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May 2009

7 May 2009

When a Utah state trooper attempted to arrest 41-year-old Lisa Parker, she bit him and hit him with her shoe. The trooper decided this was a good time to use his Taser, but it didn't fire, so he threw it to the side. Parker decided it was a good time to use his Taser - she picked it up and fired a 'dry stun' shot at the officer. Parker herself was eventually Tasered when a backup unit arrived, and she was thrown in jail.

Late last month, a nine-year-old boy started a fire at a Dollar General store in Chattanooga, Tennessee, causing $1 million in damage. A week or so later, a clerk at a petrol station in the same city noticed him sitting in a van alone at one of the pumps, playing with a piece of paper he'd set on fire. Over the intercom system, the clerk requested the boy to put out his fire, then approached a man inside the store to ask who was accompanying the child. The man, who was the boy's father, then brought him inside the store and asked him: 'Isn't burning down one store enough?' before leaving, son in tow. Arson investigators have arrested the child.

A 21-year-old Eau Claire, Wisconsin, woman hired 35-year-old Dominic Swoboda to repair the furnace in her basement. The next day, she noticed holes in the wall between the area where he'd been working and the bathroom in which she had taken a shower while he'd been working. According to the criminal complaint in the case, Swoboda admitted that he'd used a screwdriver to poke the holes, but he said he'd been unable to see anything through them. He has been charged with disorderly conduct and invasion of privacy.

Florida's Lorena Alvarez went out for a drive to look for her boyfriend. When the 33-year-old Alvarez found him sitting in his truck in a supermarket car park, she decided to ram the truck with her car, with her children, ages one and seven, along for the ride. She later explained to the police that she had crashed into his truck in an attempt to prevent him from driving while intoxicated.

While apparently intoxicated, Alaska's David Jacob Ginnis approached the police officer who had just arrested his brother for criminal trespass. After asking to speak to his brother, who was in the back of the patrol car, Ginnis thought for five minutes and then asked whether he'd be allowed to join his brother in jail if he were to assault the officer. The officer responded that this would 'not go well' for Ginnis, but the 35-year-old Ginnis shoved the officer with his fist anyway and was later given a 30-day suspended jail sentence.

The Council of State, France's highest court, has annulled the 2008 election of the mayor of Perpignan, in connection with voting irregularities. During the counting of votes, polling station chief Georges Garcia was found to have ballots supporting the later-victorious candidate in his pockets and stuffed into his socks. Garcia was then caught trying to get rid of other envelopes of completed ballots he'd smuggled onto the premises. The court said: 'The election results cannot be seen as genuine considering the seriousness of the fraudulent act and the role of the persons concerned.'

A driver in Bloomington, Minnesota, rang the police to report what happened after he'd pulled into the emergency lane of a bridge over the Minnesota River to let his apparently inebriated friend urinate. The caller said that his 23-year-old friend climbed to the ledge of the bridge, looked back at the caller, and pretended to fall. According to a press release from the Bloomington Police Department, the man 'then in fact fell'. He landed in a marshy area about 10 metres below, and emergency response units took him for hospital treatment.

Investigators in Salem, Oregon, report that 41-year-old Todd Marcum has been arrested for using a dog's shock collar on each of his four children, ages three to nine. Police would not say whether Marcum has a dog but did report his motive: when asked why he did it, Marcum just said it was 'funny'. Police Lieutenant Dave Okada said that Marcum 'got great entertainment from chasing his younger child around the house with a dog collar to the point the child was crying and afraid the shock was going to come'.
The children are living with their mother while the police and the state's Department of Human Services consider the matter.

According to AP reports, two men were charged with theft, while two others got away, after a Jefferson County, Arkansas, sheriff's deputy saw them pushing a pickup truck that they couldn't get to start. The deputy's suspicions had been fuelled by the fact that the vehicle had been parked near the county jail and bore a county seal on the side. Officials said that the truck was being used for parts and that the men would never have been able to start it.

Japan's Maoto Tsuge was arrested for breaking into a car and taken to Mito Police Station. He was questioned alone by a 30-year-old senior policeman, who left the interrogation room briefly to fetch tea for himself and Tsuge. The officer fell asleep shortly after returning and acceding to the 24-year-old Tsuge's request to exchange cups. When the policeman woke, he found that one of the iron bars over the room's window was missing, as was Tsuge.

The Gong'an county government, in China's Hubei province, has hit the news for giving quotas to its various departments: they were told to smoke a total of 230,000 packs of Hubei-produced cigarettes a year or risk a fine. The AFP quotes Chen Nianzu, a member of the county's cigarette market supervision team, as saying that 'the regulation will boost the local economy via the cigarette tax'.
In the wake of publicity, Gong'an decided to do away with the quotas but stated that it will still investigate local government employees' smoking habits to see whether they are smoking counterfeit cigarettes.

Returning from a visit to Vietnam, Sony Dong stood out to customs officers at Los Angeles International Airport, because he had bird droppings and feathers on his socks. A second look revealed that tail feathers were visible poking out from under his trousers. He was held for inspection and relieved of more than a dozen songbirds, which he had strapped to his legs.

20 May 2009

Robert Kadera of Lake Villa, Illinois, didn't want his 14-year-old son to be late for his tennis lesson. Therefore, he parked on a golf course next to the tennis club. Because his vehicle was a four-seat aeroplane, others noticed, and the 66-year-old Kadera was given a $500 fine and ordered to perform community service. Action by the Federal Aviation Administration is pending.

Milwaukee's Journal Sentinel reports that Shawn M. Piering stuffed a bottle of whiskey down his trousers in an area liquor store, then stopped to fill in an entry form for a prize draw, before leaving with another bottle of whiskey in each hand. The clerk then opened the recently emptied box of raffle tickets, and the police connected the man on the security tapes with the name on the ticket. They drove to the address he'd written down, and the 20-year-old Piering was arrested.

A group of customers at a Clarendon County, South Carolina, waffle house brought their take-away purchases into the restaurant, and waitress Yakeisha Ward told them to leave since that wasn't allowed. One of the group, Crystal Samuel, said that they argued that they hadn't paid for the food yet and that she then threw a waffle at Ward. The 29-year-old Ward responded by fetching a gun and ammunition from her car. The weapon didn't prevent an altercation from ensuing, in which a bullet fragment hit Samuel's arm. Samuel and Ward were engaged in fisticuffs when the police arrived to arrest Ward.

Maliea Martin reported that she'd been assaulted, so the Hannibal, Missouri, police visited her home to investigate. When they arrived, the man of the house confronted the officers, making threats. One of the officers displayed a Taser. In response, Martin, 20, handed her one-year-old child to the man, as a human shield to prevent the officer from using the Taser. Both adults were taken into custody, and the child was placed with another family member.

From Bakersfield, California, we have Angelo Vidal Mendoza, Sr, a 34-year-old man who decided to bite out one of his son's eyes and badly mutilate the other. After rendering the boy blind, he then rolled his wheelchair out of his flat and attacked his own legs with an axe. The child later explained to the police that 'my daddy ate my eyes'.
A report later said that the elder Mendoza was showing signs of being under the influence of PCP. Both he and the child's mother had pleaded no contest to child endangerment charges related to PCP use in 2006, and a warrant had gone out on the mother last year for failing to complete a drugs-related programme.

After ending a long-term relationship, Janet Cunliffe moved back to England to move in with her 29-year-old daughter, Jane. To cure her depression, Janet decided to undergo surgery to look like Jane, explaining: 'Why shouldn't I? She's good-looking. [...] I love her look and she's part of me. So why not?', while her daughter was against the surgery at first. The two now put on identical clothes and make-up before going out for the evening.

The landlady of the Cutting Edge pub in Barnsley has set up a room in her pub as a 'smoking research centre'. Kerry Fenton explains that people must fill in a questionnaire on their smoking habits in order to satisfy legal requirements, and then they may enjoy a drink and a cigarette at the 'centre'. She says it has helped the pub's business and 'it's all in the name of research, legal and above board'.

According to AFP reports, a German motorway was closed for hours in both directions because a vehicle released its load. The vehicle was an Audi A3 convertible, which a 23-year-old man was taking for a test drive. Its cargo was an envelope on the back seat, containing the 23,000 euros in cash that he had planned to use to pay for the car. The money escaped through the open top of the car and resulted in a cash-storm.
All but 3,000 euros was recovered. Much of the money might be required to pay the cost of the cash hunt.

Huang Chih-hui paid an Australian modelling organisation to find contestants for this year's 'World Supermodel Pageant' held in Taichung, Taiwan. After the contest, it emerged that the models - claiming to represent 24 countries, in total - were all Australian. Huang said: 'I feel foolish' and that she did not check the women's passports.

Annica McGuirk is in trouble because she didn't clean her room at Maine's Unity College well enough after graduation. McGuirk, 19, had left several marijuana plants growing in her room. She was charged with cultivation, sale, and use of marijuana.
Another messy room was brought to police attention recently, this one in Ohio. Andrew Mizsak rang the emergency services to report that his son had thrown a plate of food at him and clenched his fist when told to clean his room. In the end, Mizsak decided not to file charges of assault against his 28-year-old son, for fear of ruining his political career. The son, in turn, has promised to keep his room clean.

Police officers in Pennsylvania pulled over David Craig, 26, for driving while intoxicated. In his car they found muscle relaxants and pills used to aid in opiate withdrawal. The police dropped Craig off at his mother's house after telling him about the charges he would face. A couple of hours later, Craig showed up at the police station to get his medicines back. He was still intoxicated but explained that he'd been given a ride to the station. Officers arrested him when he attempted to drive away.

According to Pittsburgh police, a 17-year-old student at Taylor Allderdice High School was bored so decided to use a biology-class snake as a jump rope. He will be charged in juvenile court with theft and cruelty to animals.

Also in Pennsylvania, a man paid for his ice cream in the town of Lykens with a $20 coin. He explained to the proprietor of the ice cream shop that the government had only recently begun issuing the new form of currency. The man is still at large.

University Heights, Iowa, police chief Ron Fort said that a man who'd been pulled over in a traffic stop drew further suspicion in his attempt to hide the bag of marijuana that was in his car. Officers noticed a leafy substance on David Pledge's shirt and that he had a partially eaten plastic bag in his mouth. Fort said that Pledge had thrown 'the whole bag, plastic and all, in his mouth and tried swallowing'. Pledge eventually gagged, producing the entire 'medium-sized' plastic bag.

The Belgian bodybuilding championship has been cancelled, because all 20 competitors fled the venue. Doping official Hans Cooman said that he entered the room and the bodybuilders simply grabbed their gear and ran off. Cooman said that 'this incident didn't do [the sport's doping-tarnished] reputation any good'.

Albert Vincent Perkins successfully left a Kansas City bank with a bag of about $3100 in $100 banknotes. However, he left his wallet on the counter. The teller and a customer at the bank confirmed that the man in the driving licence photo inside was the man who had held up the bank.

Karta, a 27-year-old orangutan at Australia's Adelaide Zoo, decided to go exploring. She therefore piled up debris against the wall of her enclosure and jammed a stick into the wires connected to the electric fence, short-circuiting it. She then climbed to freedom. Tourists walking past Karta raised the alarm, but when keepers arrived in the area she had already become bored and returned to her enclosure. Curator Paul Whitehead said: 'This animal has a history of trying to [...] be a little bit smarter and she's an animal which has caused lots of keepers a lot of late hours'.

Residents of a trailer park near Tyler, Texas, complained about low water pressure from the property's well, so the owner decided to investigate. She found several hoses running between one of the mobile homes and nearby woods, where more than 2,333 carefully tended marijuana plants were growing. Also, one of two rifles found in the woods had been reported stolen.
Smith County sheriff's sergeant Randy Meadows reported that no arrests have yet been made, as the owners of the mobile home in question were on holiday at the time of the discovery.

Firefighters ordered an evacuation of the AT&T building in San Jose, California, after fumes caused several workers to fall ill, with seven being sent to hospital. A hazmat team determined that the culprits were both an unplugged refrigerator filled with employees' mouldy lunches and the cleaning chemicals used by a worker who had decided to clean it out. The worker who cleaned the fridge was not one of the 28 people treated for vomiting and nausea; because of allergies, she couldn't smell anything.

A seven-year-old girl in Martinsburg, West Virginia, refused to play with her 11-year-old sister. This did not sit well with the older girl, who therefore pointed a pistol at her sibling and threatened her, ordering her to play with her. After also pointing the gun at her grandmother, the girl finally relented, on the grandmother's insistence. She was taken to a juvenile detention centre.

According to the Delaware State Police, Michael W. Booker-Cruz stole a cheque from his boss at Newark's Dog Days Deli, forged the deli owner's signature, and went to a bank to cash it. The bank teller refused to cash the cheque without verifying the signature on it, so the 20-year-old Booker-Cruz produced his own identification. The bank took down his details from the ID card and contacted Booker-Cruz's boss.

A company sent out a shipment of 50 mobile phones to a Monroe, Louisiana, address and then realised that the $2,359.45 payment was labelled as a 'cahier's check'. Upon detecting the forgery, the company rang the FBI's Monroe office - the destination of the shipment. A 44-year-old suspect was arrested outside the FBI office after agents saw him wave down a delivery truck driver to collect the telephones. He also faces charges for a previous, similar incident in the state of Georgia.

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