle while having his meal. The next morning, Espinosa was on his way to his job at the Whole Food Bakery House when someone flagged down the patrol car. Espinosa stopped to help, whereupon he was arrested.

A man borrowed a Lexus from a Hamilton Township, New Jersey, dealership, speeding off before manager Johnny Dollar could give him a copy of the registration and insurance documents. Dollar reported the car stolen after an hour and a half had elapsed. A while later, the police headed for the dealership for information, as a white Lexus had just been used in a bank robbery. At the same time, the man who had borrowed the Lexus thoughtfully returned it, and he and a second man left again in their red van. The police gave chase and arrested Ryan Johnson, 33, and James Hodge, 32. All of the money from the robbery was recovered.

Clay County, South Dakota, Sheriff Andy Howe said that a chase following a hit-and-run accident ended when suspect Jada Coover pulled off the motorway, stopped his truck in the middle of the street, and backed into the courthouse's retaining wall. Howe said that officers had left the sheriff's office at the courthouse to assist, 'only to find themselves right back here'. Jada left his truck, then ran into the courtroom, where he was late for an appearance. The jury had just been dismissed. Howe said that Jada next 'attempted to barricade himself in by holding the door shut, but officers were able to get in and take him into custody'. He was arrested in connection with various charges and outstanding warrants.

Gary Moody, who was described in previous Clippings as hiding in an outdoor toilet's waste tank at a rest stop and spying on a teenaged girl from this vantage point, has claimed that he was simply looking for his wedding ring in the raw sewage. Arresting officer Jon Herbert said: 'He told me that he was changing clothes when he dropped his wedding ring into he toilet' and that he dropped into the tank out of embarrassment when he saw someone enter the outhouse. The police said no ring was found in the sewage.

The New York Daily News reported that Gerald Martin, who left doctors' answering service company Statcomm to found a rival company, has been charged with hacking into his former employer's computer system. Patients all over the US heard sexual moaning or received a busy signal when trying to contact their physicians. At least one emergency situation resulted, according to Westchester District Attorney Jeanine Pirro. Martin and his company are also accused of sending a moving truck to Statcomm and sending forged papers to Statcomm customers that claimed the company was subject to a state audit.

The media in Brazil report that Ednor Rodrigues, 32, was caught on closed-circuit television stealing seven toothbrushes from a supermarket in Ribeirao Preto. When the police approached him, he initially denied the robbery and showed the officers that he has no teeth. He finally admitted to the shoplifting and said he didn't know why he did it.

New York's Albany Times Union reports that three city fire companies encountered difficulty when taking part in a drill in rescuing car crash victims. When a sliding rear door was wrenched off the donated junked vehicle, Capt. Kristopher Madsen noticed quite a few personal items still inside and called a halt to the drill. They had the wrong vehicle - a sign in the towing yard's office had directed firefighters to a 'white Caravan', but another Dodge Caravan had been brought in, for repairs. Roberts Towing and the city are splitting the $6,128.50 price tag of the mistake. Deputy Fire Chief Robert Forezzi said that the approximately 50 junked cars per year that are demolished in fire department drills are now being marked in advance.

An Olathe, Kansas, teenager has been convicted of battery after throwing up on Spanish teacher David Young while returning his classroom text on the last day of teaching. The 17-year-old boy's attorney, Brian Costello, said the student, who was failing the class, vomited due to nervousness about his upcoming final exam, but two other students testified that he'd told them it was deliberate, one girl stating that the teen had told her in advance of his regurgitation plan. The vomiter has been ordered to clean up the mess every time someone throws up in a police car, for the next four months.

Also in Kansas we have the case of Ezekiel Rubottom. A parent contacted the police to report that her child saw a severed foot in a 20-litre bucket of formaldehyde on 21-year-old Rubottom's front porch. Police confiscated the foot and later were able to contact its owner, Rubottom. He explained that his clubbed foot had been amputated three weeks earlier after a severe infection. Karen Shumate, a vice president at the hospital, said she finds it unusual that someone would want a foot, as opposed to an appendix or uterus, 'but it's within their rights because it's theirs'. Rubottom had placed several other objects in the bucket, including a can of beer and a porcelain horse, in a 'collage of myself', and cut off two of the toes to perhaps give to friends.
After showing the police his medical records, he was allowed to recover the foot, which is back on his porch.

According to AP reports, the Wal-Mart outlet in Roanoke, Virginia, has been ordered by corporate headquarters to stop its Friday-night Singles Shopping programme because several people complained about it. The only programme of its kind at a US Wal-Mart, it supplied red bows that customers could place on their shopping trolley as a signal to other singles. 'Flirt points' were set up throughout the store. Showing up on Friday evening, customer Dale Firebaugh asked: 'Where can someone over 40 who doesn't smoke or drink or go to bars meet someone?' - the answer might be Germany, which inspired the Roanoke outlet's Singles Shopping.

Retired teacher Phyllis Dintenfass was annoyed at the security checks after she set off metal detectors at a Wisconsin airport. When screening supervisor Anita Gostisha took her to another screening area, she used a hand-held wand and conducted a 'limited pat-down search'. Gostisha said she was using the back of her hands to check the area under Dintenfass's breasts when Dintenfass slammed her against the wall 'and grabbed my breasts and squeezed them'. Dintenfass, 62, said this was self-defence and that she was later mortified by what she had done. She was convicted on Tuesday of assaulting a federal officer.

Lacey Jane Bolen, 26, of Goose Creek, South Carolina, has been sentenced to five years in prison for accepting a $10 bribe from two 16-year-old students on her school bus in January in exchange for not triggering a panic button or otherwise acting to stop the students' sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl on the bus. A student reported the incident to a school official the next day, and bus videotape evidence resulted in the arrest of Bolen and the two 16-year-old Berkeley Alternative School students.

A Massachusetts Highway Department worker contacted the Easthampton superintendent of public works, Joe Pipczynski, to enquire about the outline of the state of Alabama on local highway signs. The signs had been up for about a week. Pipczynski said he believes the contractor used the example in the federal manual for the appearance of highway signs, sending the example to the sign maker without alteration. 'We didn't really question it, because the numbers were correct', said Roger Remy, speaking for the contractor. Remy said the signs are going to be replaced as soon as possible.

Following attempts to have children and mend their relationship, Deon Francois and wife Chaamel parted ways about two and a half years ago. He says he assumed that once he stopped paying for his sperm to be frozen at a New York facility, it would be thrown away. However, Chaamel began paying the bill, and kept trying to get pregnant. She underwent successful in vitro fertilisation and is now seeking child support payments from Deon. Deon is suing NYU, which he says didn't obtain consent from him for the sperm's use, as well as Chaamel and a notary public he claims was involved in faking a signed release form. Chaamel is pregnant again, thanks to more of the frozen sperm.

Somerville, Massachusetts, City Council President Michael Flaherty says that he answered a call on his mobile telephone where the caller identified himself as Murph. Flaherty said he asked 'Which Murph?' and the caller then supplied his full name, John Murphy, and said he had just received a large shipment of the anti-depressant Klonopin. Murphy gave him a bit more information and then hung up. Flaherty reported the contact, and an undercover officer contacted Murphy as a friend of Flaherty. Murphy rang Flaherty again, to ask whether his friend could be trusted. Receiving an affirmative answer, he agreed to sell her 50 pills. After he was busted, he begged his father 'Please, Dad, sell the car' for bail money. Murphy's father, who did not comply, says he'll take up Flaherty's offer to make sure Murphy gets drug treatment.

The BBC reports on Ayattu Nure, a 56-year-old Ethiopian man with a total of 77 children by 11 wives (23 other children he had have died). He said he wanted to share his fortune by taking many wives but now has no money left and suggests that people not have so many children or even marry at all. His eldest son is about to marry his fourth wife. Nure, who says he cannot remember all of his children's names, said: 'I know I have done wrong by marrying many wives and begetting many children, but I think I deserve help from the government'. His current issue is with the local school, which wants photographs of each of his 40 children who attend.


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