News Quirks 11.16.05
Curses, Foiled Again
Sheriff's deputies in Lancaster County, Neb., had few leads in a rural home burglary until IBM called two weeks later to report that someone had called its toll-free technical-support number for help booting up a ThinkPad. When the caller gave the machine's serial number, support personnel realized that it had been stolen. Recognizing the ThinkPad as one of the missing items in the burglary, deputies executed a search warrant and arrested Darrell Brown, 48, on suspicion of possessing stolen property.
- A man in Fargo, N.D., sought to have a protection order lifted by secretly videotaping himself having sex with the woman he was told to leave alone. Justin W. Fraase, 26, gave the video to a police officer, expecting it to show that the woman didn't fear him. Instead, the tape revealed more than enough evidence for his arrest on three felony charges. "He obviously didn't watch it before he gave it to us," Lt. Tod Dahle said, indicating that the video, which is 30 to 40 minutes long, includes audio of the woman's struggle and makes it clear she didn't want the sex. "He provides us the videotape and doesn't realize that there's all this evidence on there that ends up putting him in jail on all these felony charges," Dahle said. "So basically he arrested himself."
- Police in San Antonio, Texas, arrested Noe Ochoa, 21, after they said he tried to steal a Hummer limo. He was thwarted by the 15 passengers in the back of the limo celebrating a birthday party. The guest of honor, Kenneth Thornton, 28, crawled through the privacy window and put the suspect "in a choke hold" until the other passengers could pull him out of the vehicle. Ochoa appeared before a judge with a black eye and several cuts.
Scientists discovered two fossils that had been fused together in sexual union for 65 million years in a 30-foot deep dry well in India's Madha Pradesh state. The report of their findings in the Indian journal Current Science indicated that this was the first time sexual copulation had been discovered in a fossil state. The fossils are tiny swarm cells, a stage in the development of the fungus myxomycetes, also known as slime molds. "The sexual organs being delicate and the time of conjugation short lived," the study said, "it is indeed rare to get this stage in the fossil state."
Silver Lining of the Week
Sally Hampton, 64, told police in Naples, Fla., that she was escorting Fidel Trujillo out of a barroom at closing time when he hit her with a beer bottle and kicked her in the head. She went to the emergency room, where doctors examining her discovered that she had a brain tumor that could have killed her. The tumor was removed, and Hampton recovered.
Political Correctness Follies
Two British banks have banned piggy banks as a symbol of saving because they don't wish to offend some Muslims, whose culture regards the pig as an impure animal. "This is a sensitive issue," said Salim Mulla, secretary of the Lancashire Council of Mosques, "and I think the banks are simply being courteous to their customers." Khalid Mahmoud, one of four Muslim members of Parliament, criticized the ban by Halifax and NatWest banks, explaining, "I doubt many Muslims would be seriously offended by piggy banks."
Sperm in the News
Someone stole $75,000 worth of bull semen from a Maryland farm, according to the Frederick County sheriff's office. Eric Fleming said that the six small canisters of frozen semen taken from a liquid nitrogen tank represented four to five years of collection work from 40 to 50 bulls. "I'm so depressed about this," Fleming said, "that I probably will get out of the cattle business."
More Water Woes
Police at Texas A&M University arrested two men for showering at a women's bathroom at a shelter for victims of Hurricane Katrina. Evacuee Arpollo Vicks, 20, of New Orleans, said that he and his 16-year-old cousin were born male but live as women and consider themselves female. Vicks said that she had never before encountered a problem when using women's bathrooms, adding that she wanted to shower in the women's facility because she felt safer and more comfortable doing so. "This is nothing to be
in jail for," she explained. "I live like this. This is my life."
Resignations of the Week
New Hampshire Judge Franklin Jones, 56, resigned after a Judicial Conduct Committee suspended him for groping five women at a conference on sexual assault and domestic violence.
- New York City high school social studies teacher Matthew Kaye, 31, resigned after investigators discovered that the 11 sick days he took weren't so he could care for an ill sister, but so he could perform as a professional wrestler. School officials said that they discovered his sideline when they visited his website and noticed that it listed him as being on tour for World Wrestling Entertainment on the dates in question.
A Taste for Revenge
After Bob Schwartz, crime adviser to New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, wrote a new state law that allows felony charges against owners of dangerous dogs, one of Schwartz's three dogs attacked him, sending him to the hospital with bites on both arms.
Asking for Trouble
Vowing to improve Indonesia's chronic bureaucratic problems and crack down on corruption, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced his personal cellphone number and urged Indonesians to contact him directly to report any problems. So many people ("thousands," the daily paper Republika said) called with voice and text messages that the line crashed, forcing Yudhoyono to create a special hotline to handle complaints.