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News Quirks 

Published October 28, 2009 at 8:47 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again

When police went to a home in Regina, Saskatchewan, looking for David William McKay, 28, a man matching McKay’s description answered the door but said his name was “Matthew,” which, when asked, he misspelled. The Regina Leader-Post reported police also noticed he had the name “David McKay” tattooed on his back.

A police officer spotted a man at a convenience store in Lebanon, Pa., holding his cap and eyeing the sweatband with a puzzled look. The Lebanon Daily News said that as the man got closer, the officer noticed a small plastic bag stuck to the man’s forehead, pulled it off and asked the man, “Is this what you’re looking for?” Police who booked Cesar Lopez, 29, for possession said sweatbands are common hiding places for drugs.

Not Quite Right

Lynda K. Russell, the district attorney of Shelby County, Texas, plans to defend herself against accusations that she stole money from motorists by using the money she’s accused of stealing to pay for her legal defense. The ACLU of Texas is suing Russell on behalf of the 150 motorists whose property was illegally seized and turned over to a county forfeiture fund. Reason magazine said Russell used the fund for a Christmas party and tickets to a motorcycle rally, but the ACLU asked the state attorney general to prevent her from using the fund for her defense.

After a surveillance camera in St. Catharines, Ontario, caught James Cedar, 19, masturbating in his neighbors’ backyard while looking through the windows, the perp confessed. Later, Cedar’s lawyer sent the victim a letter threatening legal action for invading her client’s privacy because, Margaret Hoy wrote, “you have installed surveillance cameras which photograph and videotape into my client’s yard and windows.” Victim Patricia Marshall told the Toronto Sun her reaction was “total disbelief.” She explained she installed the infrared camera because she suspected someone was spying on her and her two teenage daughters.

In addition to the threat by Cedar’s lawyer, prosecutor Wally Essert withdrew the original criminal harassment charge against Cedar, informing Marshall that branding Cedar a sexual offender would lessen his chances of developing “normal relationships.”

Second-Amendment Follies

Timothy Allen Davis, 22, told sheriff’s investigators in Lee County, Fla., that he was digging through a drawer looking for a shirt, but when he pulled it out, his .380 semi-automatic handgun flipped in the air, landed and discharged a round. The Fort Myers News-Press reported the bullet hit Davis in the rear end.

When Guns Are Outlawed

Police in Broken Arrow, Okla., charged Decai Liu, 52, with beating his roommate on the head with a harmonica. The roommate explained he was in the bathroom getting ready for work when Liu burst in and started beating him with the musical instrument. “I don’t know what his problem was,” the roommate said.

The Dating Game

A 27-year-old woman told police she was on a first date with Terrance McCoy, 24, at a restaurant in Ferndale, Mich., but when the check came, he said he forgot his wallet in her car and asked for the keys. According to the Associated Press dispatch, McCoy then drove off in her car.

Uniform Disaster

Women draftees in Sweden complained that the brassieres issued by the military are unacceptable because they keep catching on fire. And because the garments aren’t flame resistant, once lit, they can melt onto conscripts’ skin. “Our opinion is that the Swedish Armed Forces should have ordered good, flame-proof underwear,” Paulina Rehbinder of the Swedish Conscription Council said. The Göteborgs-Posten newspaper reported the women also complained that the standard-issue sports bras’ fasteners have a tendency to come undone during vigorous exercise, forcing them to remove all their gear to refasten the brassieres.

Mixed Messages

At least 22 states that ban texting while driving offer some type of service that allows motorists to send and receive information about traffic jams, road conditions or emergencies via Twitter. “If you’re sitting there and trying to update the world on the congestion you’re in, you could be part of a collision,” said Fairley Mahlum of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Off-Season’s Greetings

Joshua Johnson, 26, injured himself while riding a snowmobile in Waterloo, N.Y., when it flipped and threw him off, then struck him in the head and chest. Deputies noted Johnson was test-riding the vehicle but wasn’t wearing a helmet, plus there was no snow on the ground.


The Wisconsin Tourism Fede-ration, a 30-year-old tourism lobbying coalition, changed its name to the Tourism Federation of Wisconsin after officials realized its initials — WTF — formed a crude acronym popular in text messages. The group made the switch after websites and blogs poked fun at it. “We didn’t want it to detract from our mission,” TFW official Julia Hertel told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Slightest Provocation

A Washington, D.C., jury needed less than 10 minutes to convict Lankward Harrington, 25, of shooting a landscaper who was using a lawn trimmer and got some grass on Harrington’s clothes and hair. Harrington stopped, reached into his backpack for a .357 magnum and shot Jose Villatoro four times in the face and body before walking away. “I made sure he saw me and looked me in the eye,” Harrington testified. “I take pride in my appearance. I did not appreciate that.

“He did nothing to you, did he?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Snyder asked.

“He got grass on me,” Harrington said. “That was something.”

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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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