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News Quirks 

Published November 17, 2010 at 10:14 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again

After Dustin Matthew Marshall, 20, tried on a pair of jeans at a Walmart store in Gallatin, Tenn., and walked out without paying, police identified him because he left his old jeans behind, along with his wallet. (Nashville’s WTVF-TV)

Police spotted a thief leaving a Walmart store in Alliance, Ohio, and gave chase but lost him. Less than an hour later, dispatchers received a call from a man reporting that a friend called to say he’d been hiding in a Dumpster behind a Walmart when a trash truck emptied the Dumpster and began compacting him. “He had been compacted several times,” an officer said after police located and rescued suspect James Michael Brienzo, 37. “He was just begging us to empty the truck.” (Cleveland’s WKYC-TV)

Be Seeing You

A British venture is enlisting citizens with laptop computers to monitor closed-circuit surveillance cameras in businesses. Monitors who spot suspicious behavior press “notify businesses” and send a photo image of the potential crime. Monitors who catch offenders in the act can win up to 1000 pounds ($1600) in cash from Internet Eyes, which distributes the streaming footage. The monitors pay a fee to subscribe, must be over 18, and aren’t able to choose which footage they see or view premises in their local area. (Reuters)

Second-Amendment Follies

Sanford Rothman, 63, told police in Boulder, Colo., he woke up to a “bang” and found he’d been shot in the left knee. Noting that Rothman keeps a 9mm handgun near his bed, Sgt. Paul Reichenbach said investigators concluded the wound was accidental and probably occurred while Rothman was sleepwalking. (Boulder Daily Camera)

When Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies responded to a liquor store robbery, the store manager met them and began pointing behind the deputies to indicate the direction the robbers fled. One of the deputies, a trainee, mistook the manager’s index finger for a gun aimed at them and fired eight rounds at the manager. All the shots missed. (Los Angeles Times)

Revenue Reflections

Owen Sound, Ontario, will receive $12,000 from an agency that is replacing eight mirrors with television screens in some restrooms at a city community center. The screens display digital ads but use motion detectors to change to mirrors when a person approaches them. “It sounds really weird,” Mayor Ruth Lovell Stanners said after the city council signed the five-year contract with KB Media Inc. (Owen Sound’s Sun Times)

Sitting Pretty

German scientist Risto Koiva invented the “Intelli Chair,” which warns sitters who’re sitting wrong or have sat for too long. “Four touch-sensitive sensors in the seat of the chair and another four in the back of the chair detect how the user is sitting,” Koiva explained. “The data they collect is sent to a computer via a Bluetooth module.” The chair then alerts the sitter to change position. (Reuters)

Bad Day Got Worse, Then Better

A 58-year-old woman in Richmond, Calif., rear-ended a car in front of her at a red light while she was fiddling with her cellphone. The driver turned out to be Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus. “I saw her creeping up on me,” he said. “She had her head down, looking at the phone.”

Magnus added that he had previously encountered the same woman when he was behind her while she was so focused on her cellphone that he had to honk his horn to get her to move.

After their fender bender, the woman explained she had been distracted because she was looking down to find her Bluetooth hands-free device. Magnus didn’t cite the woman because he was involved in the incident, and the officers who responded to the accident didn’t see it, so the woman drove off without a ticket. (Contra Costa Times)

Serenity Now

Hoping to calm people who receive parking tickets, city officials in Cambridge, Mass., began including yoga poses on the back of tickets. Susan Clippinger, who heads the city’s transportation department, explained the 40,000 tickets were part of a public art project intended “to debunk the idea that all parking tickets are a hostile action.” (Boston Herald)

A Wedding Night to Remember

Friends of the groom at a wedding reception in Niles, Ill., celebrated by throwing him up in the air as part of what his sister-in-law described as a “traditional dance.” They failed to catch him, however, and the 29-year-old man landed flat on his back and had to be taken to the hospital with neck and back injuries. (Chicago Sun-Times)

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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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