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

Published December 26, 2013 at 5:08 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again

Johnny Deleon, 20, was thwarted in his attempt to steal hubcaps from cars parked outside a restaurant in Harris County, Texas, where law officers were holding a retirement party. After an officer who spotted Deleon confronted him, about 30 deputies inside the restaurant rushed outside to assist. Noting that Deleon failed to notice the parking lot held “a multitude of marked and unmarked police vehicles,” Assistant Chief Tim Cannon commented, “Unfortunately for him, his zest for thievery overrode any form of common sense which placed him straight into the hands of law enforcement’s finest.” (Houston Chronicle)

When Guns Are Outlawed

Ophelia Neal, 53, pleaded guilty to robbing a bank with two cans of spaghetti sauce. Police said Neal entered the bank in Macomb County, Mich., and told a clerk she was carrying a bomb in her cloth bag. She fled with an undisclosed amount of cash but was later arrested with the bag, which contained the spaghetti sauce. (United Press International)

Critter Alert

After a resident reported spotting a motionless raccoon in his front yard in Alexandria, Va., an animal control officer investigated and discovered it was a brush from a push broom. (Washington Post)

Pay-As-You-Go Getaway

Police pursuing a Car2Go vehicle going 75 mph in a 60 mph zone in Austin, Texas, reported that the driver crashed and fled on foot. Car2Go is a car-sharing service whose members can rent Smartfortwo vehicles by the minute wherever they’re parked. The driver spotted another Car2Go vehicle and took off, but after it turned down a dead-end road, police arrested driver Richard Delarosa, 33. A Car2Go official said the company would “evaluate” his membership status. (Austin’s KXAN-TV)

Didn’t See It Coming

Claiming to be a psychic, Stephanie Thompson took more than $115,000 from a client, telling her the money was cursed and that she would return it after cleaning it. Instead, Thompson lost the money gambling, police in Boca Raton, Fla., said after arresting her. (Miami’s WPLG-TV)

Justice Is the Name, Justice Is the Game

Prosecutors in Williamson County, Tenn., filed a motion objecting to defense attorney Drew Justice referring to them in court as “the government,” arguing that “such a reference is used in a derogatory way and is meant to make the State’s attorney seem oppressive and to inflame the jury.” Justice filed his own motion, demanding that his client be referred to not as “the Defendant,” but as “Mister,” “the Citizen Accused” or “that innocent man” — since all defendants are presumed innocent until found guilty. Justice also stated that he should be addressed as “Defender of the Innocent, “Guardian of the Realm” or “Captain Justice.” Circuit Court Judge Michael Binkley rejected the prosecution’s motion, saying the word “government” wasn’t derogatory. (Nashville’s the Tennessean)

Techno Follies

Earlier this year, Google denied reports that one of its Street View cars ran over a donkey in Botswana. “Because of the way our 360-degree imagery is put together, it looked to some that our car had been involved in an unseemly hit-and-run,” Google Maps official Kei Kawai explained. “The donkey was lying in the path, perhaps enjoying a dust bath, before moving safely aside as our car drove past.” (BBC News)

The Eyes Have It

Unfavorable reaction to a Facebook photo of students at Thailand’s Kasetsart University wearing special “anti-cheating helmets” caused embarrassment and stress to the faculty, according to dean Tanaboon Sajjaanantakul, prompting the school to discontinue their use. The picture, posted on the university’s alumni Facebook page, showed the cumbersome hats consisting of a headband with two sheets of blank paper draped on both sides of the head to keep students from looking at their neighbors’ answers. Only about 90 students in one course wore the headgear, which they designed themselves following a class discussion of how to prevent cheating. (NPR)

Second-Amendment Follies

Employees of a bank in Adelphi, Ohio, locked the doors and called 911 after they spotted four men get out of their cars with guns. A few minutes later, the men got back in their cars and left, but the employees gave sheriff’s deputies a good description of the vehicles, along with their license numbers. Investigators who stopped the vehicles discovered that the four men had arranged online to meet to buy guns from each other, according to Sheriff George Lavender Jr., who commented, “What more stupid a thing could you do than set right there in a picture window, loading and unloading a gun?” (Columbus’s WTVN-TV)