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July 2008

30 July 2008

In Norwalk, California, 74-year-old Lynne Rice drove her Cadillac through the front of Joe's Food Mart and Video. In the centre of the store, she got out of the car and retrieved a six-pack of Budweiser beer from the store's cooler. The clerk declined to make the sale. Rice was arrested for investigation of misdemeanour driving under the influence of alcohol.

Thomas Hickman of Texas was killed. His mouth had been duct-taped, and he had been shot in the back of the head. After careful investigation, officers determined that the suspected murder was, in fact, a suicide prompted by stock market woes. Apparently attempting to re-create an incident from television programme /CSI/, Hickman had tied helium-filled balloons to the gun so that it would float away without a trace. The gun was found about 10 metres from his body, with the attached bundle of balloons caught on a cactus. Also, the gun's almost-missing serial number was traced to Hickman.
Hickman's life insurance policy would have paid his wife twice as much if his death had been ruled an accident.

From last month's news we have Danilo Giuffrida, 26, who mentioned in a medical examination for Italian military service that he was homosexual. The defence and transport ministries both recorded this information, and thus Giuffrida was told to retake his driving test because of his 'sexual identity disturbance'. He passed it when taking the test for the second time, but the licence still was renewed for one year rather than the usual 10. A court in Catania has ordered the government to pay compensation of 100,000 euros to Giuffrida, who describes the sentence as 'a step forwards for civil rights'.

Kiyotaka Ozaki, 32, accidentally drove into a pedestrian in Ichihara, Japan. She suffered light bruises. When Ozaki got out of his car and approached her, she 'made a row', and Ozaki decided to hide the accident by strangling her. She lost consciousness but awoke while Ozaki was still at the scene. She asked him for his contact details, which he then provided, enabling the police to arrest him.

Kyle Burress, 25, and Allen Pierce, 27, broke into a department store near Seattle. It didn't take long to find the men. According to police spokeswoman Debbie Willis, officers merely followed a trail of cardboard and packing materials to a locked area behind the store. In that area, one of the men was sleeping in a stolen hammock and the other on a pile of stolen pillows.

Max Minnefield of Hartford, Connecticut, rang the police to report a robbery. Specifically, he called to complain that he had paid $8 to a man and woman for crack cocaine and never received the drugs. Police charged Minnefield with criminal attempt to commit possession of narcotics, and in court Judge Bradford Ward rhetorically asked him: 'Did you really think the police were going to go after the people?' Prosecutors later dropped the charges.

A man from Waukesha, Milwaukee, found a way of avoiding restaurant bills and taxi fares. The 52-year-old man would simply fake a heart attack. He was caught when, after he enjoyed a $23 steak dinner, the fire department took him to a hospital. There a doctor recognised him for having used the heart attack ploy before. He has now been charged with defrauding a restaurant as a habitual criminal.

Katherine Gunther was performing a Wiccan ritual at a cemetery in central Indiana, to give thanks for a recent string of lucky incidents. The 36-year-old woman's ceremony involved lighting candles under the full moon and driving swords into the earth. Gunther missed her target, however, and ended up with a metre-long sword stuck in her foot. Her companions took her to hospital, and the Wiccans were warned that being in the cemetery after posted visiting hours is illegal.

Linda Urioste's dog was collected by animal control officers in southern Florida and adopted by Jutta Hollar and her husband. After Urioste went to the shelter in search for the dog, she met with Hollar, who later said she had considered returning the black Labrador until Urioste yelled and threatened to sue.
A few days after this meeting, Hollar realised that her cat was missing. Shortly thereafter, Urioste left a telephone message in which she offered to return the cat in exchange for her dog. She has been arrested.

A medical helicopter from Utah and one from Colorado were on their way to a hospital in Flagstaff, Arizona, but stopped just short of their target. The two Bell 407 helicopters collided in mid-air. According to Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor, all three passengers, including a patient, in one of the helicopters were killed, and three people in the other helicopter died. Another was listed as in critical condition.

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© 2008 Anna Shefl