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Curses, Foiled Again Robert E. Dendy, 59, dropped off a Christmas wreath at police headquarters in Tonawanda, N.Y., explaining it was a token of appreciation for the officers on duty. Believing that Dendy could not have afforded the wreath, suspicious officers called the supermarket next door to see if one had been stolen. According to the police report, store officials “stated that the wreaths were kept outside and that they did not recently sell any.” The Tonawanda News reported that officers confronted Dendy, who admitted to stealing the wreath. He also had at least 26 other items thought to have been taken from another nearby store.

• When a 29-year-old man showed up at a police station in Jackson, Mich., for a background check required by the company where he was applying for a job, the computer system showed he was wanted on a domestic-violence charge. Deputy Police Chief John Holda told the Jackson Citizen Patriot that, while searching the man, an officer found several rocks of cocaine.

Technology Follies Three Norwegian tourists cut short their vacation after they got lost returning from a Brazilian beach resort, and the satellite navigation system in their rental car directed them to turn off a main highway as the quickest route back to the airport to drop off their rental car. Instead, they found themselves deep in Rio de Janeiro’s lawless Mare slum complex, where drug traffickers promptly opened fire, wounding driver Trygve Killingtveit, 24, who managed to drive to safety. “As far as I understand, the GPS system in their car showed the wrong information,” his brother, Magne Killingtveit, told the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet.

• Today’s younger generation could prove unsuitable as jurors because of their reliance on the Internet for information, Britain’s Lord Chief Justice said. “One potential problem is whether, learning as they do in this way, they will be accustomed, as we were, to listening for prolonged periods,” 70-year-old Lord Phillips told an audience at the University of Hertfordshire.

When Guns Are Outlawed Emmanuelle Rodriguez, 19, admitted hitting his girlfriend in the face with a sandwich, telling police in Port St. Lucie, Fla., he used the sandwich because he “didn’t want to hit her” with his fist.

• Donald Kercell, 49, became drunk, got angry, grabbed a knife, and went outside to confront neighbors on Thanksgiving, according to police in Sacramento, Calif. Sgt. Norm Leong told KCRA News that Kercell wounded several people before a bystander picked up a 2-foot-long decorative candy cane and smacked Kercell with it. Police found Kercell sprawled on a lawn.

• In another Thanksgiving assault, Christopher Ford, 46, hit his girlfriend with a sweet potato pie, according to a Martin County sheriff’s report, which explained that Ford didn’t like the Thanksgiving dinner the woman prepared. The two argued, and Ford picked up the pie the woman had just removed from the oven and smashed it into her face.

• When a robber showed a knife and demanded money from a man in Edmonton, Alberta, the victim fled to a nearby gas station and grabbed a squeegee to defend himself. Police official Jeff Wuite told the Edmonton Journal the robber followed, grabbed two squeegees and chased the victim around the station, hitting him at least once. A witness called police, who arrested a 25-year-old suspect.

• Thomas Edward Lackie, 37, was arrested for using a Christmas tree as a weapon in Parrish, Fla. According to the Manatee County sheriff’s report, Lackie threw the 3-foot tree at his father, then, when it missed, tried to use the steel base from the tree to strike him. Lackie’s mother helped her husband subdue their son.

Nonrefundable Economy Fare Daisuke Enomoto filed a lawsuit seeking a refund of the $21 million he spent on a flight to outer space. The suit claims Virginia-based Space Adventures, which brokers deals with the Russian space agency to put “space tourists” in orbit, canceled his trip after he spent eight months training at a facility near Moscow because he refused the company’s demand for more money. The Japanese millionaire had planned to dress up as his favorite cartoon character and become the first tourist to walk in space. In asking U.S. District Judge James Cacheris to dismiss the suit, Space Adventures explained that Enomoto was disqualified because of a chronic kidney-stone condition. Company lawyer John Villa pointed out the no-refund policy is aimed at preventing would-be space tourists from getting cold feet after undergoing the training and provoking a medical disqualification.

Second-Amendment Follies William Agee, 30, shot himself in the head at a family gathering in Chicago Heights, Ill. “He thought the safety was on, put the gun to his head, squeezed the trigger, and that was that,” police Lt. Michael Romano said. Neighbor Jeff Hancock told Fox News that Agee “always had a pistol on him.”

• Raymond Rene Rodriguez, 18, tried to rob a home with a shotgun but had to be taken to the hospital after he accidentally shot himself in the foot, according to police in South Austin, Texas.

• The police chief of Middletown, Ohio, Greg Schwarber, 54, was preparing to clean his gun after giving his daughter a gun-safety lesson, when he accidentally shot himself in the thigh. The police report noted Schwarber didn’t think the .45-caliber pistol was loaded.

Missing the Point South Australia’s government has closed the Simpson Desert because it is too hot. The region’s Department of Environment and Heritage made the decision after a risk assessment showed temperatures of 104 to 122 degrees were dangerous for people crossing the desert, particularly “overseas tourists who are not experienced and are ill-prepared for the conditions.” Anyone caught crossing the desert during the closing, which lasts until March 15, faces a fine of up to $1000 (US$658).

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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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