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October 2006

23 October 2006

Ronald A. Dotson was arrested for breaking into a cleaning-supply business and stealing a mannequin dressed in a French maid's uniform. The mannequinnapping took place less than three weeks after the Michigan man's release from prison for the same crime. In the last 13 years, this is at least his sixth theft of a female shop dummy. Detective Brendan Moore said: 'He told his parole officer he was going to buy a mannequin so he didn't have to do these break-ins anymore. Apparently, that didn't work out.'

A Mesa, Arizona, police officer was writing up 19-year-old Nathan Palmer for under-age drinking outside a party. The officer peered into the brown paper bag that Palmer was carrying, within which was one 1,183 ml bottle of inexpensive beer, which led Palmer to comment that this is a favourite of methamphetamine users. According to a police report, Palmer replied: 'Call me anything but a tweaker. I smoke weed sometimes, but I don't tweak.' The officer asked Palmer the location of his weed, whereupon Palmer pulled a small bag of marijuana from his pocket. A rather predictable arrest followed.

In a slightly older item, from late September, New York police reported that Savarin DeJesus, 18, went out for a few gins, then returned to the East Harlem women's shelter where she lived. After collecting three-month-old daughter Niah Ford from a friend, DeJesus returned to her room and vomited into a bucket containing a small amount of cleaning solution and water. She said she fell asleep in this position while holding Niah's ankles. Allegedly, when DeJesus awoke the next afternoon, she found Niah dead, head in the bucket. An investigation is being conducted into whether the women's shelter provides adequate facilities for infants.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, officers stopped a car at a drunken-driving checkpoint. Inside the car with the driver was vomit and an ailing puppy. According to police lieutenant Scott Schubert, the vomit contained 'suspected drug packaging' from crack cocaine. Schubert said: 'I've seem people try to swallow drugs themselves, to throw them out the window, or crush them. But to give them to a two-month-old puppy...'. The driver has been charged with cruelty to animals and driving under intoxicating influence.

According to Associated Press reports, 39-year-old Jon Houston Eipp of Novato, California, was on trial for computer theft when his fingers again became itchy. He burgled the courthouse, stealing computers. Facing nearly five years in prison, Eipp explains that he took the machines 'for personal reasons' and that the act was a cry for help.

Residents of Stalybridge, near Manchester, were baffled when two bus stops were erected on a narrow street that hasn't had bus service for at least 20 years. Tina Hague, who lives near one of the stops, contacted the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive, who explained that the stops were put up with 'not in use' labels to 'stop people from waiting for a bus that won't be coming'. She was also told that she could 'rest assured' that no buses are going to be using the road.

Minnesota's St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that Tameca Sharrell Griffin was grazing in the produce section of a local supermarket when off-duty police officer Laura Syring, working as store security, approached and warned her not to eat grapes before buying them. Griffin reacted by screaming and pressing her chest against Syring, who then asked her to leave the premises. When she refused, Syring told the 32-year-old Griffin that she was under arrest, so Griffin punched her in the face. Syring shot pepper spray at her, but Griffin knocked the can from her hand and then began pulling out clumps of Syring's hair. Griffin was eventually subdued after a store employee retrieved the can of pepper spray. Griffin is charged with felonious obstruction of the legal process and assault.

A 74-year-old Finnish man suffering from dementia filed charges against a couple in their twenties for charging him too much to fondle the female half of the couple's bosom on 10 occasions. Although the man admitted to paying the price willingly at the time, Kokkola district court judge Hasse Hakki said that 'it is indisputably clear that a 25,500-euro charge is disproportionate to the compensation in question'. Hakki declined to specify 'the proper financial value of the compensation'. The couple were sentenced to over a year of jail time.

Raymond Oprey, a fireman from Rockland County, New York, responded to a fire call from a shopping centre in New Jersey. He was so eager to do so that he stole a fire truck from another fire department, near his home. Oprey, 33, called in on the radio several times on his way to the fire, creating suspicion since the Rockleigh Fire Department hadn't been asked for help. When Oprey arrived, so did the odour of alcoholic beverages. He was taken into custody and charged with burglary and unlawful taking of means of conveyance.

Richard Brooks, a 50-year-old California motorist, had been drinking when he decided to attack some bikers. Brandishing a pool cue, Brooks drove at the bikers. He then approached them on foot, leaving his car in reverse gear. His car hit him and knocked him onto the motorway, and the bikers pulled him to safety, according to Scott Yox of the California Highway Patrol.
After his arrest, Brooks explained that skeleton accessories worn by some of the bikers had offended him, and that his ire had been raised further by a sense that the bikers thought they were better than he is.

Polska Agencja Prasowa report that a 55-year-old woman in Lobez, Poland, decided to take action after her cow broke someone's arm. She heeded a suggestion to mix marijuana with the animal's feed. She bought seeds at a market, and the resulting crop did indeed calm the cow. However, her three-metre-tall plants attracted police attention. She was arrested for possession of marijuana and faces up to three years in jail.

A 14-year-old boy in Arizona was having problems driving, so he asked for help. At least 15 people obliged. Some helped to push the car after it became stuck in reverse, and another gave him an impromptu driving lesson when he couldn't figure out how to operate the gear-shift lever. Margarita Wood climbed into the car to help. Mesa police said that apparently no-one suspected that the boy was under-age or that he might have been stealing the car. 'It is incredible that an entire neighbourhood would participate in this comedy of errors,' said Sergeant Dave Norton.
The boy was caught later after city workers and others noticed his erratic driving. The owner of the car, a friend of the boy, decided not to press charges, and the young thief was released into his grandmother's care.

Bradley Robison of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was caught with almost a kilo of marijuana. When officers caught the 18-year-old Robison, he objected that the drug wasn't his, as he had stolen it from a nearby business establishment after breaking in. While the owner of the business has been charged with possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver it, so has Robison. Robison has also been charged with failure to affix a drug tax stamp. A burglary charge might be on its way as well.

Accused of stealing reel wire, Pennsylvania's Justin Michael Kalich worried that a witness might recognise him from a photo line-up when he showed up for a preliminary court hearing. So he decided to conceal his identity in court. Kalich, 26, decided to follow his attorney's suggestion to wear a cardboard box on his head. In the end, however, he decided that it would be easier to pay for the wire.

While a neighbour was visiting Indiana's David Michielsen, 27, her children and his ended up breaking Michielsen's wife's eyeglasses. He asked the neighbour and her children to leave. Later in the evening, he asked her for a pair of glasses that he could use for parts to use in the repair work; Michielsen threw the pair she supplied into her house a few minutes later because they weren't the right type. About an hour later, the woman heard a noise and looked outside to see Michielsen running from her home. She also noticed that atop her air conditioner was a canister with a lit fuse. The woman extinguished the fuse and summoned the police, who found matching model rocket engines and fuse material in Michielsen's house.

While off duty, Boston police officer Michael LoPriore stopped a 19-year-old prostitute; showed her his badge; and ordered her into his car, where she was allegedly forced to perform oral sex on him. She said the abuse was repeated on several occasions until she was able to obtain evidence. Her lawyer, John Swomley, said: 'She told me the badge was stuffed in a little cubby in the front console. His head was back and he wasn't really paying attention to where her hands were.' She took the badge, and FBI agents were listening when LoPriore rang her to get it back. Under a plea agreement, LoPriore will acknowledge his guilt, resign, and not seek further police work in Massachusetts.

When emergency-room nurse Susan Kuhnhausen returned from work, a stranger came at her with a claw hammer and hit her in the head. Kuhnhausen, 51, responded by strangling the suspected burglar, Edward Dalton Haffey, to death. Strangely, there were no signs of a forced entry, and only Kuhnhausen and her estranged husband knew the codes to disarm the home's security system. Later, materials found on Haffey revealed that he was apparently hired by said husband as a contract killer. According to Kuhnhausen, her husband was 'wanting to reconcile' but she was not. The incident did not aid his cause.

According to the Beijing Morning Post, Chinese migrant worker Zhang Xinyan became intoxicated before visiting the Beijing Zoo to visit Gu Gu the panda. When he climbed into Gu Gu's enclosure to touch the bear, it woke up and bit him on the leg. Zhang responded by kicking Gu Gu, who then bit his other leg. The scuffle continued, with Zhang biting the bear in the back before zoo-keepers subdued Gu Gu with water. Zhang said from hospital that pandas on television 'seemed to get along well with people'. He also said he was dizzy from drink at the time of the incident and remembered little of the afternoon's events. No charges have been filed.

Ireland Online reports that Chicago's Tonnette Andu, 20, was checked for drugs after arriving at Cork airport from Lagos via Amsterdam. Customs officers claim that they found 70,000 euros worth of cocaine in her beehive hairdo. The black cotton packages of cocaine weighed about a kilo in total. She did not respond to the charge of importing cocaine. When charged with being knowingly concerned in dealing cocaine, she said: 'May God forgive me my sins. May He set me free, for I do not know what I do.'

Literature students at Caney Creek High School in Texas were assigned Fahrenheit 451 as a reading assignment. One of the students, Diana Vern, stopped reading it after a few pages because she was upset by 'the cussing in it and the burning of the Bible'. She was given another book to read after complaining, but her father, Alton, insists that the book should be removed from the school curriculum. He said: 'With God's name in vain being in there, that's the number one reason. There's no reason for it being read.' In his itemised list of reasons that the book should be banned he also lists items such as 'talking about our firemen'.

Malaysia's government has decided to fine those who misuse the national language, with a new group being created to enforce the language purity law. Rais Yatim, minister for Culture, Arts, and Heritage, said that mixing English in with Malay, especially in signage, is a particular focus. It could, on the second offence, incur fines of up to 1,000 ringgit (a little over 300 euros).

Lawrence Roach of Seminole, Florida, has requested that the court dissolve his obligation to pay $1,200 a month in alimony to his ex-wife, because she is now a man. He said: 'This isn't right. It's humiliating to me and degrading. You know, I'm a man, and I don't want to have to be paying alimony to a man. If you can't be married to a man legally, how can you legally pay alimony to a man?' The couple were divorced 18 months ago after a 17-year marriage.

Police in Ballwin, Missouri, accuse the 23-year-old son of Police Chief James Biederman of stealing his father's unmarked police cruiser and, with an 18-year-old friend, pulling over drivers. One of the drivers they pulled over was off-duty sheriff's detective Tom Neer. Neer said that, when he identified himself, the pair, wearing baggy trousers and shirts with police logos, told him they were on special assignment. Neer went back to his car to check on their story with his supervisor, and the two drove off. Neer had noted the licence plate number, and he soon identified the two men at the chief's nearby home.

According to police, Teresa Kintigos, a subcontracted teacher at Kentucky's Angellite Elementary school, helped her husband to sneak in through a back door of the school so that he could accost several students, asking them to pee into a cup. Some were unable to do so, but he did manage to collect urine from several, including at least one four-year-old boy. Teresa Kintigos has been suspended without pay from her teaching job for her role in what investigators described as a conspiracy to steal urine.

Twyana Davis of Columbus, Ohio, told in a book how she left her newborn baby in a rubbish bin after date rape left her with an unwanted pregnancy when she was a student at Ohio Dominican College in 1995. The girl survived. Davis, now 30, recently admitted that her story was not wholly accurate: the father of the baby was her 12-year-old cousin. She has now been sentenced to 10 to 25 years in prison for statutory rape. She said that her actions were caused by her poor upbringing and by abuse as a child.

Last year, Canada's Burton Thomas opened the latest bubble-wrapped envelope to be delivered to the post-office box he rents in Edmonton. When he found 18 bags inside, each containing $1000, he checked the address on the envelope and found that the package was addressed to a different P.O. box. Thomas took the cash to the police, who contacted the intended recipient. The unnamed man, who was living at the return address given on the envelope, declined to acknowledge ownership of the money or explain. In the absence of any charges, Justice Marguerite Trussler has awarded the money to Thomas.

A guard monitoring security cameras at a building containing county offices in Hamilton, Ohio, noticed a nude man wandering the halls after business hours. A look at earlier footage revealed that the same man had been walking about the building naked the previous night. The man was revealed to be city prosecutor Scott Blauvelt, 35. he has been charged with two counts of indecency and faces a month in jail and a $250 fine. In his defence, his lawyer said that Blauvelt, who was injured in a 2005 car accident and takes seizure medicine, 'is an American with a disability'.

The BBC reports that tycoon Steve Wynn made a deal to sell his Picasso painting 'Le Reve' and shortly thereafter was showing the $138.26-million painting to guests in his Las Vegas office when he raised his arm and his elbow 'crashed backward through the canvas', in the words of Nora Ephron, one of the guests in the office. Wynn, who suffers from retinitis pigmentosa, reportedly said: 'Look what I've done. Thank goodness it was me.' He said that he intends to repair the silver-dollar-sized hole. The sale has been called off.

The Austrian press report that workman August Voegl, 59, of Jennersdorf was using a compressed-air nail gun when he accidentally attached his left testicle to the roof with a 10-centimetre nail. Medics were called in when he was unable to extract the nail himself, and he was airlifted to a nearby hospital for surgery. He is reported to be recovering well.

China's Chen Boshi took refuge in a monastery in Hubei province after a search for him was mounted in connection with the embezzlement of the equivalent of $160,000 euros from the power company where he worked. Acting on a tip, officers began searching area monasteries. One of the policemen asked a monk on a mountain for directions. When the man responded by running off into the forest, officers pursued him. When caught, Boshi had eight credit cards on his person.

Jenn Truhe of Orlando says that a school photo of her seven-year-old daughter was altered to give the girl cleavage. The owner of the studio that took the pictures refused to speak on camera but claimed that the image was what the camera captured at Keeth Elementary School - perhaps the appearance of a bosom was simply a result of shadows. Local television station WFTV reported showing the image to several photography professionals, all of whom said that the image appeared to have been altered.

Geir Broen, the warden at Bodø prison in norther Norway, described a 'notable day' at the facility: a highly intoxicated young man on the way home after partying found his way into the jail while an outer fence was being repaired. When police officers came to collect him to take him home, he indicated that he thought he was in Mørkved, about 10 kilometres east of the prison.

Spain's El Mundo newspaper reports that a Seville woman decided to stage the kidnapping of her son in order to extract money from her separated husband. The plot, in which her son colluded, worked so well that she repeated it. After a third fake kidnapping, in which the son begged his father to send ransom money, the woman had amassed over a million euros. She recently tried a fourth time but was caught with the help of a private investigator hired by the husband.

Ohio's Emily Davis and a friend, both 17, claim that the men in a car behind them motioned for the girls to lift up their shirts. The men deny this. What is undisputed is that Davis decided to remove her bra and hung it on her car aerial while her friend was driving along the motorway. The piece of underwear became detached, and the two men behind them swerved to avoid it. Their car crashed and rolled several times, leaving 37-year-old James Campbell with a broken vertebra in his neck and passenger Jeff Long, 40, with several broken ribs. Davis is being charged with littering.

Parents of a 14-year-old boy say that Alexis Luz Garcia, 40, displayed full frontal nudity to their son after complaining that he was making too much noise while playing basketball outside his home. She then threatened to repeat the action every time the boy played basketball.
California judge Robert W. Armstrong has dismissed the charges against Garcia, explaining that the law against indecent exposure refers to someone who 'exposes his person' and thus is gender-specific. Prosecutor Alison N. Norton said that an appeal is to be filed, as another section of state law says: 'words used in the masculine gender include the feminine and neuter'.

Timothy J. Bowers, who is about to turn 63, said he has been able to find only odd jobs ever since his employer closed up shop in 2003. He came up with a financial plan to see him through until he is eligible for Social Security payments. This involved walking to a bank and asking the teller for cash in an envelope. After carrying this out, Bowers told the guard it was his day to be a hero, handed him the money, and waited for the police to arrive. In court, Bowers said that a three-year prison sentence would tide him over nicely. Prosecutors, who had considered arguing against jailing Bowers at taxpayer expense, accepted the sentence because they were concerned that he might try something more drastic to earn prison time. Prosecutor Dan Cable said of the sentence: 'It's not the financial plan I would choose, but it's a financial plan.'


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© 2006 Anna Shefl