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News Quirks (10/22/14) 

Curses, Foiled Again

Police got a good look at a burglary suspect who made off with $3,700 in Coral Gables, Fla., even though the man tried to hide his identity by repositioning surveillance cameras toward the office building's elevators. A large mirror located next to the elevators reflected the man's image and actions, which the camera recorded. (Miami's WTVJ-TV)

Dylan Robert Stables, 20, attracted the attention of police by driving backward on a highway in Sebastopol, Calif. Stables reportedly told officer David Harston that his transmission had failed, forcing him to drive north while facing south. After a check showed Stables was on probation, a search of his vehicle found credit cards that turned out to be stolen. (Santa Rosa's Press-Democrat)

Crisis of the Week

Counterfeit prom dresses are harming the U.S. economy, according to Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.). He warned Lev Kubiak, director of the Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, that Chinese manufacturers and websites that sell counterfeit goods directly to U.S. buyers threaten the domestic prom and bridal dress industry and are "ripping off consumers." (Washington D.C.'s Hill)

When the Ice Bucket Challenge Isn't Enough

Responding to reports of a disoriented man in a plastic bubble off the Florida coast asking directions to Bermuda, the crew of a U.S. Coast Guard cutter found Reza Baluchi, 42, who explained he was trying to raise money for needy children by running 3,000 miles inside his inflatable "hydro pod" to trace the Bermuda Triangle. After going only 70 nautical miles in three days, however, he became exhausted and had to be airlifted to the hospital. Following his rescue, Baluchi denied asking for help and said he activated his emergency rescue signal by mistake. "I never quit," he declared. (Washington Post)

Shy Flasher

Police in West Allis, Wis., accused Konrad Peters, 28, of exposing children to harmful materials by twice throwing dildos from his car while teenage girls were nearby and then lingering to watch their reaction. In a third incident, according to the arrest report, the car stopped about 100 feet in front of two girls walking in an alley, and the driver opened his door and placed an object on the ground that the girls "inspected and found to be a giant purple dildo." Investigators who identified Peters as the suspect reported finding "33 dildos and multiple sex toys" at his home. (Britain's Daily Mail)

Inflammability

A car at a gas pump in Lake City, Fla., was engulfed in flames while the driver was inside the gas station, according to sheriff's official Murray Smith. He noted that the car had a lit candle inside. (Jacksonville's WJAX-TV)

A fire truck responding to a fire in Silver Spring, Md., had to stop en route after it caught fire. The fire started in the engine compartment and spread because it was a ladder truck and carried no water. The crew battled the blaze with hand-held fire extinguishers until another fire truck arrived to put it out. (Associated Press)

Irony of the Week

Rodney Edward Boutelle, 53, was killed while cutting firewood in Park County, Wyo., when a tree fell and hit him on the head. Sheriff's investigators concluded that Boutelle failed to hear the tree behind him falling because of the noise from his chain saw. (Associated Press)

Drone On

Officials called off a scoreless soccer match between Serbia and Albania in the 41st minute after a drone flew into Belgrade's Partizan Stadium carrying a flag symbolizing the extension of Albania's territory to wherever ethnic Albanians live. Albanian fans had been banned from attending the qualifying match between the two Balkan rivals, resulting in an overwhelmingly pro-Serbian crowd of 32,000 who regarded the flag as an insult. Serbian defender Stefan Mitrovic pulled down the flag, but when several Albanian players tried to take it away, a melee involving numerous players ensued. Some spectators threw objects, including flares, from the stands, and several ran onto the playing field to join the brawl. Serbs accused Olsi Rama, the brother of Albania's prime minister and one of a handful of Albanians permitted to view the match, of controlling the drone, but Serbian authorities were unable to find the drone's controller to confirm their suspicion. (CNN)

Drinking-Class Hero

The Italian food company Alta Quotta introduced spreadable beer, which it said is ideal for "appetizers and cheeses" and "to decorate or fill" pastries, cakes and ice cream. The product, Birra Spalmabile, is composed of 40 percent beer, although it contains no alcohol. (United Press International)

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About The Author

Roland Sweet

Bio:
Roland Sweet is the author of the syndicated column "News Quirks," which appears weekly in Seven Days.

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