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October 2007


11 October 2007

According to Japan's Asahi Shimbun, a 31-year-old Osaka man who was grateful to get a stable job, gave a small present to the president of the company that had just hired him, coinciding with July's Ochugen gift-giving season. He was less pleased when he recently found the box of jelly desserts unopened under the recipient's desk. Accordingly, he smashed 22 computers in the office with a truncheon.
He pleaded guilty in the Osaka District Court to obstructing business with force. His lawyer quoted him as saying: 'I wish the company president had cared a little more.'

The Greensboro, North Carolina, fire department reports that Hugh Williams tried to deactivate a nest full of wasps by pouring insecticide into it. When that didn't work, he placed some paper in the hole in the nest, in the ground next to his house, and set it on fire. Fire Marshall David Douglas reported that the flames went straight up an outside wall of the home and into the attic. It took half an hour for firefighters to put out the fire. The house has been condemned.

Two men were drinking in the room they rented in Houston, Texas, when one complained about the other's 'stinky feet'. William Antonio Serrano, 22, did not take kindly to his roommate's complaint, and an argument erupted. The owner of the home approached the room to find one of the men holding a knife. 'By the time she got inside, [Serrano] was on top of the other man,' reported police sergeant M. Sosa. Serrano stabbed the other man multiple times, killing him. He is being charged with murder.
Apparently, these two didn't take to heart a lesson from MythBusters: their alcohol might have cured the problem of the smelly feet. Vodka is of particular renown here. This particular drink did cure someone recently, proving the hero of the day for Australian doctors. Medics in Mackay, Queensland, were treating a man who had swallowed ethylene glycol. They ran out of medicinal alcohol and thus purchased a case of vodka. Dr. Todd Fraser said: 'The patient was drip-fed about three standard drinks an hour for three days in the intensive care unit.' Fraser added that the man remained in a coma for most of that time. He woke without a hangover.

John Lyles, 36, climbed through the window of a Yonkers, New York, home at about 4am and, wanting to be stealthy, took off his boots. When the homeowner's dog started to bark at him, Lyles ran from the scene, lootless and bootless. Later that morning, a police officer spotted the still-footwear-free Lyles in the hallway of a nearby block of flats and questioned him. He has been charged with second-degree burglary.

Richmond County, Georgia, authorities informed Aaron James Miller that his lost wallet had been found in a shop. They also let him know that he is in trouble, on account of a picture within. The photograph was of a naked three-year-old girl, identified as a former student at the day-care centre where the 18-year-old Miller worked. Miller admitted to taking the photo but said he did nothing else to the girl. He is being charged with sexual exploitation of children.

Egypt's Al-Akhbar newspaper is reported as covering the story of a 30-year-old teacher who hired someone else to take her driving test in Cairo. Both the woman and her impersonator, also 30, wear the niqab, keeping almost the entire body concealed behind dark cloth. Traffic security officers became suspicious on account of the one visible part of the examinee, which appeared rather large to be a woman's feet. The man under the niqab confessed that the teacher, who was waiting in a nearby cafe, had paid him 700 Egyptian pounds (a little over 100 euros) to take the test. She faces charges of fraud.

Police in Minnesota report that Pedro Brito's pickup truck was moving slowly down the road on Sunday morning and then drifted across the centre line. When officers closed in on the vehicle, one stepped onto the running board and took the wheel to steer into the correct lane. Brito, 26, was sound asleep. He remained asleep as the officer put the pickup in neutral gear, stopped it, and removed the key. Brito woke when officers shook him, just in time to be arrested for drunken driving and driving with a suspended licence.

26 October 2007

Somewhat the worse for wear after her wedding, a drunken bride in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, determined that the same was true of her wedding gown. To clean it, she hung the dress on a sprinkler head in her hotel suite and activated the emergency fire system. While guests, among them seven wedding parties, were evacuating the hotel in compliance with the fire alarms, stagnant sprinkler water flooded several rooms, on multiple floors. The bride and her husband fled and are keeping a low profile. According to Hoffman Estates deputy fire chief John Mayer, 'She definitely won't forget her wedding.'

A 39-year-old Naples, Florida, woman is on trial for what she did to 'protect' her 13-year-old daughter. The girl told jurors that her mother first had tattoo artist friend Tammy Meredith shave her head to make her less attractive to men, then held her down while Meredith performed a genital piercing. Prosecutor Steve Maresca explained that the piercing, intended to make sexual intercourse painful for the girl, came in response to the mother's discovery that the girl was sexually active.
The case came to light when the girl developed an infection as a result of the piercing. The mother faces up to 30 years in prison, and Meredith, 43, has been sentenced to a year in jail. An arrest warrant has been issued for the mother's boyfriend, one of the people with whom the girl had had sex.

The Canadian Press reports that Carol Lynn Siemens met a woman at a jumble sale who needed someone to care for her 21-year-old mentally disabled daughter. Siemens offered to do the job, for which she received government compensation. It was not long before Siemens, 53, visited an ex-lover and took her charge along to clean his home. Nine months later, the disabled girl's mother found herself caring for another mentally handicapped child. The baby's father, 70-year-old Kenneth Allan, explained that he'd found the two women naked in his bed and that Siemens invited him to join them. Siemens claimed that the three merely shared a bed during a sleepover and that she had no idea anything untoward occurred.
Allan was given house arrest for sexual assault in exchange for testifying against Siemens. Prosecutors later discovered that he had 88 prior convictions, going back more than 50 years, which had been hidden because he had received an official pardon. The pardon has since been revoked.

Ohio's Geraldine Johnson, 37, said she awoke to the sound of a crying baby. She found the child in the dirt in a nearby field. After the boy was taken into custody, police officers found the child's father combing the field for his son. The man, whose name was not released, explained that he had been pushing his son's pram home in the dark, after drinking since early afternoon, and hit a bump in the field. It was only upon returning home that he noticed that there was no longer a child in the pram. The infant is staying with his maternal grandmother for the time being.

While Cody Goodnight, 31, was paying for a can of soda at a Fort Worth, Texas, shop, clerk Ricky Benard Young tried to make small talk with him. When Goodnight didn't respond, Young threw his change on the floor. As Goodnight bent to pick it up, Young hit him in the side of the head with a crowbar. When Goodnight returned home with a large knot on his head, his family contacted the police. Officers, who found that the shop's surveillance video had been erased, questioned the 20-year-old Young, who explained that Goodnight wouldn't acknowledge friendly conversation, and that he picked up the crowbar only after Young had muttered something that sounded like a racial slur and seemed ready to attack him. When officers told Young that Goodnight is deaf and unable to communicate verbally, Young responded 'Oh.'

When his girlfriend refused to give him money to buy drink in a shop in Seaham, County Durham, John Alan Bolt secreted four joints of meat in a tray underneath his girlfriend's son's pram and left the shop. Store manager Mark Forest gave chase, and Bolt managed to escape - after leaving the buggy and its occupant in the car park. Debra Jones, prosecuting, said that the child's mother, who was unaware of the shoplifting, was in the store and took charge of the child. Bolt, 26, admitted his guilt and notched up a 31st conviction for theft.

An officer with West Virginia's Man Police Department and a state trooper were called in when two women stole a donation jar from the Hillbilly Firepit restaurant. When the officers parked at a home to investigate a lead in the case, two men darted out of a pickup truck sitting nearby. One was carrying a firearm. The officers caught up with the men and discovered that they were Scottie Lee Mitchell, 28, and Gregory Michael Karpa, 25, both wanted on felony charges in Ohio. Police sergeant Ray Bryant said that the men, who had nothing to do with the stolen change jar, 'were just in the wrong place at the wrong time', panicking when the police appeared.

Sean Allen Jennings of Spokane, Washington, invited his wife to the garage to see the haunted house he had constructed for their children and then directed her to climb a ladder while wearing a blindfold. He handcuffed her and put a rope around her neck, then pushed her from the ladder. While she balanced on a toe and begged to be released, the 38-year-old Jennings explained that hanging her was a better solution than the couple's ongoing divorce proceedings. When she finally slipped and began hanging from the rope, Jennings pulled her up. He told her to put aloe vera on the rope burns and use a neck brace to hide the marks. Two days later, she rang the police from an area Wal-Mart, and Jennings was arrested.

The Shanghai Daily reports that two migrant workers employed at a restaurant in Qingdao, Shandong Province, decided to steal some money when they saw the manager fill a box with coins. Later, suspicious area residents saw the two men sweating as they made their way slowly to the Qiandao railway station with a half-metre-long bag. Locals summoned the police, who asked the men to open the jingling bag. It contained 5,647 one-yuan coins. The men, surnamed Gao and Ding, said that they regretted the theft because the money was too heavy. They also explained that they had opted not to take a taxi to the railway station because they didn't want to attract attention.

Victor Lopez, 32, showed up for a meeting with his probation officer while sporting a Rolex watch. Santa Fe, New Mexico, deputy police chief Aric Wheeler said that the probation officer contacted the police, who recalled the theft of a $2,500 Rolex watch in a home break-in two days earlier. Lopez said that a friend had left the watch, whose markings matched the stolen one, at his home. Officers remained sceptical.

Dawn Herb of Scranton, Pennsylvania, said: 'The toilet was overflowing and leaking down into the kitchen and I was yelling (for my daughter) to get the mop.' In her displeasure with the situation, she was apparently yelling other things as well. The bathroom window next to her was open, and her next-door neighbour asked her to 'keep it down'. The neighbour, an off-duty police officer, rang the police when she continued cursing. Of the charges of disorderly conduct, which carry a possible 90-day jail sentence and a fine of up to $300, local ACLU lawyer Mary Catherine Roper said: 'You can't prosecute somebody for swearing at a cop or a toilet.'

Glenn Flett is suing Manitoba's Frontier School Division in connection with the free wood he procured from Wanipigow School for home repairs. When he found the wood he wanted, he asked for permission to use a table saw in the high school's wood shop, to cut it into strips. According to the lawsuit, staff members left the room and Flett 'commenced using the table saw when he reached across the table saw, wherein his left hand caught on the saw'. Flett claims that the school was negligent in letting him use the saw, not supervising him, and failing to keep the saw safe. In addition to losing parts of four fingers, Flett says he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and emotional anxiety.

Australian car dealer Mark Anthony Cheers, 39, found a handgun in a car lot he had just bought, and he began twirling it around his finger to impress friend Phillip Marino. The gun also made an impression on Marino's right testicle. Later, the men claimed that the shooting occurred during a robbery, but they soon changed their story. Southport court Judge Fleur Kingham sentenced Cheers to 200 hours of community service. Marino has indicated willingness to have a beer with Cheers after the proceedings are completed.

Sergeant John Rizzitelli of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority reports that a man was trying to impress his family by placing a penny on one of the railroad tracks in Greenwich, Connecticut. He wanted his wife and daughters to see how it would be flattened by an oncoming train. The man was unable to climb back onto the platform. Despite the efforts of his family, and the coin was not the only thing that ended up flattened.

Reuters reports that, after a drinking binge, 29-year-old Li Man-yiu of Hong Kong staggered into a hospital to seek attention for his injured toe. Surveillance videos show that he walked up to the laboratory counter, drank two blood samples, and threw the empty vials in the lift lobby. When he realised what he had drunk, he ran to the loo to vomit. Li, who explained to the court that he was 'extremely thirsty' at the time, pleaded guilty to theft and has been sentenced to two months in jail.

By contrast, blood was apparently the drink of choice for Tiffany Sutton, 24, of Mesa, Arizona. According to police reports, 46-year-old Robert McDaniel agreed to let Sutton tie him up during sex. When Sutton produced a knife and said that she likes to drink blood, he asked to be untied. Sutton responded by applying the knife to his leg, arm, shoulder, back, neck, and stomach. He escaped, and she followed with a pickaxe. She later pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and been sentenced to 10 years in prison. It emerged that alcohol and drugs were involved in the incident.

Vienna's Andreas Flaschner, speaking for the city's disinfection department, reported that several residents reported a worsening smell from a 76-year-old neighbour's flat. It came as no surprise to the authorities that the woman had died - as a doctor has examined her and registered the death. Flaschner said: 'The doctor thought paramedics had removed the body while the paramedics thought the doctor had arranged for it.' The body had been in the flat for nine days before coming to official attention for the second time.

Charlie Thomas, a three-year-old boy in Cullompton, Devon, decided that a traffic cone would make a good Harry Potter wizard's hat. His magic powers were insufficient to remove the cone, as was the soap that his parents applied in an attempt to free him. His parents summoned the fire brigade, who were able to remove the cone with cutting tools and pliers after half an hour's work.

Prisoners at Arendal Prison in Fyresdal, Norway, discovered a fire and chose to extinguish it rather than flee the open prison. When firefighters arrived, about 40 minutes after the fire was reported, the fire had been put out. Prisoner Ronny Stenberg said: 'We couldn't let such a nice prison burn down. I've done time in a closed prison; I wouldn't wish that on anyone.' The prisoners were rewarded with cake and sweeties.


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© 2007 Anna Shefl