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September 2011


6 September 2011

Canada's Cory Henderson, 21, tried to leave a Vancouver restaurant without paying for his CN$ 38 meal. According to an RCMP press release, he told the staff who stopped him that they should ring the police and that he would be at the petrol station next door. A couple of minutes later, someone robbed the petrol station at screwdriver-point. Not long after that, Henderson returned to the restaurant and paid his bill. He has now been arrested and faces charges of robbery.

Arthur Phillips III and Brittany Lurch wanted a wedding reception that people would remember. Instead, people will remember the news story about this Pennsylvania couple. The pair decided to collect the necessary food for the reception from a local supermarket, and not to stop their shopping trolley at the tills on the way out. They were arrested, thanks to surveillance camera footage, after making off with more than $1,000 in food.

British Columbia's Rick Gillingham visited his university hospital for a painkiller, whereupon the doctor began asking questions about his cancer. Gillingham's insistence that he doesn't have cancer was met with remarks such as 'It's all right; nobody can hear our conversation', until girlfriend Charlaine MacGillivray barged into the room. She could hear the conversation and was upset that Gillingham had kept his illness a secret.
Things became clearer when the physician asked 'if you're not the one taking the phenobarbital, who is?': MacGillivray remembered that it was the dog. A veterinarian had prescribed the medicine to ease the symptoms of canine epilepsy, and the province's PharmaNet system had no way of indicating that Gillingham and his dog were different creatures. Adding to the confusion, the vet shares the same name as a prominent cancer specialist.

In Britain, Christopher Lowcock was given a curfew as part of his punishment for drugs and weapons offences. When two workers with private security company G4S arrived at his home in Rochdale to tag him, Lowcock's leg was wrapped in a bandage, but they were able to attach the tracking device regardless and were on their way. Soon, so was Lowcock: he simply removed his prosthetic limb when he wanted to go out after hours.
G4S later said that managers who had subsequently visited Lowcock's home discovered that he had been taken into custody, leaving his tag behind. The workers who attached the tag have been sacked for not following correct procedures.

A San Diego teenager, age 16, and his friend decided to throw rocks at vehicles, including an SUV. They didn't see someone in the SUV respond by aiming a crossbow out one of its windows, but the 16-year-old felt the result. He was hit in the right side and taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The identity of the occupants of the SUV is unknown, but they are believed to be teenaged boys.

Colorado's Jon Hutt was gathering firewood for winter when his tractor-trailer made a sudden movement and ended up on his right foot. After half an hour of shouting for help, the 61-year-old Hutt worried that shock was setting in, so he cut away his boot with his pocket knife. To escape from this 'bear trap', though, he would have to cut off all of his toes too. He said: 'it took some work to cut through the tendons on the two big toes. Plus, at that point, the blade was getting dull.'
Hutt used a shirt as a tourniquet and drove into mobile phone range, where emergency workers soon met him. He describes himself as 'on the mend' but not so happy with the source of his fame.

David Senk was lying on the ground outside a Del Paso Heights, California, liquor store and couldn't remember why someone would have hit him. It later emerged that a couple had been passing their pet python around and Senk had decided to bite the animal, twice. It is believed that he swallowed some of the snake.
The python was taken for emergency surgery and lost several ribs, according to the Sacramento Bee. When asked why he might have bitten the snake, the 54-year-old Senk replied from jail: 'I get drunk. I get crazy. I don't know. I've been an alcoholic for a long time.'

A police officer in Mankato, Minnesota, stopped two stepsisters who were taking a goat for a walk at 11:30pm. The pyjama-clad girls, six and seven years old, explained that they would often take the goat out of their bedroom closet for a clandestine walk, because their father was unaware that their mother had bought it for them. The police officer accompanied the girls to their home and spoke with their parents, who explained that they'd attended a birthday party at the Sibley Park Zoo earlier in the day. Shortly after the party, the zoo's goat count was found to have decreased. It has now returned to normal.

Arkansas's Steven Lynn recently went for his first aeroplane ride, in a small craft from which Lynn began taking pictures of his home. While doing so, he noticed two men taking items from his house. He later said: 'Sure enough, there was a truck hooked onto a trailer, and guys were loading stuff up. It didn't seem to faze them that we were buzzing over in an airplane; we got down pretty low.'
Lynn rang a local uncle and the emergency number. When Lynn's uncle reached the scene, the two men fled. The uncle and police pursued the culprits on the ground while the pilot provided turn-by-turn road directions. Roosevelt Smith III and Joseph Peel were soon arrested on charges of burglary and theft.

Child-minder Teresa Coffey collapsed while looking after a one-month-old baby in a Greenlawn, New York, home. When the baby's father returned home, he found Coffey, 39, on the couch but couldn't find the baby. He soon found his son underneath Coffey. Neither had survived. Detective Lieutenant Gerard Pelkofsky said: 'Because of the amount of flesh, it could have caused the baby to suffocate' - Coffey was termed 'extremely heavy'.

A quiz show in Holland has pitted soon-to-be-deported asylum-seekers against each other to win prizes such as cash and bullet-proof vests. Contestants - such as a Chechnyan student in Slavic languages and an aeronautical engineer from Cameroon - answered questions about Dutch culture, history, and language on the programme, whose title 'Weg van Nederland' can be taken to mean either 'leaving the Netherlands' or 'mad about the Netherlands'.
As head of the television station responsible, Frank Wiering said: 'My first reaction was "Terrible idea - we're not doing that". Then I looked into the issue more deeply and decided we have to do this.' Wouter van Zandwijk, speaking for Holland's Refugee Support Group, concurred: 'The programme is sick, but, let's face it, the reality is sick too.' He referred to young people whose cases take many years and who are more at home in the Netherlands than in their country of origin.

Police officers in Atlanta, Georgia, found no traces of forced entry to a deceased woman's home after items there went missing. The woman's 12-year-old great-granddaughter, Jessica Maple, had attended Junior District Attorney crime-fighting camp this summer and wanted to have a look herself, however. She found broken garage windows, nearby fingerprints, and other evidence that the police had missed. She then visited the pawnshop down the street and found her great-grandmother's property on sale: 'They put everything in the same shop!' The owner of the pawnshop had picture IDs on file for the frequent visitors in question, so Jessica's next step was to go, with her mother, to the home of one of the men. She says: 'We went up to him and I asked him why he did it. At first he denied it, but then he confessed.'
Jessica, who impressed Gerard Pelkofsky with her 'incredible' detective work, expressed surprise that the police have yet to act on the information she provided.

A woman in Hedemora, Sweden, became worried when the father of her son began firing a pistol into the sky from the window of his flat. She called the police, who reported that it took several hours to convince him to stop shooting at the sky. He had explained that he was shooting at a fleet of UFOs that explode when hit.
The man, whose record includes a conviction for attempted manslaughter, has been taken in for psychiatric evaluation.

Stuart Keen, a 57-year-old carpenter in Wantage, was cutting wood for a cabinet when he cut himself with the saw. Paramedics found him bleeding in his bathtub. Physicians were able to reattach his penis. His mother, Edna, said: 'This was an unfortunate accident, but these things happen all the time to people in his profession.' She nonetheless described him as 'quite embarrassed'.

26 September 2011

A 21-year-old Oregon man recently asked for blackjack chips at the front desk of the police station at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. He went away after being told that the station wasn't a casino. When he returned a few minutes later with the same request, an officer tested his blood alcohol level and found it to be three times the legal driving limit. They kept him in detox until he was sober.

In other alcohol-related news, a man tried to steal a bottle of booze from an off-licence in south-east Colorado Springs, Colorado. The owner of the shop used a remote control to lock up, trapping the miscreant inside. The shoplifter's accomplice outside, hoping to free his friend, shot at the door. He only ended up shooting him in the foot. The shooter fled the scene before police arrived.

According to a police affidavit, Colorado's Robert Jeffrey Young, 43, went to friend Jeffrey Jarrett's home and found him unresponsive. Rather than summon medics, he fetched another friend, 25-year-old Mark Rubinson. Allegedly, the two men together placed Jarrett in Rubinson's car and went to a bar, where they charged their drinks to Jarrett's tab, then withdrew money from a strip club's cash machine with his card before returning him to his home. At the end of the night, they flagged down a police officer to report that they thought their friend might be dead at home.

Thanks to Mike (did you receive my e-mail?) for the next story: Mark Multari, who owns a jewellery shop in Sharon, Pennsylvania, reported the theft of about 100 rings in a burglary and offered a reward for information on the case. The next day, Emile Pratt Jr rang him and 'said he would help in any way', according to Multari. Pratt, 28, claimed that he had heard the shop's glass breaking at 2:45am. Having thus drawn attention to himself, he was readily identified as the one who had sold some of the items to various area pawn shops.

Unfortunately, stories such as this one are heading toward the 'no longer unusual' zone: In Canada, a University of Victoria student was arrested in response to complaints that he was stumbling about and being belligerent. According to a police press release, the 18-year-old man was taken to the station, where his girlfriend, 19, showed up about half an hour later to collect him. A police press release states: 'While speaking to an officer at the front desk she was also found to have a strong odour of liquor. When asked how she arrived at the police station, she said in a cab. When officers looked at the video monitors, no cab was seen at the station.' The officers simply watched her as she left the station and then kept her from driving away. Her sister's car, which she had driven to the station, has been impounded.

Hunter Lacey complains that his Montana restaurant has seen a dramatic decrease in business because of its listing in the telephone directory. He says that the problems began in 2009, with 'a series of phone calls [...] where it was either people in earnest asking us to come and remove carcasses or prank calls'. The listing of Bar 3 Bar-B-Q under 'Animal Carcass Removal' later spread to other telephone directories, and in January of this year, Jay Leno called attention to it on television. Lacey is now suing the phone book's publishing company, Dex Media.
He contends that the listing was a Dex Media employee's deliberate retaliation for Lacey's refusal to buy an advertisement from him. In a response filed with the court, Dex Media lawyer Gregory Black stated that someone from the restaurant was negligent in berating a Dex Media employee and should have seen the potential for negative consequences.

Ohio's Ashley N. Jessup, 24, is charged with raping and endangering her 10-month old son. The incidents, alleged to have taken place at her mother's home, are recorded on video. Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien explained that 'over a period of time she was exchanging progressively worse materials via e-mail to her boyfriend in Michigan' and that her behaviour with the child had been discussed beforehand.
The case came to light because an ex-girlfriend of that boyfriend apparently found the video and contacted the police. While the investigation continues, another party has become involved: the baby's father, Jonathan Vasquez, is reportedly working to gain custody.

In Kentucky, nine members of a strict Amish sect were jailed for 3-10 days each for refusing to pay $158 in fines and court costs. They had explained that paying the fines, imposed for failure to display an orange reflective triangle on their horse-drawn buggies, would have represented compliance with a state law that violates their religion's ban on wearing bright colours and on trusting in man-made symbols for one's safety.
According to Kentucky's Courier-Journal, the Mayfield jail has special-ordered dark-coloured rather than orange jumpsuits for the men.

After two of a pizza restaurant's delivery drivers had been robbed when delivering to a certain neighbourhood in Newport, Rhode Island, the police asked to be contacted before the next delivery to that area. According to the Providence Journal, the two men who tried to rob the third A-1 Pizza driver with a pellet gun received a surprise: the driver was a cop, and there were two other officers hiding in the back of the delivery car. The men, 30-year-old William White and a juvenile, may be charged in connection with the two earlier incidents also.

In 2000, Canada's Shirley Anderson, now 73, was awarded 10 Canadian dollars a month in support from each of her adult children under the British Columbia Family Relations Act, which deems adults responsible for supporting their ill, aged, or impoverished parents. One of her sons, 47-year-old Ken Anderson, refused to pay the higher sum she insisted upon - CN$ 750 per month - so she initiated a lawsuit.
He has explained to the court that she hadn't provided financial documents backing up her assertions and has also pointed out that he'd had to quit school at age 15 when his parents abandoned him, leaving him to fend for himself when they moved house with his younger brother. He says: 'I'm done paying her and if the court awards her more money, after she's used government money to go after us for the last 12 years, I won't pay a cent.'

Finally, in the US we have Shayla Jamie Sutherland, a 28-year-old Marietta, Georgia, woman who saw no harm in taking her three- and five-year-old children with her for a drug deal. She and accomplice Leah Porter were negotiating the sale of prescription medicines to dealer Brandon Schott Donahue through their minivan window in a drugstore car park when the children began playing with a 12-gauge shotgun that had been left on the back seat. The three-year-old fired it through the vehicle's roof.
Someone who heard the shot contacted the police. Officers found Sutherland hiding in the drugstore, and her children were found in Donahue's car.


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© 2011 Anna Shefl