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

Published September 12, 2012 at 7:44 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again!

Louisiana State Police charged Joshua Adam Carter, 25, with trying to steal a car stopped at a traffic light in Shreveport, La., around 4:30 p.m. The unmarked vehicle turned out to be occupied by a state police detective and two members of the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force. According to the police report, Carter pulled on the driver’s door handle but then, “after realizing that the doors were locked and the vehicle was occupied by police officers, Carter fled the scene. The officers quickly gave chase and apprehended Carter without incident.” (New Orleans’s WVUE-TV)

A man who robbed a bank in Shrewsbury, Pa., made off with more than $15,000 in cash, but a dye pack inserted with the money exploded, forcing the robber to drop the loot in the parking lot. Police who recovered the money also found a dye-stained loan statement with the name of Luis Rafael Cruz, 32. After a bank teller identified Cruz’s photo as that of the robber, investigators issued a warrant, and Cruz turned himself in. (Associated Press)

Silver Lining

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee used his syndicated radio program to put a positive spin on Rep. Todd Akin’s remarks about rape and pregnancy by pointing out that rapes, though “horrible tragedies,” have produced admirable human beings. “Ethel Waters, for example, was the result of a forcible rape,” Huckabee said of the American gospel singer, as was televangelist James Robison. (Los Angeles Times)

Technology Troubles

Nine out of 10 undergraduates taking part in a study by Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne reported experiencing “phantom vibration syndrome,” causing them to feel their cellphone vibrating when it wasn’t. On average, they felt the nonexistent buzzing about twice a month, although some said they felt it more often. This and a previous study indicated the most persistent phantom buzzing victims fall into two categories: extraverts, who check their phones a lot because keeping in touch with friends is a big part of their lives, and neurotics, who worry a lot about the status of their relationships. (Slate)

Three different electronic sensing devices designed to alert parents who’ve left their babies in the car are unreliable, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In some instances, spilled liquids caused malfunctions, cellphone use interfered with device signals, devices turned off and on during travel, and an improperly positioned child caused seat pads to malfunction. “While these devices are very well intended,” NHTSA administrator David L. Strickland said, “we don’t think they can be used as the only countermeasure to make sure that you don’t forget your child behind in a car.” (Washington Post)

Doomsday Preppers

Citing increasing threats to civilization from nature and humankind, developer Larry Hall, 55, is converting abandoned missile silos below the Kansas prairie into luxury apartments where people can survive chaos in comfort after civilization crumbles. Protected by 9-foot-thick concrete walls that reach 174 feet underground, Hall’s complexes have giant underground water tanks, an indoor farm to raise fish and vegetables for as long as survivors need to stay inside, a swimming pool, a movie theater, and a library. Complex life-support systems rely on power from stockpiled fossil fuels, as well as from sun and wind. An elaborate security system and hired staff will keep out marauding hordes. Units sell for $2 million a floor. Having studied the spread of doomsday culture, University of Kansas anthropology professor John Hoopes concluded from Hall’s enterprise, “Fear sells even better than sex.” (Britain’s Daily Mail)

Standing His Ground

Kenneth Roop, 52, fatally shot a man selling frozen steaks and lobsters door to door who made him “more than a little nervous,” he told police in Cape Coral, Fla. Nick Rainey, 30, had just knocked on the door of Roop’s home when Roop pulled into the driveway. As Rainey walked toward him and got within four feet, Roop pulled out his 9mm Glock and shot Rainey in the shoulder. Rainey fell to the ground, screaming, “You shot me,” in what Roop described as an “antagonistic” manner, so he shot Rainey once more in the back of the head “for effect.” Roop told detectives Rainey should have respected his three “No Trespassing” signs. (Fort Myers News-Press)

Doesn’t Take Rejection Sitting Down

A woman at a bar in Boulder, Colo., accused Timothy Paez, 22, of urinating on her leg after she rejected his advances. According to the police report, the woman felt some sort of liquid hitting her leg and thought Paez was spilling beer on her, but when she turned around, she saw him with his penis exposed urinating on her leg. Witnesses corroborated the woman’s account. The bar’s staff escorted Paez outside and contacted a nearby police officer. (Boulder’s Colorado Daily)