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News Quirks 

Published April 11, 2012 at 9:22 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again

Police searching for a stolen iPad used the tablet’s GPS to track it to an apartment in San Jose, Calif. The officers didn’t have a search warrant, but when they asked permission to enter the apartment, the occupants obliged. “They probably thought if they didn’t, we’d suspect something,” Santa Clara County Assistant District Attorney David Tomkins suggested. Once inside, the officers found 780 pounds of crystal meth, worth about $35 million. “I told my dad about the bust,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said, “and he said, ‘They have $35 million, and they can’t go out and buy an iPad?’” (San Jose Mercury News)

When a single-engine Cessna 182 strayed into the same Los Angeles airspace as a Marine helicopter carrying President Obama, the North American Aerospace Defense Command scrambled two Air Force fighter jets to intercept the aircraft in the no-fly zone and direct it to land at Long Beach Airport. Federal agents who questioned the pilot determined that he presented no security threat, but they also found 40 pounds of marijuana aboard the plane and turned him over to Long Beach police. (Associated Press)

Police arrested a 17-year-old boy they said tried to burglarize a home in Belfast, Northern Ireland, after a patrol spotted the juvenile at the front door struggling to free his hand from the flap of a mail slot. He became stuck while trying to reach through the slot to unlock the door. (Associated Press)

Keeping in Touch

Jacob Jock got kicked off a jury in a civil trial in Sarasota, Fla., after sending a Facebook friend request to one of the defendants within 20 minutes of being instructed by the judge not to contact anyone connected with the case. “I didn’t think it was a big deal,” Jock said, explaining that he sent the friend request while he was in the jury pool. “I didn’t think I would get picked for the jury.” But he was, and defendant Violette Milerman informed her attorney, who told the judge. (Sarasota Herald-Tribune)

Authorities were called to rescue Bonnie Miller after she walked off a pier in St. Joseph, Mich., while texting. “I had set an appointment for the wrong time, and so I sent about three words,” Miller said. “Next thing you know, it was the water.” (South Bend’s WBND-TV)

Low People in High Places

While serving as mayor of Hawthorne, Calif., Larry Guidi also worked as a warehouse operations manager for the Hawthorne School District. He was fired after a security camera recorded him loading a commercial food mixer into his pickup truck. He pleaded guilty to stealing the mixer, explaining that he took it so he could make dough for his home pizza oven. (Associated Press)

Anwar El-Balkimy, an ultra-conservative Islamist member of the Egyptian parliament, told reporters from his hospital bed that masked gunmen robbed and beat him on a desert highway. Later, however, the employees of a plastic-surgery clinic in Giza said that El-Balkimy was covering his face in bandages to hide plastic surgery. El-Balkimy admitted he’d gotten a nose job and resigned from both the Salafist Nour Party and parliament. (USA Today)

High People in High Places

When sheriff’s deputies went to a home in Dickson County, Tenn., to notify Danielle Elks, the wife of Charlie Daniels band keyboardist Joel “Taz” Digregorio, that her husband had died in a car crash, they found the back door open and entered. They found what they suspected was marijuana on the kitchen table, as well as rolling papers. They also noted there was a sticker for the Governor’s Marijuana Eradication Task Force. Elks is the director of the state Alcoholic Beverage Commission, whose mission includes the eradication of marijuana. The deputies neither investigated nor arrested anyone. (Nashville’s WSMV-TV)

Homeland Insecurity

While driving a $160,000 armored Chevy Suburban specifically designed to thwart high-velocity gunfire, fragmentation grenades and land mines, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent Jaime Zapata, 32, was ambushed in central Mexico by drug-cartel gunmen. When they forced the vehicle off the road and surrounded it, Zapata confidently put the allegedly invulnerable vehicle in park. That’s when the door locks popped open, thanks to a consumer-friendly automatic setting installed in the vehicle. Assailants were then able to wrestle open the door enough for one to spray gunfire into the interior. U.S. officials acknowledged that “hundreds, if not thousands, of other U.S. government vehicles all over the world” might have the same vulnerability. (Washington 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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