Unclear on the Concept
Kentarias Gowans, 20, of Flowery Branch, Ga., came up with a novel way of celebrating Thanksgiving. He was scheduled to work at the Steak 'n' Shake in Oakwood that day, but called in "intoxicated" and said he wouldn't be in. But around 10 p.m. that evening, Gowans arrived at the restaurant with a handgun, which he held to another employee's head while demanding money, The Gainesville Times reported. Multiple employees and customers called 911, and police arrived to see Gowans exiting the restaurant with his gun. He briefly raised the weapon, officers reported, but then dropped it, and he was taken into custody after a brief struggle.
As Stephanie Leguia of Milton, Mass., and her neighbor, Wenhan Huang, chatted in Huang's yard on Dec. 1, an unusual object slammed to the ground just feet from where they stood. Their backs were turned when what looked like a "giant silver tarp" crashed down, reported the Boston Herald. On its way, it lopped off four tree branches: "If it had hit us, we would have been dead," Leguia said. Turns out the object was an uninflated silver evacuation slide from a Delta flight arriving in Boston from Paris. The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed that the pilot had heard a loud noise as the Boeing airliner approached Logan International Airport, but the flight landed without incident. Delta and the FAA are investigating.
Least Competent Criminals
Callie Elizabeth Carswell of Morganton, N.C., and her fiance, Clarence Moore III, allegedly staged an elaborate crime, all in the name of love, just before Thanksgiving. Around 10 p.m. on Nov. 25, while Carswell worked at the Big Daddy convenience store, Moore entered the store carrying an ornamental sword and wearing a hat and bandanna to disguise his identity. He "demanded" money from Carswell, leaving with $2,960, the Morganton Department of Public Safety told The News Herald. When the "robber" left the store, she called 911. Police went on to work the case overnight, while Carswell and Moore made an early morning stop at Walmart to buy a ring and get engaged on the spot, documenting the big event on Facebook. But details of Carswell's story didn't add up, and investigators found evidence in her car and at their home that led them to arrest the couple. Moore confessed to the crime, but Carswell shouted at reporters as she entered the courthouse: "I will assault you! I didn't do it. ... Watch the (expletive) video and you'll see that I was (expletive) terrified. I wasn't involved." The couple were charged with armed robbery, misuse of 911 and filing a false police report.
Fine Points of the Law
After a decade of wrangling through the court system, Bela Kosoian has been awarded $20,000 (Canadian) by the Supreme Court of Canada. It all started in the Laval, Quebec, Montmorency Metro station in 2009, when Kosoian was riding an escalator while looking through her purse and, pointedly, not holding the handrail. According to CBC News, a police officer told her to respect a sign asking riders to hold the rail, but Kosoian declined and then would not identify herself to the officer, who slapped her with two tickets: one for disobeying the sign and another for obstructing the work of an inspector. Kosoian sued, and the highest court agreed with her, saying: "A reasonable police officer should have known that people didn't have to hold the handrails." They called the sign a "warning" and not a law. "I knew that I didn't do anything wrong," Kosoian said. "It was the principle of it."
In The Hague, Netherlands, management at supermarket chain Albert Heijn is walking back a request that employees send in a photo of themselves in their underwear, in order to work out sizes for new uniforms. Workers were asked to use an "innovative mobile app" to submit the photos, AFP reported, but the company backed down after the complaints started rolling in. "The manager told us that if we don't do it, we can't be in the store anymore because we don't have the right corporate clothing," said one 17-year-old employee who works at the Nijmegen branch. But Albert Heijn said participating was voluntary and "although ... pictures were not visible to management, this should never have happened. We apologize to all involved."
Ronald Cyr, 65, of Van Buren, Maine, became the victim of his own trap on Nov. 28 when he was shot by a handgun that he had rigged to fire whenever someone opened the front door. Cyr was able to call 911 and say that he had been shot, WAGM reported, but he later died. When officers of the Van Buren Police Department arrived, they found that along with the home's front-door booby trap, other devices were set up, prompting them to call the Maine State Police bomb squad. Homemade security devices that use weapons are illegal in the United States.
The Continuing Crisis
Veronica Alvarez-Rodriguez stopped at a Valparaiso, Fla., Goodwill store on Dec. 1 to pick up a gift for a baby shower she and her husband were attending. She was excited to find a Baby Einstein bouncer seat for just $9.99—unopened and appearing to be new, The Palm Beach Post reported. Later, at the shower in Crestview, the father-to-be opened the box and found ... a Mossberg 715T semi-automatic rifle. "You guys got me a gun!" he shouted excitedly. The gun had live ammo loaded in it, so the Crestview Police Department was summoned. Initially, officers let the future dad keep the weapon, but later asked to hold it as they investigated the incident. "Goodwill has the best treasures for $9.99," Alvarez-Rodriguez gushed.
At her early December murder trial at Kingston Crown Court in Kingston, England, 35-year-old Asta Juskauskiene of Dartford was accused of setting up a "latter-day medieval duel" between her estranged husband, Giedruis Juskaukus, 42, and her lover, 25-year-old Mantas Kvedaras. As the story goes, according to the Telegraph, the woman had left her husband and become acquainted with Kvedaras, who was serving time in a Lithuanian prison. He was released in May, and after his arrival in England, both men claimed Juskauskiene as their own. So, logically, she decided they should fight to the death in an alleyway on June 17—a duel which Juskaukus did not survive. He was found with 35 stab wounds to his body and neck, and Kvedaras confessed to the attack. The prosecutor, Hugh Davies, contends that Juskauskiene manipulated the two men, harbored Kvedaras after the incident and repeatedly lied to police. She denies conspiring to murder.
• An unnamed man was detained in Russia on Nov. 28 after it was revealed that he erected a fake border station in the woods near the country's border with Finland and charged four South Asian men to smuggle them into the European Union, The Guardian reported. He charged the men more than $10,000 for the service, but "The man never planned to carry out his promises," according to the Interfax News Agency. The man took the migrants on a circuitous route in the Vyborg region by car and on foot, at one point carrying an inflatable boat, "just in case." All five men were taken into custody. The "smuggler" may be charged with fraud.
Runs in the Family
On Nov. 29, Jackson County (Kansas) Sheriff Tim Morse reported that his office had arrested not one, but two, McCrackens for two separate vehicle thefts. Around 1:30 a.m., a deputy stopped Eric Dean McCracken, 36, for a traffic infraction, then arrested him after learning that McCracken was driving with a suspended license. Later that morning, the owner of the truck he was driving reported it stolen, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported. Separately, just before 5 a.m. that day, the Shawnee County Sheriff's Office started tracking a different stolen truck using GPS. When a Holton, Kansas, police officer tried to stop that truck, the driver, Keith Ray McCracken, 32, fled. He eventually stopped the vehicle and tried to escape on foot, but was caught at a convenience store. Officers believe Keith was on his way to the Jackson County Jail to bail out his brother, Eric. Both were held at the jail on multiple charges.
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