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November 2023

9 November 2023

One of the three mannequins in a storefront display at a shopping centre in Warsaw's Śródmieście district was special. This 22-year-old model, clad in a mustard-coloured sweatshirt and with a shopping bag in its outreached hand, burst into motion after opening hours. The technique enabled stealing jewellery and cash from multiple departments once shoppers had vacated the premises.
Later, this individual, whose identity has not yet been released, nabbed a free meal at a bar, where he donned some pilfered branded clothing before ducking back below the steel curtain. Security officers apprehended him when he returned to the bar for a second meal. He faces 10 years in prison for burglary and theft.

While we don't know what a Florida child wished for at the Harborside Place shopping centre's wishing pool, perhaps it should have been for enough wisdom to heed the fountain's 'No climbing' sign. Upon entering the water, the child suffered an electric shock, which prompted several would-be rescuers to jump in. At least eight people ended up needing medical assistance, and one adult was later declared dead in what the police and utility company term an 'electrocution incident'.

In the hours before he was due to pilot a plane from South Africa back to the UK, British Airways flight officer Mike Beaton bragged in text messages to an air stewardess that he had snorted cocaine from a woman's bare chest and had 'polished off a bottle of vodka [...], then shitted for ages'. He ended up relieved from duty, and a BA press release states that 'this individual no longer works for us'.

In contrast, Alaska Airlines pilot Joseph D. Emerson did make it aboard his scheduled flight after a close encounter with drugs. He later explained that his introduction to 'magic mushrooms' about 48 hours earlier had led him to believe he was dreaming while aboard a domestic flight as an off-duty cockpit occupant - and that pulling the levers to an engine-fire-extinguishing system would rouse him. What it did do was cut off the fuel supply. Once the flight crew reversed his actions, the 44-year-old Emerson explained that he was amid a depression-induced nervous breakdown and told them to 'cuff me right now or it's going to be bad'.
Though they obliged, he still nearly activated an emergency exit during descent, adding to the list of his crimes. While Emerson told authorities 'I'm not fighting any charges you want to bring against me, guys', he has declared himself innocent on all counts.

The seas might not be much safer from such fiascos. Reporting on factors behind the cargo ship Wakashio spilling its fuel oil at a snorkeling spot off the coast of Mauritius, Japan's Transport Safety Board stated that the captain, 58-year-old Sunil Kumar Nandeshwar, had ordered an unauthorised diversion (into an area for which he lacked marine charts) purely because his personal smartphone had no signal. The ship smashed into a coral reef after ignoring several contact attempts by the Mauritius coast guard.
Perhaps Nandeshwar's judgement was affected by the whiskeys he had downed at a shipboard birthday party. His own summary, captured by recordings aboard the vessel, was 'Now my career is gone!'

Back on land but perhaps not well-grounded, we have Payton Shires, a newly minted social worker who decided to go above and beyond the call of duty when counselling a 13-year-old Ohio boy as part of the foster-care system. Shires, 24, allegedly had sex at least twice with the boy, whose mother subsequently discovered associated inappropriate text messages on his mobile phone. With Columbus Police detectives listening in, the mother rang Shires and obtained a confession, according to local media. Shires no longer is part of the National Youth Advocate Program.

Other sexual news brings us a wrinkle in the tale of Marcus Silva, who is suing each of his ex-wife Brittni's friends for $1 million for aiding and abetting her procurement of an abortion in Texas. She recorded a conversation in which she confronts him for reneging on his promise to drop the lawsuit in exchange for sex. The conversation also features Marcus threatening to send intimate videos of her to her employer, family members, and others unless she performs other acts for him - namely, doing his laundry.

While walking the streets of Rome, 27-year-old tourist Ludovica Caprino gained an unforgettable memory of her holiday. an eight-month old puppy fell from a balcony window, striking her and then the ground. Ten metres above, the resulting 'gunshot-like' sound startled Emilia Mikela Pawlak, who sprang from the loo to see what was the matter. She found both her Rottweiler, dead, and Caprino, severely injured but expected to recover.

Italy brings us another story, of a woman who has won a lawsuit aimed at removing her adult sons from her house. The 75-year-old Pavia woman's filing explains that neither of the men, ages 40 and 42, had been contributing to household fees from their salary or helping with household chores.
Contradicting claims by the men's attorneys, Judge Simona Caterbi wrote that no legislation truly gives an adult child an 'unconditional right to remain in the home exclusively owned by the parents, against their will and by virtue of the family bond alone'. If they do not appeal her ruling, the two 'bamboccioni' (big babies) must vacate the premises at least a week prior to Christmas.

Meanwhile in Brentwood, California, Sascha Jovanovic is a retired periodontist who wanted to earn some easy money by renting out his guest house via Airbnb's long-term stay arrangements at $105 per night. His tenant was Elizabeth Hirschhorn, described by a previous host as having had 'a lot of particular needs that I eventually could not accommodate'. Jovanovic now has a sense of what these include: After he noticed that mould had taken root on the premises, Hirschhorn rebuffed his offer of a hotel stay or living with him for the duration of repairs, stating: 'I don't feel safe being forced to vacate with a housing disability and the high risks of Covid-19 complications.' For the 1.5 years since, she has also declined to pay rent or even let him onto the property.
Since the city never approved the home for rental, Hirschhorn contends, 'the maximum allowable rent for the unit was $0.00'. A judge has agreed, ruling that Jovanovic has no legal reason to evict Hirschhorn. She has, however, offered to leave the property in exchange for a relocation fee of $100,000.

Roughly 10 days after a woman kicked several family members out of her home in Topeka, Kansas, her five-year-old daughter Zoey Felix showed up at a petrol station with ultimately fatal rape-linked injuries apparently inflicted by a fellow resident of an informal homeless camp in the woods: 25-year-old Mickel W. Cherry, her step-father.
Among the neighbours who had helped feed, clothe, bathe, and educate Felix before the eviction, Sharon Williams said that residents 'reported the neglect [on multiple occasions], but they didn't obviously take it serious'. Sheryl Tyree, in turn, offered this summary: 'Everybody loved Zoey, except her parents.'

We find lighter incompetence-related fare in Savannah, Georgia, where Connor Cato received a speeding ticket. Though he had been driving at nearly twice the speed limit, the $1.4 million fine seemed a bit extreme. Court officials told him that he had the option of contesting the fee in court, where a judge will impose 'the actual fine'. City of Savannah spokesman Joshua Peacock explained further: court software automatically generates a 'placeholder' number that is in no way intended to 'scare anybody into court'. He did concede that officials plan on 'adjusting the placeholder language to avoid any confusion'.

Alford Lewis is a 19-year-old Texan who wanted to boost his TikTok and YouTube viewer numbers. His numbers grew also on a neighbourhood-watch platform where visitors to a Houston park were trying to identify the culprit behind arbitrary punches in the face. Confronted outside his home by Harris County sheriff's officers, Lewis explained: 'You know, I just made a mistake, and everybody makes mistakes.' He also claimed that after the 'bad part' of one of the sucker-punch incidents, 'I shook his hand after and gave the man a hug'.
Still, he offered this cogent advice for others: 'Before you go out and do anything you feel is bad, or that could look bad, make sure, like, people know. Or just don't do it at all.'

Next, I have an update on the case of the bog burglary - see - the 2019 theft of an 18-karat gold commode plumbed in as a fully functional art piece at Blenheim Palace. James Sheen, 39, and Michael Jones, 38, are being charged with burglary, with Sheen involved also in fencing the piece, titled 'America'. Two other 30-somethings - Ascot's Fred Doe and West London's Bora Guccuk, allegedly were part of the conspiracy to transfer it.
Details remain thin on the ground, in the interest of an unbiased court case.

No good deed goes unpunished, or at least that might be what Oklahoma's Desiree Castaneda thinks, now that the baby shower she threw for her daughter and 24-year-old Juan Miranda-Jara has landed her 15 years in prison. The main issue is that the daughter was 12 years old when impregnated. While Castaneda, 33, does time for child neglect and enabling child sexual abuse, Miranda-Jara is serving a 20-year jail term. Meanwhile, the pre-teen girl's father is supporting the pattern with a 12-year sentence for first-degree rape in an apparently unrelated case.

The managers of a mortuary-services company in Nebraska denied a 41-year-old body-transporter's request to conduct a biopsy of the sex doll found beside someone who had died at home of natural causes. Nonetheless, the worker is accused of returning to the apartment in question, ostensibly to collect the doll. He was found there with his trousers in disarray and with a rather stickier sex doll. The Omaha man in question faces a count of felonious attempted burglary, and he has been fired.

Our final item is another dead-body story. This one is set in China Grove, North Carolina, where a groundskeeper mowed around the corpse of 34-year-old Robert Paul Owens near a vacant log cabin used for law-enforcement training. Construction workers noticed the badly weather-affected body on the freshly mown lawn the next day and reported it. An autopsy is under way. The groundskeeper later explained that he'd assumed the face-down body to be 'a fake dummy used for training'.

17 November 2023

Let's begin with a feel-good story:
When local police officer Scott Pracht rang the doorbell of her Hillsborough County, Florida, home in response to a dead-air phone call to the emergency-services number, the woman who opened the door was clearly confused. Her young son cleared things up, however. Mobile phone in hand, he sprinted toward Pracht to collect a hug. Called to account by his mother, he explained his choice of target: 'I know what your phone number is: it's 911.'
The two adults provided a description of said number's intended use, thus eliciting a 'sorry' from him before Pracht provided the dispatcher with the summary '10-4 - kid just wanted a hug'.

After her car ploughed into the headquarters of Indianapolis's Israelite School of Universal and Practical Knowledge, 34-year-old Ruba Almaghtheh reportedly told cops on the scene that news stories rendering her unable to 'breathe anymore' had led her to target a Jewish facility with ties to Israel. She was arrested for criminal recklessness and informed that she had, in fact, chosen a black-supremacist anti-Semitic organisation not representative of Jews or Israelis. None of the religious extremists in the building at the time were injured in the attack.

It doesn't take an expert in financial crimes to detect something fishy about a solo business traveller filing an expense claim for two coffees, two sandwiches, and two pasta dishes he supposedly ate all on his own. Though the food's total cost fell well within the company's per diem limits, UK judge Caroline Illing has ruled that Citibank was justified in firing the worker, financial-crimes expert Szabolcs Fekete.
Fekete's later arguments that he'd been under personal stress and on medication when e-mailing notes such as 'I don't think I have to justify my eating habits to this extent' were too little to clear him of the gross misconduct alleged. Lying at the heart of the matter was lying that he'd not shared the food with his partner, who had travelled with him to Amsterdam.

A Lithuanian man identified as Aidas J. has been sentenced to jail time for thumbing his nose at other food-related rules - namely, that people who consume 30-70 euros' worth of lobster and whisky while acting like a wealthy Russian tourist at restaurants in Alicante, Spain, must pay for their meal. The custodial sentence came after a call to the police by restaurant-owner Moses Doménech earned Aidas J., 50, his twentieth eat-and-run arrest since late last year. Previously, he had received - and not paid - only minor fines consistent with a minor crime.
In this case and several others, he feigned medical distress in an effort to escape without paying. He takes his eating habits seriously enough that, according to a police representative, on at least one occasion he 'threw himself to the ground, made as if his chest hurt, and trembled' until being admitted to hospital.

Sometimes it isn't the cough that kills you. The blame in more than 200 cases can be laid at the feet of Afi Farma, thanks to its atypical cough syrups. Two batches of key ingredient propylene glycol used by this Indonesia-based firm actually consisted of 96-99% ethylene glycol, familiar from such applications as antifreeze. Afi Farma attorneys Samsul Hidayat and Reza Wendra Prayogo both stressed that Indonesia's drugs regulator does not require pharmaceutical companies to test ingredients rigorously.
The company's reliance merely on certificates from the supplier left hundreds of children with fatal acute kidney injury and has now left Afi chief executive Arief Prasetya Harahap and three other executives with two-year prison terms and a 55,000-euro-equivalent fine to pay.

A UK man's mid-pandemic complaints about noise from children running and jumping on the wooden flooring above his flat fell on the deaf ears of Clarion, the UK's largest housing-management company. The same fate befell nearly 20 follow-up complaints, including one in which the tenant stated that the noise had driven him to attempt suicide, plus a letter from the resident's GP. Once the man began recording the noises, the landlord confirmed 'considerable transmission of both noise and movement' from the flat above; however, Clarion declined to install sound-monitoring equipment, citing lockdown-related issues.
Ten days after Clarion closed the case, the tenant killed himself. Now, UK Housing Ombudsman Richard Blakeway has issued recommendations for taking noise issues seriously and has demanded an apology to the man's family for 'severe maladministration'.

Less protracted suffering greeted attendees of a Bored Ape NFT collectors' event in Hong Kong. After exposure to the ApeFest party's ultraviolet lights, several guests sought emergency medical treatment for eye pain and vision problems linked with photokeratitis, also known as welder's flash, alongside sunburn-like symptoms. The organisers, who reportedly had saved money by buying lights intended for disinfection rather than for music events, later tweeted that 'less than 1% of those attending and working the event had these symptoms', though still recommending that anyone concerned consult medics 'just in case'.

Authorities responding to complaints about foul odours found that 190 people's remains were rotting away at Colorado's Return to Nature funeral home. This discovery led to the arrest of the facility's owners, Jan and Carie Hallford, on charges of giving fake cremated remains to some families while the deceased mouldered at the funeral home for years. Thus far, investigators have been able to identify roughly 60% of the corpses, and FBI officers have asked families to provide samples of the ashes they received. The pair await trial on charges of money-laundering, corpse abuse, theft, and forgery.

Not gruesome enough? In that case, let me tell you about a South Korean maintenance worker who died on the job while working late into the night. During on-site inspection of a food-handling robot's sensor operations, this 40-something employee of the robotics company proved indistinguishable from a box of peppers. The robot took hold of him and pressed him against the conveyor belt, causing injuries that led to his death in hospital.
According to news agency Yonhap, an official with the plant's owners, the Donggoseong Export Agricultural Complex, called for a 'precise and safe' system for preventing problems such as death by crushing.

A New Jersey man purchasing a second-hand pickup truck was in for a surprise. Upon arrival at owner Jay Vaughan's Mays Landing home, he witnessed a deer hurtle over another vehicle and land in the bed of his planned purchase. Video footage captured by the for-sale 2007 Chevy Silverado shows the buck leave the scene after his flight. While the deer seemed undented, the same could not be said of the side of the pickup, so Vaughn reduced the price from $9,500 to $8,500.

For more airborne-animal mayhem, our final Clippings items takes us further up, to a Boeing 747 cargo plane on its way from New York to Belgium. The pilot summarised the problem to air-traffic controllers as 'we cannot get the horse back secure'.
Granted permission to return to John F. Kennedy International Airport, the Air Atlanta Icelandic crew dumped enough fuel into the Atlantic to put the aeroplane within safe weight limits for landing. After a veterinary appointment, the horse was on the way to Liege again later in the day.

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