News Quirks | News Quirks | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Published September 5, 2007 at 4:00 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again William Bates, 19, was arrested for robbing a gas station in Victorville, Calif., after he called the authorities to report the crime, claiming to be a witness but arousing suspicion. He subsequently pleaded guilty to assault and received a two-year prison sentence. A few weeks later, a woman who was raped and had her cell phone stolen 10 days before the gas station robbery reported receiving an email from a friend wondering why she sent a photograph of an unknown man from her cell phone, the one stolen. The woman identified the man in the photo as the rapist, sending sheriff's investigators to prison to take a DNA sample from Bates. Calling the photo "a big break in the case," sheriff's Detective Bob Thacker told the Victorville Daily Press, "We couldn't believe that he sent a picture of himself to one of her contacts."

* A bank customer who found a suspicious camera at an ATM in Sterling Heights, Mich., notified authorities, who concluded that a thief installed it hoping to record card numbers. The camera also took the thief's picture. "He's not a stupid individual to put on this type of scam," police Lt. Michael Reese told the Detroit Free Press, "but his blunder by keeping the camera on will help us locate him and arrest him."

One Hump Too Many An Australian woman was killed by a pet camel that Queensland state police said tried to have sex with her. The 10-month-old, 330-pound male camel, a 60th birthday present to the victim, knocked her to the ground and lay on top of her until she suffocated. "I'd say it's probably been playing, or it may be even a sexual sort of thing," Detective Senior Constable Craig Gregory said, adding the camel already almost suffocated the family's pet goat by straddling it on several occasions.

Shape of Things to Come Some citizens of Keizer, Ore., protested installation of cement posts designed to protect pedestrians from cars, not because they impede traffic but because they resemble male genitalia. "I can't disagree with that," City Manager Chris Eppley said of the 52 posts installed at a busy intersection. "They certainly did not turn out the way we anticipated." Eppley explained that the posts, which cost $20,000, were ordered from a catalog and looked much different on paper. The city is considering adding metal collars and chains to modify the phallic look.

Irony Illustrated A youth football tournament organized to promote nonviolence in Cincinnati neighborhoods ended abruptly when one of the spectators was shot dead. Police said Earnest Crear, 19, was hit twice, and three suspects fled the scene. Organizers of the Peace Bowl insisted the shooting was unrelated to their event and pledged to continue holding the annual event.

* An anger-management instructor was arrested in Gary, Ind., for losing control during an argument with his wife. The Rev. Robert Nichols, 49, who has taught anger-management classes for defendants in Gary City Court for several years, was charged with domestic battery after Terresa Nichols accused him of grabbing and beating her.

Infernal Combustion When Danny Fendley tried to start a lawn mower in his garage in Johns Creek, Ga., the machine burst into flames. Before he could extinguish the fire, it had spread through the garage. Fendley's wife tried to toss a can of gasoline out a window before the flames reached it, but missed, spreading the fuel "everywhere," Fendley said. The flames engulfed the two-story house in less than a minute, Fulton County Fire Lt. Gregory Chambers recounted, observing, "There's not even one brick standing,"

Got You Under My Skin An Israeli plastic surgeon has created an internal brassiere he claims makes the wearable kind obsolete. Dr. Eyal Gur's Cup & Up bra is inserted under the skin in a 40-minute operation performed under local anesthetic. Cups made of silicone, the plastic already used in breast implants, are anchored harness-like to the ribs between the breast and the shoulder with thread-like straps and titanium screws. Once in place, everything is tightened to lift the breasts into a more "youthful" position, said Gur, head of microsurgery at Tel Aviv's Sourasky medical center.

Skeptics warned the silicone cups could harden under the skin and that women with larger breasts may feel the device pulling against their ribs. "You can't stop gravity," declared Lisa Sacks, a member of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons.

Busy Hands A former Baptist pastor appropriated taxpayer money to buy himself adult-oriented books, DVDs and online services, according to a state auditor's report obtained by the Des Moines Register. The report alleges that while volunteering at an agency helping Iowans with disabilities, Jimmy Weber, 45, a pastor for 12 years, took at least $30,311 in funding to buy assorted personal items, among them the books Pleasure Beach and The Kama Sutra; the CD Sex Machine by James Brown; the DVDs "Ultimate Sexual Massage," "Forbidden Games," "Girls Gone Wild," "Latin Girls Gone Buck Wild" and "Emmanuel's Intimate Encounters;" subscriptions to adult-oriented websites; online camera services linked to a website with adult content; various pay-per-view movies; and a subscription to the magazine Creative Knitting.

Misunderstood Do-Gooders of the Week Two Dutch news bloggers caught filming under women's skirts in a parking garage explained they were merely trying to warn the public about see-through stairs. A court spokesman in Alkmaar said the men were charged with filming people without permission, although the bloggers insisted the women knew they were being filmed. Dutch news agency ANP reported the Geen Stijl blog said the men were documenting whether the local council had acted to stop upskirt filming through the transparent stairway at the underground garage in Heerhugowaard.