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News Quirks 

Curses, Foiled Again

Police quickly identified Lucas Jeffrey James, 23, as the man who accosted two women in downtown St. Petersburg, Fla., because his getaway landed him in a rap video. According to police official Bill Proffitt, James spit beer on the women, hit one of them over the head with a beer bottle, then fled down an alley that led to a film crew. The shirtless, wild-haired James ran straight at the camera for an extreme close-up. Police released the video and promptly received several tips where to find the suspect (St. Petersburg Times)

Big-Bang Theory

Sean Michael Ogden, 19, bought some fireworks in Durango, Colo., but then “decided the fireworks he purchased were too small,” fire Marshal Tom Kaufman said. After searching the Internet for directions how to blend smaller fireworks to make big fireworks, he put the fireworks in an electric coffee grinder. Kaufman said friction from the coffee grinder ignited the mixture, causing an explosion that shook houses a quarter mile away. Ogden suffered severe burns and was hospitalized in “fair” condition. (Durango Herald)

Rubber-Dubber

Germany’s Green Party demanded that the government protect citizens from cancer-causing sex toys. Noting that 20 percent of Germans use the erotic aids, 10 Green Party legislators in the Bundestag released a paper, “Sexual Health as a Consumer Protection Issue.” It urged the government to take responsibility and action, declaring: “Many dildos and other sex toys such as vibrators and anal plugs contain a high amount of phthalates, other carcinogenic plasticizers and toxic substances,” which enter the body through mucous membranes and can lead to infertility, hormone imbalances, diabetes and obesity. Green Party lawmaker Volker Beck wants Germany to follow the example of Denmark, which, he said, “urges users of vibrators, artificial vaginas and other such items to first cover them with condoms and to avoid models made of PVC.” (Spiegel Online)

Litterbuggery

Firefighters were called in Fond du Lac, Wis., after Earr Stokes, 20, got his hand stuck in a car’s gas tank while trying to retrieve a Snickers candy bar someone had unwrapped and jammed in the tank. Capt. Tony Knecht said rescuers had to cut the filler pipe while a firefighter kneeled nearby with a hose in case a spark ignited the fuel tank. Firefighters were then able to access the backside of the gas-tank opening and release Stokes’s bruised fingers. (Fond du Lac Reporter)

Paperless Crime

Massachusetts authorities said touring rock musician Michael Todd, 30, robbed an Attleboro pharmacy of prescription pain pills just hours before his scheduled concert in nearby Mansfield. He showed the clerk a holdup demand posted on his cellphone. “It is somewhat routine that in robberies, the robber gives a note to the clerk, but obviously this was a little more high tech,” said Gregg Miliote of the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office, adding the suspect fled by cab to the band’s tour bus, parked outside the concert hall. Investigators identified Todd from surveillance videos. Todd’s band, Coheed and Cambria, announced Todd would miss the last three stops of the door, but reassured fans, “For now, we just want to have a great time out there and finish with some killer shows.” (Reuters)

Luck-Pushing Follies

When a pickup truck drove off the road and into a pond in New London, Conn., the man and woman inside managed to get out of the vehicle safely. State police Trooper Kelly Grant said the man decided to return to the vehicle to retrieve some belongings. “Unfortunately, he never made it back,” Grant said, noting the man’s drowning appeared accidental. (New London’s Day)

Modi Operandi

British police appealed to the public for information about four men and two women who burglarized a shop in Doncaster. The notice said some of the group distracted the clerks while one of the women entered living quarters at the back of the shop and reportedly stole a large amount of jewelry and cash. Closed-circuit video shows the woman wearing trousers when she goes in, but she has on a long skirt when she leaves and appears to be struggling to walk. “It is believed,” the notice said, “that the woman may have had the safe between her legs under the skirt.” (South Yorkshire Police news release)

Spanish police arrested two Polish citizens they said stole from luggage on airport shuttle buses in Barcelona. One man rode as a passenger after depositing a heavy suitcase containing the other man in the luggage compartment. Once the 90-minute trip began, he “would get out of the suitcase, search for valuable objects and hide them in a smaller bag he carried with him,” police reported. The accomplice would claim the suitcase on its return. The scheme unraveled when a suspicious bus official notified police, who opened the suitcase and found the would-be burglar inside, “doubled up almost like a contortionist.” He wore a headlamp and had a sharp tool to open bags. He explained he was riding in the baggage hold because he couldn’t pay the fare. (BBC News)

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About The Author

Roland Sweet

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

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