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News Quirks 

Curses, Foiled Again

A witness told police responding to a report of shots fired in North Charleston, S.C., that a man with a gun had gone into a house, but when officers questioned the occupant, she insisted no one else was there but her children. The officers asked the children if that was true, and they said no, that two men were in a back room watching television. Officers found Nathaniel Whack and Pierre Pete, as well as partially smoked joints, three loaded handguns, two semiautomatic weapons and a revolver. According to the police report, during a strip search, a spent .38 shell casing fell out of Whack’s anus and was logged into evidence. (Charleston’s WCIV-TV)

Police arrested Keithan Manuel, 18, in Wilmer, Texas, for trying to rob an officer inside the police station. Police Chief Victor Kemp said Manuel pointed a towel-covered hand at the dispatch officer and demanded, “Give me all your money.” He then asked if there were any warrants against him and added, “You do know I have a gun?” After the dispatcher summoned officers, who found no weapon, Manuel insisted he’d been joking. “Man, I play like that all the time,” he said. “I didn’t think she would take it seriously.” Kemp commented, “You hear of those World’s Dumbest Criminals every once in a while, but you never think it’s going to happen in your city.” (Dallas-Fort Worth’s KTVT-TV)

Killing Time

During a nine-hour layover in Nashville, Tenn., Greyhound bus passenger William Todd, 24, committed at least 11 felonies, according to police. He started by breaking into a business, stealing weapons, and then shooting up the business and setting it on fire. Next, he robbed four people leaving a local bar, Tased one and pistol-whipped another. Five minutes later, he carjacked a taxi at gunpoint and used stolen credit cards to buy food and $199 worth of items at a Wal-Mart. At 6 a.m., he entered a hotel, broke into a law office there, ransacked it and defecated on a desk, smearing feces on some framed law degrees. Then he knocked on several hotel room doors, pretending to be a female housekeeper, and robbed one couple of $600, crying the whole time. He shaved his head, returned to the stolen cab but crashed it into a parking garage. He hailed another cab and ordered the driver at knifepoint to take him to Opryland. At noon, police found Todd hiding in a water-cooling vat on top of Opryland, submerged up to his nose. (Nashville’s WSMV-TV)

Curse in Disguise

When a medical condition forced Kim Thompson to leave her job on a disability pension, the New Jersey resident was able to get her $91,000 federal student loans canceled. The debt was reported to the Internal Revenue Service as taxable Cancellation of Debt Income, resulting in her owing $26,000 to the IRS and $5000 to the state of New Jersey. (ABC News)

Data-Recovery Heroes

Britain’s Trish Vickers, who lost her eyesight seven years ago, had written 26 pages of a novel, using rubber bands to guide her ballpoint pen, when she asked her son to read them. The pages were blank because the pen had run out of ink. They called police in Dorset, and a forensic team shined a crime light on the indentations on the paper to read what Vickers had written. “Fortunately,” police official Kerry Savage said, “apart from one line, we managed to retrieve the whole lot.” (BBC News)

Silence, Please

The longest anyone can tolerate the world’s quietest place is 45 minutes, according to Orfield Laboratories in South Minneapolis, Minn. Its anechoic chamber is 99.99 percent sound absorbent, thanks to 3.3-foot-thick fiberglass acoustic wedges, double walls of insulated glass and foot-thick concrete. “It’s used for formal product testing, for research into the sound of different things: heart valves, the sound of the display of a cellphone, the sound of a switch on a car dashboard,” said company founder and president Steven Orfield, who can last 30 minutes in the chamber. “The quieter the room, the more things you’ll hear. You’ll hear your heart beating, sometimes you can hear your lungs, hear your stomach gurgling loudly. In the anechoic chamber, you become the sound.” (Britain’s Daily Mail)

A woman who became concerned after hearing moaning and yelling coming from a neighbor’s apartment in Victoria, British Columbia, around 5 a.m. called police, who had to knock several times before the man responded. “When questioned about the amount of noise he was making,” Deputy Chief John Ducker wrote in the police operations log, “the man explained that he had been essentially (in his own, different words) on the toilet having his morning constitutional, but he was done now.” The man promised to be quieter in the future. (Victoria Times Colonist)

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About The Author

Roland Sweet

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


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