The Canadian Press describes the problem that arose when an Ontario woman attempted to trade in her vehicle: the car dealer refused to pay her because the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services had entered a lien against it - in the name of Fred and Pebbles Flintstone, who live on Yellow Brick Road. Investigating the 75-year-old woman's case, her member of the Ontario parliament, Randy Hillier, determined that a technician working with the ministry had used these cartoon characters' names alongside valid vehicle identification numbers during system testing. Of this decision and the nine-month process of rectifying the matter, Hillier said: 'I thought I'd seen every imaginable government incompetence.' He added that it should have been obvious that the lien was bogus, since 'everyone knows Fred Flintstone drives a foot-mobile not a 2006 Chevy Uplander'.
Greece's Kathimerini newspaper reports on the theft of a lorry containing 33 palletfuls of PlayStation consoles from a business in Aspropyrgos. Investigators concluded that the culprits were probably a gang who specialise in stealing company safes, who had been responsible for 145 armed robberies of businesses. Although the gang used several hideouts, fake licence plates, and hundreds of mobile phones, one of them also decided to use one of the stolen PlayStations, at his home the next day. Sony and local ISPs narrowed down the location, and soon 15 members of the gang were arrested.
The proprietor of a topless cleaning service has been arrested for stealing what the Bangor, Maine, police termed 'garments that would fully cover, support, and contain much of what her business title promised her customers'. Dick Polk arrested the owner of Topless Cleaning, who faces charges of shoplifting and violating bail conditions. The police noted that when the stolen underwear was recovered, no cleaning supplies were in evidence.
On his 89th birthday, Florida's Robert Dreyer went for a drive in the town of Viera. While doing so, he veered off the road, and his car hit a fire hydrant. Unhurt, he stepped out of the vehicle to check on the damage, at which point the ground gave way beneath him. Dreyer fell into the resulting hole, which was 1.5-2 m deep, and ended up beneath his car. The water pressure delayed efforts to reach him, and he died.
Also in Florida, we have a man from Putnam County who decided - with the aid of alcohol - to play around with a rattlesnake. According to a friend who witnessed the proceedings, the eastern diamondback remained calm until the man leant in to kiss it. Our misadventurer, whose name has not been released, suffered a bite to the tongue and had to be airlifted to a local hospital, where he was listed as being in critical condition.
In Taunton, Massachusetts, a 39-year-old woman drove off the road, ploughing through several mailboxes and flattening all four of her vehicle's tyres. Police officers arriving on the scene discovered that she was at twice the legal blood-alcohol limit and had been driving with a bearded dragon stuffed into her bra. After the lizard was removed from her bosom, for turning over to animal control authorities, the woman asked officers to summon a tow truck, no matter the state of the tyres or the deployed airbags. Instead, she was taken into custody, along with a male passenger whose waistband held a pellet gun.
When children next door once again kicked a football into the garden of
Kelly Machin's home in Leicester, she burst the ball before throwing it
back over the fence. This led to Natalie Bollen, the children's
28-year-old mother, paying Machin a visit. Bollen was accompanied by her
father, 48-year-old William Jelly, who began punching Machin in the face.
She also suffered several broken ribs in the pair's attack. Machin, 34,
rang emergency services while her neighbours were still in the house, and
she soon taken to hospital. However, two weeks after her release, a friend
found Machin dead on her sofa, from undetected internal bleeding.
Bollen and Jelly have been found guilty of manslaughter, partially thanks to text messages that Bollen sent, such as 'I went in my neighbour's house and bettered her, cracked her ribs, for bursting kids' ball, lol.'
A man drove to a convenience store in suburban Cleveland, Ohio, to fetch more beer. Seeing that the shop was closed, the 45-year-old man decided to crash his car through the wall and demand beer from the worker there, who was cleaning up behind the deli counter. The police were soon on the scene, and the miscreant, who was naked from the waist down, responded by barricading himself in a beer cooler. He reportedly then told officers to shoot him. After he was stunned, both he and the shop worker were taken to hospital for treatment of injuries sustained in the crash. The driver has been charged with impaired driving.
Austin's Brandom Vezmar described it as pretty much the first date from
hell. The venue was a cinema showing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and
his date was a 35-year-old woman he'd met online who, Vezmar says, began
sending and receiving text messages roughly 15 minutes after the film
began. He reported that 15 minutes and at least 15-20 text messages later,
he asked her to stop or at least step outside, to avoid violating the
cinema's policy. She followed the latter advice, and she never returned.
This meant also that Vezmar had to find a ride home after the film. Later,
he asked the Round Rock woman to reimburse him for her film ticket. When
she refused (because 'he took me out on a date'), Vezmar contacted her
sister and, in the end, filed suit in small-claims court for the $17.31.
In the filing, he clarified that 'While damages sought are modest, the
principle is important as defendant's behavior is a threat to civilized
The woman claimed: 'I had my phone low and I wasn't bothering anybody.' She added: 'I'm not a bad woman. I just went out on a date.'
At the graduation ceremony for Tennessee's Arlington High School, the students were on their best behaviour, marching in solemnly to the traditional 'Pomp and Circumstance'. Meanwhile, their parents were another story, as arguments, thought to be about saving of seats for late arrivals, flared. The result was music-accompanied punch-throwing in the Memphis church that served as the ceremony's venue. At least one guest was handcuffed and led away.
In a federal court, judge Arnold Ogden Jones II was fined $5,000 and sentenced to two years' probation and 100 hours of community service for promising and paying gratuities to a public official. He had asked an FBI officer whether it was possible to read the text messages sent between Jones's wife and another man. When the FBI task-force member replied in the affirmative, Jones offered him two cases of Bud Light in exchange for the messages. In the end, the judge gave the other man $100 instead, for what turned out to be a blank diskette. Jones, who has since lost his bid for re-election, claims that the FBI officer should have informed him that a search warrant would have been required for legally obtaining the information.
A large black bear was spotted in a tree about a block away from a primary
school in Renton, Washington. School staff contacted the Department of
Fish and Wildlife and decided to hold recess in the school gym rather than
outside. The animal was high enough in the branches that tranquilliser
darts were ruled out, so wildlife officers tried to use beanbags, specially
trained dogs, and loud noises to scare the bear downward. These had the
opposite effect. After a standoff lasting 11+ hours, the bear decided to
descend to the ground. It then climbed a second tree.
About five hours later, the animal climbed down and left the area on its own.
After an Amtrak train bound for Washington, DC, from Boston came to a halt
near Wilmington, Delaware, passengers grew impatient with the unscheduled
stop. Several hours later, one of the passengers rang Dom's NY Style
Pizzeria to ask whether it would be possible to deliver two pizzas to 'a
stuck train'. Veteran delivery driver Jim Leary recalls responding with
'Oh, yeah, we can do it'. After he parked on a dead-end street and made
his way around fenced-in yards and various houses, Leary heard a man
shouting 'I'm down here', and the food was soon delivered. One passenger
gave Leary a $20 tip in gratitude for being brought paper plates.
Once the passengers had reached their destination, about three hours late, Amtrak spokeswoman Chelsea Kopta reminded the public that 'it is extremely dangerous to approach a train on the tracks. We [...] hope this is not tried again in the future'.
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