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News Quirks 

Curses, Foiled Again

Scott Douglas Jury, 53, notified authorities in Charlotte County, Fla., that someone had withdrawn money from his checking account several times without his permission. He filed a claim with the bank to be reimbursed for the $1515 that was taken but was told he needed an official sheriff’s office report. When Jury went to the sheriff’s office to report fraudulent activity on another account, he was shown ATM photos of 11 transactions that he’d identified as fraudulent. They clearly revealed Jury withdrawing the money himself. He said he didn’t remember making any of the withdrawals but later admitted using the money to pay bills and buy illegal drugs. (Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office)

Hired to kill a father of four in Cardiff, Wales, Jason Richards, 38, and Ben Hope, 39, instead murdered a 17-year-old boy at a home 70 yards away, according to British prosecutors, who accused the men of “staggering incompetence.” Investigators used Cardiff’s network of surveillance cameras to trace their movements, as well as evidence gathered from their cellphones. (BBC News)

Big on Downsizing

Following New York City’s ban on sugary soft drinks larger than 16 ounces, planners announced they hope to address the city’s growing population of singles and two-person households by overturning a rule that new apartments be at least 400 square feet so they can develop apartments of between 250 and 300 square feet. The “micro units” would rent for less than $2000 a month and have a bathroom, kitchen and combined living room-sleeping area. “We’re talking about one or two people who want something they can afford,” Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said, “and they don’t entertain.” (Associated Press)

Watching the Defectives

Police in Prince George’s County, Md., began installing surveillance cameras to monitor the county’s speed cameras, which recently became the target of vandals. One camera was shot with a gun, another set on fire. “It costs us $30,000 to $100,000 to replace a camera,” said police Maj. Robert V. Liberati, who commands the Automated Enforcement Section. “Plus, it takes a camera off the street that operates and slows people down.”

The dozen planned surveillance cameras are needed because the speed cameras can’t be used for security since Maryland law limits them to taking pictures of speeding vehicles. “We’ve taken the additional step of marking our cameras to let people know that there is surveillance,” Liberati noted. (Washington’s WTOP-FM) Now That’s Debating

At the start of a live television debate about the crisis in Syria, Jordanian politician Mansour Murad and Madaba First District Deputy Mohammed Shawabka began trading insults. After Shawabkeh accused Murad of spying for the Syrian regime and Murad replied by calling Shawabkeh an Israeli spy and cursed the deputy’s father, Shawabka hurled a shoe at his opponent, who dodged the footwear. Then Shawabka drew a pistol from his waistband and threatened Murad but didn’t fire. The moderator tried several times to control his guests but to no avail. (Jordan Times)

Seeing Is Believing

Women who “test-drive” larger breasts before getting implants wind up choosing even bigger implants, according to a British plastic surgeon. Mark Henley, who runs East Midlands Aesthetics in Nottingham, explained the “try-before-you-buy” idea involves wearing a heavily padded bra with 10 gel-filled pads on each side for two weeks to see how they like having bigger breasts. After using the technique on 162 women, he told the annual meeting of the British Association for Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons that on average they chose implants 30 percent larger than they first planned. He theorized that the padded bras boost their confidence. (Britain’s Daily Mail)

Phantom of the Attic

A woman who broke up with her boyfriend 12 years ago discovered the 44-year-old man living in the attic of her home in Rock Hill, N.C. Identifying herself only as Tracy, she said she was using her laptop one night but couldn’t shake the feeling that “something just ain’t right.” She heard strange noises and noticed insulation falling from the ceiling. Later, she saw nails in the ceiling fall to the floor and thought “there was some poltergeist stuff going on.”

She called her nephew, who went into the attic and found the man, recently released from prison, sleeping inside a heating unit. The nephew noticed the man was able to peek at Tracy through an air vent and that cups containing feces and urine were all over the attic. After he was discovered, the man offered no explanation but climbed out of the attic and walked away with a smile. Tracy called police, but he was gone when they arrived. (Charlotte Observer)

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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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