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Things That Go Kaboom



Curses, Foiled Again
Authorities charged Scott Simon, 24, with first-degree murder after he “pocket dialed” 911 and was overheard telling someone he was going to follow a 33-year-old man home from a Waffle House in Broward County, Fla., and kill him. Minutes later, the victim was shot and killed while driving on Interstate 95. “He had no idea he called 911,” sheriff’s official Dani Moschella said of Simon. “He basically told on himself.” (The Miami Herald)

• Authorities charged Natasha Myers, 23, with criminal mischief after they said she used a key to scratch a crude sketch of male genitalia on the hood of a stranger’s SUV in a supermarket parking lot in Wesley Chapel, Fla. She then went to the supermarket’s customer service desk, asked for a Post-it note, scribbled a message scolding the driver for not stopping for pedestrians—saying “Don’t be a dick”—and left the note on the SUV’s windshield. The vehicle’s owner saw the damage and the note, then went into the store and called 911. Security camera footage showed Myers writing the note, and sheriff’s deputies traced her to her home. (Tampa Bay Times)

Things That Go Kaboom
German police warned rail travelers that automatic ticket machines might explode. Hesse state police official Udo Buehler explained that criminals have successfully blown open 10 of the Deutsche Bhan’s ticket machines by taping over all the holes, filling the machines with gas and igniting them. They then steal any money and blank train tickets inside. In six cases, however, the attempts have failed, leaving the explosive gas inside, where an unsuspecting customer could ignite it. (Associated Press)

Howdy, Neighbor
Barry Alan Swegle, 51, escalated a long-standing property-line dispute with his neighbor in Port Angeles, Wash., by going on a rampage with a bulldozer-like logging machine that damaged four houses, numerous outbuildings, a pickup truck and a power pole. One of the homes was knocked off its foundation. “It was like a war zone,” said former law enforcement officer Keith Haynes, who lives nearby. (Port Angeles’ Peninsula Daily News)

Reverse Gouging
Husein Sarameh, 51, sold his SuperAmerica gas station in Waconia, Minn., for $945,000 and received a down payment of $203,000, but the check bounced. Meanwhile, the new owner had begun selling gas at a discount and tobacco and grocery products for half price. After collecting nearly $50,000 in cash, the new owner fled. Carver County sheriff’s officials said the investigation includes selling gas at a discount, which is illegal under state law because gas prices are regulated. (St. Paul’s KSTP-TV)

• Wisconsin authorities launched an investigation after receiving reports that four gas stations in Oconto were selling gas for nearly 50 cents cheaper than other stations in northeast Wisconsin. State law sets a minimum mark-up on gasoline to protect smaller stations from larger companies that may be able to sell gas at or below cost. (Green Bay’s WBAY-TV)

Pooper Troopers
New York City’s latest parenting trend is diaper-free child rearing, known as “elimination communication.” The idea is that parents listen to the noises or observe the expressions that their babies make when they go or need to go to the bathroom, then make the same noises or expressions while holding them over the toilet, a sink or even a bowl to encourage them to go on cue. Caribou Baby, which describes itself as an “eco-friendly maternity, baby and lifestyle store,” has been drawing capacity crowds for its diaper-free “Meetups,” where parents exchange tips on such matters as how to get babies to urinate on the street between parked cars. “I think for a lot of parents, the motivation is just to be more in tune with what their kids’ needs are,” Caribou Baby’s owner, Adriane Stare, said. The diaper-free parents said they do put diapers on their babies at nighttimes and for trips to stores and restaurants, but not necessarily for naps or visits to the park, where they can go on the ground or behind a tree. (The New York Times)

• More people on earth have access to cell phones than to toilets, according to the United Nations. Of the 2.5 billion people lacking access to proper sanitation, 60 percent of whom live in India, the U.N. study reported that 1.1 billion defecate in the open. (Time)

Second-Amendment Follies
After a woman with her grandson at Florida’s Walt Disney World reported finding a loaded gun on a ride, the owner of the weapon, Angelo Lista, told authorities he discovered it was missing minutes after leaving the ride. Noting he has a concealed-carry permit, he explained he didn’t know the park banned weapons and thought the security checkpoint at the park entrance was only so guards could check bags for bombs or explosives. (Associated Press)

• Authorities said Patrick Stapleton, 22, decided to pull a prank on a 21-year-old friend who was asleep at a home in Lothian, Md., by shooting him in the buttocks with a BB gun. The weapon turned out to be a .40 caliber handgun. The victim was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries, and Stapleton was charged with second-degree assault and reckless endangerment. (Baltimore’s WJZ-TV) • When a person attending a gun-safety class at a Lutheran school in Stillwater, Minn., asked the 76-year-old instructor about the different types of safeties on a 1911 Colt 45 handgun in the instructor’s gun case, the instructor unlocked the case and removed the weapon to demonstrate while answering the question. The weapon discharged, penetrating a wall. According to the police report, the person who was asking questions about the gun said the instructor “used good muzzle control” and at no time “was the barrel of the gun ever pointed towards anyone,” but the instructor resigned, telling police “he assumed the weapon was empty.” (Stillwater Patch)

Can’t You Read?
Florida’s Hernando School Board voted to eliminate high school salutatorian and valedictorian honors, starting with the current freshman class, because the members didn’t fully read the recommendation of a committee. It proposed recognizing the top 10 percent of honor students with cum laude and summa cum laude distinctions, rather than singling out the top two students. The committee, which included school principals, said the competition to be number one can be unhealthy, and other top-performing students should be recognized. The board approved the recommendation, 5-0. “I didn’t notice it excluded valedictorian and salutatorians,” Hernando School superintendent Bryan Blavatt admitted. “I thought this was a way to recognize more kids, not less.” (Tampa Bay’s WTSP-TV)

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