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July 2007


8 July 2007

Reuters reports that a speeding car led Alabama police on a chase at up to 160 km/h before hitting another vehicle and being flipped over in the town of Orange Beach. Driving the car, which belonged to a relative, was an 11-year-old girl, who was driving while intoxicated. It is unclear where she obtained the alcohol.

A barber in Amsterdam is in custody after stabbing a 28-year-old customer with his scissors, apparently in an argument over a pair of glasses. The customer, who was found outside the barbershop by police, received emergency treatment and survived. Not so lucky was a previous customer, who in 2000 was on the wrong end of the same 42-year-old barber's scissors, with fatal results. The barber had been acquitted in that case on grounds of self-defence.

Ananova reports that armed robbers chased a money courier's vehicle in Gronau, Germany and shot at the driver, who therefore stopped. One of the two robbers forced the boot open, and the two robbers fled with a case from within - a first-aid kit. While the money was not taken, the police are still on the lookout for the two robbers, according to police spokesman Johann Steinlitz.

A 21-year-old man in the Philippines reportedly saved a neighbour who had tried to hang himself. After taking the suicidal man to hospital, Reynandro Platon returned home, where his wife allegedly took him to task for drinking and thus complicating his diabetes symptoms. Joseph Dino of the Quezon City police district said that Platon waited for his housemates to fall asleep, then went to the second storey of the home with a yellow nylon cord and hanged himself.

Illinois's Arthur Friedman sued his wife's lover, German Blinov, under an 'alienation of affection' law. The wife, Natalie, explained in court that the problem is not that she was having sex with Blinov - after all, her husband had asked her to have sex with other men and women as a way of livening up the relationship - but that she started to have feelings for him. Arthur said: 'This guy ruined my life - he back-stabbed me.' A jury, which reportedly referred to the case as 'stupid' and the law as 'ridiculous', ordered Blinov to pay $4,802.

Delaware's Branden M. Tingey decided to steal from a safe at Polidoro Italian Grill, where he had been fired from his position of manager about three years ago. He hid above the ceiling of the men's toilets until the restaurant was closed, then headed for the manager's office, where the safe stumped him. The police say that Tingey, 28, was using the restaurant's computer to search for safe-cracking instructions on the Internet when two managers walked in after completing the day's paperwork. Tingey's attempt to flee was unsuccessful.

A Virginia Mennonite family's dairy farm's manure transfer pipe become clogged, and Scott Showalter climbed into the manure pit to unblock it. Sheriff Don Farley said that, when Showalter was overcome by methane gas from the liquefied faeces, his wife followed him in to help. She, too, was overcome. Then the couple's two daughters passed out and fell into the pit. Hired hand Amos J. Stoltzfus climbed in to try to save the family. All five perished. Farley said: 'It was a domino effect.'

Canada's /Edmonton Sun/ reports that a clerk at a Canadian shopping centre thought a customer's credit card looked suspicious so asked the man for identification. When he showed his driver's licence, the clerk saw several other credit cards that appeared to be fake, and confiscated them. While the clerk was calling the police to report on the counterfeit cards, the shopper promptly went to the local police station to report that the clerk had stolen his credit cards. The police connected the two cases, and the man was arrested, as were two accomplices in the creation of fake credit cards from stolen data. Arrested were Eric Stephens, 48; Shamer Khan, 19; and Gordon Anderson, 18,

28 July 2007

The BBC report that Australia's Max Hell was being bullied at school on account of his surname, so his family decided to enrol him at Melbourne's St. Peter Apostle School. However, the school refused to admit him unless he used his mother's maiden name. The boy's father, Alex Hell, said: 'That's my family history and my name. ... It's 2007, not 1407.' In the wake of media attention and after a discussion with the Hells and the parish priest, the school has relented.

Escambia, Florida, police arrested Cheveon Alonzo Ford after his 292nd illegitimate call to emergency services since 1 July. The 21-year-old Ford explained to the officers that he had made the calls because 911 is the only number that he was able to reach, since he had run out of minutes on his telephone plan.

As part of their geography course work, seven Loreto College students went on a night-time orienteering trek of about five kilometres. When they reached the crest of a hill and saw a field of cows, the girls, ages 14 and 15, rang the emergency services. A Hertfordshire County Council spokeswoman explained that 'they got to the field and realised they needed to be on the other side of it and did not want to go through it'. Coast guard, police, and ambulance crews were sent to the scene, and the girls were returned to civilisation.

Dana Farrell Shelton rang emergency services to report that he was surrounded by a group of armed men at a bar and needed help. The men surrounding the intoxicated Shelton were police officers who had been summoned in response to a disturbance. They had told Shelton to move along, which he considered to be an emergency. He has been charged with misdemeanour misuse of the emergency number.

Ex-convict Jermaine Washington hid in the bushes in a Manhattan park, waiting for the sound of approaching passers-by. Jumping out of the bushes, he discovered that the people he had chosen to hold up with his fake green-and-black pistol were two uniformed rookie cops. The two officers drew their service revolvers and persuaded Washington to put down his weapon. He was also carrying two crack pipes and seven bags of crack cocaine. This marks his 34th arrest on drugs- and robbery-related charges.

Huron, Ohio, police received a call from a man who explained that he was a police captain who needed a warrant put out for a woman's arrest. When asked for his address, the caller gave that of the woman he wished to have arrested. Police visited the home and spoke to both the caller and the woman. The woman explained that she had returned from work to find the caller, her boyfriend, passed out on the sofa. When she asked him to leave, he rang the police. Police took the caller, reportedly still intoxicated, to his home and suggested that he remain there for the evening.

Police officers at the front gate of the Marion County, Florida, jail asked motorist Eugene Allen for his ID. He had no identification - not even a driver's licence - so sped off. Officers took off in pursuit. Reaching 160 km/h in the chase, Allen hit an officer's car and an SUV before his truck flipped over. Allen, who had planned to bail his friend out of jail, faces charges for driving on a suspended licence and for possession of cocaine and methamphetamines.

Posing as a man and wife, two men visited the Temple Restaurant in Minneapolis, where they consumed various sushi dishes, steaks, and drinks before leaving behind an unpaid bill of $410. About three hours later, the restaurant's owner, Thom Pham, was visiting another restaurant he owned in the area when he spotted the same pair of men ordering a rack of lamb. He asked them to pay for the $200 in food they had already eaten there, and an argument ensued. One of the men said that he had to fetch money from his home across the street. When Pham began to follow him across the street, the man suddenly reached into his pocket. He ended up with Pham, a former judo instructor, pinning him down, The police found the second man, still in women's clothing, a few blocks away.

A judge at London's Blackfriars Crown Court thought he heard 'tinny music' while defendant Alan Wicks was testifying in his trial for beating to death his disabled wife of 50 years. The judge's ears were proved correct when one of the jurors sent a note to the bench stating that another juror had been listening to her mp3 player during the testimony, with the headphones concealed beneath her hijab scarf. Earlier, prosecutor Peter Clarke had asked for the unidentified Muslim woman to be discharged from jury duty, as she had been late to court several times and appeared to be doodling when the jury were supposed to be looking at court exhibits. She now will face charges of contempt of court.

Sylvette Wimberly of Houston, Texas, said that she has figured out why she began receiving lewd and embarrassing telephone calls and e-mail messages. Former high-school classmate Lara Madden had decided to borrow her name for use in her videos in the adult film industry. Wimberly is suing Madden and the producer of her videos, alleging invasion of privacy and emotional distress - for example, former classmates contacted her upon hearing that she was a porn star - and she has filed an injunction aimed at getting Madden to stop calling herself Sylvette Wimberly.

Police in Colorado report that a group of people broke into an outdoor amusement centre in Colorado Springs and attempted to disable a security camera by spraying it with WD-40. Detective Chuck Ackerman says this merely cleaned the lens, which filmed the black-clad bandits as they spent more than an hour trying to open the safes. They then used a computer in the next office along to perform a Google search on safe-cracking (perhaps they read Anna's News Clippings for suggestions). The bandits escaped with about $12,000 and are still at large.

In Florida, two men and women visited an abandoned nursing home and began to remove its copper pipes and electrical wiring. They didn't notice the sign warning that the building and its grounds are a police training area. When officers arrived, the three dropped their tools and ran. It is unknown whether they remembered seeing the 'Caution!!! Gainesville Police Department K-9 training facility - Keep Out.' sign as they were pursued by all of the facility's dogs. All three miscreants - Pamela Puckett, 37; Marc Black, 18; and Paul Perry, 39 - were rounded up with ease.

A man in a suit and tie visited a luxury car showroom in Malaysia's northern Penang state. After asking for the keys to a 200,000-euro Porsche, he drove the car through the showroom window and sped off. The vehicle was found a short distance away, as its fuel tank was empty. The New Straits Times reports that the man then visited the local police station to which the car had been towed. With car keys and a canister of petrol in hand, he drove off in the Porsche again. He abandoned it a second time after discovering police roadblocks, and he remains at large.

A Michigan man had problems with the brakes of his truck, and the brakes apparently set his trailer full of hay on fire. The panicking man began driving around Hart Township in search of a hose to extinguish the blaze. After leaving several piles of burning hay in his wake, said Hart fire chief Ken Klutz, 'he panicked and just floor-boarded it to get to an open area. ... One guy saw him driving by and said he saw 30-foot flames coming out of the hay as he was going down the road.' After finally stopping, the driver was unable to unhitch the trailer from the truck, both of which were on fire by this time. The fires were eventually extinguished, and the driver is not being charged with any offence.

A 59-year-old Arizona woman visited a bookstore to report that someone had stolen her handbag and used her credit card to buy $200 in DVDs there. While she was waiting for further attention from the staff, a man came to the desk to return eight DVDs in exchange for cash. It was 'as if the world had stopped' according to customer Susan Murphy, who watched as the manager 'looked at the receipt, looked at the elderly lady and then at the young man standing next to her, and said, "This is the transaction." The 22-year-old man rushed out of the store, but police eventually caught up with him and he admitted to using the woman's credit card for purchases totalling $716.

Polish bus driver Leszek Wojcik decided to enter a text-message-based contest in an attempt to win the equivalent of 26,000 euros. To do so, he used his company telephone. Slupsk city transport spokesman Hubert Boba said that a bus driver's monthly mobile telephone bill is supposed to be limited to 15 zloty (about four euros). Wojcik's 38,000 text messages (sent at a rate of about 1200 per day) exceeded that amount by about 24,700 euros. He had hoped to buy a second car with his winnings. He didn't win the contest and now doesn't have a bus to drive either. Benjamin Jorgensen, 37, and ex-girlfriend Donna Hayes, 36, heard that the manager of a Melbourne, Australia, restaurant would have a substantial sum of money in a plastic bag at the end of his shift. When the manager left the restaurant with a plastic bag, Jorgensen pointed a sawn-off shotgun at him and demanded the bag. When Hayes ran up to Jorgensen from behind, he shot her in the hip. The plastic bag contained bread rolls.
Jorgensen and Hayes have both pleaded guilty to charges of armed robbery.

Montgomery, Maryland, Circuit Judge Katherine D. Savage said that it was a difficult decision to drop the charges against a man accused of raping a seven-year-old girl and repeatedly molesting her in front of witnesses. She explained that the case had to be dropped because three years had passed while the court system attempted to find an interpreter fluent in Mahamu Kanneh's native Liberian language. Prosecutors, who hope to appeal the decision, pointed out that Kanneh had attended high school and community college in Montgomery and conversed with detectives in English.

A Florida jury convicted Terry Lee Alexander on charges of indecent exposure because he was masturbating in his cell while a female deputy was monitoring the cell from a camera control room. Sheriff's office spokesman Elliot Cohen said that, while masturbation in Broward County jails normally is punished by a restriction of privileges, the agency now is encouraging deputies to press criminal charges, in hopes of eradicating the behaviour. Coryus Veal is heeding this advice; Alexander is the eighth person she has charged for in-cell masturbation in the last six months, in each affidavit describing the activity as conducted in a 'vulgar and indecent manner' and thus fulfilling one of the criteria set forth in the state's indecent exposure statute.

When his ExxonMobil credit card was due to expire, Manhattan accountant Frank Van Buren asked for two copies of the replacement card. After receiving the two cards, he received two boxes from the oil company - each containing 1,000 credit cards bearing his name and account number. Van Buren said that it took hours to shred the plastic. He asked ExxonMobil: 'How could you send me 2,000 cards by mistake?', and spokeswoman Paula Chen replied that the company is investigating.

In Cary, North Carolina, treated wastewater is used for watering lawns. Recently, this water system was turned off for maintenance. Accordingly, Vinay Jain's neighbours couldn't get their lawn sprinklers to work. Jain's functioned normally; however, he found himself with no tap water. He said that his tap water has tasted funny for the five months since the system was unveiled. Cary Public Works head Mike Bajorek said that crews found one other home in a similar situation. Both families are being housed in hotels while their pipe systems are flushed with a chlorine system, the correct pipe connections made, and the water tested.


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© 2007 Anna Shefl