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March 2006

10 March 2006

In North Charleston, South Carolina, two maids at the Siesta Motor Lodge got into a quarrel, with each accusing the other of stealing toilet paper from her cleaning cart. Deloris Smith, 47, is charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, for hitting the other maid, age 52, on the arms with a mop. Smith said she was defending herself against the other maid's plunger attack.

Michael Sepulveda and Daniel Zavala, in their final year at Ramona High School in Riverside, California, travelled to the San Bernardino Mountains before dawn to fill their pickup trucks with snow. They brought the white powder to the school car park, where a snowball fight commenced, before the start of classes. Sepulveda and Zavala were then suspended from classes for bringing dangerous objects to school - snowballs.
Principal Mike Neece said that maintaining a safe and orderly learning environment is a key part of his job. Sepulveda said: 'It's snow.'

When Boungkong Inthirath, 52, reported to the police that his wallet had been stolen, the cops already had it. The wallet had been turned in by a 23-year-old Amarillo, Texas, woman, who explained that it had fallen from a man's trousers when he sexually assaulted her in her home less than an hour earlier. The description she gave of the attacker and his car were a match, and Inthirath has been charged with felony sexual assault.

California's William Peter New, 58, told police that he bought headache medicine for his wife, Phyllis, and returned to find her dead in her bed and the front door open. She died of a single gunshot wound to the head. That was in late 2004, at about the same time as William was pawning some of Phyllis's jewellery and re-establishing a relationship with an old flame.
Back in 1973, his first wife, Somsri, died of a single gunshot wound to the head while asleep. William explained that the rifle he had been cleaning misfired after he dropped and tried to catch it. That case has been reopened, and William has two wives' deaths to account for in court.

Scots John Kelly and Arlene Palmer claim they were looking for a car boot sale when they drove past several warning signs and onto the runway at Perthshire's Errol airfield. Palmer drove on to the end of the airstrip, while the 40-year-old Kelly remained standing in the middle of the runway, where he was spotted by a pilot who was coming in for a landing. Very low on fuel, pilot Thomas Boyle radioed for help, and skydivers rushed onto the runway to convince Kelly to move. This didn't work, so staff forcibly removed him. In court a year after the incident, Kelly has admitted to breaching the peace and was fined 500 pounds.

A kindergarten student in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, sneaked from his classroom at Samuel Clemens School. Meanwhile, a Lakeside school-bus driver decided to bin some rubbish. He left his bus running, and the five-year-old boy got behind the wheel. The bus, which had no passengers at the time, drove around the front area of the school twice, merging onto the street the first time. The second time, the bus smashed a parked car, then destroyed a tree and light pole, finally hitting the schoolyard fence before coming to a stop.

Torrin Arnold, a 26-year-old San Anselmo, California, man, said that after having made an obscene gesture while riding his bicycle, he was hit when James Arrigoni's pickup truck swerved, and that Arrigoni then drove off. Arnold said he was instantly blinded when his head hit the ground. The case drew attention from cycling enthusiasts, who held a fund-raising event for Arnold, and a not-for-profit group that donated a guide dog for him. Prosecutor Paul Haakenson has now decided to drop the charges against Arrigoni, on account of ophthalmologist's records indicating that Arnold is pretending to be blind. Arnold, who plans to pursue a lawsuit against Arrigoni, said: 'The people around me know the truth, and that's what's important to me.'

Corrections students at Michigan's Grand Rapids Community College said they were watching video clips on criminal justice that had been e-mailed to Professor Samuel Naves when he flipped past one particular clip. According to the campus newspaper, the students begged to be shown the clip, which Naves warned them was an explicit video of a man having sex with a pig. After the students' viewing of 10 seconds of pig video reached the front page of the campus paper, Naves resigned. Administrators told the media only that the situation was a personnel matter.

Yasuhisa Matsushita, 25, admits to allegations that he broke into a high school in Iwata and stole a schoolgirl's swimming suit from the swimming club's changing room. He strutted about in the garment, defecating in it while doing so. He was arrested for trespassing and willful destruction of property. Matsushita told the police: 'I did it because it felt so good.'

Doctors at Japan's Aoto Hospital, affiliated with Jikei University, noticed something unusual in the x-rays they took of a 68-year-old woman after her operation for an ovarian tumour. It was the 30-centimetre-long metal spatula that doctors had used to hold back the woman's intestines and to prevent her injury by a needle while she was being stitched up. After the operation, an assistant nurse who was washing equipment had noticed that the spatula was missing but was told by another nurse: 'It probably wasn't there in the first place.' A second surgery has been conducted, to remove the spatula.

Maryland's Hood College is reconsidering its rules after crowning a lesbian as its 2006 homecoming king. While Jennifer Jones, 21, who defeated three men in the popularity contest, said: 'It is cool that Hood allows people to be themselves. If people didn't want me to be king, they wouldn't have nominated me and voted for me.' Among those of a differing opinion is student Singleton Newman, who said: 'It is a gender issue, and she is a woman.'

The Cyprus Mail reports that, via the police, allegations have reached Paphos Bishop Chrysostomos, active head of the Cyprus Church, from several women who say a priest behaved 'outside his duties'. The priest is accused of using information from confessions in order to blackmail parishioners, married couples in particular. The priest, who has not been named, has been suspended from his duties, and an internal investigation is being carried out.

The same paper reported that Pakistani national Fazal Ur Rehman has been sentenced to eight months in jail for forgery. Police noted that an Afghan passport he was carrying contained spelling mistakes such as 'Menistry' and 'goverment'. Testimony before the magistrate included statements that '[t]he passport looked perfect and professionally made [...] almost deemed original by forensics'.

The Times reports that the UK's Stuart Chamberlain, manager of two nursery schools, one in Abingdon and the other in Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire, said that rewriting traditional nursery rhymes is one example of how nurseries 'have taken the equal opportunities approach to everything we do'. For example, the story of Humpty Dumpty has a new ending. Also, 'Baa baa, rainbow sheep' is replacing 'Baa baa, black sheep', since 'no-one should feel pointed out because of their race, gender, or anything else'. A mother whose daughter attends the Sure Start nursery at the Family Centre in Abingdon asked: 'What on earth is a rainbow sheep anyway?'
It is not the first time the latter rhyme has come under scrutiny. In 2000, Birmingham City Council made plans to ban it but changed their minds after black parents panned the plan.

Petrica Florea, a 47-year-old priest in Costesti, Romania, wished to blackmail councillor Constantin Moise, 74. To this end, he persuaded a 17-year-old to seduce Moise in a local church and have sex with him on the altar. Florea taped this activity, which the Iasi police believe he had planned to show to parishioners in order to ensure his own election to Moise's position. Aghast parishioners chased Florea from the church and contacted the police. Florea faces charges of attempted blackmail.

In Brandon, Florida, 15-year-old Joshua Hershberger was sitting on the floor of his bedroom and bouncing a ball with his younger brother and sister when the ball hit a 74-centimetre sword that was displayed on the wall. According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, Hershberger was slashed in the shoulder and neck by the weapon and was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Ryan Wright, 20, walked into a bank in his hometown of Williston, North Dakota, with a ski mask on. He asked the teller to hand over money. Then, 'after a few moments, he pulled the ski mask over his chin, and the tellers could see his face, and he said "Just kidding"', according to Sergeant Mark Hanson. Wright then withdrew some money from his chequing account and left. No other customers were in the bank at the time. He was later arrested and jailed. He faces a charge of terrorising in the February incident. Hanson said: 'You don't walk into a bank with a ski mask and say: "Give me all your money." It's just like going on an airplane and saying you have a bomb.'

Florida's Ralph A. Gomez, 38, decided to show off the OnStar GPS navigation system in his Cadillac Escalade to his girlfriend. The system allows a motorist to contact an OnStar representative to get directions or if an emergency has occurred. The volume was set so low that Gomez was unable to hear the OnStar operator, who therefore assumed Gomez was in trouble and contacted the police. Tom Clements, a spokesman for the St. Augustine Police Department, said that the cops discovered that there was no problem but also noticed the cocaine prominently displayed on the car's centre console. The Cadillac, believed to have been purchased with proceeds from drug sales, was seized.

Investigators in Iowa say that Kimberly Du really wanted to avoid paying her parking fines. She faked an obituary from the Des Moines Register Web site, and she forged her mother's signature on a letter to the courthouse confirming Du's death. She was caught when pulled over for speeding.
Bob Rigg of the Drake Law Clinic had this to say: 'She probably didn't sit down and think: "Wow, I'm going to get out of a simple misdemeanour by committing a class A felony."'

Clearwater, Florida, high-school teacher Lesley Campbell said she told a junior (generally age 16 or 17) that she wouldn't allow him to use the loo. When he asked whether he could use the classroom's rubbish bin instead, she assented. The student headed into the closet with the bin. Campbell, 64, said: 'Surely I never thought he would use the trash can. It was astonishing.' District officials say Campbell violated a policy prohibiting teachers from 'exposing a student to unnecessary embarrassment or disparagement', and Clayton Wilcox, superintendent of Pinellas County schools, recommends 10 days of suspension without pay.

Also in Florida, 57-year-old Theodora Picard fell backward from a piano to the floor in the lounge area of restaurant Michael's in Sarasota. She is suing the owner of the restaurant for causing her lingering neck pain and contends that he should have known that the alcohol the restaurant was serving, combined with his encouragement, impaired her ability to appreciate the risk of dancing on the piano. Klader's attorney says his client cannot take responsibility for the actions of intoxicated people. Picard says Klader shouldn't have helped her climb onto the piano while drunk.

Reuters reports that speed cameras in an area that sees frequent accidents filmed 22-year-old Donna Maddock driving along while putting on make-up with both hands. She drove along the A499 with a mirror in her left hand and an eye pencil in the right. The steering wheel was left to fend for itself. On Wednesday, Maddock was fined 200 pounds and had six points added to her driving licence. Inspector Essi Ahari said in a statement: 'A car is a dangerous lump of metal in the wrong hands' - or, rather, not in any hands at all - and that 'Miss Maddock's actions beggars belief.'

The Sudan Tribune quotes a Mr Alifi at Hai Malakal in southern Sudan as saying that he was in bed at around midnight when he heard one of his goats make a loud noise so 'rushed outside to find Mr Tombe was naked and engaged in a relation with my goat'. Alifi tied up Tombe and asked area elders to decide Tombe's fate, the paper said. According to Alifi, 'they said I should not take him to the police but rather let him pay a dowry for my goat because he used it as his wife'. Tombe agreed immediately, paying half of the 150,000-dinar dowry (about 550 euros) up front. Alifi said: 'We have given him the goat, and as far as we know, they are still together.'

Michael Chapman is accused of stealing a car on Wednesday in Hopedale, Ohio, and then driving about 5 km before stopping at a residence and asking directions to a nearby town. He chose the home of Thomas Eltringham, 67, who provided the directions and then rang his daughter Norma because the car looked very similar to hers. She replied that she'd left the car running outside her house to warm up that morning. A patrol officer spotted the car, and Chapman, who then tried to escape on foot, was found and arrested.

On account of a sticker that a police officer noticed on a bicycle earlier this month, a bomb squad was called in and part of Ohio University cordoned off for about two hours. After taking the bike apart with hydraulic cutters, the bomb squad determined that the sticker was not telling the truth in its proclamation: 'this bike is a pipe bomb'. Dean of Students Terry Hogan asked that fans of Pensacola, Florida, punk band This Bike Is a Pipe Bomb should be more careful in their support of the band in future.

28 March 2006

Bowdon, Georgia, police chief Mark Brock happened across a burglary taking place at Erica Crane's hair salon. Both would-be burglars were arrested: Kareem Lee Evans and Howard Crane, the salon-owner's brother. They were trying to steal over 90 kilos of marijuana from a freezer chest. Accordingly, the owner of the salon too was arrested.

Beth Miller, a courthouse clerk in Upshur County, West Virginia, processed a speeding ticket for Sarah Zabolotny, 29. A few hours later, Zabolotny returned to steal a 2.5-metre-long rug from the courthouse hallway. Miller recognised her from surveillance camera footage. Using the telephone number that Zabolotny had provided earlier in the day, police asked her to return the rug. Upshur County Sheriff Virgil Miller said: 'She asked if she could return the rug and we'd forget about it. We told her we couldn't do that.'

Andrew Albarracin of Queens, New York, said he woke up to a loud bang but 'I hear the banging every day, so I went back to sleep.' This time, however, a crane operator had punched a three-metre hole in the building's foundation. The wrecking crew apparently then realised they had the wrong building, and firemen ordered tenants to evacuate. City officials said they plan to cite the contractor for violations.

Antondra Sims, 25, apparently rang 911 to report that her 11-day-old baby was choking and having trouble breathing. Officers entering her Lake County, Florida, home found a room full of marijuana smoke and a screaming baby. The child was taken to hospital with serious breathing problems. Sims, who has been charged with smoking marijuana around her daughter, insists that she was not doing so.

Caroline Kolb, a teacher in Louisville, Kentucky, became upset when 14-year-old student Garrick Hudson disobeyed her order to spit out some sweets. She told him to stand in the hallway so became upset when he returned to the classroom for his books. Although she had been told at least twice before not to become involved in physical confrontations with students, she struggled with him over the books. According to witnesses, he fell and she bit his shoulder. The boy was treated in hospital for a bump on the head and a small bite wound.
Kolb's letter of termination for 'conduct unbecoming a teacher' said she denied biting the student 'but admitted that you found fabric in your mouth during the incident'. She has pleaded not guilty to biting the boy.

Robert E. Mays, 64, an associate dean at the University of Southern Indiana, hit a vehicle in front of his own. A passer-by stopped to make sure Mays was all right and stop him from getting back into his car. Therefore, police said, Mays bent down and bit the man's calf. Mays refused to submit to a breath test. He has been charged with battery and operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. The university had no comment.

According to AP reports, Curtis Gokey sued the city of Lodi, California, for damages after a December incident in which a city dump truck backed into his car. The city denied the $3,600 claim because Gokey was the one driving the truck, so he and his wife filed a new claim, under her name, for $4,800. City attorney Steve Schwabauer said this won't work either, as Rhonda Gokey cannot sue her own husband: "You can sue your spouse for divorce, but you can't sue your spouse for negligence. They're a married couple under California law. They're one entity.' Rhonda maintains that she has 'the right to sue the city because a city's vehicle damaged my private vehicle'.

Perhaps Marty Simpson didn't have a ski mask. Wearing a milk crate on his head, the 46-year-old man entered a Flash Foods in Pelham, Georgia, and robbed the store at gunpoint. At one point, he lifted the crate and showed his face. In case that wasn't enough, he threw down his BB gun and milk crate in view of witnesses. John Sellers of the Pelham Police Department said some people in the car park were able to identify him. He was hauled in for questioning two hours later.

Someone in Pleasanton, California, reported that a vehicle with its horn blaring hit two parked cars and sped away. Minutes later, someone else rang the police - to report that room-mate David John Verrow had parked his pickup truck in the driveway, and that it was odd because the vehicle had front-end damage and a horn that wouldn't stop sounding. The caller also mentioned that the 46-year-old Verrow 'was drunk, panicked, and had locked himself in his room with an axe and a pellet gun', according to police lieutenant Bob Lyness. After the police arrived on the scene, the room-mate reported hearing 'chopping sounds' in Verrow's room. Officers discovered that Verrow had hacked his way into an attic crawlspace. He refused to come down, but 15 minutes later the ceiling collapsed and he fell into the master bedroom. He was arrested with ease.

Carolyn Beck of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission extolled the virtues of a new programme for preventing drunks from doing dangerous things like drive home from a bar. She said the agency feels that 'the only way we're going to get at the drunk driving problem and the problem of people hurting each other while drunk' is to send agents into bars to arrest people for public intoxication. The first such sting involved undercover agents infiltrating 36 bars and arresting a total of 30 people for this crime, said Beck.

A man in a black evening gown and fishnet stockings robbed a USA Gas station in Monterey, California, He stuffed the $290 in loot into a matching black handbag. After a quick change of clothes, he was away. Perhaps it was too quick. About half an hour after the robbery, Officer Chad Ventimiglia spotted a black Saab wearing fishnets. They were caught in the driver's door and dragging along the ground. Officers stopped the vehicle and arrested 26-year-old Michael Leslie Clouse on suspicion of armed robbery. A plastic gun was found in his bag.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, police responded to reports that Jakub Fik was breaking car windows. He also broke into a house on his block. When six or seven officers approached him, a bleeding, perturbed, and naked Fik began throwing things at the officers, who were between three and 10 metres away. The items included a few knives and the 33-year-old Fik's penis. He then went into the house to get 'another handful of knives', said Sergeant Edward Dolan. Dolan sneaked up on Fik and stunned him. He said officers were thus able to take down Fik 'without any serious injury, with the exception of his own'. The penis was reattached at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
Fik told paramedics he was distraught over problems with his girlfriend in Poland.

Deutsche Welle reports that Boossen's Christa Jahn brought fresh flowers to her husband's grave and thus discovered that the cemetery plot she had bought for herself next to his is occupied - by his aunt, who died in January. The 72-year-old Jahn said: 'Now I know why I wasn't invited to her funeral - it's a mean-spirited intrigue on the part of my relatives.' The managers of the Evangelical graveyard refused her request that they move the aunt, so Jahn is threatening legal action.

The BBC reports on Uruguay TV's recent filming for A Challenge to the Heart, a series of programmes in which participants raise funds for charities by completing difficult tasks. This time, participants pulled a train and two carriages a certain distance down railroad tracks, to raise money for a hospital in Young. An audience of about 3,000 schoolchildren watched as the participants discovered what momentum can do. The train gathered speed and didn't stop when the participants stopped pulling it. Several people were run over. Seven were killed and at least 11 injured, some of them losing limbs.

Pennsylvania's South Allegheny School District decided to eliminate Gary Smith's job as dean of students at a school in Liberty. Appealing to the school board to reinstate Smith's position, 336 of the school's 569 students signed a petition and 41 boycotted a day of classes in protest. Amanda Potter, 16, said: 'I knew what the consequences would be, and I had to do what I had to do.' Smith suspended the 41 students for three days. He said: 'It's my job, and the kids were very respectful of that. It was very difficult personally.'

The Australian media report that a prisoner at Darwin's police watch-house was due to be freed on bail, so his 31-year-old cellmate with a similar name stole his identity and signed the bail sheet, taking the other prisoner's possessions on his way out. A short while later, the police realised what had happened, and they managed to catch up with the escaped prisoner. This follows an early February incident in which a 33-year-old prisoner was inadvertently freed. Acting Assistant Commissioner for operations Max Pope said the recent incident left him 'very disappointed'.

The Press Trust of India news agency reports that a concerned woman in India's West Bengal state spoke with her friends after husband Aftab Ansari apparently said 'talaq' - the Urdu word for 'divorce' - three times in his sleep in late December. The Muslim man is quoted as later saying: 'I had taken medicines to help me sleep' and that he did not want to leave Sohela, his wife of 11 years. The couple have now registered a civil marriage, which the village priest refuses to accept.
Some Muslim scholars stress that the rules are clear that one cannot give talaq while in a state of intoxication or coersion, but local religious elders in Jalpaiguri have said the divorce decree is binding, such that in order to remarry, the two must first remain apart for at least 100 days. During that time, Sohela may live at her father's house but still must spend a night with another man and be divorced by him.

About two years ago, 36-year-old Oscar Garcia was arrested on narcotics charges in Denver. He fled to Texas but recently returned, when his two teenaged sons were arrested for selling drugs, by the same undercover officer who'd arrested him. He decided to help his boys by raising the bail money they needed. To this end, he took on a sales position. When officers visited the home where he was staying temporarily, they found his merchandise, a little under 25 kilos of marijuana in his luggage.

According to court documents, a 12-year-old girl from near Yelm, Washington, was walking home after alighting from the school bus on 8 March when a man in a camouflage mask tied a towel around her head and dragged her into the nearby woods. After he tied her ankles together, his mobile telephone rang, according to the charging papers. The girl apparently recognised the ringtone as a unique one belonging to a man who lived in her neighbourhood and said: 'Jimmy, you are scaring me. If it's you, Jimmy, stop it', causing the man to flee. The girl reportedly managed to free herself and return home, telling her father of the incident. Detectives found the telephone and several camouflage face masks in the home of 40-year-old James Walters, who has been charged with kidnapping and indecent liberties.

Responding to a tip concerning a methamphetamine laboratory in Horn Lake, Mississippi, officers paid the location a visit. Captain Shannon Beshears said: 'When we arrived at the designated address, there were two houses on the lot. We hit the larger of the two houses. It was the wrong house.' A heavily armed Tactical Apprehension Containment Team stormed the dark home at about 4am and secured it. A couple in their 80s were found in the bedroom; the woman received a dislocated shoulder and the man some bruised ribs. Beshears said the team then visited the second house on the lot, where people were up and about. They found methamphetamine being prepared, and a woman was arrested.

Shellie White, 30, kidnapped her two children from their father, who had been granted custody of them. Now, three years later, she has been found in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, where she was posing as the children's father. White used several aliases, among them the identity of her ex-husband. She was caught thanks to the suspicions of a bill collector. When White was arrested, the children, ages six and eight, asked why the police were arresting their daddy.


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