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News Quirks (3/11/15) 

Curses, Foiled Again

British police investigating the theft of tools and a shower stall from a home-remodeling project in Crawley arrested Ryan Marsh, 18, after he returned to the job site and tried to sell the items back to the contractor. (Britain's Crawley News)

Police looking for the man who beat up a woman in Ambridge, Pa., and held her captive for 12 hours, found him trying to flee town by bus. An hour after the victim called 911, suspect Donald Harrison, 22, posted the Facebook message, "IT'S TIME TO LEAVE PA." The next day, she told police she spotted Harrison's selfie on Facebook, announcing, "OMW TO SPARTANSBURG SC." The Spartanburg bus had just left, so officers caught up to it and arrested Harrison. "We like it when dumb criminals assist in our investigation," police Chief James Mann said, noting the Pittsburgh suburb has already been featured on "World's Dumbest Criminals" for "a couple of things." (Beaver County Times)


Japan's 15th annual hole-digging championships awarded 100,000 yen (US$830) to a team from Saitama that dug down 11.4 feet in the allotted 30 minutes. A record 305 teams entered this year's event, tournament official Ai Okazaki said, adding, "It takes about a week for our staff to gradually refill the holes." (Agence France-Presse)

Second-Amendment Follies

Authorities accused Stefanie Felicia Stern, 28, of leaving her 3-year-old daughter alone in a liquor store in Deerfield Beach, Fla., while she left to hide a handgun after her boyfriend shot himself in the leg. Her arrest warrant said boyfriend Reginald Leon Lee, 34, got into an argument with another customer and chased him out by waving his gun. While putting the gun back in his waistband, he fumbled, and the weapon accidentally fired. Lee claimed a stranger had shot him, but surveillance video proved otherwise. It showed Stern running out with the gun but without the child. (South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Car, Where's My Dude?

Ride-hailing service Uber announced it is teaming up with Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University to research driverless vehicles. Uber boss Travis Kalanick said not having to pay a driver would make Uber so cheap that users wouldn't need to own a car. (Economist)

When Guns Are Outlawed

While delegates at a United Nations disarmament forum in Switzerland were discussing ways to improve transparency, the delegate from Belarus warned that opening meetings to the public posed a threat to security. "What if there were topless ladies screaming from the public gallery throwing bottles of mayonnaise?" the diplomat asked. (Reuters)

Grand Dupery

Two convenience store employees almost destroyed the premises after receiving a call from someone claiming to be the store's security company. Police in Globe, Ariz., said the caller told the workers the silent fire alarm was going off and that to stop it, they had to discharge fire extinguishers in the store, throw the extinguishers through the windows and then destroy merchandise, computers, registers and security televisions, all while customers were shopping. It was when they were told to destroy the computers that the pair suspected the call was a prank. Damage amounted to $30,000, and the store closed for 12 hours to clean up the mess. "They thought they were acting righteously," police Sgt. A.J. Castaneda said. (Phoenix's KSAZ-TV)

Litigation Nation(s)

The Utah Court of Appeals ruled that Barbara Bagley could sue herself. The case involves the wrongful death of her husband, Bradley Vom Baur, in a car crash near Battle Mountain while she was driving and lost control of the vehicle. As the designated representative of her husband's estate, Bagley is suing Bagley the driver for negligence. "She has to look out for the estate," said Reid Tateoka, one of the attorneys representing the widow as plaintiff. Her attorneys as defendant moved to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing, "The jury will be highly confused. It cannot order a person to compensate herself." (Salt Lake Tribune)

     • Sharlene Simon, 42, acknowledged plowing into three bicyclists on a country road outside Innisfil, Ontario, killing one of them, but is suing the victim's estate, his parents, the County of Simcoe and the two other bicyclists, one of whom was seriously injured. Simon claims the three teenagers were negligent riding their bikes in the middle of the road at 1:30 a.m. Labeling them "incompetent bicyclists," the suit claims the crash, which occurred while Simon was driving 56 mph in a 50 mph zone, caused her $1.35 million (US$1.07 million) worth of emotional trauma. Her husband, who was following her, is also suing, claiming emotional trauma. (Canada's QMI Agency)

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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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