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News Quirks (5/13/15) 

Curses, Foiled Again

Police were able to link Christopher Furay, 33, to six bank robberies in Pittsburgh, Pa., by his distinctive red beard. After media coverage of the first four robberies, he wore a fake red beard over his real one for the next two. He was arrested anyway after the sixth robbery when a detective recognized his getaway vehicle as the same one used for previous heists. (Pittsburgh's WTAE-TV)

What Could Go Wrong?

After the Rubbin' Buttz BBQ in Milliken, Colo., announced that the restaurant would celebrate White Appreciation Day on June 11 by offering white customers a 10 percent discount, co-owners Edgar Antillon and Miguel Jiminez began receiving threats, including one bomb scare. "It's been phone calls, it's been emails, it's been on social media," Antillon said. "Some are just, 'Hey, you're an idiot,' and others have been legit threats." He added, however, that the messages have been "overwhelmingly positive." Antillon said the idea for White Appreciation Day was to "highlight a double standard," where African American and Hispanic Americans have monthlong celebrations of their heritage, but he emphasized that the discount would apply to all patrons. All they have to do is ask. (Washington Times)


Utah authorities arrested Weston Frank Vetere, 25, after he told them he started a brush fire that burned 40 acres of old-growth cottonwood trees and threatened several buildings. The Grand County Sheriff's Office said Vetere explained that he set the fire to signal for help after his car got stuck. (Reuters)

Crime and Punishment

Québec police issued a $148 ticket to 91-year-old Yvette Vachon for making too much noise with her recliner rocking chair. Two officers responded after her downstairs neighbor complained about being irritated by the sound of her chair and her television and insisted that police take action. Lawyer Charles Cantin took on her case pro bono. After he reported the ticket to the media, prosecutors in Saguenay canceled the fine and said the officers should have issued her just a warning. (Canada's National Post)

First Things First

The utility company on the Philippines island of Palawan asked residents to turn off refrigerators and other electrical appliances so there'd be enough power to broadcast the boxing match between local favorite Manny Pacquiao and American Floyd Mayweather. (Australia's

Not Lovin' It

Hoping to overcome its junk-food image, McDonald's began testing two breakfast bowls in southern California. One includes kale. The chain is also introducing three salads in Canada that contain kale. The new menu items follow recent ads for the Big Mac that mocked trendy foods like kale, soy, quinoa and Greek yogurt. (Associated Press)

A Michigan court sentenced Shaneka Torres, 30, to three to seven years in prison for opening fire at a McDonald's restaurant that failed to put bacon on her burgers. She complained when the burger she ordered at the drive-through was missing bacon. She was offered a free replacement, but this one also lacked bacon, provoking her to shoot through the restaurant. (Associated Press)

Cheaters Win

The Internal Revenue Service announced that it won't even try collecting from delinquent taxpayers who owe less than $1 million. "Nobody's ever going to knock on their door," said Richard Christian, supervisory revenue officer for the Dallas area, who explained that five years of budget cuts by Congress have reduced staffing to where collection efforts are now focused on tax cheats who owe $1 million or more. Christian further noted that traditional collection methods don't work against the people who owe between $100,000 and $999,000 because they generally don't have regular jobs and wages that can be garnished. "If you just owe $700,000," he said, "we'll hope you get a job sometime so we can levy." (Washington Post)

Kissing Cousins

Norway's Child Protection Service is seizing foreign children and fostering them to Norwegian parents to combat "the highest inbreeding in the world," according to the Lithuanian talk show "An Hour with Ruta." The program said that Lithuanian children living in Norway "are a sought-after commodity" to combat the high rate of Down syndrome and other birth defects among Norwegians. Dag Halvorsen, Norway's ambassador to Lithuania, hired a Lithuanian public relations firm to counteract the misconception that Norwegian authorities are working "to obtain fresh, foreign children, such as Lithuanian ones, to strengthen the genetic material." (Norway's Local)

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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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