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News » News Quirks

Homeland Insecurity


Curses, Foiled Again
When Derek Shaun Clark, 26, kicked in the back door of a home in Evansville, Ind., entered with a drawn handgun and announced he was the police, homeowner Derrick Murray was skeptical because Clark and his accomplices “were talking in street slang.” Murray told WFIE-TV he ran and got his rifle from the bedroom and fired at Clark, who police said stumbled out of the house and attempted to get in his getaway car. “The white car was parked in front of my house,” neighbor Katherine Vessels said, “and they backed up and ran over him, and then he backed up, and then they backed up into the alley and into him again. Then they took off.” Clark ended up in intensive care.

• Two robbers leaving a Milwaukee jewelry store with cash and gems were accosted by another group of thieves, who robbed them. Police Lt. Thomas Welch told The Associated Press that after a brief fight, a car chase ensued. Police officers pulled over both vehicles and arrested the original two robbers, ages 31 and 40, and two men from the second group, ages 22 and 27.

They All Say D’Oh
Ecuadorian fighter pilot Rafael Durango survived the crash of his jet into a dense jungle near the Colombian border but plunged to his death while being rescued after a cord broke as he and a rescuer were being pulled up to a helicopter.

Tool Time
A 27-year-old Maryland woman was airlifted to the hospital after being injured by a sex toy attached to a saber saw blade. TheBayNet.com reported that a man called 911 about the incident and admitted attaching the sex toy to the saw and then using the high-powered, homemade device on his partner. The saw cut through the plastic toy and wounded the woman. The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s office said no charges would be filed because the woman told investigators the injuries occurred during a consensual act after she and her partner decided to try something new.

When Guns Are Outlawed
When Talon LaClaire, 20, pointed two knives at a 71-year-old man who was scraping ice off his windshield in Rapid City, S.D., the victim turned the tables by using his ice scraper to fend off the would-be robber. The Rapid City Journal reported that LaClaire retreated into a nearby home, where police arrested him.

Way to Go
Jeff Twaddle, 54, a deckhand on a charter boat carrying 20 school children in waters off Long Beach, Calif., tried to entertain the passengers by putting a bait fish in his mouth. The Orange County Register reported the joke turned fatal when Twaddle started choking and lost consciousness. The Coroner’s Office attributed the accidental death to “aspiration of fish.”

A Chinese man held out his arms to try to break the fall of his suicidal girlfriend when she jumped from the seventh floor of an apartment building in Quanzhou, but the impact killed him. The Straits Capital News reported the girlfriend survived without suffering any life-threatening injuries.

Homeland Insecurity
The government has begun investigating whether body odor can indicate when people are lying. According to a federal procurement document posted on the Internet, the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate is collecting human body-odor samples to use in research it hopes will enable it to determine if “human odor signatures can serve as an indicator of deception” and whether “an individual can be identified by that individual’s odor signature.” According to the notice, “This research has the potential for enhancing our ability to detect individuals with harmful intent.”

In reporting on the government project, United Press International noted that research published by the Royal Society in London in 2006 found “a substantial number of marker compounds [in human sweat] that can potentially differentiate individuals or groups.” The researchers cautioned, however, that about a quarter of the 44 distinctive marker compounds they identified appeared to be artificial contaminants, ranging from skin care and perfume products to tobacco smoke and other substances present in a person’s environment.

Compiled from the nation’s press by Roland Sweet. Submit items, citing date and source, to P.O. Box 8130, Alexandria VA 22306.