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News Quirks 

Curses, Foiled Again

Chicago police charged Raymond Jefferson, 20, with robbing a Radio Shack of $17,000 worth of merchandise after they tracked him using global positioning equipment that was among the stolen items. (Chicago Tribune)

Fenton Graham, 35, was one of three people charged with twice robbing a drug store in Potomac, Md., where he worked after a surveillance video of the second robbery showed his accomplices forgetting to take the bag of money and then showed Graham taking the loot out to their car. (Washington Post)

Irony of the Week

A Scottish court fined truck driver David Loudon, 34, after he admitted falling asleep at the wheel in Dumfries and Galloway and hitting a sign advising, “Tiredness can kill, take a break.” (BBC News)

Big-Bang Theory

After an Oklahoma state trooper stopped a vehicle for speeding in Okmulgee County, he questioned passenger Davis Lee Williams, 54, about a suspicious chemical odor. Williams ran away, but the trooper caught him. As Williams resisted, his pants exploded. Trooper Shiloh Hall said Williams had a portable meth lab, known as a one-pot lab, in his pants that burst during the struggle. He was uninjured but arrested. (Tulsa’s KOTV-TV)

When Guns Are Outlawed

Police responding to a domestic disturbance in Myrtle Beach, S.C., charged Alesha Sommer Babcock, 33, with hitting Wayne Emmanuel Malcol Beachem, 37, with an inflatable hammer. Beachem blocked the attack, grabbed the hammer and threw it into the bushes, where officers found it. Babcock told them she remembered attacking Beachem with the inflatable novelty tool because she was trying to kill him. (Myrtle Beach’s Sun News)

Show Business

Arizona resident Jesus Llovera, 43, is suing actor Steven Seagal and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office for his arrest, which the civil lawsuit claims was staged for a reality television show that followed Seagal’s exploits as a “deputized officer.” Llovera said Seagal and deputies raided his home because they suspected he was raising fighting roosters, although he insisted the more than 100 roosters on his property were for show, not for fighting. He noted the Sheriff’s Office SWAT team showed up in full riot gear, handcuffed him and took him outside, where Seagal waited, wearing camouflage and sunglasses and hoisting a rifle, while four cameras filmed the event for the cable series “Steven Seagal: Lawman.” The program was slated to premiere on the A&E Network but never aired. Sheriff’s Deputy Chief Dave Trombi denied that the search warrant was based on the needs of the production company, and the Sheriff’s Office explained that deploying a tank, a bomb robot and 40 deputies was a normal response. (Phoenix’s Arizona Republic)

Quantifying Intangibles

The Department of Health and Human Services is funding a panel to try to define and measure happiness. If successful in determining reliable measures of “subjective well-being,” they could become official statistics. The panel, organized by the nonprofit National Academies, includes experts in psychology and economics and has already met with two key figures in the U.S. statistical bureaucracy. “There has been a lot of momentum,” said Arthur Stone, a professor of psychiatry at Stony Brook University who chairs the panel. Its budget is $370,000. (Washington Post)

Deal of a Lifetime

After Antoinette Galluzzo admitted stealing $51,601.62 from a New Jersey youth program while employed by the city of Englewood and using the money to gamble, pay debts and cover rent, she was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay $10 a month in restitution. Galluzzo’s attorney, Robert Galantucci, said even $10 a month is a lot for someone who is unemployed to pay. When Bergen County prosecutors argued that Galluzzo cashed in her pension and should have made a lump-sum payment, Judge Eugene H. Austin upheld the restitution arrangement, explaining, “I’m certainly not going to require her to pay more to set her up for failure so she gets a jail sentence.” (Bergen County’s Record)

Problem Solved

Britain is facing a culinary crisis, thanks to the government’s immigration crackdown, which has created a shortage of Asian chefs and forced the closing of some Indian, Bangladeshi, Chinese and Thai restaurants. Britain has some 12,000 Indian and Bangladeshi restaurants, serving 2.5 million people a week, and thousands of Chinese and Thai ones. The government’s response has been to set up five “centers of excellence in Asian and Oriental cookery” to train jobless young Britons in the art of making curry and other popular dishes. (Washington Times)

When Checklists Go Bad

Federal investigators concluded that the crash of a helicopter in Kamiah, Idaho, which killed the pilot and two passengers, was caused by an aluminum clipboard belonging to one of the passengers that fell out of the aircraft and hit the tail rotor. (Associated Press)

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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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