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News Quirks (11/12/14) 

Curses, Foiled Again

When Dustin Kite, 25, fled from an outdoor-gear store in Chattanooga, Tenn., with stolen merchandise, he found himself pursued by store employees and customers, all long-distance runners. They chased him down the street, through parking lots, over a neighboring business' fence and into nearby woods. By then, assistant manager Eric Loffland said, "He was definitely losing wind." Langland and the other runners caught up with the suspect and held him until police arrived. (Chattanooga's Times Free Press and Trail Runner)

Pot Policy

England's third-tier soccer club Rochdale is using powerful grow lights confiscated during drug raids to improve the turf on its field. Police donated the lights to avoid having to pay for their disposal. Groundskeeper Oli Makin said the team now has a lighting system comparable to rigs used by Premier League clubs that cost upwards of $48,000. (Associated Press)

Battle of the Bulge

Women whose large calves make it difficult to zip up tight-fitting, knee-high boots are turning to doctors, who report growing popularity for plastic surgery to combat "boot bulge." "It's a tricky procedure," said Dr. Matthew Schulman, a New York City plastic surgeon. "You're using microliposuction to take out very small amounts of fat." The procedure requires up to 10 months for recovery and is impossible for women who're avid bike riders or runners because their calves are all muscle, Schulman noted, explaining, "There has to be at least a little fat there to perform the procedure." (ABC News)

When Guns Are Outlawed

A man broke into a home in Zephyr- hills, Fla., and tried to sexually assault an 80-year-old woman, but she fought him off with her vacuum cleaner. Authorities said that when she ran for help, the suspect fled, taking the vacuum cleaner with him. (St. Petersburg's Bay News 9)

Silence Is Golden

The latest trend in resort amenities is silence. Hotels from luxury resorts to business-travel chains are marketing noise-free zones, triple-paned glass, soundproof walls, extra padding under carpets, door seals and TVs that won't exceed a certain volume. Some hotels offer digital detox packages that include locking guests' phones away for safekeeping. Other hotels are promoting activities designed specifically to slow guests down, tone down the noise and allow them to tune into their inner voice. "Everybody needs to try at least once to disconnect from their devices and to reconnect with their partner, wife or family," said Pascal Forotti, general manager of the Four Seasons Costa Rica. (Fortune and the Top Tier)

Ego Trip-Ups

Federal prosecutors in Minnesota charged 28 people with cashing counterfeit checks using details from Instagram photos. The group obtained individual account numbers and bank routing information by searching hashtag #myfirstpaycheck, where people post photos of themselves holding their paychecks. "This case is representative of a recurring trend: the migration of traditional street criminals to white-collar fraud," U.S. attorney Andrew Luger said. (CNN)

Frozen Assets

The latest food trend is artisanal ice. Joe Ambrose, founder of Favourite Ice, which supplies hand-chiseled frozen water to 30 restaurants and caterers in the Washington, D.C., area, said he filters minerals from tap water that make ice cloudy and then puts the water in a machine that turns out 200- to 300-pound blocks of crystal-clear ice. A band saw then cuts the blocks into 25-pound slabs or 2-inch cubes. Restaurants charge $1 or more per cube. The selling point, besides aesthetics, is that the larger cubes melt more slowly so they don't water down the drink. "If you're going to get a drink that's $15," Ambrose said, "it better have the best ice." (NPR)

Fire Power

A crematorium caught fire in Henrico, Va., while an employee was cremating a 500-pound body. "The body was so obese that the actual body fat came off and went straight up the stack," manager Jerry Hendrix said, and then "the grease hit the roof and started the fire." (Richmond's WWBT-TV) 

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Roland Sweet

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

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