Date published: May 12, 2010
Journal code: SYNT
CURSES, FOILED AGAIN
Two masked men armed with a shotgun tried to rob a bagel shop in Orlando, Fla., but fled empty handed when one of the employees pushed a bagel cart at them.
After stealing handcuffs, a Taser and other items from an unmarked police car in Ocoee, Fla., Shane Thomas Williams-Allen, 19, was apprehended when he "locked the handcuffs on himself and had to call the Clermont Police Department to respond to release him," according to an arrest affidavit. Lake County authorities who took Williams-Allen into custody said he told them that while removing the Taser from the police car, "it discharged, hitting the floor and causing his foot to get shocked."
HOW EXPANDED PLAYOFFS THIN THE HERD
Urologists reported a spike in men scheduling vasectomies during college basketball's March Madness so they can avoid work and chores to watch games while recovering. The American Medical News reported that some clinics have started giving vasectomy patients recovery kits that include pizza coupons and sports magazines. "We suggest the guys ice it and stay off their feet for 24 hours. Some will take it a little farther than that," said Dr. Bill Utz, whose clinic in Edina, Minn., gives patients a brochure showing a man recovering in a recliner while his wife waits on him.
At least a half-dozen people have been killed and others injured in the Philippines while singing Frank Sinatra's version of "My Way" at karaoke bars. As a result, many of the clubs have removed the popular song from their playbooks, and karaoke singers have stopped singing it. Most of the "My Way" attacks have reportedly occurred because the singer sang out of tune, causing other patrons to laugh or jeer, sparking an argument. Other incidents, according to Butch Albarracin, owner of a Manila-based singing school that has launched the careers of many famous singers, were provoked by the song's "arrogant" lyrics.
Chinese officials in Shanghai warned of a "significant increase" in drug use among retired and middle-aged residents. Recreational users are taking ketamine, cocaine and methamphetamine to help them stay awake during marathon mahjong sessions. "The drug-taking mostly occurs among groups in card rooms, a place popular among the elderly," Shanghai anti-drug commission official Zheng Yuqing told China Daily. Noting that drug addiction has increased among people over 35 from 23 percent to 40 percent in the past decade, the paper reported that rising drug abuse among mahjong players has alarmed sports officials, who have tried to clean up the game's image, going so far as to seek advice from enthusiasts in the United States.
Swiss prostitutes are being trained to use defibrillators to revive clients with heart problems. Brothel owners in the Lugano area said electric shock treatment to restart customers' hearts is necessary because so many elderly customers are using their services. "Having customers die on us isn't exactly good publicity," the owner of one sex club told the Italian daily Corriere della Sera.
WAY TO GO
Authorities in Oconee County, S.C., concluded that sheriff's Deputy William Frederick Schuck III, 26, died while on patrol after his car got stuck on a dirt road north of Walhalla. When he got out of the car to assess the situation, the car apparently moved forward and pinned him to the tree.
ELECTRICITY RUNNING WILD
The Australian government warned that roofs fitted with the foil insulation it recommended for its energy-saving program are electrocuting people. Officials, who ordered a nationwide safety check of tens of thousands of roofs fitted with foil insulation it offered rebates for, blamed the deaths of four electricians on the metallic foil coming into contact with electrical cables and electrifying entire attics. A preliminary audit of 400 homes found that up to a dozen might pose a danger.
Sheriff's investigators in Travis County, Texas, who caught Anthony Marco Gigliotto, 17, with 150 photos of women, mostly clothed, including "a few upskirt photos," said Gigliotto admitted taking the photos of 39 different women without their consent but explained he acted only because his high school wasn't teaching students enough about sex. The Lake Travis Independent School District issued a prompt denial, calling the complaint about the lack of sex education "completely unfounded."
ARREST RESISTER OF THE WEEK
When two city police officers found Jack A. Seabright Jr., 23, passed out in his vehicle in Washington, Pa., they tried various ways to rouse him. When they did revive Seabright, he took a swing at one officer, who blocked the punch and ordered Seabright out of the vehicle. He refused and kicked and punched at the two officers until one Tasered him. As soon as they pulled him from the vehicle, Seabright ran off up a snow bank, only to be stopped when he slammed head first into a steel pole, fell over and was taken into custody.
Michael Phillips, 32, was teaching an NRA class in Orlando, Fla., to certify citizens to carry a concealed weapon when his gun accidentally went off, shooting student Robert Frauman Jr., 50, in the foot. NRA rules forbid bringing ammunition into safety classes. The class was taking place at Summit Church, but communications director, Kristy-Lee Lawley, said the class, the first of its kind at the church, wasn't church-sponsored and added, "We won't be having anything like that in our church in the future."
Lazaro Flores, 50, was practicing quick draws with an antique .32-caliber revolver at his girlfriend's house in Alva, Fla., when he forgot to take his finger off the trigger while holstering the weapon and accidentally shot himself in the leg.
MENSA REJECT OF THE WEEK
John Yarrington, 23, agreed to act as a drug informant for police in Falmouth, Mass. After making a controlled drug purchase, Yarrington received $100 from the police and 10 minutes later was using the money to buy drugs-from the same dealer he helped set up, who was still under police surveillance. Officers arrested Yarrington and the dealer. "It's a case of the dumb get dumber," Detective Christopher Bartolomei said.
A shootout between Errol Parker Sr., 61, and Pittsburgh police began with an argument over a parking place. Police said they received a 911 call from a man complaining that Parker punched him and brandished a gun at him, then told the man to move his car from the space the man had just shoveled out so Parker could park his car there. When police arrived, they ordered Parker out of his house, but he fired two shots at them before surrendering.
Milwaukee police charged apartment manager Jimmie Lamar Richardson, 52, with beating one of his tenants to death because the tenant locked himself out of his apartment. A witness told police that Richardson went into a rage and threw tenant Richard Bohannon against a wall and down one flight of stairs, then kicked him down a second flight of stairs.
Secret Service computers work at only 60 percent capacity, according to a classified review that blamed the slow tempo on outdated systems and reliance on a computer mainframe dating to the 1980s. Although the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees the Secret Service, conceded the existing hardware "is prone to failures" and the service's "data environment is fragile and cannot sustain the tempo of current and future operational missions," the DHS ignored an unofficial cost estimate to update the system of $187 million, allocating only $33 million and requesting only another $69 million.
Department of Homeland Security officers lost 289 firearms-handguns, M-4 rifles and shotguns-from 2006 to 2008, according to the department's inspector general. The report blamed officers entrusted with the weapons for failing to properly secure them. One was left unsecured in an idling vehicle at a convenience store where the gun and the vehicle were stolen while the officer was inside. Other officers left their firearms at fast-food restaurants, parking lots and a bowling alley. Local law enforcement organizations recovered 15 DHS firearms from felons, gang members, criminals, drug users and teenagers.
A woman told police in Fredericksburg, Va., that she, her husband and a friend were at McDonald's drive-through when the friend asked for ice tea. When told she wasn't getting the ice tea, the friend put the woman's PlayStation 3 and some of her video games on the ground as a joke. By the time the victim drove back around to retrieve the items, a passenger in another vehicle had grabbed the game system and three of the games and had driven away. Police Capt. Rick Pennock said he wasn't sure what the intent of the joke was, "but whatever it was, I don't think it worked out like it was supposed to."
Police arrested Edward Rodriguez for drug possession after he aroused suspicion by hiding in a ditch behind a vacant home in Mesa, Ariz. A neighbor reported the man to police, who approached the man and noticed he was shirtless and wearing women's pants with a hole in the crotch exposing his genitals. The man was also wearing his underwear around his neck.
Police in Carroll Township, Pa., suspected John Russel Saum Jr., 42, might be driving under the influence after they observed him driving on a highway without a wheel on the front of his car. Sparks could be seen flying from the vehicle's disk brakes. Saum's blood-alcohol concentration was found to be twice Pennsylvania's legal limit.
A French court ordered eBay to pay $316,500 to Louis Vuitton Malletier and stop using Internet search terms whose spelling closely resemble "Vuitton." Louis Vuitton complained that the online auction site had been buying keywords like "Viton," "Vitton" and "Wuiton" so that online shoppers who entered these misspellings into a search engine would be directed to links promoting eBay. The Paris District Court found eBay liable for harming the brand name's reputation.
Chile's mint fired managing director Gregorio Iniguez after he put thousands of coins into circulation that misspelled the country's name. The 50-peso coins, worth about 10 U.S. cents each, were issued in 2008 with the country's name spelled "Chiie." No one noticed the mistake until late last year.
A 46-year-old man was arrested for drunk driving in South Bend, Ind., after other motorists reported their vehicles were struck by a hose from a gasoline pump dangling from the gas tank of his truck. An employee at the gas station said the man bought gas with a credit card but then drove off with the hose still attached to the vehicle.
News and Blues is compiled from the nation's press. To contribute, submit original clippings, citing date and source, to Roland Sweet in care of The New Times.
THE LAST STRAW
Police in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said Johnny Dossey, 43, reacted to a $70 water bill by dousing his mobile home with gasoline and then setting it on fire. A few minutes later, the home exploded. Neighbor Luis Alvarez, who said he heard Dossey arguing with his father about the bill, pointed out, "I guess he got fed up with it, and that's the only way he saw out of it."