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News » News Quirks

Last Wish



Curses, Foiled Again
Antoine Jennings covered his head with a Chicago Bulls cap and a skin-tight black skullcap while robbing three suburban Chicago banks of $4,500, but then he posted photos of himself wearing the caps on Facebook, using his real name. FBI agents matched the photos to security camera footage of the heists and arrested Jennings, who pleaded guilty. (Chicago Sun-Times)

• When police encountered shoplifting suspect Levar Fulgham, 34, with $4,500 in designer handbags outside a TJ Maxx store in Farmington, Conn., he ran off and hopped into an idling car. He couldn’t get the car moving, however, because it was equipped with an ignition interlock system, which the driver has to blow into to put the car in gear. The car’s owner had been required to install the device after a drunk-driving charge, and Fulgham didn’t know how it worked. “Otherwise,” police Lt. Colin Ryan said, “he would have been long gone.” (The Hartford Courant)

Last Wish
After Scott E. Entsminger, 55, died in Columbus, Ohio, the death notice included his request that six Cleveland football players serve as pallbearers to lower him into his grave “so the Browns can let him down one last time.” (The Columbus Dispatch)

What Were We Thinking?
After the New York Mets asked the American Indian Community House to help organize a Native American Heritage Day at the ballpark, the nonprofit group bought a block of 500 tickets and was invited to stage pregame festivities, including traditional singing and dancing, outside Citi Field. The Mets also agreed to print 500 T-shirts for the occasion and broadcast two public-service announcements for the group on the stadium’s video boards. Then Mets officials noticed the game was scheduled for July 25 against the Atlanta Braves. Concerned that the Braves, known for their fans’ tomahawk-chop cheer, might interpret the event as a protest over the team name, the Mets notified the AICH that there would be no public-service announcements and no pregame festivities. “This whole thing wasn’t even our idea,” AICH deputy director Kevin Tarrant said after the group canceled its participation and requested a refund for the 500 tickets. “But it just feels like we’re being marginalized again within our own community.” (The New York Times)

Odd Accidents
Police said the driver of a Ford Taurus that crashed into a sport utility vehicle in Crestwood, Ill., killing front-seat passenger Linda Shattuck, lost control of the vehicle after a cell-phone charging cord became entangled with the steering wheel. (Chicago Sun-Times)

• Tracy Arnold, 40, and Michael Arnold, 36, died when her dirt bike and his all-terrain vehicle collided nearly head-on on a two-lane road near their home in Hernando County, Fla., throwing them from their vehicles. The husband and wife were apparently unaware of each other when they crashed, according to Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Steve Gaskins, who noted that neither was wearing a helmet. (Tampa Bay Times)

Criminal Cuisine
Sheriff’s deputies who arrested Rick Frederick, 22, for resisting arrest for drunk driving and 11 other violations in LaSalle County, Ill., reported that while sitting in the patrol car, Frederick started eating the molding around the door. The deputies added criminal damage to government property to the other charges. (Associated Press)

Nickel-and-Dime Crime
Investigators who noticed a surge in collections after Buffalo, N.Y., switched from parking meters to computerized pay stations accused parking-meter mechanic James Bagarozzo, 58, of stealing $210,000 over an eight-year span, all in quarters. Prosecutors said Bagarozzo, who blamed gambling addiction and Crohn’s disease for his actions, regularly took coins from 70 to 75 meters a day, rolled them and exchanged the $10 rolls for cash at various banks. In the year following Bagarozzo’s arrest and that of a former co-worker accused of stealing $15,000 in quarters, Parking Commissioner Kevin Helfer said parking meter revenue increased by more than $500,000. (Associated Press)

Wanna-Be of the Week
Firefighters arriving at a library fire in Brooksville, Fla., noticed a man on the scene wearing firefighting gear. When asked for an explanation, the man, identified as Joseph Michael Brannen, 18, said he bought the gear on eBay, heard the call about the fire on his scanner and showed up hoping to help fight the blaze. After further questioning, Brannen admitted setting the fire, which caused more than $500,000 in damage. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

The Eyes Have It
Unfavorable reaction to a Facebook photo of students at Thailand’s Kasetsart University wearing special “anti-cheating helmets” caused embarrassment and stress to the faculty, according to dean Tanaboon Sajjaanantakul, prompting the school to discontinue their use. The picture, posted on the university’s alumni Facebook page, showed the cumbersome hats consisting of a headband with two sheets of blank paper draped on both sides of the head to keep students from looking at their neighbors’ answers. Only about 90 students in one course wore the headgear, which they designed themselves following a class discussion of how to prevent cheating. (NPR)

Mum’s the Word
After an audit by a Virginia homeowners association found at least $73,183.48 in unauthorized transactions, Albemarle police charged the association’s treasurer, Patricia Anne Cuthbert, 43, with embezzlement. The Hollymead Citizens Association advised residents to keep quiet about the incident. “They asked us not to make the audit public and to not even talk about it at cocktail parties,” Hollymead homeowner Paul Moruza said, “because it could lower our property values.” (Charlottesville’s The Daily Progress)

Update: See No Evil
Following the release of pictures taken after the July 6 Asiana Airlines crash in San Francisco showing a fire truck running over and killing a 16-year-old survivor who’d been thrown clear of the crash, the city fire department explicitly banned helmet-mounted devices that record emergency scenes, such as the one worn by a firefighter that showed how Ye Meng Yuan died. “The privacy of the individual is paramount,” Chief Joanna Hayes-White insisted, but Anthony Tarricone, attorney for the victim’s family, questioned the decision and its timing, asking, “Why would anybody not want to know the truth?” (Associated Press)

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