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News » News Quirks

A Tidy Sum



Curses, Foiled Again
Police investigating a break-in at a Little League snack bar in La Mesa, Calif., promptly located the culprits by following “a trail of chips, candy and other snacks leading away from the scene and up the street,” Sgt. Colin Atwood said. Officers found more snacks behind a vehicle, searched the home that the vehicle was parked in front of and discovered property belonging to the Little League, including a cash register. Authorities charged a man, two women and a girl at the home with burglary. (The San Diego Union-Tribune)

R.J. Williams, 22, admitted robbing 11 New York City banks in five weeks after he was caught trying to rob one of them a second time. Police said Williams was writing a note to a teller on a deposit slip when employees recognized him from the previous robbery attempt five days before. He noticed them staring at him and fled, but two bank employees followed him to where they saw him duck into a doorway and change clothes. They described the new clothing to police, who stopped Williams and brought him to the bank, where the teller positively identified him from his distinctive sideburns. Police found a demand note in his pocket. Police added that Williams holds the world record for eating an entire light bulb: 33 seconds. (New York Post)

A Tidy Sum
Navy investigators indicated a fire onboard a nuclear-powered submarine that injured seven people while it was in dry dock at Maine’s Portsmouth Naval Shipyard started in a vacuum cleaner used to clean work sites at the end of shift. Although firefighters contained the blaze to the USS Miami’s forward compartment, which includes crew living quarters, command and control spaces and a torpedo room, the Navy said it “developed an initial rough repair cost estimate of $400 million.” It also reckoned the disruption to planned work on other vessels as a result of the fire cost another $40 million. (Fox News)

Alert Mayor Bloomberg
Babies born by Caesarean section may be more likely to become obese children than those delivered vaginally, according to research published in the British Medical Journal’s Archives of Disease in Childhood. (The Washington Post)

Facilities Management
Norwegian authorities announced plans to convert part of a high-security prison where spree-killer Anders Behring Breivik is being held outside Oslo into a psychiatric unit if Breivik is found insane. According to deputy health minister Robin Koss, the proposed unit would guarantee that Breivik remains at the prison whatever the outcome of his trial. Breivik admitted killing 69 people at a political youth camp and another eight in a bomb attack on a government building but refused to plead guilty, insisting the killings were “cruel but necessary.” (Fox News)

The Indian government’s Planning Commission defended its decision to spend $63,146 to renovate three agency restrooms at its Delhi headquarters by explaining that hundreds of people visit the building daily and that it annually hosts more than 1,500 meetings, some attended by ministers and foreign dignitaries. The price tag includes a $9,000 security card system to limit access and security cameras to prevent the theft of equipment. The makeover came under fire right after the government lowered its poverty level to 44 cents a day, far below the World Bank’s standard of $1.25 a day, saving the government on assistance payments. (BBC News)

Shirking-Class Hero
When postal worker Jacquelyn V. Myers, 55, reported she was unable to deliver the mail because of a lower back injury in May 2009, her supervisors relieved her of mail carrying and put her on “light duty.” In the following months, the Tallahassee, Fla., woman took part in more than 80 long-distance races and triathlons, including the Boston Marathon. What’s more, after the injury claim, her race times improved. This May, a U.S. District Court jury convicted Myers of health-care fraud and making false statements to collect workers compensation. (Associated Press)

What Could Go Wrong?
Latvia’s AirBaltic airline disclosed it began testing “SeatBuddy,” a new service that lets passengers pick their seats based on whether they feel like talking with their neighbors about business, chatting for pleasure, working or resting during flights. Passengers can also specify whether they’d like seatmates to speak the same language, belong to the same generation, work in the same business or share other cultural traits. Noting the service will be free while its “future commercial potential” is explored, AirBaltic expects that seating like-minded people together will make trips more pleasant. “The main thing is how you feel,” airline official Janis Vanags said. “How do you want to feel on this flight? How do you want the people around you to feel on this flight?”

Last December, Air France-KLM introduced a similar service, called “Meet & Seat,” which connects passengers through Facebook and Linkedin. People choose seatmates after browsing each other’s profiles. (New York’s Daily News)

Problem Solved
As part of the Arizona Department of Transportation’s “Pull Aside, Stay Alive” campaign to promote safe driving during haboobs—severe dust storms that occur in desert areas, especially around Phoenix and Yuma, during the summer—the agency invited residents to tweet haikus about dust-storm safety. (Associated Press)

When Guns Are Outlawed
A woman told Seattle police she was walking her dog in a city park at 2 a.m. when a man approached her complaining she was keeping his friend awake by making too much noise. He then picked up a pooper-scooper and began swinging it at the woman, who said she used her own pooper-scooper to defend herself for nearly half an hour before she was finally able to leave the park. Police couldn’t find the attacker. (Seattle’s Post-Intelligencer)

Ignorance Isn’t Bliss
When sheriff’s deputies identified Matthew Burghardt as the person who ran over 10 mailboxes with his pick-up truck in Jefferson Parish, La., they said he told them “he didn’t know it was illegal to run over mailboxes” but demanded a citation. Instead of issuing a ticket, deputies booked him on three counts of property damage and eight counts of hit-and-run driving. (New Orleans’s The Times-Picayune)

Basketball Justice
After 12-year-old Patrick Gonzalez had his head shaved to resemble the face of his favorite basketball player, San Antonio Spurs forward Matt Bonner, he was suspended from school because the school district decided his $75 haircut was a distraction. The Spurs responded by giving Gonzalez and his family tickets to its next playoff game. (Associated Press)

Compiled from the press reports by Roland Sweet. Authentication on demand.