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News Quirks


Published April 15, 2009 at 9:18 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again Police investigating the theft of $400,000 worth of prescription drugs from a pharmacy in Upper Darby, Pa., had few leads until a man called to say he was concerned because he saw keys in the trunk of his neighbor’s car. The Philadelphia Daily News reported that officers responded, opened the trunk and found crowbars, a diagram of the pharmacy and a gym bag containing most of the stolen drugs with the neighbor’s name, Thomas Ferkler, on it. They arrested Ferkler, 43.

• Elias Efremidis, 52, lived in Front Royal, Va., without incident for 21 years until he was arrested for shining a laser pointer at police. While charging him, officers learned Efremidis had been wanted in Massachusetts on drug trafficking charges since 1988. He was returned to authorities in Boston.

Always the Last Place You Look After emergency crews rescued a man stuck in a toilet at a rest area in Filer, Idaho, he explained he couldn’t find his car keys after using the lavatory and reckoned they must have fallen in. The Twin Falls Times-News reported the man removed the base of the toilet and climbed in to search but couldn’t climb back out. “It took some lifting to get him out, and he had cut himself pretty good trying to get himself out,” Police Chief Cliff Johnson said, noting that while the man was rinsing off with a fire hose “he discovered the keys were still in his back pocket.”

Mensa Reject of the Week Matthew F. Dugger, 21, was treated for shrapnel wounds at a hospital in Cape Coral, Fla., after one of the bullets he was hitting with a hammer in his driveway exploded.

Slightest Provocation A judge in Lincoln, Neb., sentenced Carlos Lupercio, 49, to prison for firing a crossbow at his neighbor after the two argued about the breed of the neighbor’s dog.

• Police in Upper Darby, Pa., accused Lyndel Toppin, 50, of biting his fiancée’s wrist and attacking her with a kitchen knife after he “became enraged due to the victim not placing cheese on his hoagie roll correctly,” according to the arrest affidavit. “Wait until he gets a load of the prison food,” Superintendent John Reilly Jr. told the Philadelphia Daily News.

• Sheriff’s officials in Port Richey, Fla., said the 18-year-old driver of a car hit a 26-year-old passenger with a fish tank and then a beer bottle because the passenger refused the driver’s request to pay $3 for gas.

Whacking Day — Without Barry White Hundreds of Australians in five communities across northern Queensland celebrated the state’s first “Toad Day Out” by killing thousands of poisonous cane toads. The Associated Press reported the hunt and accompanying festivities involved capturing the toads alive and unharmed and bringing them to collection points to be euthanized. “To see the look on the faces of the kids as we were handling and weighing the toads and then euthanizing them was just…,” Townsville City Council member Vern Veitch said, his voice breaking off with emotion. “The children really got into the character of the event.”

Damned If You Do, Dead If You Don’t By getting less sun and using more high-protection sunscreen, Americans could be trading a lower risk of skin cancer for a higher risk of osteoporosis and fractures, heart disease, infections and some other cancers, according to a study showing that people aren’t getting enough vitamin D. Reporting in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers, from Harvard University and the University of Colorado at Denver said that 70 percent of whites, 97 percent of blacks and 90 percent of Hispanics in the United States had vitamin D levels below the level considered adequate for health.

Second Opinion Police and medical examiners who concluded that Anthony Crockett, 49, died of natural causes changed their minds after funeral-home workers embalming the body in Kansas City, Mo., found three bullet wounds, two of them in the head. The Kansas City Star reported that authorities never visited Crockett’s home to inspect his body or the scene, instead taking the word of a paramedic who told them he believed the death had occurred naturally after he found prescription medication for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes at the scene. Investigators did not collect forensic evidence, and by the time they realized they needed it, Crockett’s relatives had cleaned the house. “This kind of mistake is a pretty bad mistake,” former Jackson County medical examiner Thomas Young said.

No Reservations Jose Santiago, 57, was run over while standing in a gas line at a station in Lee County, Fla., trying to hold a spot for his wife. Sheriff’s deputies arrested Miguel Angel Neira, 46, who pulled into the line behind Santiago. “The victim stated that he held up his hands for the suspect to stop, however the suspect lunged forward with his vehicle, striking the victim in the knees,” deputy Eric Freese reported. “The victim started yelling at the suspect to stop, at which point the suspect intentionally moved the vehicle forward again, striking the victim again in the knees, causing bruising and swelling.”

Mister Manners Canadian citizen Desiderio Fortunato, 54, said that when a U.S. border inspector ordered him to turn off his car at the Pacific Highway crossing in Washington, he insisted the inspector say “please.” Instead, Fortunato told the Bellingham Herald, the agent sprayed him “right in the face” with pepper spray, pulled him from the car and handcuffed him. Pointing out the “gentleman was very aggressive to me,” Fortunato conceded that perhaps “my body language or something I’m not aware of” triggered the incident.

Living Dangerously Authorities charged Charles L. Clemens Jr., 61, with bigamy after they learned he was married to two women in the same apartment complex in Overland Park, Kan. Court records show Clemens married his first wife 22 years ago and the second in January 2006.

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