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News » News Quirks

Monkey See, Monkey Do



Curses, Foiled Again
Police arrested Christopher Lee Anson, 23, for robbing a bank in Cannon Falls, Minn., after an officer stopped him for speeding during his getaway. According to the Rochester Post-Bulletin, the officer started writing a ticket but heard the call about the robbery and asked Anson for his address to mail him the ticket, then sped off to the crime scene. When the officer saw the bank’s surveillance video, he recognized the robber as the man he’d stopped for speeding. Police found Anson at the address he provided.

• Police arrested Lawrence Neal, 45, for purse snatching in Eastpointe, Mich., after he was “captured by his own seat belt,” according to Detective Lt. Leo Borowsky. Noting that Neal used his turn signals throughout the chase, Borowsky said the suspect tried to bail out of his vehicle, got his right leg tangled in the seat belt and was dragged several hundred feet before the vehicle stopped. Neal suffered a broken leg.

Energy Drain
The Energy Department wastes millions of dollars a year by failing to use thermostats that automatically dial back the temperature when nobody is around, according to an inspector general’s audit of 55 buildings at four department sites. The report said the department could save more than $11.5 million a year with setback controls that adjust the heating and air conditioning at night and on weekends. The New York Times noted that such thermostats are already installed in most locations but aren’t being used. Cathy Zoi, an assistant energy secretary, said that if the report could motivate officials to start using the thermostats, “then it’s fantastic.”

Monkey See, Monkey Do
Russell Gortzig, 13, was hospitalized with multiple burns in Deltona, Fla., after imitating a YouTube posting of a man in a banana suit lighting himself on fire. reported that a friend siphoned gasoline from a riding lawnmower and poured it on Gortzig, who held a lighter away from him, but a combination of the spark and fumes caught his shorts on fire. Linda McCrea said YouTube is at least partially to blame for her son’s pain, although a representative of the video-sharing Website said it takes in 20 hours of video every minute and is unable to screen postings in advance.

Odd Ending
Ken Kitamura, 19, a student at Japan’s Osaka Institute of Technology, drowned in the Yodogawa River when the concrete canoe he was testing for a school project capsized. Mainichi Japan reported Kitamura wasn’t wearing a life jacket.

Tumbling Tubbies
Bigger butts reduce hip fractures, according to Canadian researchers, who found added weight provides more cushioning when overeaters fall. Since 1985, hip fractures among women have declined 32 percent, 25 percent for men, Bill Leslie, a professor of medicine at the University of Manitoba, told the Toronto Star. The researchers stressed that obesity should not be regarded as a hip-protection strategy.

Second-Amendment Follies
Larry Tenbrink, 61, was watching TV at home in Mount Vernon, Wash., when he heard his chickens “carrying on,” he told the Skagit Valley Herald. He grabbed his .22 caliber pistol, headed outside and spotted an opossum the size of a large cat. Tenbrink said he went to shoot the animal but pulled the trigger too soon and shot himself in the right thigh.

• A 38-year-old man told sheriff’s deputies in Carvers Bay, Ga., he and another were practicing with a rifle at a hunting club when he tried to shoot some dragonflies. Just then, the other man walked in front of him and was shot in the head. The Georgetown Times said the victim insisted the shooting was accidental.

Slippery Solution
Rather than spend $8,800 to repair their broken surveillance system, managers of a residential property in Xi’an, China, smeared 220 pounds of butter on the gas pipelines that run outside the buildings, making them too slippery for burglars to climb to sneak into apartments.

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