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News Quirks 

Published December 4, 2013 at 10:47 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again

Johnny Deleon, 20, was thwarted in his attempt to steal hubcaps from cars parked outside a restaurant in Harris County, Texas, where law officers were holding a retirement party. After an officer who spotted Deleon confronted him, about 30 deputies inside the restaurant rushed outside to assist. Noting that Deleon failed to notice the parking lot held “a multitude of marked and unmarked police vehicles,” Assistant Chief Tim Cannon commented, “Unfortunately for him, his zest for thievery overrode any form of common sense, which placed him straight into the hands of law enforcement’s finest.” (Houston Chronicle)

While leading police on a high-speed chase on the Massachusetts Turnpike, two men in a stolen minivan struck another vehicle from behind and then crashed into the median. The men fled on foot, but driver Vini Bunted Proeung, 18, was arrested when he tried to run through a state police barracks in Charlton. (Worcester’s Telegram & Gazette)

Woe Is Us

Biologists studying the speed of mammal extinction on islands created when the Thai government built a dam across the Khlong Saeng river 36 years ago reported in the journal Science that on most of the islands in the 60-square-mile reservoir, all the original native species have vanished. They’ve been replaced by Malaysian field rats. “Our results should be a warning,” Luke Gibson of the National University of Singapore said. “This is the trend that the world is going in.” (New York Times)

Drinking-Class Hero

After six adults and two children fled from a burning house in Columbus, Ga., Walter Serpit returned to rescue some valuables. “Being an alcoholic, I was trying to get my beer out,” Serpit said after escaping the flames with several cans of his favorite brew. (Columbus’s WTVM-TV)

Intruder Alert

An animal-control officer responding to a report of a bat inside a home in Arlington, Va., found that the intruder was actually a sweatband. (Washington Post)

Second-Amendment Follies

Concerned about the spread of plastic handguns made from 3-D printers, officials with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives produced several versions to test. While agents were testing one model, made from a kind of plastic called Visijet, it blew up in their faces. (The Huffington Post)

A 65-year-old man shot out a wall at South Dakota’s Bismarck Airport while trying to disarm his gun so he could check it. Police Sgt. Mark Buschena estimated the damage at between $1000 and $2000 but said no charges would be filed because the gunshot was accidental. (Bismarck Tribune)

Chicago police who arrested Tiara M. Paul, 20, said they put her in a police cruiser, but while they waited for a female officer to arrive to conduct a search, Paul tried to hide a concealed handgun in the cruiser. She accidentally shot herself in the back. (Chicago Sun-Times)

Drone On founder Jeffrey P. Bezos, 49, unveiled a working prototype of a drone that he predicted would pave the way for using drones to deliver packages in as little as 30 minutes. The unmanned aerial vehicle uses a claw to scoop up packages at Amazon fulfillment centers and transport them to customers. Appearing on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” Bezos said the technology could be fully implemented within five years. (Washington Post)

Shadow Land

Residents of the Norwegian town of Rjukan, which sits in the shadow of surrounding mountains for six months of the year, saw the winter sun for the first time after three computer-controlled, 183-square-foot mirrors were placed on one of the mountains, 1500 feet above the town square. “Before, when it was a fine day, you would see that the sky was blue, and you knew that the sun was shining, but you couldn’t quite see it,” local tourist official Karin Roe said. “It was very frustrating.” (Associated Press)

Litigation Nation

While fighting a house fire in St. Petersburg, Fla., Fire Lt. Lawrence Wilson fell on the porch and injured himself. Citing pain and suffering, hospital bills, legal bills and emotional distress, Wilson sued homeowner Carl Gregory, who he claimed caused the injury by installing “slippery tile on the front stairs.” (Tampa Bay Times)

Pity Payoff

Former University of California Davis police lieutenant. John Pike, who was suspended and later resigned after pepper-spraying protestors demonstrating against a tuition increase, was awarded $38,055 in workers’ compensation for “psychiatric injury” and “continuous trauma” resulting from the incident. (San Francisco Chronicle)

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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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