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News Quirks 

Published June 9, 2010 at 7:24 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again

FBI investigators said Lois J. Harvey, 40, handed a hold-up note to a bank teller in Columbus, Ohio, who informed Harvey she couldn’t read it. While trying to explain the note, Harvey noticed an off-duty police officer in full uniform waiting in line behind her. She grabbed the note and hastily left. Informed by the teller what had happened, the officer went after Harvey, who, when caught, tried to eat the note. When the officer arrested her, she coughed it up. (The Columbus Dispatch)

Authorities identified Joshua Tell Warner, 23, as the man who robbed three Oregon banks after receiving calls pointing out that the suspect was a deckhand on a crab boat who appeared on the television reality show “Deadliest Catch.” Following his arrest at a traffic stop in East Peoria, Ill., Warner pleaded guilty. (Eugene’s Register-Guard)

Too Big to Prosecute

After investigators with Canada’s Bank of Montréal assembled more than 35,000 documents pertaining to what could be the biggest mortgage fraud in Canadian history, government authorities told the bank they weren’t interested in pursuing a criminal investigation against more than 300 Albertans, including mortgage brokers, real estate agents, lawyers and at least one member of parliament, whom the bank accused of generating $70 million worth of phony mortgages in one year. “There just aren’t enough police officers to investigate these crimes,” said Chris Mathers, a corporate crime consultant and former Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer. “If you double the number of investigators, you will just have double the number of crimes being investigated and still have a whole bunch stacked in a pile and waiting to go.” (Canadian Broadcasting Corp. News)

Little Things Mean a Lot

Authorities arrested Rolando Negrin, 44, a federal security screener at Miami International Airport, who they said beat up a co-worker with an expandable police baton. According to the arrest report, Negrin explained that he endured repeated mocking about the size of his genitals after his Transportation Security Administration colleagues observed his private parts on one of the airport’s full-body imaging machines until “he could not take the jokes any more and lost his mind.” (The Miami Herald)

Tobacco Road

When researchers denounced R.J. Reynolds Tobacco for marketing Camel Orbs, mint- or cinnamon-flavored dissolvable tobacco pellets that they said too closely resemble Tic Tac breath mints and will appeal to children because they can be eaten like candy, Reynolds official David Howard noted, “Virtually every household has products that could be hazardous to children, like cleaning supplies, medicines, health and beauty products, and you compare that to 20 to 25 percent of households that use tobacco products.”

The difference, insisted Dr. Jonathan P. Winickoff, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Tobacco Consortium, “is that kids potentially will be watching grown-ups ingesting these products. The last time I checked, we don’t have adults drinking toilet bowl cleanser in front of their kids.” (The New York Times)

Above and Beyond

Two Japanese police officers spent six evenings in a row hiding in a closet before finally nabbing a 16-year-old boy suspected of stealing 862 yen ($9.72) in Wakayama Prefecture. (Japan Today)

Joseph M. Veladro, 28, spared the world another lawyer by telling police in Port St. Lucie, Fla., that he stole more than $300 in merchandise so he’d be charged with a felony that would keep him from going to law school. (West Palm Beach’s WPTV News)

No Peeking

After students at a Pennsylvania high school were charged with child pornography for circulating cellphone images of a sex act on school grounds, school officials found themselves being investigated for examining the video images. Parents complained that officials at Susquenita High School who confiscated pornographic images and videos from the students “passed around” and viewed the offensive material. “Of course, one or two people had to see the images to determine what they were, but if more than one or two top administrators saw them, there better be a good reason why,” Perry County District Attorney Charles Chenot said, adding that employees who showed the images to people not involved in the investigation could face the same charges as the seven students involved. (Harrisburg’s Patriot-News)

Ironies of the Week

After Wisconsin state troopers needed tire spikes to stop a tractor trailer whose driver refused to pull over, authorities said the 44-year-old driver appeared to be sleep deprived. His cargo: energy drinks. (Minneapolis’s KMSP-TV News)

New York City fire investigators blamed a blaze that gutted five businesses and required 140 firefighters to extinguish on a worker installing a fire-safety door at a pizza shop. The worker, an employee of Ideal Fire Safety Systems, said his welding torch apparently set some grease on fire. (New York Post)

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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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