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News Quirks 

Published December 3, 2008 at 6:53 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again Police said that Enrique Vega Jr., 29, used a screwdriver to rob a Mexican restaurant in Fresno, Calif., then made his getaway on a bicycle. He crashed, however, impaling himself on the screwdriver, which severed an artery in his thigh, and bled to death.

• When two men kicked in the front door of an apartment in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and demanded cash, the resident told the intruders he had no money but would go to a bank machine and get some while they waited in the apartment. They agreed, but once out the door, the victim called the police, who arrested John Reddick, 51, and Dennis States, 53.

Hose Job After police received a call reporting “someone acting suspicious” at a car wash around 6:45 a.m. in Thomas Township, Mich., an officer parked some distance away, approached on foot and caught a 29-year-old man in the act of “receiving sexual favors from a vacuum,” according to police Sgt. Gary Breidinger. “I’ve seen some strange things,” he told the Saginaw News, “but this is the weirdest thing I ever heard.”

In Synch China intends to ban lip-synching at live performances. New rules announced by the ministry of culture would also cover musicians who pretend to play their instruments. The measure covers only professional performers, who would lose their business licenses for two or more violations in a two-year period. Singer Zheng Jun told the Shanghai-based paper Noon News that fewer than 20 percent of performers sang at their “live” shows, adding, “I once met a well-known singer at a show who didn’t even recognize his song as it was playing because it had been so long since he truly performed it.”

First Things First Police in Fountain, Colo., accused Nikita Lee Weis, 18, of offering to pay two men $7000 to break into his home and kill his mother so he could sell her car and empty her bank account to get breast implants for his 21-year-old girlfriend. Deputy Police Chief Mike Barnett said one of the men attacked the mother with a small wooden baseball bat, but she escaped.

Instant Replay India has become the first country to convict someone of a crime after relying on evidence from a brain scanner that produces images of the human mind in action and is said to reveal signs that a suspect remembers details of the crime in question. The New York Times reported that the case in Maharashtra state involved accused murderer Aditi Sharma, 24, who had 32 electrodes placed on her head and was asked a series of questions relating to the crime. The woman said nothing for an hour, but the parts of her brain where memories are thought to be stored reacted when the crime was recounted, according to state forensic investigator Sunny Joseph. The judge endorsed Joseph’s assertion that the results proved “experiential knowledge” of having committed the murder and sentenced Sharma to life in prison.

Hair Apparent A British doctor was found guilty of giving patients breast massages to cure their hair loss. The Daily Mail reported that Praminder Mankoo told his victims they needed massages to relieve the stress that was causing hair loss. He instructed them to strip to their underwear to avoid getting massage oil on their clothes, then he would rub their scalp, neck and shoulders before reaching around to touch their breasts. One woman testified in the Oxford Crown Court that Mankoo stripped naked after groping her breasts and “pushed my face into his genitals.” After a violent struggle, he finally let her go but then asked for payment and said she needed to schedule another appointment.

Warming Woes Global warming could lead to more wars, according to security analysts, who explained that rising temperatures lead to shifting populations, causing groups with long-standing rivalries to compete directly for food and water. “It’s not hard to imagine violent outbursts,” said Julianne Smith of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

• California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered his state to prepare for rising sea levels caused by global warming. Noting that sea levels rose 7 inches during the 20th century in San Francisco, Schwarzenegger warned, “The longer that California delays planning and adapting to sea-level rise, the more expensive and difficult adaptation will be.”

Little Things Mean a Lot Philip Seaton, 61, sued two doctors who amputated his penis without his consent. According to the lawsuit filed in Shelby County, Ky., Seaton was supposed to have undergone a circumcision for a medical condition, but when he awoke from the procedure, he discovered his penis had been surgically removed. The plaintiff’s attorney, Kevin George, told Louisville’s WLKY News that Dr. John Patterson amputated the organ after finding cancer.

Behind Closed Doors An appeals court ruled that police violated a Wisconsin man’s constitutional rights by secretly videotaping him having sex with his wife while she was in a coma in a nursing home. The 4th District Court of Appeals said that David W. Johnson, 59, had an expectation of privacy because he closed the door to his wife’s room before commencing intercourse.

Unfinished Business Ryan Graham, 20, paid a 26-year-old prostitute $20 to have sex in a car in Bakersfield, Calif., according to court records, but the woman tired after 10 minutes and called off the deal. The document said Graham got mad and shot her in the back as she was leaving the vehicle.

No Shortage of Suspects Following the attempted abduction of a 13-year-old girl in Daytona Beach, Fla., Orlando’s Local 6 News checked and found 244 registered sex offenders and predators living in a 5-mile radius of the intersection where the attack occurred.

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Roland Sweet

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


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