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News Quirks


Published September 7, 2011 at 6:44 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again

Authorities identified Audrey Shirley, 34, as the woman who stole money and credit cards from homes in Forsyth County and Milton, Ga., by asking to use the bathroom. A victim mentioned the thief first asked to use the phone because her car had broken down. Investigators dialed the number Shirley had called and learned it was her own. (Alpharetta’s Appen Newspapers)

After taking $125 from the cash register at a Subway shop in St. Petersburg, Fla., a robber stopped to grab the money in the tip jar. The two employees objected. “They complained,” city police official Mike Puetz said. “He apologized.” Suspect Robert Allen Walker, 47, returned the tip money and fled with register cash but didn’t get far before police nabbed him. (St. Petersburg Times)

Avian Adventures

Authorities in Volusia County, Fla., said Mark Bausch forced his way into a blind woman’s home, shoved her to the ground and stole a pet bird he had traded to her. Bausch told sheriff’s deputies he missed the bird, a sun conure worth $300, which he swapped for $50 and a computer. Bausch complained the computer ran too slowly. (Orlando’s WKMG-TV)

After firefighters in Coral Springs, Fla., freed a parakeet from a car’s grill, the Sawgrass Nature Center & Wildlife Hospital said at least 60 people called asking to take the recovering bird. Thirteen insisted it belongs to them. Center volunteer Anita Youngblood said those claiming ownership will compete to attract the bird’s attention to prove their claim; otherwise, the bird will be put up for adoption. (South Florida’s Sun-Sentinel)

Aviation Adventures

After renting a small, twin-engine airplane, Konrad Schmidt, 47, phoned his estranged mother from the cockpit to ask if she’d be home because “I am just going to drop by.” Swiss authorities said Schmidt then crashed into her home at high speed, causing a huge explosion and fireball that killed him but not Rosemary Schmidt, 68, who was in the basement when her son attacked. “They had a lot of heavy issues over a lot of things,” a neighbor said. “They did not have a good relationship.” (Britain’s Daily Mail)

Going Too Far

Four men in ski masks ambushed a man and his girlfriend sitting in a pickup truck, then drove them to the man’s house in Miami, Fla. Police said they took the man inside, beat him up and tied up him, his wife, his mother and his two children while they ransacked the house. Before leaving with cash and jewelry, they brought in the girlfriend and introduced her to the man’s wife, then left her with the others. (Miami’s WPLG-TV)

Perfectionist Follies

Rhiannon Brooksbank-Jones, 19, showed her commitment to Korean studies at Britain’s University of Sheffield by having her tongue surgically lengthened to improve her Korean pronunciation. The lingual frenectomy, which involves cutting a flap of skin that connects the tongue to the bottom of the mouth, lets her make sounds she couldn’t before. “My pronunciation was very foreign,’” she said, “but now I can speak with a native Korean accent.” (Britain’s Daily Mail)

Clog Crazy

New Orleans authorities reported that William Goetzee, 48, being held for assaulting a federal marshal, committed suicide by suffocating himself with toilet paper. Investigators said Goetzee had been observed swallowing toilet tissue in his cell throughout the day, despite a deputy’s having been assigned to watch him. (New Orleans’s WWL-TV)

Work crews finally removed eight massive rolls of unprocessed toilet paper, weeks after they fell off a truck and clogged Idaho’s upper Lochsa River. State environment officials abandoned earlier efforts to remove the waterlogged paper because they caused it to begin disintegrating in the river. Finally, Department of Environmental Quality official John Cardwell said, lower river flows allowed crews to wrap the rolls with reinforced mesh and then pull them out with a tow truck. (Lewiston Tribune)

Evidence of Disobedience

Canadian federal prison officials confiscated 2444 forbidden items during searches of nine British Columbia prisons, ranging from homemade weapons and intoxicants (including fermented ketchup) to a new Michelin snow tire and a crab trap. Among other items seized: 30 cellphones, a homemade cellphone charger, a case of Fig Newtons, a kilo of bacon, four pounds of raw chicken, and a cooked turkey breast complete with stuffing and cranberries. Most of the items smuggled into cells are “throw overs” at perimeter fences of the prisons, according to director of provincial corrections operations Terry Hackett.

Hackett pointed out inmates also use pages from prison-issued Bibles “to roll tobacco and marijuana or hollow them out and store contraband in there. Normally you’re allowed to have a Bible. But once you start using it for some other purpose, then that’s when we seize it.” (Vancouver Sun)

Dateless in Seattle

A Seattle police patrol reported spotting Nicholas L. Davis lying face up on a basketball court, exposing himself and “masturbating violently.” When the officer asked Davis to explain himself, Davis told him, “There just isn’t enough free love in Seattle.” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

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