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Curses, Foiled Again

Camden, N.J., police Sgt. Jeffrey Frett, 40, plotted an early retirement by having his wife meet him while on patrol to shoot him in the leg so he could claim he’d been the victim of a random shooting. The scheme unraveled after a plainclothes officer passed the couple and noticed the wife’s van. A few minutes later, the officer heard Frett’s voice over the police radio reporting he’d been shot, then saw the van drive by. He gave chase and captured the “assailant.” Meanwhile, because her aim was off, she’d only shot Frett’s pants leg. Frett later pleaded guilty to making a false police report, lost his job and forfeited his pension. (Cherry Hill’s Courier-Post)

Robert Williams was arrested after he applied to join the San Diego Police Department and answered yes to two questions on his application about having had sexual contact with a child and viewing child pornography. Police searched his car and apartment and confiscated computers and hard drives. Williams released a statement objecting to being arrested for “telling the truth during the hiring process” and declared he “is seeking expert counsel, pro bono.” (San Diego’s KGTV-TV)

Stimulus Package

One consequence of the deadlier-than-usual tornado season in the United States has been record-breaking sales for the roughly 100 companies that sell safe rooms and storm shelters. Prices range from $3000 for a concrete bunker to thousands of dollars for elaborate steel rooms. Not all shelters being sold, however, meet proper safety standards in a field that is largely unregulated, according to Ernst Kiesling, executive director of the National Storm Shelter Association. Noting “almost anyone can start up a shelter business and build shelters,” Kiesling said some shelters on the market are little more than septic tanks rigged to accommodate people or use materials so flimsy that a high wind can rip off the doors. (New York Times)

Slightest Provocation

Authorities accused Ilona Sales, 62, of beating her younger sister at the home they share in Plainfield, Ill., when the two fought because they couldn’t agree whether to set the thermostat at 67 or 68. Will County Judge Brian Barrett found Sales not guilty because he couldn’t tell which of the sisters started the brawl. (Chicago Tribune)

Police arrested brothers Jonathan R. Pippert, 32, and Jared J. Pippert, 27, at the home they share with their mother in Sheboygan, Wis., after they fought over a bottle of shampoo. The Pipperts agreed the fight began when Jonathan took the shampoo from Jared’s room while Jared was sleeping, but each insisted the other one threw the first punch. (Sheboygan Press)

Guilty Bystanders

After Raymond Zack, 53, walked into the ocean in Alameda, Calif., intent on killing himself, he stood up to his neck in the frigid surf 150 yards offshore for more than an hour while at least 10 police and firefighters stood on the shore with about 75 beachgoers watching until he eventually drowned. “We’re not trained to go into the water,” police Lt. Joe McNiff said. Fire Chief Ricci Zombeck, noting that budget constraints prevent the fire department from recertifying its firefighters in land-based water rescues, said, “If I was off duty, I would know what I would do,” but he added that his on-duty response was to stay “within our policies and procedures” to avoid opening the city to liability. Firefighters wouldn’t even go into the water to retrieve Zack’s body, instead waiting until a woman in her 20s volunteered to swim out and bring the body back to the beach. At a packed city council meeting after the incident, Alameda residents declared they had lost faith in their first responders. (San Francisco’s KGO-TV)

Culinary Adventures

Following the National Transportation Safety Board’s conclusion that Canada geese caused the forced landing of a U.S. Airways jet in the Hudson River by getting caught in its engine during takeoff, New York City announced plans to capture geese flocking around LaGuardia and Kennedy airports and send them to Pennsylvania to be cooked to feed the poor. “Rather than disposing of them in landfills, we wanted to make sure they do not go to waste,” an official of the city’s Department of Environmental Protection said. (Reuters)

Fifteen percent of British consumers responding to a survey admitted serving dinner guests food that had fallen on the floor, and 10 percent knowingly served them food well past its sell-by date. Another 13 percent said they had accidentally poisoned themselves and their guests with their cooking. According to the poll commissioned by Italian pasta maker Giovanni Rana, 5 percent of the respondents admitted defrosting food by using irons, hairdryers, tanning beds and other alternative heat-generating appliances. (Reuters)

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About The Author

Roland Sweet

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Roland Sweet is the author of the syndicated column "News Quirks," which appears weekly in Seven Days.

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