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Curses, Foiled Again When an 18-year-old man entered a bank in Camden, Ark., and opened a bag containing $88 in nickels that he wanted to change into paper money, the teller spotted a gun in the bag and alerted a supervisor, who called police. Capt. Scott Rosson told the Camden News the man didn’t try to rob the bank but explained he was carrying the gun because he planned to pawn it. Officers who questioned the man decided to search his home anyway, and found $16,000 worth of property they believed was stolen. Rosson said many of the 1760 nickels also were stolen.

• New York City police followed a robbery suspect from the scene to a nearby apartment building, but arrested a different man who answered the door. The New York Post reported that when Raymond Gramby, 37, saw officers leading the man away, he yelled out his seventh-floor window, “It was me, you idiots. You have the wrong guy.” Officers released the first man and arrested Gramby.

Double Secret Probation Some Atlanta residents complained the city shut off their water because of delinquent payments, even though they didn’t know they owed money. WGCL-TV reported that when the Department of Watershed Management hiked water rates 27.5 percent last June, it held off billing for the increase until December, then billed retroactively. Some customers said their water was shut off even though they’ve paid their bills, and they’re being charged a $100 reconnection fee to resume service. Department official Janet Ward insisted the retroactive billing, water shutoffs and reconnection fees are valid.

Thanks for Nothing Witnesses said Jim Moffett, 58, and another man were helping two elderly women cross a busy Denver street during a snowstorm to get to a bus stop, when a pickup truck headed straight for them. Moffett pushed the other three out of the way, only to be struck and injured. After the Colorado State Patrol cited the driver of the pickup for careless driving, it ticketed Moffett, who was hospitalized in serious but stable condition, for jaywalking.

Parenting Skills Authorities in Evangeline Parish, La., accused Donna Greenwell, 53, of trading two young children in her care for a pet cockatoo. The incident occurred after Greenwell spotted a flier offering to sell the bird for $1500 and called the owners, Paul and Brandy Lynn Romero. When the Romeros happened to mention that they had tried for years to have a child together, sheriff’s Detective Keith Dupre said Greenwell offered them the 5-year-old boy and 4-year-old girl for $2000.

When they couldn’t meet that price, Dupre said, “Ms. Greenwell agreed to make an even trade: the bird for the kids.” She asked for an additional $175 in cash to pay for adoption paperwork, even though she had no authority to put the children up for adoption.

• The mother and aunt of 4-year-old Deshawna Tyson, who was found at a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant in Bel Air, Md., told authorities they didn’t realize the girl was missing until they saw her picture on a television newscast the next day. Harford County sheriff’s official David Betz told WBAL-TV the aunt and her boyfriend took Deshawna and eight other children to the restaurant in separate cars. When they drove home, each thought the other had the girl. Deshawna’s mother came home later that night and went straight to bed.

Evangelical Follies Shykea Boykin, 22, told police that she went home with Troy Brisport, 34, of West Toledo, Ohio, because she didn’t have a place to stay, but wound up being held captive. While she was asleep, according to court documents, Brisport handcuffed her wrists and ankles, put a gag in her mouth, undressed her, put an adult diaper on her and spent the next three days reading to her from the Bible. “It’s unusual to hold somebody for that long and not commit a sexual assault,” police Capt. Ray Carroll told the Toledo Blade, “and read Bible verses to them.”

Trying Is the First Step Toward Failure A South Korean woman failed the written exam for a driver’s license on her 771st try. The 68-year-old woman, whom the Korea Times identified only by her family name, Cha, began taking the test in April 2005, according to North Jeolla Province licensing official Choi Young-chui, who noted that Cha has spent $3000 on fees for the test and scored as high as 50. A score of at least 60 is required on the written exam to advance to the driving test. The woman said she intends to try again but wouldn’t say when.

• A British woman who has tried but failed to kill herself at least 50 times was arrested after being spotted on cliffs near the village of Aberystwyth hours after magistrates rejected her request to lift her antisocial behavior order. BBC News reported that authorities imposed the ASBO in January 2006 after Amy Beth Dallamura, 45, made repeated suicide attempts by wading out to sea and leaping off piers, jetties, rocks and cliffs. Rescue attempts have cost emergency services $1.4 million.

Identity Crisis When two customers complained that a pizzeria in Palm Coast, Fla., got their order wrong, owner Joseph Milano was caught on tape pistol-whipping the men. After his arrest on aggravated assault charges, law enforcement officials confirmed a report by the Daytona Beach News-Journal that Milano was really Joey “Crazy Joe” Calco, 40, a mob hit man in the federal witness protection program. “Now that’s in the back of my mind,” said Richard Capie, 35, whose complaint provoked Calco’s attack. “The guy’s a killer.”

Army Strong The Army disclosed that 24 soldiers committed suicide in January 2009 — eight more than died in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Roland Sweet

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

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