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News Quirks (9/24/14) 

Curses, Foiled Again

Police accused Ryan Mullins, 22, of breaking into a pharmacy in Swansboro, N.C., and stealing a safe containing prescription drugs. He made his getaway by tying a rope around the 100-pound safe and dragging it behind his vehicle for two miles before he passed a police cruiser. The officer noticed the safe being dragged and pulled him over. (New Bern's WCTI-TV)

Music Hath Charms

Kyra Kopestonsky said she was stalked by a mountain lion while hiking alone in Placerville, Colo., before she figured out how to shake it. "I don't know why, I just started singing opera really loud," Kopestonsky said, noting it got as close as eight feet. "It kind of put its ears down and just kept looking at me, and it sort of backed away." (Denver's KUSA-TV)

Slightest Provocation

British baker Shane Thompson, 22, damaged a computer-operated sausage roll machine by head-butting it after it stopped working properly. "He admits he became frustrated with the equipment," defending solicitor Robert Vining told a Yorkshire magistrates court, which ordered Thompson to pay $1,125 towards the cost of repairing the $42,000 machine. (Britain's York Press)

Brothers Anthony Kelly and Ted Kelly injured each other with sticks when they got into a fight after Anthony accused Ted of stealing okra from his garden in Spartanburg, S.C. Police who arrested the pair said they were too intoxicated to give written statements. (Greenville's WHNS-TV)

Vegetarians Rejoice

Tick bites are causing victims to become allergic to beef, as well as pork, venison, rabbit and some dairy products. The culprit, researchers said, is the Lone Star tick, which has spread throughout the South and the eastern half of the United States. Its bite transmits a sugar, called alpha-gal, that triggers an immune-system response that sets the stage for a severe allergic reaction the next time the person eats red meat, which contains the same sugar. In some cases, eating a burger or a steak has hospitalized people. Dr. Erin McGintee, an allergy specialist on New York's Long Island, has seen nearly 200 cases in the past three years and said few patients seem aware of the risk. "Why would someone think they're allergic to meat when they've been eating it their whole life?" she said. (Associated Press)

When Guns Are Outlawed

Philadelphia police said a man entered a convenience store, waited in line, took a banana from the counter next to the cash register, stuck it in his sweatshirt pocket to simulate a gun and demanded cash and cigarettes from the clerk. Surveillance video of the incident shows the robber escaping on a bicycle. (Associated Press)

Jimmy Morgan Jr. called police to report someone had broken into his home in Wichita Falls, Texas, and that he had stabbed the intruder with a spear. "I don't have a firearm, so I have a short spear: very quick, very agile and very deadly," Morgan said after police arrested Thomas McGowan, 25, who suffered hand and shoulder injuries. (Wichita Falls's KFDX-TV)

Nothing to See Here

Carl Cannova invented a portable screening device that can be set up at accident scenes to prevent passing motorists from rubbernecking. The SRN 1000 privacy, safety and security barrier system comprises a 6-by-12-foot weather-resistant screen and three folding tripods that fit in a portable bag. Cannova said he has sold more than 400 of the $2,299 SRN 1000s to law enforcement agencies, medical coroners, hospitals, airports, hotels and even filmmakers to screen scenes from view. "It's easy to put up, easy to put away," Sarasota, Fla., Police Chief Bernadette DiPino said. "You can't see anything. You can't begin to pay attention to what's going on." (Tampa-St. Petersburg's WTSP-TV)

When Florida's Department of Transportation set up reversible express lanes on a 9.5-mile stretch of Interstate 595 in Fort Lauderdale in March, it installed 34 warning gates and five barriers intended to keep motorists from entering in the wrong direction. Each entrance has signs warning drivers to keep out if the lanes are closed. In the first five months, drivers plowed into the gates 105 times. "It sounds like maybe people aren't paying attention and veering to the left a bit and smacking into the gates," Highway Patrol Sgt. Mark Wysocky said. The warning gates cost $3,000 to replace; the barrier gates, $7,000. (South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Return of the Ottoman Empire

Surveillance cameras at a home in Fairview, Ore., showed a woman stealing footstools from the front porch. (Portland's KPTV-TV)

Ban the Ban

Mayor Kent Guinn of Ocala, Fla., wants the city council to repeal a ban on saggy pants on city property, even though he signed it into law. He said he meant to veto it, but there were too many papers on his desk, and he mistakenly approved it. (Orlando's News 13)

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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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