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News » News Quirks

Drone On



Curses, Foiled Again
Investigators said David Menzies, 30, tried to steal bicycles and apparel from a bike shop in Wesley Chapel, Fla., that is located next to a self-defense and jiu-jitsu studio—"definitely a bad environment to come and try to break the law," Hammerfist Krav Maga co-owner Jason Carrio said. Hammerfist instructors confronted the suspect, who finished loading his vehicle, a Jeep that he was taking for a test drive, then said he'd wait in the vehicle. Carrio pulled the suspect out of the Jeep and held onto him until police arrived. (Tampa's Bay 9 News)

• Michael Kevin Meadows, 43, entered a drug store in Beaver, W.Va., wearing full camouflage and a paintball mask, and started spraying pepper spray to take down employees. According to a criminal complaint, he then walked forward and stepped into the cloud of pepper spray. He staggered out of the store empty-handed, but surveillance video led police to him. (Beckley's The Register-Herald)

Golden Oldies
A man in an assisted-living facility in Norristown, Pa., lost his housing subsidy after officials discovered a prostitute under his bed. Uri Z. Monson, the facility's financial director, said the man, believed to be in his 70s, was a "more mobile gentleman" than other residents and bought alcohol for them, using his profits to pay for prostitutes. (Associated Press)

• The FBI reported that a gunman wearing an oxygen tank with tubes in his nose robbed a bank in Washington, D.C. He received an undisclosed sum and fled. (The Washington Post)

Drone On
Four months after a U.S. intelligence employee landed a personal quadcopter drone on the roof of the White House, the Secret Service apprehended Ryan MacDonald, 39, for flying a drone across the street from the White House. MacDonald was asked to land the device, about the size of an iPad, and complied. The White House was locked down for more than an hour. (Associated Press)

• Police in Lake Huvasa City, Ariz., reported that Nolan Pollard threw a T-shirt at a low-flying drone, causing it to fall to the ground and break. Pollard explained that he reacted because he was scared when he saw the drone flying toward his face. Police cited him for criminal damage. (Lake Huvasa City's News-Herald)

• Army officials blamed a data link for causing controllers to lose track of a drone being used "in support of increased force-protection measures" at Colorado's Fort Carson. The 4-pound drone crashed in a civilian's yard 12 miles from the military base. "I couldn't figure out who owned it, so I wrote my telephone number on a piece of paper ... and held it in front of the camera, thinking someone would call me if they wanted it back," Colorado Springs resident Ronald Fisk said. No one responded, so Fisk called police. (Colorado Springs's The Gazette)

• New Justice Department guidelines for government-operated drones ban flying them "to engage in discrimination" against targets on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, sexual orientation and "gender identity." Unmanned aerial surveillance also cannot legally be used to monitor activities protected by the First Amendment. (The Washington Times)

• Washington state Sen. Pam Roach introduced a bill making the use of a drone to commit a felony an aggravating action that would add a year to a prison sentence. "Nefarious drone enterprise" would join carrying a firearm (up to five years extra), trying to outrun a police car (one year) or being armed with a crossbow or hunting knife (six months). Roach said she fears drones could be used to smuggle drugs into prisons, help burglars scout empty houses or enable poachers to track protected Roosevelt elk. (The Economist)

After Christopher Panayiotou, a suspect in the murder of his wife, delivered the eulogy at her funeral in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, local media reported that he plagiarized her eulogy by cutting and pasting from a 2010 online tribute by another man to his wife. (Associated Press)

Problem Solved
Hoping to reduce road accidents involving animals, police in the United Arab Emirates unveiled a plan to fit stray animals with glow-in-the-dark vests. The initiative, launched by Umm Al Quwain Municipality with the slogan "protecting road users from stray animals" (not "protecting stray animals from road users"), will rely on Animal Welfare to figure out which animals will wear the fluorescent vests and how to get the vests on them. (UAE's The National)

• Walking faster could save 5,592 lives if a major tsunami hit the Pacific Northwest, according to geographers reporting in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. They estimated that 21,562 residents of coastal communities in Oregon, Washington and Northern California would not make it to safety walking at 2.5 mph. But walking at 3.5 mph would drop the death toll to 15,970. The report noted that people in vulnerable coastal areas who feel the quake have about 15 minutes to reach higher ground before a wall of water 30 to 40 feet high washes ashore. (Associated Press)

• Iran's religious authorities banned spiky hairstyles, declaring that they encourage homosexuality and Satanism. "Any shop that cuts hair in the devil-worshipping style will be harshly dealt with and their license revoked," said Mostafa Govahi, the head of Iran's barbers' union. "Tattoos, solarium treatments and plucking eyebrows are also forbidden." (Britain's The Local)

Go Pro
China has banned unofficial weather forecasts by individuals and organizations. State media said the measure is necessary to prevent public panic in advance of major weather events. Amateur meteorologists risk fines up to $8,000 or imprisonment. Critics said the ban is part of a government clampdown on independent sources of information that challenge official versions of events, such as last year's ban of phone apps that provided pollution readings from the U.S. embassy in Beijing. (BBC News)

Frack Attack
Oil tycoon Harold Hamm, the founder of Oklahoma City-based Continental Resources, told a University of Oklahoma dean that he wanted certain scientists there dismissed because they were studying links between oil and gas activity in the state and the nearly 400-fold increase in earthquakes. "Mr. Hamm is very upset at some of the earthquake reporting to the point that he would like to see select OGS (Oklahoma Geological Survey, part of the university) staff dismissed," Larry Grillot, dean of the school's Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy, who emailed colleagues after a meeting with Hamm. Grillot confirmed the request but said no action resulted. (Bloomberg News)

Compiled from mainstream news sources by Roland Sweet. Authentication on demand.