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News Quirks 

Published March 30, 2011 at 7:33 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again

Police arrested Michael Trias, 20, after they said he broke into a home in Mesa, Ariz., and became stuck in a clothes hamper underneath the window he climbed through. The homeowner, who heard Trias trying to untangle himself from the clothes, restrained him and called police. (Mesa’s East Valley Tribune)

Returning to a pizzeria in Rotterdam, N.Y., after hours to investigate an alarm, general manager Josh Risko discovered that someone tried to break in through a roof vent but had gotten stuck where the 18-inch-wide vent makes a 45-degree bend. “I come in, turn off the alarms, take a peek into the kitchen and see this guy’s legs dangling out of the hood over the stove,” Risko said. Police arrested Timothy Cipriani, 46, who was covered head to toe in grease from the vents. (Albany’s WXXA-TV)

Stock Up Before the Hoarders Get It

Fire officials investigating an explosion that blew the roof off a home in Gobles, Mich., noted two barrels of gasoline had been in the basement. The homeowner explained she was stockpiling gas, because the price keeps going up. (Kalamazoo’s WWMT-TV)

Panic buying in China drove up the price of salt by as much as 10 times after radiation began leaking at a nuclear plant in Japan, because people mistakenly believed the iodine in the salt could stop radiation sickness. The state-owned newspaper China Daily reported national sales of salt, normally 15,400 tons a day, peaked at 370,000 tons on March 17. When stores ran out of salt, people grabbed soy sauce, which also contains iodine. After learning that radiation from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant posed little threat to distant China, the hoarders clamored for refunds. Most were denied. “We can’t offer refunds on food products,” a worker at a Beijing Walmart store said. (Los Angeles Times and Reuters)

When Guns Are Outlawed

Police in Dunbar Township, Pa., arrested Robert Eckhart, 42, and Stacie Moorman, 37, after the two assaulted each other with frying pans while arguing. (Pittsburgh’s WPXI-TV)

Police charged Howard Schultz, 69, with impersonating a law enforcement officer after he stood in the middle of a street in Pompano Beach, Fla., ordering motorists to pull over and waving a 10-inch barbecue fork at them. One motorist obeyed, according to the arrest report, telling Broward County sheriff’s deputies he feared for his life. (Miami’s WTVJ-TV)

New-Time Religion

A new application for iPhones and iPads helps Catholics gain absolution for their sins. “Confession: A Roman Catholic App” is a password-protected, customizable guide to performing the sacrament that lets the faithful check whether their behavior conforms to Scriptures by asking questions such as “Have I been involved in occult practices?” Although its developer, Patrick Leinen, said he was inspired by Pope Benedict XVI’s call to Roman Catholics to put digital technology to good use, the Vatican stressed that it’s impossible to confess by iPhone. “The rites of penance require a personal dialog between penitents and their confessor,” Vatican official Federico Lombardi said. “It cannot be replaced by a computer application.” (Agence France-Presse)

The Vatican unveiled a Facebook page dedicated to the beatification of Pope John Paul II, scheduled for May. The site links to video highlights of the late pontiff’s 27-year reign. The Vatican also announced that its new web portal, expected to be launched at Easter, would be a news aggregator offering contents specifically designed to be posted, tweeted and blogged. (Associated Press)

Slightest Provocation

When Ricardo Jones, 37, ordered seven Beefy Crunch Burritos at a Taco Bell drive-through in San Antonio, Texas, he was so upset after learning the price had gone up from 99 cents each to $1.49 that he shot an air gun at manager Brian Tillerson, 41, behind the window, then put an assault rifle and a handgun on the roof of his car, prompting customers inside to dive under their tables and Tillerson to lock the doors and call police. Jones then jumped into his vehicle and took off. When four patrol cars surrounded him, he got out of the car carrying the assault rifle and pointing it at officers. Police began firing, and Jones got back in his car, drove to a motel and barricaded himself in his room. While sharpshooters trained their weapons on the room, police negotiated with Jones for more than three hours before using tear gas to force him out. Tillerson noted the Beefy Crunch Burritos had been 99 cents, “but that was just a promotion.” (San Antonio Express-News)

Most Obvious Crime of the Week

Police arrested Anthony Darren Black, 21, for shoplifting after he stuffed a chain saw in his pants at a store in Chickasha, Okla. Employees who saw him leave the store chased him down. “First time I ever saw a chain saw go down anybody’s britches,” store manager Paul Horton said. (Oklahoma City’s KFOR-TV)

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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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