News Quirks 11.02.05
Curses, Foiled Again
Police in Washington, D.C., were investigating a break-in at a downtown shoe store when they heard the faint sound of a cell phone ringing. They followed the ring tone and discovered two suspects hiding in the attic.
- Sheriff's deputies in Lancaster County, Neb., went to an apartment in Lincoln looking for a suspect in a recent burglary. When no one answered the door, the deputies turned to leave, then heard a thud. They went outside and found a man with a broken leg on the ground, apparently having jumped from the apartment window. He wasn't the suspect the deputies were seeking, but because he tried to flee, they checked his record and found that he had several outstanding theft warrants.
As Seen on TV
Vermont State Police reported that Adam E. Page, 19, died after he set his car's cruise control to 30 mph, opened the driver's-side door and jumped from the moving vehicle. His friend, Adam Cota, 18, who was videotaping Page from the front passenger seat, and two juveniles riding in the back seat told investigators that the stunt was inspired by the MTV show "Jackass," which no longer airs but repeatedly warned viewers not to try any of the stunts shown. "Some people don't follow disclaimers," Rutland State's Attorney James Mongeon said. "Obviously, doing something, which just on the face seems very dangerous, oftentimes is."
Thank You, Sir, I'll Have Another!
Lawyers for Eric James Torpy, accused of shooting with intent to kill and robbery, plea-bargained for a 30-year sentence, but Torpy rejected the deal. He wanted three more years, so his prison term would match basketball star Larry Bird's number, 33. "He said if he was going to go down, he was going to go down in Larry Bird's jersey," Oklahoma County District Judge Ray Elliott said after obliging Torpy.
One More Thing to Gripe About
A court in the Netherlands banned a woman from having any contact with her daughter's school or teachers because she complained too much. According to a panel of judges at the Groningen District Court, the woman "overloaded" the Borgh Elementary School in Zuidhorn "with an incessant stream of questions, comments and complaints." In the 2004-2005 school year, the woman sent 20 emails and 20 letters to the school and complained in person nine times. She also wrote 29 letters to the school board and others "to the National Complaint Commission, the Labor Inspection Service, the Educational Inspection Service, the Queen's representative and the media," the judgment said. The complaints ranged from treatment of her daughter, described as "highly gifted," to disagreements about curriculum, method of teaching and the safety of the school.
Wine Into Water
Kentucky health officials have warned Protestants who believe in full-immersion baptism in outdoor streams to avoid the traditional practice in eastern Kentucky because of rampant water pollution resulting from straight piping of sewage into streams. "There are some creeks you can't baptize in, they're so nasty," said the Rev. Ted Dawson, a Free Will Baptist minister. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 45 percent of Kentucky's streams are at least partially unfit for swimming or "other full-body contact."
Officials who operate London's mobile soup kitchens, which for decades have helped feed the needy, reported that more than 80 percent of today's customers aren't homeless but just too lazy to cook. Research by the Westminster Council concluded that the 65 mobile soup kitchens operating in the city's center were increasingly being seen as a free-convenient catering service. "People come out of hostels and flats because it's free and it saves cooking," one user told researchers, who added that one man was saving money to buy a football season ticket and regularly took sandwiches home to his apartment to eat in front of the TV.
Maryland State Police reported that Shaun Michael Sullivan went to a house in Parsonburg looking for his mail but couldn't find it, so he entered the nearby home of Eddie James Adkins without permission to look for it there. When Adkins arrived home and saw Sullivan leaving, police said that the two men began fighting. Adkins went into his home and returned with a broomstick; Sullivan countered with an aluminum baseball bat from his car. Adkins got the bat away from Sullivan and went inside his home, but Sullivan followed and began choking him with a shovel. Adkins got away, went to his bedroom and returned with a .22-caliber rifle. After chasing Sullivan outside, Adkins shot once at him but missed. Police arrested both men at the scene.
Shop Till You Drop
A new store at Minnesota's Mall of America charges shoppers 70 cents a minute to nap. Founded by PowerNap Sleep Centers of Boca Raton, Fla., the store, MinneNAPolis, features three themed rooms, each with walls it said are thick enough to drown out the sounds of children playing at the mall's indoor amusement park.
New York City police reported that Paul Cannon and Jonah Spear were teaching a class at the Trapeze School of New York when an officer ran in asking for a rope and a flotation line to help save a man who had jumped into the Hudson River. The instructors snatched a safety rope used to harness students while using the trapeze, rushed to the scene and asked the officer to tie the rope to a guardrail while both of them leaped into the water to save the 23-year-old man. A student taking a lesson at the trapeze school administered CPR before firefighters arrived and took over.