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News Quirks 

Published July 30, 2008 at 8:37 p.m.

Curses, Foiled Again An armed man wearing a fake beard and mustache and a wig walked into a bank in Fort Worth, Texas, and demanded cash. Police Lt. Paul Henderson said the robber, who apparently took a taxi to the bank, asked the teller for a ride, but the teller refused, instead handing the man keys and telling him they belonged to a car in the parking lot. They didn't. The frustrated robber tried to steal a car from a woman at a drive-through ATM who said she needed space to pull up; when the robber let her, she drove off. The robber tried to steal another woman's car, but four bystanders grabbed him and called police, who arrested Larry Don Enos, 57.

Mission Accomplished President Bush's economic stimulus plan stimulated the online porn industry, according to the Adult Internet Market Research Company (AIMRCo), which identified an "uncharacteristic" increase in spending. Noting summer is typically a "slow period for this market," Kirk Mishkin, AIMRCo's head research consultant, said, "Many of the sites we surveyed have reported 20 to 30 percent growth in membership rates since mid-May when the checks were sent out." Jillian Fox of, one of the sites reporting to AIMRCo, said a June survey of members found "32 percent referenced the recent stimulus package as part of their decision to either become a new member or renew an existing membership."

When Guns Are Outlawed Police in Lincoln, Neb., said that after Carlos Lupercio, 49, argued with a 25-year-old neighbor about the breed of the younger man's dog, Lupercio went inside and returned with a crossbow. He fired at the younger man, who was only two or three feet away and had his back turned, but missed, hitting a tree instead.

* When Frederick McKaney, 40, encountered two women talking on a sidewalk in Jackson, Mich., he said something offensive to them. When they responded in kind, Chief Assistant Prosecutor Mark Blumer said, McKaney "hit one woman over the head with 10 pounds of (frozen) chicken."

* Gelando Olivieri tried to rob a store in DeLand, Fla., by threatening the clerk with a large palm frond. Noting the weapon was a spiked Spanish bayonet, whose leaves have sharp points, the DeLand-Deltona Beacon reported that a customer thwarted the robbery by chasing Olivieri from the store with a bar stool.

* Also in DeLand, two weeks later, police said Gregory Allan Praeger, 46, admitted hitting his mother in the head with a 3-pound pack of Polish sausage.

* James Plante Jr., 39, tried using a cheese grater to rob a bar in Crown Point, Ind. According to Lake Criminal Court records, Plante threatened to shoot the bartender and a patron with a gun underneath his shirt. The patron realized it wasn't a gun, however, and grabbed a bar stool to chase Plante, who dropped the grater while fleeing.

Guilty Vision School officials in Simcoe County, Ontario, filed a sexual-abuse report against the mother of an autistic girl because of an educational assistant's visit to a psychic. The National Post reported that Colleen Leduc, 38, was summoned to the school where her 11-year-old daughter, Victoria, is enrolled in a special education class. Leduc said Victoria's teacher and the school's principal and vice principal told her the psychic asked the EA if she works with a little girl with the initial V. When she answered yes, the psychic said, "This girl is being sexually abused by a man between the ages of 23 and 26."

The aide alerted school officials, who notified the Children's Aid Society and gave Leduc a list of her daughter's telltale behaviors. "I challenged them and asked if the other children in the class with autism exhibited these behaviors," Leduc told the paper. "They said, 'Oh yes, all the time.' But they were not reported to the CAS because they didn't have the psychic's tip."

Leduc said that the CAS caseworker immediately closed the file, calling it "ridiculous." The Simcoe County District School Board insisted the officials were only doing their duty by reporting suspected sexual abuse "if they believe there is reasonable grounds."

Ersatz Tubers Britain's High Court declared that Procter & Gamble's Pringles aren't subject to the 17.5 percent value-added tax because they are not a potato snack. Overturning a VAT Tribunal decision that Pringles met the definition of "potato crisps, potato sticks, potato puffs and similar products made from the potato, or from potato flour, or from potato starch," Justice Nicholas Warren ruled that Pringles are exempt because they contain only 42 percent potato. P&G's Marina Barker said the ruling would save the manufacturer millions.

What the World Needs Now Two weeks after a smoking ban took effect in the Netherlands, Rain Showtechniek unveiled a machine that reproduces the traditional odors of bars and cafés, including cigarette and cigar smoke. "There is a need for a scent to mask the sweat and other unpleasant smells like stale beer," company official Erwin van den Bergh told Britain's Daily Telegraph. He said the "Geurmachines" come in various sizes and prices, (from $900 for café-sized to $7000 for exhibition halls) and offer 50 different scents, from tobacco to leather, freshly baked bread and new cars.

Not-So-Great Escapes A 22-year-old Australian woman who tried to escape from jail in Sydney had to be rescued after police said she became stuck in the air conditioning duct she hoped would lead to freedom.

* An inmate tried to escape through air conditioning ducts at the jail in Alton, Texas, but fell through the ceiling into the office of Police Chief Baldemar Flores.

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About The Author

Roland Sweet

Roland Sweet was the author of a syndicated column called "News Quirks," which appeared weekly in Seven Days.


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