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When a cabdriver reported that a man robbed him after being dropped off in Severn, Md., he added that the crook left behind a coin purse containing his driver’s license, Social Security card and a paycheck made out to William Ludlow, 30. Twelve minutes later, police showed up at Ludlow’s home and held him until the cabdriver arrived and identified him as the culprit. “We didn’t really have to do that much,” Anne Arundel County police Officer Sara Schriver said. “Sometimes criminals aren’t as clever as they think.

Police in Fort Mitchell, Ky., identified Rodney McMillen, 36, as the one that broke into a sleeping woman’s apartment wearing only a brightly colored thong, then spent several hours making calls on the woman’s wireless phone, smoking cigarettes and setting up a video camera. He fled when the woman awoke, but authorities quickly tracked him down because he left behind the video equipment, which contained a tape of what appeared to be his family reunion.

Ignorance Is Bliss

An opinion poll by the Egyptian government found that 61 percent of those interviewed had never heard of opinion polls. The government’s Information and Decision Support Center, which conducted the survey, reported that 49 percent indicated they would like to be asked their opinion again.

Answering Nature’s Call

Scientists testing rivers and streams around Washington, D.C., for harmful bacteria discovered that the overdeveloped region’s major water polluter is wildlife, specifically the unusual number of deer, geese, raccoons and muskrats living in the suburbs. “They’re pooping in the water,” environmentalist Chuck Frederickson told the Washington Post, which reported that, according to the high-tech tests by the Environmental Protection Agency, 58.8 percent of the harmful bacteria in the Potomac River, which is on the federal “impaired waters” list, comes from wildlife. Humans account for 16.3 percent, pets 14.7 percent and livestock 10.2 percent. Noting contamination is widespread, officials said it would be nearly impossible to kill or relocate enough of the animals to make a noticeable difference in water quality.

Vince Lombardi Follies

Police in Evans, Colo., arrested Mitch Cozad, a bench-warming sophomore punter on the University of Northern Colorado football team, after they said he stabbed the team’s first-string punter in the leg. Witnesses saw the suspect, who was wearing a hooded sweatshirt, stab Rafael Mendoza’s right thigh, then drive away. Mendoza did not recognize his attacker, police Lt. Gary Kessler said, but later, a suspicious liquor store clerk spotted someone wearing a hooded sweatshirt remove tape from his license plates and reported the number to police, who identified Cozad. “I think that would strike anybody as a weird way to get ahead,” Kessler said.

Unhappy Ending of the Week

When Plano, Ill., furniture-store owner Randy Gonigam announced that shoppers would get their furniture free if the Chicago Bears kept the Green Bay Packers from scoring in their season opener, he wasn’t worried, because the Packers had scored in 233 straight games. Gonigam reported that the well-publicized promotion helped boost his Labor Day weekend business 30 percent. The only glitch, he admitted, was having to give away $275,000 worth of furniture after the Bears beat the Packers, 26-0. “It still felt awfully strange sitting there in the fourth quarter,” Gonigam said, “just knowing we would be giving back all this money to all those people.

Way to Go

A blind man, who invented curbside markers to help blind pedestrians safely cross the street, was struck and killed while trying to cross a highway in Glide, Ore. The highway was not equipped with his Blind Signs devices, which feature bumps to guide people to crosswalks. Investigators concluded that Kevin Stockton, 47, was hit first by a van traveling east and then by a pickup truck heading west. Emmy Stockton said that her husband left their home because he was upset and speculated that he became disoriented and wandered out to the middle of the road. “He developed Blind Signs to keep stuff like this from happening,” she said, “and this is a hell of a way for the point to get across.

Sheriff’s deputies in Orange County, Fla., reported that a man died after cutting himself while trying to rip out a street sign near his home. “It appears he underestimated the severity of the wound,” local news reporter Todd Jurkowski said. “He went home and was found dead in his apartment.

Measurement Follies

A new $36 million Indian gambling casino that opened in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula this summer was able to offer everything except the gambling after the federal government notified the owners that part of the 29,000-square-foot Kewadin Shores Casino and Hotel, overlooking Lake Huron’s Horseshoe Bay north of the Mackinac Bridge, was built where Indian gambling isn’t allowed. “It wasn’t until after we had the pilings and foundation in place that we realized that something wasn’t right,” said Aaron Payment of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. “We did another survey and found that all but 30 feet of the casino was on ineligible land.” With 800 slot machines and 26 gambling tables idle, the tribe immediately began erecting a $2.5 million replacement casino the legal distance from the original one.