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News Quirks 

Published April 17, 2013 at 11:42 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again

Authorities charged Ruth C. Amen, 46, with embezzlement after she paid for a surprise birthday party for her boss. Amen had been the office manager at a real-estate company in Boca Grande, Fla., for more than 10 years, but her decision to foot the bill for the party aroused the suspicion of company officials. They alerted Lee County sheriff’s investigators, who discovered that Amen had stolen $181,674. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

Elizabeth A. Hoen, 18, was charged with stealing three steaks from a grocery store in Wausau, Wis., after she attracted attention by standing naked from the waist down on a street corner. She had put her pants back on by the time police arrived but ran when officers approached. They caught her, found the steaks in her purse and determined they’d been stolen from a nearby grocery store. (Wausau’s Daily Herald)

Better Safe Than Sorry

Worried that unseasonably warm temperatures this winter bode ill for next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, local organizers have stockpiled 450,000 cubic meters of snow near the Black Sea resort. “We’ve prepared seven separate areas for snow storage high up in the mountains,” said Sergei Bachin, whose Roza Khutor ski resort will host Alpine skiing, snowboarding and freestyle competition. He pointed out the snow, which is costing an extra $11 million to store, will be covered with a “special thermal seal” to minimize melting during the summer. Even so, he expects 140,000 cubic meters of the snow will melt. (Reuters)

Second-Amendment Follies

Police were called to a Walmart store in Northborough, Mass., after employees reported a man in his 40s opened a package containing a flare gun and fired it, damaging the floor. Sgt. Joseph Galvin said that when employees asked the man why he shot the flare, he told them he “wanted to see if it worked.” (Framingham’s MetroWest Daily News)

Florida State Sen. Audrey Gibson introduced a bill making it unlawful to “sell ammunition to another person who does not present certification that he or she has successfully completed an anger-management program.” The bill adds that the certification “must be renewed every 10 years.” (Fox News)

Problem Solved

Prostitution arrests in Salt Lake City dropped 92 percent in 2012 from the previous year. The decline occurred after the city police department disbanded its vice squad. Police Chief Chris Burbank explained that prostitution is the type of crime where “the more you put officers out working it, the more arrests they’re going to make.” (Salt Lake Tribune)

Father of the Year

Shawn Wayne Hughes, 32, agreed to sell his 6-year-old daughter for $1500, according to police in Kingsport, Tenn., who said Hughes told the buyer, a 75-year-old woman who agreed to his offer under police direction, that he needed the money to bail his girlfriend out of jail. When he showed up to exchange the child for cash, police were waiting. (Knoxville News Sentinel)

Avoid the Snow Traps

Huang Nubo, a former official in the Chinese Communist Party’s Propaganda Department who’s now a property developer in Beijing, intends to build a golf resort in a remote village in northeastern Iceland. He believes the luxury hotel and “eco golf course” at Grimsstadir would attract wealthy Chinese seeking clean air and solitude. Foreign Minister Ossur Skarphedinsson said he saw no reason to block the venture, which is expected to cost more than $100 million, but added that he’s puzzled why Huang would want to build a high-end resort in a place so isolated that “you can almost hear ghosts dancing in the snow.” Xu Hong, a vice president at Huang’s company, said Grimsstadir was chosen because “there is a market demand in China” for peace and quiet. (New York Times)

Occupational Hazard

Edgardo Toucet sued a Florida temp agency that assigned him to a manufacturing plant near Orlando to operate a peeler machine, which uses a razor-sharp blade to cut carpet foam. He claims he “received no orientation or other formalized instruction or training in preparation for his temporary work assignment as a peeler machine helper,” and that while working, he “came into contact with the machine’s spinning blade and his penis and testicles were completely severed.” (Courtroom News Service)

Short Fuse

Upset when a bank ATM wouldn’t return his card, John Ouillette, 44, tried to pry open the machine’s front cover, causing roughly $11,000 in damages, according to police in Nashua, N.H., who charged Ouillette with felony criminal mischief. (Nashua’s Telegraph)

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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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