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When Guns Are Outlawed



Curses, Foiled Again
After two men stole DVDs and computer games from a Target store in Madison, Wis., one of them accidentally pocket-dialed 911 with his cell phone. A dispatcher listened for 54 minutes as the men bragged about the heist, described their vehicle and discussed where to sell the goods. They agreed to try a video store, but by the time they pulled up, police were already waiting and arrested Jason S. Hamielec, 29, and Brian A. Johnson, 28. (Associated Press)

• Antonio Santiago, 26, denied stealing a cell phone and charger from a man who fell asleep at the rail-and-bus terminal in Hoboken, N.J., but when police called the stolen phone, it rang in Santiago’s pocket. Officers who retrieved the phone and charger also found three small bags of marijuana. (Hudson County’s The Jersey Journal)

• Police investigating a drive-through robbery at a Burger King in York, Pa., identified Tyechia Lorraine Rembert, 33, as their suspect after she called the restaurant to ask if any witnesses had seen her license-plate number. Investigators used cell phone records to trace the call to Rembert. (The York Dispatch)

When Guns Are Outlawed
Andri Lynn Jeffers, 26, admitted trying to rob a gas station in Yavapai County, Ariz., by threatening the clerk with a toy penguin. Authorities said Jeffers told the clerk that the object, which she concealed under her sweater, was a bomb. (The Arizona Republic)

Holy Melee
Palestinian security forces broke up a brawl between broom-wielding Christian monks at Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity. Roman Catholics, Armenians and Greek Orthodox denominations share the church but zealously protect the parts they claim as theirs. While cleaning up after Christmas celebrations by Western Christians, Greek and Armenian factions accused each other of encroaching on their territory. Some shouted and hurled brooms before the Palestinians restored order. (Associated Press)

Drinking-Class Heroes
Police charged Darrin Porter, 45, with disorderly conduct after he interrupted an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in Cincinnati while “extremely intoxicated” and carrying a can of beer and refused to leave. (Cincinnati Enquirer)

• Authorities in Fayetteville, Ill., charged Lindell K. Ferguson, 18, and Brittany M. Ferguson, 20, with beating up their 42-year-old mother after she threw out several cans of beer belonging to her daughter because the girl was not of legal drinking age. The mother told police that when Brittany attacked her, Lindell joined in. The kids also beat up a 47-year-old man who lives in the home but isn’t their father. (Belleview News-Democrat)

Up in Smoke
A fire destroyed a factory in Rhea County, Tenn., that produces kiln-dried firewood sold at convenience stores. Noting the building was “stacked full of dried firewood,” Evensville District Fire Chief Brad Harrison explained that the kiln that dries the wood started the fire, which spread quickly. (Chattanooga’s WRCB-TV)

• When her mobile home caught fire in Obion County, Tenn., Vicky Bell called firefighters, who responded but stood by while the home burned to the ground because Bell doesn’t subscribe to their service. Mayor David Crocker of South Fulton, which provides fire protection to rural residents who pay the $75-a-year fee, explained that the money covers the cost of the manpower and equipment needed to provide the service. If the city’s firefighters responded to people who didn’t pay, Crocker said, no one would have any incentive to subscribe. Bell admitted knowing about the city’s “pay to spray” policy but said she didn’t subscribe because she and her live-in boyfriend never thought they’d be victims of a fire. She also lacked insurance to cover the trailer or its contents. (Associated Press)

Spoilsport of the Week
The U.S Labor Department is considering limiting corn sex among rural teenagers. The practice, technically known as detasseling, is designed to promote cross-pollination of corn crops. The proposed rules would prevent children younger than 16 from working for detasseling companies, which pay anywhere from minimum wage to $10 an hour and require teens to work long days in the fields for about a month. The detasseling companies and other farm organizations condemned the proposed rule change, insisting it interferes with time-honored tradition and will ultimately raise the price of corn. The Labor Department said the issue is safety. Two 14-year-old girls were electrocuted while working in an Illinois cornfield last summer when they stepped into a puddle apparently charged from a nearby irrigation system. (The Washington Times)

Parts Department
An Illinois appeals court ruled that a woman who was injured after part of a man’s body hit her could sue the man’s estate. The incident occurred in 2008, when Hiroyuki Joho, 18, was running across the tracks at a Chicago train station in the rain trying to catch a Metra commuter train when an Amtrak train struck him at more than 70 mph, sending a large portion of his body flying about 100 feet onto the southbound platform, where it injured Gayane Zokhrabov, then 58. A Cook County judge dismissed Zokhrabov’s lawsuit, but the appeals court disagreed, ruling “it was reasonably foreseeable” that the high-speed train would kill Joho and fling his body toward the platform where people were waiting. (Chicago Tribune)

• Rosemary Bower, 70, was driving in Washington Township, Pa., when a vehicle heading in the other direction hit a deer, cutting it in half and sending it flying. State police said the head and shoulders crashed through Bower’s windshield, killing the woman. (Associated Press)

Omnivores’ Digest
When police responded to a 911 call from a motel in Fort Pierce, Fla., Mary Ellen Lisee, 45, told officers she called them because she “ate too much food.” Noting that she appeared to be drunk, they charged her with misuse of 911 and disorderly conduct. (Britain’s Daily Mail)

• Donna Simpson, 44, announced that she has stopped posting videos on her Website, where men paid $19 a month to watch the 600-pound woman eat. “I realized I was their fantasy,” she said. “Here I was getting bigger and bigger, and they had their thin wives, with two and a half kids and a picket fence.”

Appealing to the fantasy fetish community, Simpson became a celebrity of sorts after being written about in British papers, at one point earning $1,000 a month from pay-per-view eating. “That’s pretty good for eating Ho Hos,” she said, announcing that she has embarked on a weight-loss program, with a goal of 300 pounds. “I’m not trying to be a size 4,” she said. “I just want to be normal and active.” (MSNBC)

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