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September 2008

11 September 2008

Police officer Kurtis Ward stopped a driver for weaving in and out of traffic on Interstate Highway 40 in New Mexico. The 31-year-old driver had an explanation for the erratic movements, however: he told Ward that his passenger had spilled his beer. Ward said he'd initially thought the nonchalant driver was joking. However, there were four opened bottles of beer in the car, and the driver reportedly proved himself too intoxicated to perform field sobriety tests. He was arrested - for the sixth time - for driving while intoxicated.

Iowa's Carrol Laverne Uitermarkt and Ralph Touch had a habit of cleaning their basement floor with petrol. Their technique involved putting a small amount of petrol on the floor, letting it sit for a time, and then sucking it up with an electric hoover. Touch told police officers that the Shop-Vac was nearly full of petrol when he went outside. A moment later, he heard and felt an explosion. Touch and a passing biker helped the seriously injured 56-year-old Uitermarkt to hospital. The building's walls and foundation were bowed by the blast, and a nearby property was damaged also.

A Melbourne court recently heard details of a stag party gone wrong. Linda Naggs, a 39-year-old stripper hired to entertain at the party, performed an unspecified act for the groom and then moved on to the best man. While the best man was on the ground partially naked, the court heard, Naggs raped him with a sex toy. The best man allegedly got up, called Naggs an idiot, and said she had to leave. The two began to fight, with the fight ending when Naggs threatened to summon her 'bikie mates'. The court proceedings continue.

Reuters reports that three Chinese scrap merchants, after some haggling, bought a 274-kilo ball of metal in Kyrgyzstan for the equivalent of about 1500 euros. They smuggled the ball into China, and one of the men hid it in his father-in-law's home in Xinjiang, where 'they were surprised that at night when the lights went out the treasure sparkled and glittered'. One of the men, identified in local news reports as Wang, chipped a piece from it to keep beside his bed to look at and play with.
Wang decided to take a sample of the metal to Beijing, taped to his body for safekeeping, for appraisal. The appraiser identified the substance as depleted uranium, and the three men were arrested for smuggling it. However, a prosecutor accepted their argument that they didn't know what they had smuggled and the charges were dropped.

Police in Springfield, Massachusetts, report that a local resident saw two people repeatedly enter and leave the rear entrance of a clothing store with boxes and bags. Officers who were sent to investigate discovered that the store's entire stock, worth tens of thousands of dollars, had been stolen. However, Sergeant John Delaney said, the thieves were easy to spot in the area, as they were wearing some of the stolen clothes, with price tags still attached. The pair were arrested after a short chase on foot.

A 21-year-old man from Iowa City, Iowa, is accused of using a stolen credit card to buy latte and cigarettes. He was caught fairly easily because, when buying the cigarettes, he had signed the receipt with his own name. Also, when in a store whose authorisation system indicated that the card was stolen, the man presented his own identification as reassurance. Officers caught up to him at a deli, and he admitted to using the card - but not to taking it. He said he found it in his house after a party.

Vanessa Anne Ocampo, 19, told police investigators that her family went to Eugene Palma's bar and followed him home. She said her mother, Dannette R. Gillespie, then handed knives to her and her 15-year-old sister and told the girls to rob Palma while she waited in the car. The two teenagers stabbed Palma, 75, several times and then searched his pockets and car, where they found $15. The three females were caught thanks, in part, to the palm prints they left on Palma's car.

Residents of Trenton, New Jersey, summoned the police after hearing cries of 'Help me! Help me!' from Evelyn DeLeon's home next door. When no-one answered the door, officers kicked it in. Inside they found the source of the distress - a caged cockatoo.
About seven years ago, officers had visited the home once before. Then, the bird had been crying like a baby for several hours, prompting reports of an abandoned infant. DeLeon said that most of the sounds come from what the bird, Luna, hears on television.

27 September 2008

Reuters reports that a group of dozens of train robbers attempted to steal diesel fuel from a freight carriage in India's Assam state. A police patrol party arriving on the scene found many empty drums that the group had apparently brought with them to fill with oil. They also discovered the corpses of 15 members of the robber gang. The group had accidentally broken open the wrong tank - one containing a poison gas. At least 30 others were found unconscious along the railroad tracks.

Italy's Corriere della Sera reports that a Milan-area lawyer and part-time judge identified only as 'Gabriella' was called to serve as a substitute judge when she already had an engagement as a defence lawyer. Since she wanted the fees for both jobs, she decided simply to send her identical twin to the latter appointment. The clients quickly figured out that the twin is not qualified as an attorney, and now the sisters will need lawyers of their own.

Dutch judges have sentenced 55-year-old Ben Verlinden to four months in prison for mistreating four patients since being stripped of his dentist's licence in 2001. The court heard that he had been banned twice before for, among other things, 'drilling teeth to bits', but he found work by using the registration number of a licensed dentist, his twin brother. Verlinden evaded capture last year via his office's fire escape but was later apprehended, instruments in hand.
Meanwhile, 64-year-old Hok Tong Kwee has been charged in Amsterdam with destroying the teeth of at least 10 patients in the three years since his licence was revoked. There may be many more - hundreds of people have responded to a call for victims to come forward. His trial continues.

Police in Lincoln, Nebraska, report that a 25-year-old man called them to ask for help because someone was trying to break into his flat. The officers who arrived discovered that the person attempting to enter was the apartment manager. The flat was supposed to be vacant, but someone had changed the locks and the 25-year-old man was living there illegally. Also, upon entering the building, officers found a couple of kilos of marijuana as well as equipment for growing such a crop.

Rev. Christopher Layden, the 33-year-old campus priest at the University of Illinois, has been charged with selling cocaine from his church office and rectory. After an informant reported purchasing drugs from the priest, police officers searched his offices and found cocaine, drug paraphernalia, and scales. Layden has pleaded not guilty.

A Japanese court has ruled in favour of a man who was upset by the activities of the funeral hall neighbouring his home. The man, who claimed he 'can't laugh and [must] live behind closed curtains', asked that Kyoto Prefecture's Uji Sosai Kagotatsu funeral hall be required to make its fence about twice as high and pay him damages. The court ruled that seeing funeral attendees was acceptable but that the man's 'spiritual calm' should not be disturbed by the sight of coffins.

A lorry driver was three hours late with his delivery to Windsor Castle for England's football match with Croatia. However, the royal protection officer who greeted him knew nothing about the delivery at all - the royal staff were not expecting 2000 pints of lager.
However, the Windsor Castle pub, about eight kilometres away, was. After the other Windsor Castle rang him to sort out the confusion, pub landlord Misko Coric said: 'We have received mail for the royal household here before, but I think this is the first time they have received anything meant for us.'
A spokesman for the royal residence said: 'It was very funny. But there's no way the Queen sits down in the evening with a pint.'

A 67-year-old hunter in Austria awakened from snoozing in a watchtower near Schmiedrait. Immediately he saw his prey 80 metres away and took a shot at it. However, what he'd thought was a wild boar was actually a car that had just pulled over on a forest path upon breaking down. When the bullet went through the car, its 19-year-old driver emerged shaken but unharmed.
Local police said that alcohol was not involved. The hunter is to be cited for 'causing potential bodily harm'.

Wisconsin's Wendy Brown wanted to be a cheerleader and was looking forward to earning her high-school diploma. All was going well - she passed tryouts, was attending cheerleading practice, had attended a party at the coach's house, and was enjoying life in high school. Everything changed when the cheque she wrote for her cheerleading uniform bounced. It became clear then that Brown is not 15 years old but 33. She had stolen the identity of her daughter, who lives in another state. Brown, who has a history of identity theft, faces up to six years in prison.

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© 2008 Anna Shefl