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March 2011

12 March 2011

Forty-eight subscribers to Ontario's Woodstock Sentinel-Review received a censored version. The New-Zealand-earthquake-related front-page headline 'The hellish reality' had been cut from each copy. The censor was a newspaper carrier who objected to the word 'hellish'. The publisher, Andrea DeMeer, said: 'This is certainly a first. Obviously we are deeply apologetic to subscribers who received mutilated newspapers today.'

Two men hid out in a Copenhagen bank vault on a Friday and remained there until they could leave with at least 350,000 euros' worth of cash and other safety deposit box contents when the bank opened on the following Monday. According to prosecutor Frederik Larsen, one of the men, a 27-year-old Swede, was caught thanks to DNA: the two had left a deposit behind - three bottles of their urine from the weekend. One of the men is still at large, and the other has been given a 21-month prison sentence.

In Oregon, police lieutenant Kelli Sheffer reports that two people reported the same incident to emergency services - but from rather different viewpoints. A homeowner, with his two German Shepherds, confronted an intruder to his home and asked what he was doing there. The intruder locked himself in the loo. Then the homeowner rang the police. Meanwhile, the intruder was ringing the police, because he feared that the homeowner had a gun.
Portland's Timothy James Chapek, 24, has been arrested pending investigation of charges of first-degree criminal trespass.

Christopher Carroll's wife didn't want him to drive off while high on methamphetamine. So she climbed onto the bonnet of his minivan at the couple's Manteca, California, home. That didn't work - the 36-year-old man sped away with her clinging to the top of the car as he reached speeds of up to 160 km/h. After 65 kilometres, he slowed down and she rolled off the vehicle.
He has been arrested and charged with attempted murder and domestic violence. No charges have been filed in connection with the drug use, which the woman said has 'ruined her life, affected her husband's family, his children', according to police spokesman Rex Osborn.

Bank clerk Aigars Egle, 42, went to a cinema in Riga with his daughter. Egle found his experience of Black Swan hindered by Nikolay Zykov's popcorn-eating and commentary about the film, so he asked Zykov to be quieter. The 27-year-old Zykov complied. Until, when the credits of the film began to roll, he made three loud noises: gunshots, which killed Egle. Zykov, who is a doctoral student at the University of Latvia School of Law, where his particular area of interest is reportedly the right to bear arms for self-defence, was taken into custody.

A woman visited a flat in Brooklyn and paid a man there, known locally as a voodoo priest, $300 to perform a ceremony that would bring good luck to her. The New York Post quotes a law enforcement official as saying: 'He poured rum on the floor near the door to prevent evil spirits from getting inside' and explained that 'in order for it to work, they had to have sex'.
The set-up involved candles arranged around the bed. That we hear this from New York fire marshals should be good indication that the ceremony might not have brought the luck requested. Once candles had fallen over and the sheets and discarded clothing had caught fire, the man tried to quench the fire with water from the flat's bathroom. Meanwhile, impatient other occupants of the flat tried to cause the smoke to dissipate by opening a window and the door into the hallway. Gusts of wind helped the fire into the hallway, whereupon several calls were placed to emergency services.
Seven hours later, 200 firefighters had brought the fire under control, one resident had died, and roughly 100 people had lost their homes.

Florida's Naples Daily News reports that 31-year-old Hersha Howard awoke to her room-mate yelling at her. The room-mate, who says that she had given Girl Scout cookies to Howard's children, accused Howard of eating those Thin Mints herself. An argument ensued, with things escalating to Howard chasing her room-mate with scissors and hitting her with a board and then a sign. Howard has been arrested, and charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon have been filed.

Gladys Jean Bergmeier's home in Missouri contained many bags of old newspapers and rubbish. When the 75-year-old Bergmeier was found dead in her home, her relatives had the task of going through the many piles. Three weeks into this task, they found a surprise: a second body, the remains of Bergmeier's long-missing mother, Gladys Stansbury, who had died several years earlier. The remains, wearing a pyjama top and a right sock, were wrapped in plastic and a multi-coloured curtain.
Forensic investigator Gwen Haugen said that Bergmeier had 'always had excuses as to where [Stansbury] might be. As time went on, people just stopped asking.' It is unclear when Stansbury died; the expired-in-2003 orange-juice bottle found inside the plastic wrappings may have arrived there after Stansbury did.

Florida community college student Harrun Majeed dropped his credit card in a car park. When he returned home and asked the bank to cancel the card, he was informed that it had just been used at a pizzeria in the Polk County shopping plaza where he had dropped it. The bank alerted the police, who, arriving at the pizzeria, found visiting 51-year-old Michigan dentist Richard Lewis Ludwig waiting for two pizzas with extra olives, a $40.64 purchase paid for with Majeed's credit card. The police asked Ludwig whether he was having money problems. Ludwig, who had $250 in cash in his wallet, replied with an 'Absolutely not!' and put his net worth at upwards of $3 million.

Also with plenty of money in his wallet, we have a 70-year-old magician in Aya, in Japan's Miyazaki Prefecture. While intoxicated, he just handed the hotel desk clerk the wrong banknote when paying his bill, or so he says. The problem is that the note in question was a forged one prepared by a friend with access to a colour photocopying machine, which he kept with him for his volunteer performances at old-people's homes. According to Mainichi Shimbun, the prosecutor's office dropped all charges against the man, as it is almost impossible to prove criminal intent. The man is quoted as saying that he will never again do magic tricks involving money of any sort.

US pop star Lady Gaga's lawyers have threatened legal action against a Covent Garden café for selling human-breast-milk ice cream under the name 'Baby Gaga'. The letter of complaint accuses The Icecreamists of 'trade mark infringement and passing off' as well as 'taking unfair advantage of, and riding on the coattails of' Lady Gaga's trademarks in a 'deliberately provocative and, to many people, nausea-inducing' manner.
For now, the ice cream is off the menu anyway, as Westminster City Council are performing health checks on it. The manufacturers, whose human cows responded to advertisements on an online mothers' forum, have said that their screening procedures are the same as those employed by blood donation centres or London milk banks.

According to AFP reports, thieves broke into the prison at New Plymouth, New Zealand. Police Sergeant Thomas McIntyre said: 'If any members of the public saw anyone carrying a big TV at [just before midnight], or heard or saw anything in the area of the prison, let police know.'
The plasma-screen-television-free jail has one building with a large stone wall topped with razor wire and a newer building surrounded by a fence topped with barbed wire.

Even more inventive in his thievery was a man who made off with 172,000 euros that a Brink's security employee had placed in the hold of an Air Antilles turboprop aeroplane flying between two Caribbean islands.
For most of the 40-minute flight, the loo was occupied by a single passenger, who had complained of feeling ill. He simply removed panels from the toilet wall, giving him access to the cargo area. Then, shortly before landing, he asked an air stewardess to summon an ambulance for him. After the plane landed, cleaners found some bundles of money in the lavatory and raised the alarm. Meanwhile, the thief opted not to use the ambulance - since he felt better suddenly - but still didn't have to go through the standard arrival procedures.

The owner of Verona Pizza, in Pennsylvania, saw Nickolas Galiatsatos enter the loo with a bag but then emerge carrying nothing. He alerted two police officers in the pizza parlour, who found footprints on a toilet seat under the ceiling tiles. And a bag of mice. The officers started looking for Galiatsatos and found him near another pizza parlour, where he had been seen putting something in a rubbish bin. A bag was found there too, with five mice inside.
Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood explained that Galiatsatos, who owns a pizza shop of his own, had planted mice from a local pet shop in his competitors' restaurants to get them closed down.

Public works employees in Nogales, southern Arizona, found the cause of a recent clog in a sewer line: two (now faeces-covered) bales of marijuana tied to a 275-metre rope. The workers hauled about 18 kilos of dope from the sewer system leading from Mexico, completing the job that someone before them had been unable to do. A search of Mexico's Rio Rico sewer plant was not revealing.

Also in Arizona, we have a man who, according to The Daily Miner, was told to leave his weapon behind before attending a county supervisors' meeting, which members of the public are free to attend. He tried to enter the building with his pitchfork anyway but was stopped.
Judge pro tempore Paul Julien has now ruled that Mervin Fried was not guilty of third-degree trespassing. Julien pointed out that people with holstered shotguns are allowed inside the building and that, therefore, denying access to someone with a 'holstered' pitchfork was arbitrary.

Oregon's Statesman Journal reports that 31-year-old Lloyd W. Wright, suspected of car theft in the city of Salem, ran from the scene, evading the police. He flagged down a driver, knocking on the car window and asking for a ride. The driver, however, was an undercover police officer who had been looking for the suspect. Wright, who police say has a history and 'likes to break into cars', was arrested.
Wright did get a ride.

A 37-year-old Chinese man in Yunan Province was tired of having headaches and a strange taste in his mouth, so he visited medics. X-rays revealed the 10-centimetre knife blade that had remained in Li Fu's brain and the root of his tongue ever since 2006, when he'd been stabbed while working as a taxi driver.
At the time, he went to a local hospital, where he was simply given disinfectant shots and had the wound cleaned. Police retrieved the handle from the knife when they apprehended the suspect.

In Calgary, Ross Harris was doing office work for East Calgary Twin Arenas when he looked at the view outside and noticed a Zamboni belonging to his employer on the move. He 'really wondered what was going on' so headed outside and found that two tipsy men had liberated the ice-grooming machine from its garage and were using it to push their car, which had become stuck in the slush.
Upon being caught, the pair asked Harris whether he had a tow truck or tow rope to help them. After stopping the Zamboni from hitting the building, he told the men he would fetch a shovel from inside. He asked co-workers to summon the police, who were there in five minutes.

A 15-year-old Florida girl rang her mother at work to report that someone had attacked her while she was jogging. She sent photos of her bruises and cuts to her mother, who promptly rang the police. The girl was helpful to officers, even supplying the name of a classmate who might have been responsible; however, Deputy Vaughn OKeefe became suspicious when the shoes she showed him didn't match any footprints at the scene. The girl then admitted that she had let a 19-year-old man bite her for fun at her home and then worried that her mother might find out about her Twilight-inspired vampire play. Detectives later interviewed the young man, who had serious open bite marks on his body. He claimed that the bite marks came from his 19-year-old fiancée.

Robert Driscoll of Pitcairn, Pennsylvania, gave an engagement ring worth about 15,000 euros to girlfriend Crystal Yamnitzky. He might have been proud that she posted a photo of it on Facebook, if he hadn't stolen it a short while earlier from a home he'd visited with her and her cousin. The cousin saw the picture and mentioned it to friends, who told the police.
Driscoll's grandmother explains that Driscoll didn't have the money to buy a ring for Yamnitzky and that 'he relapsed because of her [...] jabbing at him' with constant 'I want a ring' comments. Driscoll had also sold other jewellery items he stole from the same home to a jewellery store.

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© 2011 Anna Shefl