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June 2011

4 June 2011

In our first item, life imitates urban legend. The Barrie, Ontario, police, report being called to a coffee shop where two people had met for a blind date. Their Web site describes the incident as follows: 'The male victim advised he arranged to meet with a female he met "online" at this location. However, the "date" turned out to be his current girlfriend.'
An off-duty officer arrested the 49-year-old girlfriend after she threw a cup of coffee in her boyfriend's face and slapped him.

Stevie Hickey, a child-minder in Pennsylvania, gave parsley butter spread on toast to her 12-year-old charge and two other children at her home. Arriving to collect her daughter, the 12-year-old's mother didn't heed the label on the tub of 'I Can't Believe It's Not Butter' that was in Hickey's freezer and voiced her scepticism to the police. Hickey acknowledged to the police that the substance was actually marijuana-laced margarine.

[IMG: Crime scene tattoo]California's Anthony 'Chopper' Garcia, 25, was arrested for driving with a suspended licence, and police took a photograph of his tattooed chest as part of a programme designed to pin down who is responsible for graffiti bearing similar marks. Some time later, homicide investigator Kevin Lloyd was flipping through these photos and recognised the mural on Garcia's chest. It featured a Pico Rivera liquor store where a murder took place in January 2004.
The image, which shows a helicopter firing shots at a peanut-shaped man (members of rival gangs are called peanuts), led to a sting operation in which Garcia confessed to the shooting. He has now been sentenced to 65 years to life in prison.

New Jersey's Carl Ippolito noticed that his iPhone was missing from his car. Tracking software on his son's mobile phone led him to a street where he saw Brent Johnson chatting on an iPhone. Ippolito was able to catch Johnson and get in a few punches before being arrested by the police for assault and disorderly conduct. Ippolito later found his iPhone where he had left it: at a nearby baseball field, where he had been officiating.

Police in Mason County, Washington, received an emergency call from a seriously injured man who reported that he'd been shot with a hunting bow at his home and then fled to a neighbour's house. The shooter was the victim's 15-year-old daughter, who was unhappy that he had confiscated her mobile phone. The 35-year-old father was airlifted to a hospital for major surgery, and his daughter was arrested in the woods behind the home and taken to a children's hospital for treatment of what Detective William Adam termed 'serious medical conditions'.

In another mobile-phone-themed story, Daniel Moore, an 18-year-old employee at a waffle restaurant in the US state of Georgia, discovered that his trousers had placed a call to emergency services in the wee hours. When an officer with the Hall County Sheriff's Office showed up and 'began to talk to the cook [...], dispatch radioed that they could hear him very clearly' over the still-connected mobile phone in the young cook's pocket, according to Colonel Jeff Strickland. Moore had more than his phone with him; he still had the prescription narcotics that the 911 dispatcher had heard him illegally purchase earlier. He was arrested.

Also pocket-dialling 911 and still on the line when nabbed by the authorities was the driver of an SUV full of stolen tools. He and his accomplices were caught because they were discussing which of the places they were driving past in Clay, New York, would be good to burgle. According to Onondaga County Sergeant John D'Eredita, the conversation was detailed enough that officers were led straight to the vehicle. Ronald Euson; Thomas Euson, Jr; and Allen Euson (two brothers and a cousin) were arrested and have been charged with grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property.

Richard Vermalyea's telephone conversations were so loud, and the walls so thin, that his fellow guests at a Delmar, Maryland, hotel called the police with noise complaints. In addition to the volume disturbing them, the content was worrying: he had mentioned being wanted by authorities in Cecil County.
A deputy went to the man's room, learned that the warrants were for failure to appear in court in connection with felony theft and for violation of probation in another case of felony theft, and arrested him.

According to AFP reports, New Zealand truck driver Steven McCormack fell while working on his truck and was injured in an unusual way. The fitting for a hose that normally leads to the brakes pierced his left buttock and began sending compressed air into his body. The 48-year-old McCormack later said: 'It felt like I had the bends, like in diving. I had no choice but just to lay there, blowing up like a balloon.' His co-workers heard him shouting and turned off the compressed air, then packed ice around his enlarged neck and summoned an ambulance.
Medics told him later that they were surprised that his skin didn't burst. As it was, he said, his skin felt 'like a pork roast'.

Britain's The Sun ran an article about beautician Kerry Campbell, who hopes daughter Britney will become a star - 'a model, actress, or singer' - thanks in part to the Botox injections that Kerry lovingly administers every three months. The story stated that eight-year-old Britney also receives monthly full-body waxes and says that she looks forward to a 'boob and nose job soon, so that I can be a star'.
Public criticism was swift for Kerry, who now lives in the US. She decided to appear on national television to clear her name. Britney appeared alongside her, stressing that she no longer 'cries that much' when given the injections and that it's worthwhile not to have wrinkles appear when she smiles. For her part, Kerry stressed that 'I'm not the only one who does it'. She is, however, the one who's called enough attention to herself that her star-to-be has now been taken into care.

Emelda Blanco and son Gerald are accused of starting a late-night fight with a bouncer at a New Orleans bar. They have both been suspended from their jobs while an investigation is conducted: Gerald works with the city's police department, where Emelda has racked up 25 years of service.
Bouncer Derrick Blackston explains that the younger Blanco tried to enter the club with a loaded weapon while off duty and was told that that wasn't allowed. Blackston says that he then showed up later in the night with his mother, who stated that this was her son. He said he felt threatened, asked them to leave, and then 'the mother ran up to me and punched me in the forehead with a closed fist. They rushed me and they tried to jam me up into the wall and we began to struggle. She ended up hitting me with something sharp and it shattered over my left eye. I felt a hand on my weapon [...]. At one point, the barrel of the weapon was put into my chest'. The club manager intervened and Blackston was taken to hospital.
Both Blancos are charged with simple battery.

The Camrose Canadian reports that a 47-year-old Alberta woman found it hard to obey a court order to stay away from alcohol. This emerged after a deliveryman visited the Camrose police station to report that the woman had taken delivery of alcohol and closed the door instead of paying for her items. When he'd persisted in knocking, she handed him an IOU. The woman is not supposed to possess, purchase, or consume alcohol.

Justin Beynen, an 18-year-old man arrested for car-theft-, traffic-, breach-of-probation-, and drug-dealing-related offences, asked the courts to extend his sentence from six to nine months so that he could spend more time with his cellmate, step-father Jason Hastings. Hastings had been given a nine-month sentence after selling cocaine to undercover police officers a few times.
Taking into consideration that Beynen would have nowhere to live until his cellmate's release, Ontario Court Justice Normand Glaude accepted the request, though pointing out that the courts are not a social agency.

Media in Kentucky report that 29-year-old Wynika Mason got into an argument with staff at a Louisville Pizza Hut restaurant. When things escalated and she began removing her sword from its sheath, her brother took it away from her and placed it in their vehicle outside. When the police arrived, she apparently turned her attention to yelling at them. Given that the employees reported that they 'felt threatened by her behavior', she was charged with disorderly conduct and menacing.

Japanese air traffic controllers gave an internal flight from Miyazaki clearance to land at Fukuoka Airport. Shortly thereafter, a flight to Okinawa was given clearance to take off. The captain of the first flight heard the take-off clearance and pointed out to air traffic controllers that he had been told to come in on the same runway. The control tower responded by asking the concerned pilot to wait for the other flight to take off first. Three inspectors have now been sent to the airport.

Reuters reports that officers in Independence, Missouri, responded decisively to a call about a large alligator beside a pond. A state conservation agent advised them that shooting it would be the best course of action at the time, so they followed that advice. Police spokesman Tom Gentry said that an officer shot the alligator twice and both times the bullets just bounced off.
This was because the alligator is made of cement. The owner of the property on which it basked explained that the ornamental animal was there to keep children away and that Missouri is too far north for alligators.

In 1993, Quebec farmer Martin Reid and his father had to pay a fine of $1,000 Canadian collars for illegal fishing after pumping the water from their flooded fields. He explains that Fisheries and Oceans Canada deemed them 'jointly responsible for having caused the death of fish for reasons other than sport fishing'. Now his maize fields are under a metre of water and again home to carp. To avoid paying a $100,000 fine for a second offence, he has had to obtain a fishing permit, whose conditions state that '[w]e have to collect all of them, and we have to fish both sexes. [...] I have to transport them so as not to damage them, by containers with water inside. If some of them die, I have to bury them.' However, '[i]f we wanted to challenge it, we would have to sue the federal government and pay lawyers'.
Speaking for the province's natural resources department, Jean-Philippe Detolle said: 'The idea is to help farmers. 'The licence was issued to reassure them they won't be fined.'

United flight 990 had just departed for Ghana from Washington, DC, when a passenger kept reclining his seat and the passenger behind him expressed displeasure by hitting him in the back of the head. When fisticuffs ensued, the pilot turned the flight around, as there were no air marshals on board. The pilot reported that the passenger had calmed down but was not secured, so a pair of F-16s were summoned to escort the 767 back to the ground safely.
Neither of the men was charged with an offence or asked to pay for the costs of the fighter jets or the $50,000 in aviation fuel that was dumped into the ocean.

Brittni Nicole Colleps taught English at a high school in Texas. She has now resigned, however, in connection with the orgy she held at her home with five male students. She'd had an ongoing relationship with at least one of the boys.
While all of them were at least 18 years of age, Colleps still faces up to 10 years in prison under Texas law since they were her students. As for the publicity surrounding the case, her husband, serving with the US military, said: 'I hope that you will not pass judgement on her because you do not know all of the facts or details according to this situation' at a press conference.

After celebrating her 30th birthday with a larger group of friends, Atlanta, Georgia, model Lashawna Threatt headed to a 10th-floor hotel room with a smaller group of friends to continue the party. There, Threatt and friend Ciara Williams, 'were play wrestling and the next thing you know, they went toward the window and through the window and out they went', said Paul Guerrucci, commander of the Atlanta Police Department's homicide unit. Witnesses report that the two petite women were in good spirits at the time.
Threatt's corpse was found on a sun room roof five storeys below, and Williams, with several broken bones, was found on a patio.

Police in Estonia's Järva County received a 1am call from a man reporting that an acquaintance had drowned in a lake. When they and paramedics arrived at the scene, they realised that it had been a prank call. However, their time wasn't wasted: while they were there, an alarm started to go off in a nearby store. At the store, the officers found a drunken man who had managed to steal 256 euros' worth of cigarettes and alcohol but was unable to extricate himself from the top of a chain-link gate.
It later emerged that this 24-year-old troublemaker was the one who had placed the prank call.

29 June 2011

New York state police say that 20-year-old Sean Schmidt caught their attention by standing in a moving car with his upper body sticking through the sunroof. When a trooper activated police-care lights to pull him over, Schmidt threw a small bag of a green substance from the car. Regrettably for him, the marijuana landed atop the squad car. He was given a ticket for possession of marijuana and not wearing a seat belt.

The Telegraph reports that Doncaster security guard Sean Murphy suffered from a painful wart and had tried various ointments, creams, and prescriptions to no avail. He therefore decided to apply a home remedy - a 12-bore Beretta that he says he'd found under a hedge - after using copious quantities of lager as an anaesthetic. The shotgun removed most of the 38-year-old Murphy's left middle finger.
He has been given a suspended 16-week prison sentence and 100 hours of community service and is grateful, saying: 'I know I could have gone to jail for up to 15 years for a firearms offence. My solicitor did a very good job. The best thing is that the wart has gone.'

[IMG: A deer with wings] In East Missoula, Montana, Lee Bridges was outside when local residents lost their electricity. A NorthWestern Energy truck arrived, and she asked the driver what caused the outage. She says he pointed upward and said: 'Apparently, we've got deer with wings.'
Indeed, a lineman soon found himself with the task of removing a deer carcass from the power line. It is believed that an eagle dropped a fawn on the power line while flying away with this rather large prey.

The next item is dedicated to you, Osku:
Walter Powell, 52, used to be director of IT for Baltimore Substance Abuse Systems. When he was sacked, in late 2009, his password remained active, which allowed him to forward some workers' e-mail messages to other employees, send a company-wide e-mail from CEO Greg Warren's account, and adjust a presentation Warren was giving before a board composed of city officials and foundation heads. The Baltimore Sun describes it thus: 'Suddenly his computer shut down, then restarted, replacing the latest slide with an image of a naked woman onto a 64-inch screen.'
His sentence for the porn stunt is three years of probation and 100 hours of community service. The guns and materials for homemade silencers that police found in a search of his home have netted him federal charges.

According to AP reports, a man burst into a flat in Hoquiam, Washington, with a dead animal in his arms. When a visitor there asked: 'Why are you carrying a weasel?', the intruder allegedly replied, in a Pythonesque moment: 'It's not a weasel; it's a marten' and punched him in the nose. He threw down the carcass and fled.
Police later found the 33-year-old intruder fighting with his girlfriend, and it emerged that he had been looking for her in the animal incident: her former boyfriend lived in the relevant flat.
Police Chief Jeff Myers has reported that the animal was a mink.

When his 18-year-old girlfriend had either an abortion or a miscarriage, New Mexico's 35-year-old Greg Fultz spoke his mind. In mid-May, he purchased a highway billboard showing him with an outline of a baby in his arms. The sign reads: 'This Would Have Been A Picture of My 2-month-Old Baby If the Mother Had Decided to NOT Kill Our Child!' The (now former) girlfriend has sued him on grounds of harassment and invasion of privacy and claims that this is part of a pattern, in which Fultz also posted 'intimate cyber shots of me from one of our cyber dates'.
A judge has ordered that the billboard be removed, but Fultz's attorney says that his client will instead go to prison if necessary. He describes the whole case as stemming from an 'either you marry me or I'm not going to have this baby type of thing'.

In an update on a story from last time, the woman who pseudonymously claimed to have injected one of her daughters with Botox backed away from her claims when child welfare officials removed the girl from her home. Sheena Upton, allegedly now taking parenting classes, claims that newspaper reporter Alley Einstein paid her $200 to star in a fabricated story and later fed her a script to use on US television. Einstein countered that she paid Upton 3,700 pounds and e-mailed her only advice on what to wear, how to evade questions, etc. Also under investigation is whether the agency that supplied the Botox injection photos broke their promise of authenticity.

According to AFP reports, 53-year-old paroled sex offender Isabel Chavelo Gutierrez rode his bicycle to a rural Texas home, broke in, produced a knife, and began raping the 77-year-old resident. The elderly woman later stated that Gutierrez complained during the rape that he felt ill and stopped having sex with her so that he could rest. Shortly thereafter, he rolled over and died. Believing he had passed out drunk, she left in haste. Investigators believe he suffered a heart attack related to his bike ride on a hot summer day.

As a reminder not to abuse the emergency number, the state of Georgia's Savannah-Chatham Metro Police have released a recording of a woman ringing 911 to complain that a Chinese restaurant 'bring me the wrong food' and had refused to refund her money. The police did respond to the call, as the woman had warned that she was 'getting angry'. She has not been charged with the misdemeanour of ringing the number for a non-emergency.

One day after he escaped from the Washington State Penitentiary, 39-year-old James Edward Russell knocked on the door of a local cabin and asked to use the telephone. The tenant at the lodge recognised Russell's prison uniform, and a scuffle ensued. The tenant, who worked as a guard at the penitentiary, was unable to detain Russell. He had to settle for reporting the incident. That sufficed: Russell was caught a few hours later.

After a fund-raising event at a child-care centre, a Chicago South Side teenager approached a clown and asked him for money. When the man in clown make-up replied that he didn't have any cash, the teen allegedly pulled a gun on him. The struggle for the weapon left the clown - an off-duty police officer - with the gun and left the teenager with a death certificate. Another person was arrested at the scene.

Tennessee's Kenneth Ray Manis, 76, is being exhumed from Chattanooga National Cemetery for recovery of one of the personal effects placed in his coffin: dentures belonging to his room-mate at Parkridge Medical Center. In court, Manis's wife explained that her husband never wanted anything that belonged to anyone else. The court took her side, and the hospital will pay for Manis's re-burial, the court costs, and new dentures for the ICU patient whose teeth went missing,

Two 'high-security inmates' were recently wedded through a mesh screen at a California jail's visitor centre. Marissa Star Bilotti and Iftekhar Murtaza celebrated what Bilotti's lawyer, Richard Herman, called 'the nicest wedding of two people in jail I've ever seen'. The pair had been exchanging letters in connection with Bible-study lessons and decided to marry.
Bilotti still has to stand trial for a shooting death. Murtaza, a 26-year-old former Muslim, faces the death penalty in connection with the murder of his ex-girlfriend's father and sister and the attempted killing of her mother. He allegedly had blamed them for ending his relationship because of religious differences.

When a woman at a recent yoga festival in Boulder, Colorado, noticed 'movement in the tank' of a portaloo, she asked a nearby man to have a look. He reported that someone covered in tarpaulin was inside. At this point, excreta-covered Luke Ivan Chrisco, 30, fled the scene, evading a festival security officer.
He was arrested while panhandling about a week later, and an officer noticed his similarity to the toilet suspect. Chrisco later said, from jail: 'It seems terrible, but it didn't actually smell that bad or anything. [...] I still would have done it even if it smelled a little weird, because where there is muck, there is gold.' He admitted to spying on up to 200 women. The police have contacted business-owners so that they can seal the various peepholes that he'd created.

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