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News Quirks 

Published May 8, 2013 at 7:16 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again

A teller at a Washington, D.C., bank failed to comply with a robber’s demands because she didn’t understand them. The holdup note read simply “100s 50s 20s 10s.” Authorities said the teller handed the note back to the robber, who added “all mona.” Still not comprehending, she told him to leave. Three blocks away, the robber entered a second bank, where the teller was equally confused, until the man announced he wanted “what’s on that,” referring to the note. “Oh my God, are we getting robbed?” the teller said and alerted security, causing the man to flee. Police arrested suspect Maurice Fearwell, 20, a block away. (The Washington Post)

Marius Ionescue, 31, was burglarizing a home in Benesti, Romania, when he heard a noise. Fearing it might be another thief, he hid and called police. Officers showed up, searched the house and found no one but Ionescue, whom they arrested. The noise he heard, police official Mihaela Straub said, “was probably just the family cat.” (UK’s Metro)

Homeland Insecurity

Objecting to the bipartisan immigration bill, U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, declared that radical Islamists infiltrating the United States “are trained to act Hispanic.” (CSPAN)

Mensa Rejects of the Week

After losing $300 trying to win an Xbox Kinect at a carnival ball-toss game in Manchester, N.H., Henry Gribbohm, 30, went home, returned with his $2300 life savings and lost that as well. “You just get caught up in the whole ‘I’ve got to win my money back,’” he explained after complaining to police. (Boston’s WBZ-TV)

Duck and Cover

Minnesota’s Rocori School District, where two students were shot to death in 2003, spent $25,000 for 200 bulletproof whiteboards, which their manufacturer, Maryland-based Hardwire, claims are stronger than police-issued bulletproof vests. “The company is making these in response to the Newtown shooting, and has been making similar products for our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Rocori school board Chairwoman Nadine Schnettler said, noting the boards “will be an additional layer of protection” for students and teachers. Cold Spring-Richmond Police Chief Phil Jones demonstrated the effectiveness of the 18-by-20-inch whiteboards by kicking one, stabbing it with a knife and whacking it with a police baton, all without penetrating it, although he didn’t fire his gun at the whiteboard. (NPR and Minnesota’s KARE-TV)

Fair Game

The Pennsylvania Game Commission accused Arcangelo Bianco Jr., 40, of “firing multiple rounds” from a handgun at a white-tailed deer he spotted in a Walmart parking lot in Burrell Township. After killing the animal, Bianco loaded it into his pickup truck and took it to a meat processor. “Obviously we can’t have someone running through a Walmart parking lot shooting at a deer,” wildlife conservation officer Jack Lucas said, adding, “It was the nicest buck I’ve seen taken in Indiana County in a couple of years.” (The Indiana Gazette)

Slightest Provocation

William Hotz, 59, punched a 55-year-old ice cream cashier several times in the face, according to police in Nassau County, N.Y., because she wouldn’t accept his expired coupon for a free ice cream cone. (Fox News)

Police accused David Anthony Smith, 38, of pouring gasoline on his 60-year-old father and setting him on fire at their Oklahoma City home after the father asked the son to turn down the music on his stereo. (The Oklahoman)

Good Riddance

Two days after the Mars One project announced it was looking for volunteers to go on a one-way mission to Mars, more than 33,000 people from around the world had applied. (Canada’s QMI Agency)

It Happens

After his dog ate five $100 bills, Wayne Klinkel said he washed pieces that he recovered from the dog’s poop and took them to several banks, asking for new bills to replace the destroyed ones. The banks refused but advised him to send the evidence to the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which requires at least 51 percent of a bill to be eligible for reimbursement. “Each case is carefully examined by an experienced mutilated currency examiner,” the bureau’s website explains, noting the verification process could take as long as two years. (Helena’s Independent Record)

Having failed to reduce sewage spillover into the Potomac and Anacostia rivers during rainstorms, the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) announced it would try a new tactic: digging a tunnel beneath the rivers for the runoff. It unveiled a 400-foot-long, 1323-ton boring machine that will drill a 12.8-mile tunnel at a depth of about 100 feet to serve as a holding tank during storms. After the storms subside, the rain-sewage mixture will be released to the city’s wastewater treatment plant. DC Water officials named the tunnel-boring machine “Lady Bird,” after former first lady Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Johnson. (The Washington Post)

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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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