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October 2008

7 October 2008

The Homestead restaurant in the California desert hung $1 notes on the walls, with each dollar bearing a message from a customer. Donald Dejarnette, 34, decided it would be good to steal about 8,000 of these marked notes. He then began to spend them. Among the payments he made was a court fine. The clerk processing the payment immediately recognised the banknotes, some of which even had 'Homestead' written on them. About $1,000 of the cash has been recovered, and Dejarnette and four others have been arrested in connection with the theft.

In the course of her duties cleaning homes in Lincoln, Nebraska, Mary E. McDaniel hatched a plot to steal the safe of a client who owned several businesses. The 52-year-old McDaniel recruited an accomplice to distract the woman while two others grabbed the safe from her house. The five then split the haul. McDaniel netted about $80, rather less than the $15,000 she had envisioned. All five involved in the theft have been arrested.

A seven-year-old boy leapt over a fence at Australia's Alice Springs Reptile Center and proceeded to beat three lizards to death with a rock. After all, he needed something to feed the zoo's saltwater crocodile. In his half-hour romp of desctruction, the boy also threw several live animals into the crocodile's enclosure to be eaten. 'It was like he was playing a game' is how zoo director Rex Neindorf described what surveillance cameras showed of the boy's manner.
Just as in a game, there are to be no consequences. Children under 10 years of age cannot be charged with criminal offences in the Northern Territory, and his name cannot legally be released. Neindorf said he plans to sue the boy's parents.

As a result of an apparent administrative error by Exxon, the Marseille football players and staff found that no fuel purchase had been authorised for their flight back to France after a match in Spain. Exxon representatives refused to accept payment by credit card from the pilot. In the end, flight staff and the football club's members contributed the necessary 3,000 euros in cash, and the Aigle Azur flight was on its way. The airline report having received an apology from Exxon, who have launched an internal inquiry.

Election politics have been causing candidates' tempers to flare. During a live television interview, one of the candidates trailing in the polls in the run-up to the election for governor of Bangkok punched and kicked a journalist. Chuvit Kamolvisit, who said he had been provoked by humiliating questions, apologised for assaulting host Visarn Dilokwanich. 'He was very upset when I told him during the show that what he said off-air and on-air was totally different' is how Visarn described the circumstances.

Police found a sedan smoking in the middle of a Rhode Island street. Firefighters put out the blaze, and the 28-year-old man in the car explained to officers that the fire had started because he had been smoking a cigarette in the car. The fireworks near his feet had ignited. Indeed, witnesses said they had seen a passenger scooping lit fireworks out of the car just before the police arrived. The 28-year-old man is charged with use or possession of illegal fireworks valued at under $500.

An advert posted on requested landscaping help for a city project in Monroe, Washington, for $28.50 an hour. Thus it came to pass that several people showed up in the required yellow safety vest, blue long-sleeved shirt, eye protection, and ventilator mask at the meeting point. This was a park near a bank, where a similarly dressed man soon arrived and held up an armoured truck during a cash delivery. He escaped, and authorities are still trying to figure out the origin of the work advert, according to FBI agent Roberta A. Burroughs.

A 24-year-old woman in Fort Myers, Florida, says that she wanted to go to sleep while boyfriend Jonathon Guabello preferred to have sex. Under the influence of Xanax and alcohol, he decided to punish her by shooting himself twice in the arm. The 29-year-old Guabello then threatened to kill her if she tried to send him to rehab or call for help. After this, he stumbled into the kitchen and fell into the oven, knocking himself out. He was taken to hospital and then to jail.

A man in Mukwonago, Wisconsin, realised that he didn't have enough petrol in his sport utility vehicle to get home from his friends' home. So, aided by a woman, he began to syphon petrol from a van. When he wanted to see how much petrol he had gathered, he flicked a cigarette lighter. Police report that the man burned his hands and created enough fire that local residents rang the police.
The man and woman were found in a nearby car park. He was arrested for theft and negligent use of burning materials.

A man, identified by the Kazakh press as R. Iskendirov, was arrested for driving while under the influence of alcoholic beverages. A court rejected the charges against him, even though he had admitted that he'd had a few drinks. This is because he argued that he had been drinking fermented mare's milk (kumys), prescribed to him by a doctor for its alleged health-boosting properties. Kumys, which can contain up to about 4% alcohol, is not listed in the legislation of Kazakhstan as an alcoholic beverage.

According to his sister, aspiring Eddington chef Andrew Lee challenged his girlfriend's brother to a contest to see who could eat the hottest chili sauce. Lee's father even grew special chilis in preparation for the contest. The chef's sister reports that on the day of the contest the 33-year-old Lee ate his sauce and 'apparently got into bed at 2:30am and started scratching all over. His girlfriend scratched his back until he fell asleep.' Lee never woke up. He was judged to have died of a heart attack. Toxicological tests continue.

Illinois's Stephen Crane is unhappy with the marital counselling he and his wife, Maureen, received from parish priest Christopher Floss. After several sessions of one-on-one therapy, Maureen left Stephen and Floss left the Roman Catholic priesthood. Crane is suing Floss and the diocese, with the charges including professional negligence, alienation of affection, and negligence in supervision and retention of the priest. Crane is seeking money to help raise his children and to pay for therapy from a medical professional.

According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, a woman reported that there was a bat in her house. She was able to get to sleep anyway and woke the next morning, had her coffee, and found the bat in the filter of her automatic coffee-maker when she started to clean it later in the day. She has been treated for possible rabies. Health officials say lab testing was unable to determine whether the bat was rabid, as its brain had been too well cooked by the hot water.

A family in Chalmette, Louisiana, returned home to find that their home had been burgled. St. Bernard Parish sheriff Jack Stephens said: 'This is like something out of World's Stupidest Criminals' - because the family's distinctive blanket was hanging in the window of the house next door. The police said the alleged burglars were using the blanket to hide themselves from view. Troy Clouatre, 35, and his aunt, Lisa J. Smith, 47, were arrested on charges of simple burglary and possession of more than $5,000 in stolen property.

23 October 2008

Rose Stevens, the 76-year-old owner of an Alabama hairdresser's shop, was stopped by a police officer, who asked her: 'Do you wear flowered smocks?' The night before, a 42-year-old man had tried to break into her shop, couldn't get in, and left. Officers in the area collected the man, who was sporting a wig and a floral-patterned smock in an apparent attempt to look like Stevens. The man explained to officers that he had wanted to sit in the shop and look at himself in the mirror.

A representative at the Maroochydore police station in Queensland, Australia, reported an embarrassing theft. Thousands of Ecstasy pills, along with various other drugs seized in police business, were stolen from an exhibit room at the station. Spokesman Ben Tracey said that a 36-year-old tradesman who had been given unsupervised access to the room will be charged next week. However, most of the drugs are still at large.

The collapse of a US bank led to cancellation of a project to build a resort on West Caicos island. On the island were 300 Chinese labourers who had paid an agency the equivalent of 12,000 euros each to take part in the project. When Ashtrom, the Israeli real-estate company managing the project, offered the workers compensation for the days they hadn't worked and for their travel back to China, they insisted on getting their investment back as well. This insistence was manifested in capturing the island's marina and taking 12 Ashtrom overseers hostage.
In an agreement, the labourers were promised the full amount they had demanded and the Israeli nationals were freed. Several of them have decided to remain on the island to complete their work commitments.

Ezra James Wallace, 29, had been drinking vodka before deciding to photograph the elder of the two teenaged sisters sitting next to him on a flight from San Diego to Denver. When the girl covered her face with her hands, Wallace decided to solve the problem by removing athletic tape from his backpack and using it to tie her hands together. He tried to do the same to the younger sister's hands. The older sister removed the tape with her teeth, and an air stewardess removed the teenagers from that section of the aircraft.
Wallace, who described the incident as 'horse playing', was arrested when the plane landed. He is now in federal court to face charges of assault. Speaking on his behalf, his father described the act as the result of a 'boneheaded decision', adding that 'sometimes you just want to smack 'em'.

Louis Johnson of Georgetown, Delaware, is suing the Beebe Medical Center in connection with his 61-year-old wife's death there in May 2007. Half an hour after he brought her to the hospital, she suffered a heart attack. Half an hour after that, medical staff had ceased attempts to resuscitate her and she was declared dead on account of having no pulse. She was put in the queue for the morgue. One and a half hours later, however, a nurse noticed that she was breathing, although she still had no clear pulse. The tube was removed from her throat, and she was given further care. Her husband contends that better care could have prevented some of her brain injury and liver damage.

David Grigorian was ordered to surrender his marmoset, Cheeta, because he did not have a permit to own a monkey. The 43-year-old California man was unhappy with this outcome and told a court commissioner that he'd instead sent the animal to Mexico. Grigorian presented proof as well: a photo of Cheeta in front of a recent Mexican newspaper, with red and green decorations festooning the background. Commissioner Thomas Grodin said he wasn't convinced, and Grigorian eventually admitted that the monkey was in downtown Los Angeles. Grigorian has agreed to surrender the animal.

A couple in Long Island, New York, found a rental house for $1000 per month. Two weeks after they moved in, the owner showed up and asked them why they were there. It turned out that real-estate agent Gregory Garvin was simply someone who had noticed the vacant home and wanted to make some money on the sly. In addition to the initial rent payment, he had collected a security deposit from the couple. Garvin has been charged with grand larceny and fraud.

After an 18-year marriage, a Cambodian couple have split up, quite literally. In the divorce settlement, 42-year-old Moeun Sarim took half of the six-by-7.5-metre wooden home they had shared. Wife Vat Navy, 35, said: 'Very strange, but this is what my husband wanted'; he and his relatives used saws to remove half of the house. The pieces - roof tiles, wooden pillars, and all - are now stored in his parents' home nearby.
Village chief Bou Bout, who was among the witnesses when the home was sawn in two, said local officials had tried three times to get Moeun to reconcile with Vat, whom he had accused of adultery with a policeman.

When the Norwegian government told Parliament member Saera Khan that it would no longer pay her telephone bills (which came to the equivalent of about 6000 euros in three months alone), she explained that she had been ringing a satellite phone used by her boyfriend, who was supposedly on a secret mission with British special forces. Later, she admitted the real reason: she had consulted pay-by-the-minute fortune-tellers 793 times in the course of nine months. Khan, who said she has paid back the amount, is not seeking re-election.

When Michigan's Darin Najor, 20, was assigned to read The Crucible for an adult education class, he asked the teacher whether she believed in witchcraft. She said she did not and explained that the play examines unjust persecution, using the Salem witch trials as a metaphor. In response, Najor 'threw his homework papers on the floor and declared it was all blasphemy', according to the police. The next day, he began chanting what sounded like religious verses, poured a liquid on the teacher's head, and threatened to burn her. He later explained to the police that he was trying to kill the witch by pouring holy water on her. He has been sent for psychiatric evaluation.

A Stratford, Connecticut, woman sued L'Oreal, Inc. for ruining her social life. Charlotte Feeney explained in court that a container of dark hair dye was mis-labelled, causing her to no longer be a blonde. She said that she missed the attention of being a blonde, ended up staying home and/or wearing hats, and suffered headaches and anxiety on account of being unable to ever return to her natural hair colour. The judge has dismissed Feeney's case, explaining that she never proved her case that L'Oreal put brown hair dye in a box labelled as blond.

In Connecticut, a police officer turned on his lights and siren and told a motorist to pull to the side of the road. The motorist was a police officer, Lieutenant Ronald Bair. It turned out that the man who had pulled him over, 20-year-old Israel Gomez, was not. Bair summoned backup. Officers arrested Gomez for impersonating a police officer and also arrested his backup, 20-year-old accomplice Esteban Cardona, for reckless driving.

According to police reports, a 68-year-old tourist was gambling in downtown Reno, Nevada, when someone mugged him and stole his waist pack, which contained his mobile telephone. Before the victim was able to transfer his number to a new telephone, the mugger used the mobile to ring a relative. That family member later tried to call the mugger back and reached the victim. In the conversation that followed, the relative gave the victim the apparent mugger's name. Jason Scott Heck, 34, has been arrested and admitted to the robbery.

Shawna Foster, a mother in Victorville, California, likes to support her daughter, so she drove her to a local park to fight a rival 12-year-old girl. When her daughter appeared to be losing the fight, the 31-year-old Foster intervened, allegedly grabbing the other girl's hair, dragging her across the ground, and slapping her in the face. Foster was jailed pending investigation of corporal injury to a child. The details of the incident became known in part because at least one of the adults watching the fight recorded a video of it.

Police in Washington, DC, report that 22-year-old Bryan Perez and an accomplice committed armed robbery of an alleged brothel. During the armed robbery, one of the victims grabbed Perez's silver machete and cut off his right thumb. The two men escaped, and the thumb remained at the scene. After being fingerprinted, it was reunited with its owner, who showed up two hours later at a local hospital's emergency department. Police report that a physician said the thumb 'fits like a puzzle piece'.

A prosecutor has dropped charges of petty theft against a Cincinnati woman who refused to return a football that had been lobbed into her garden by a neighbour's teenaged son. Edna Jester, 89, explained that she had repeatedly warned her neighbor's five teenaged children that she did not want to retrieve their football, since 'I'm not a ball chaser' and they were on her property interrupting her meals and Bible-reading. After media reports covered the matter, Prosecutor Mark Arnzen said there was insufficient culpability to prosecute Jester.

Japanese police report that a 43-year-old woman took her virtual divorce from her 'husband' in the online Maple Story game world badly. The 33-year-old office worker whose character she had 'married' had given her his login information during their times of bliss, and she used those details to kill off his character. When he noticed that his avatar, one year in the creating, no longer existed, he contacted the police. A police official in Sapporo said the woman explained that she had been divorced without any warning and that this had made her angry. Arrested for illegal access on a computer and manipulating electronic data, she could face a prison term of up to five years or a fine of roughly 4000 euros.

A fight broke out early this month at a baby shower in Edwards, Colorado. The reason for the fight, which wasn't reported immediately, was not immediately obvious. What was known is that one man hit another in the head with a beer bottle and that he retaliated by hitting the first man in the head with a metal car jack. Four men were arrested, two for assault and two for disorderly conduct. According to Eagle County Sheriff's spokesman Shannon Cordingly, the men are also being investigated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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