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News Quirks 

Curses, Foiled Again

Two men wearing heavy makeup, women’s clothing and wigs held up a Denver jewelry store at gunpoint, forcing the owners to unlock display cases. They then stuffed the jewelry in garbage bags and fled. Sonny’s Rocks owners Mark Allen and Mike Nedler told police the stolen items were mostly display samples that are worthless outside the store. (Denver’s KCNC-TV)

Thieves broke into a British museum in Hertfordshire and used a large hammer to pry loose two rhinoceros horns from taxidermy displays. The stolen horns would have been worth about $400,000, Natural History Museum officials said, only the displays were resin replicas with no financial value. (BBC News)

Join the Nuclear Club

Swedish authorities arrested Richard Handl, 31, for trying to split atoms in his kitchen. Handl, who is unemployed, explained he bought the radioactive elements radium, americium and uranium on the Internet and from Germany and tried setting up a nuclear reactor at home in Angelholm. After causing a small meltdown on his stove, Handl contacted Sweden’s Radiation Authority to make sure his experiments were legal. Police were dispatched immediately. Handl stated he was just “curious” about splitting atoms but admitted his plan was “crazy.” (Britain’s Telegraph)

Walk This Way

Surveillance video at a pet shop in Mesa, Ariz., showed Eric Fiegel, 22, stealing several snakes, including baby boa constrictors, by stuffing them down his pants and walking out. Police said Fiegel went to another pet store and traded some of the snakes for $175 and a large reptile tank. (Phoenix’s Arizona Republic)

Honesty Not the Best Policy

When Willie David Rice, 45, appeared in federal court to answer charges that he guarded a brothel in Oakland Park, Fla., U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas asked Rice his occupation. “Criminal,” Rice answered. Explaining he’s never had legitimate employment, he pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm by a convicted felon. (South Florida’s Sun Sentinel)

Michael Andes, 29, called police in Shelton, Conn., around 2 a.m. to report illegally parking his car in a handicapped parking spot on purpose because police don’t enforce parking laws. He placed 15 more calls over the next few minutes, each time berating the dispatcher about the lack of enforcement. When officers arrived and found the illegally parked vehicle, they said Andes approached them yelling and screaming about the lack of enforcement. When he refused their order to calm down, they shot him with a Taser and arrested him. He was charged with breach of peace and interfering with an officer. Police also issued him a ticket for parking in a handicapped space without a permit. (Hartford Courant)

Mother Tuckers

The California Senate passed a bill that would require hotels to use fitted sheets. Noting scores of housekeepers suffer back injuries each year lifting heavy mattresses to replace and tuck in flat sheets, the bill’s author, state Sen. Kevin De Leon, declared the measure, which would also require hotels to provide maids with special tools so they can clean bathrooms without having to stoop or get down on their hands and knees, would be the first law of its kind in the nation. “My mother was a housekeeper,” De Leon explained, “and worked herself to the bone.” (Los Angeles Times)

Passion Play

Hoping to boost attendance, a Spanish soccer team is encouraging its male fans to make donations to local sperm banks while watching an erotic movie that the team produced. La Liga’s Zombies Calientes del Getafe has struggled to fill its 17,000-seat stadium, the smallest in its division. “We are few, and we have to be more,” said the video’s creator, Angel Torres. “We have to move a mass of fans to seed the world with Getafe supporters.”

The team’s commercial on national television shows a Getafe fan eyeing an empty stadium while a narrator says the solution to low attendance “is simple. It’s within you. We talk about donating sperm. The more donors, the better.” The commercial cuts to half-naked zombies rolling around on beds saying how important it is to get Getafe back on track. The next scene shows the Getafe supporter marching to the sperm bank with fellow fans and heading into individual cubicles to complete their mission. (Britain’s Daily Mail)

Tipping the Scales of Justice

A New York appeals court overturned the robbery conviction of 400-pound Eric Kenley, 48, because the police lineup where witnesses identified him didn’t include any other 400-pound men. “Although the fillers were large men, there was a very noticeable weight difference between defendant and the fillers,” the Appellate Division ruling stated, suggesting that the “situation would call for … some kind of covering to conceal the weight difference.” (New York Post)

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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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