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News Quirks (6/11/14)


Published June 11, 2014 at 10:00 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again

After two people reported being maced and robbed by two men, police in Anchorage, Alaska, quickly nabbed one suspect. While searching for the other one, officers spotted a man who appeared in distress, "with tears and mucus running down his face." When they questioned him, they determined that he wasn't a victim but the second suspect, Matthew Aaron Campbell, 20, who had accidentally maced himself. (Anchorage's KTUU-TV)

Police chasing a stolen car in Port St. Lucie, Fla., said that the car came to a sudden halt after it collided with an alligator. "It's pretty unimaginable that police officers would be at this point in time looking for these suspects," Detective Keith Boham said after driver Calvin Rodriguez and two others in the car were arrested, "and that an alligator unfortunately just happens to cross the road and assist us in catching these criminals." (West Palm Beach's WPTV-TV)


Suzi LeVine, 44, became the first U.S. ambassador to be sworn in on an e-reader. The new diplomatic representative to Switzerland and Liechtenstein took the oath of office by placing her hand on a Kindle Touch whose screen displayed a digital copy of the Constitution. Earlier this year, New York's Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano was sworn in for his second term by taking the oath of office on a digital Bible when a printed copy could not be located. Later, four New Jersey firefighters were sworn in by simultaneously placing their hands on an iPad with the Bible app open. (Washington Post)

Unclear on the Concept

Carlos Bueno Mir, 49, called 911 in West Palm Beach, Fla., but refused to state the nature of his emergency. Police who responded said he told them that he called because his wife had "thrown out his beer." After being warned not to call unless he had a real emergency, Bueno Mir proceeded to phone 911 six more times in the next four hours to complain about his wife touching his beer. Police finally arrested him. (West Palm Beach's WPBF-TV)

British police reported receiving an emergency call from a Birmingham woman complaining about the way a vendor put sprinkles on her ice cream. "He put bits on one side and none on the other," she said. "He's refusing to give me my money back and saying I've got to take it like that." (BBC News)

Foodie of the Week

At-large parolee Mark Royal, 51, led police on a high-speed chase from Sacramento, Calif., to Auburn, about 35 miles away, where he pulled over at the Placer County Jail and surrendered. He told police he chose that location because "the food is better here." Unfortunately for him, officers returned him to the Sacramento County Jail. (Sacramento's KCRA-TV)

Drinking-Class Hero

Damon Tobias Exum, 37, hit a police cruiser in Dunwoody, Ga., but kept on driving. The officer gave chase, Sgt. Fidel Espinoza reported, and pulled Exum over. When the officer asked for his license, Exum handed him a beer. DUI was just one of eight misdemeanor charges. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

When Guns Are Outlawed

Police responding to a disturbance at a home in Lufkin, Texas, accused a woman of slapping her sister-in-law in the face with a catfish. (Tyler's KETK-TV)

Pity the One Percent

After "affluenza" victim Ethan Couch, 17, escaped jail time for killing four people and seriously injuring two others while driving drunk in a 2013 crash in Fort Worth, Texas, his parents also caught a break. The state hospital where Couch is undergoing rehab treatment as part of his sentence costs $715 per day. But the facility used a sliding scale to determine that millionaires Fred and Tonya Couch need pay only $1,170 per month, leaving Texas taxpayers to pony up the balance. (Dallas-Fort Worth's KDFW-TV)

Surprise Ending

Shortly after his 1993 Chrysler New Yorker was stolen, Derk West of Boonville, Ind., got a call from a 72-year-old man who bought the car for $300. The price had made him suspicious that the deal was too good to be true, so he looked up West, whose name the car thief had used to transfer the car's title. West met with the older man, who West said "was out $300, and he was really upset." After evaluating the situation, West told him he could keep the car. "He needed it worse than I did," West said. Meanwhile, police identified Donald Grisby, 46, as the suspect who stole the car and sold it because he signed the receipt with his own name and Social Security number. (Evansville's WFIE-TV)

Relative Success

Although the U.S. Supreme Court struck down mandatory random drug testing in public schools, the Massachusetts-based medical company Psychemedics inked a deal for mandatory drug testing of 2,820 students at three private schools in northeast Ohio by selling the school testing kits for $40 to $50 per student. One of the schools is Cleveland's St. Edward High School, run by James Kubacki. His brother, Raymond Kubacki, heads Psychemedics. (Cleveland Scene)