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

Published March 6, 2013 at 9:04 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again

A woman told police in Des Moines, Iowa, that she returned home one morning to find a strange vehicle in her driveway. She parked behind it and saw a man walk out of her front door. He told her two other men had broken in and that he was driving by, saw them and stopped to investigate. When the homeowner started to call police, however, the man grabbed a crowbar, smashed the window of her car, put it in neutral and rammed it with his pickup truck to push it into the street so he could drive off. Police officers spotted him and gave chase. After he crashed into a utility pole, he fled on foot but didn’t get far, according to police, who reported, “He would have been able to run faster if he wasn’t wearing snow pants.” Officers arrested Martin Thicklen, 49, on multiple charges. (Des Moines Register)

Irony Illustrated

University of Louisville police accused Terry J. Davis of shoplifting after surveillance video cameras showed him stealing a textbook and then trying to sell it back to the university bookstore. The book was titled “Resolving Ethical Issues.” (Louisville’s the Courier Journal)

Days after the CQ Press City Crime Rankings rated Sugar Land the second-safest city in Texas, two teenagers burglarized the home of Police Chief Doug Brinkley, 48. After Conner Hinton and Taylor Nuttal, both 17, were arrested and confessed to the break-in, Brinkley said he’s looking into camera surveillance and a safe for his home, noting, “You never know what could happen.” (The Huffington Post)

Second-Amendment Follies

A month after a Texas school district voted to allow school employees to carry firearms on campus, a maintenance worker was receiving one-on-one training from a concealed handgun license instructor when a mechanical malfunction caused his weapon to fire. The bullet ricocheted, striking the employee of the Van Independent School District in his left leg. The victim was hospitalized in fair condition. (NBC News)

A California judge said a Los Angeles police officer, who was paralyzed from the waist down when his 3-year-old son shot him with his service pistol, may proceed with his lawsuit against gun manufacturer Glock. Enrique Chavez claims that the Glock 21 lacked adequate safeguards against an accidental discharge. Collin Chavez found his father’s loaded weapon beneath the front seat of the officer’s pickup truck and shot him in the back. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Should’ve Quit While They Were Behind

When their children bought them a home in Toronto for $718,000, Shih and Yang Tseng tore down an existing rotting wooden addition and hired a contractor to build a new brick addition for $80,000. They failed to get a permit, however, and their addition was larger than allowed by today’s code. When notified by authorities, the couple embarked on a six-year legal battle that included appeals to the courts, the Ontario Municipal Board and even the United Nations. By last spring, they had spent more than $200,000 on lawyers and other professionals to save the addition. In addition, distressed members of 70-year-old Yang’s family committed suicide, according to lawyer Clayton Ruby, who argued that proceeding against the Tsengs amounts to discrimination against the disabled. Despite their protests and appeals, a committee-of-adjustment panel told the Tsengs they had 30 days to demolish the two-story addition. “This is not a human rights issue,” Councilor Adam Vaughn pointed out. “It’s a planning issue.” (Toronto Star)

Breaking the Faith

Raymond Dolin, 39, reported that he was shot in the arm outside Glasgow, Mont., while hitchhiking across America to write a book abut the kindness of people he met along the way. Authorities launched a manhunt and arrested a 52-year-old Washington man, who they said was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

When deputies couldn’t find a gun in the suspect’s pickup, however, they returned to the scene and found a Derringer pistol in a nearby field. They traced the weapon and discovered that Dolin had bought it in his home state of West Virginia just days before the shooting. Suspecting he shot himself to promote his book, Valley County Sheriff Glen Meier confronted Dolin, who confessed to making up the story. (The Billings Gazette and Associated Press)

Missing the Point

After Rodney Dwayne Valentine, 37, was released from the Rockingham County, N.C., jail, he refused to leave. Deputies charged him with trespassing and rearrested him. (Greensboro’s News & Record)