Curses, Foiled Again
After Luis Del Castillo, 45, pushed Noemi Duchene, 44, in a wheelchair to a jewelry store in El Paso, Texas, security cameras caught Duchene outside the store getting out of the chair and pulling a large black trash bag with two eyeholes over her head and upper body. She went inside, showed a hunting knife and demanded “everything.” Storeowner Linda Bradley refused and trumped Duchene’s knife with a stun gun, then chased the robber around the store. “I knew I could outrun her, because she was obviously not very quick,” Bradley said, noting, “You cannot be terrified when someone cannot run and has a black bag on their head.” A customer tackled Duchene and held her until police arrived. They found Del Castillo waiting outside with the wheelchair. Investigators said the couple lives across the street from the store. (NBC News) Police tracking a burglar from a home in Ladue, Mo., closed the case after finding the body of Donald Zakrzewski, 42, at the bottom of a rock quarry, having fallen 50 to 60 feet to his death. Police also found stolen jewelry in his pocket and a bag nearby containing electronic equipment from the home. “He was probably trying to escape the crime scene, running at full speed, when he ran off the edge,” police Chief Richard Wooten said. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
While admiring a gun his cousin had given him, Bannock County, Idaho, Sheriff Lorin Nielson tried to lower the hammer, but his thumb slipped. The gun fired, wounding Nielsen in the hand. “My pride is fractured,” he said after being treated in the emergency room, “but my hand is fine.” (Idaho Falls’s KIFI-TV) Police in Amherst, Mass., reported a man sitting on a bed watching a movie tried to scratch his nose with the barrel end of a BB gun, not realizing the safety wasn’t engaged, and accidentally shot himself in the face. (Northampton’s Daily Hampshire Gazette)
On a Roll
Warren Saunders, 60, pleaded guilty to dropping toilet paper from a small plane over athletic fields at a middle school in Westwood, N.J.
After witnesses on the ground spotted the plane, they alerted authorities, prompting a large lawenforcement response. When apprehended, Saunders explained he’d been practicing for a streamer drop he planned to do at a high school football field. He got probation and had to write a letter of apology to the mayor. (Woodland Park’s The Record)
Iowa prisons intend to make their own toilet paper, both to save having to buy it and to create jobs for inmates. Two prisons are currently testing a single-ply tissue made at a Missouri prison. Although Al Reiter, the associate warden at the prison in Anamosa, Iowa, said the test paper isn’t fluffy, the state insisted it’s good enough. State lawmakers must approve the switch to in-house processing, which Roger Baysden, director of Iowa Prison Industries, pointed out would save about $100,000 and employ 50 inmates. (Des Moines Register) The Michigan Supreme Court decided Sheri Schooley, 58, can proceed with her lawsuit against a suburban Detroit restaurant where she injured herself at a New Year’s Eve dinner with her husband while going to the bathroom. “I reached,” she said, “and the cover of the toilet paper dispenser fell down on my hand.” Schooley thought she’d just bruised her hand, but it turned out to be a broken bone. Three years later, “I still cannot use the hand,” she insisted, explaining she had to quit her job as an administrative assistant because she can’t type or use a stapler. Also, her bowling average fell from 140 to “95 to 100,” she said. “Quite a drop.” (Associated Press)
After receiving three anonymous 911 calls reporting a murder and stabbing in Clarksville, Tenn., city police responded with county and state reinforcements, including a K-9 unit and a helicopter, to aid in searching for the victims.
After coming up empty-handed, investigators, noting the third call mentioned that Alex Baker killed his girlfriend, traced all three calls to a phone owned by Alex Lee Baker, 20. Baker denied making the calls but under further questioning admitted reporting the false crimes. He explained he was bored and anxious because he hadn’t had a cigarette in two days. (Clarksville’s The Leaf Chronicle)
John G. Mendez, 45, beat the charge of passing a stopped school bus in Fairfax, Va., because of a missing, two-letter word in the state law. The statute states that a driver is guilty of reckless driving “who fails to stop, approaching from any direction, any school bus which is stopped on any highway,” omitting “at” before “any school bus.” Lawmakers removed the preposition when they amended the law in 1970. “He can only be guilty if he failed to stop any school bus,” Judge Marcus D. Williams said when pronouncing Mendez not guilty. Mendez gave extra credit for finding the loophole to his lawyer, Eric E. Clingan, who said he took a look at the law, and “it just sort of jumped off the page at me.” (The Washington Post)
Little Things Mean a Lot
An unnamed man in Granby, Quebec, appeared before a small-claims court demanding compensation for a penis enlarger he insisted didn’t work, although he spent 500 hours trying to make it. The man said he paid $262 for the X4 Extender Deluxe Edition because an advertisement promised results. (Canadian Press) Surgeons at Taiwan’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering said their experiments showed that electricity is a safer alternative to scalpels for performing penile surgery. Their report, “Determination of Human Penile Electrical Resistance and Implication on Safety for Electrosurgery of Penis,” noted that a highly concentrated electrical current performs a cleaner cut with much less blood. Because of the potential risk of determining how much electricity a penis could safely withstand, Dr. Vincent Tsai noted the researchers performed their experiments on themselves, attaching electrodes to both the head and the shaft of the organ, then applying voltage — but not anesthetic. Their conclusion, Tsai said, was to use less power for shorter durations. (Australia’s news.com.au)
Police in Safety Harbor, Fla., arrested Joe Harland Capes, 44, after he punched his neighbor, Ronald Richards, during a shoving match that started, according to the arrest report, while the two men were “arguing over Conway Twitty’s sexual orientation.” The country singer died in 1993. (St. Petersburg Times)