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news & blues
Curses, Foiled Again
People noticed Dennis Hawkins, 48, when he showed up at a shopping center supermarket wearing a woman’s blonde wig, a sweater with fake breasts under it and clown pants. Police in Swissvale, Pa., said Hawkins proceeded to a Kmart store, where surveillance cameras caught him shoplifting a BB gun. He then went to a nearby bank, showed a teller the gun and demanded money. Bank cameras recorded him stopping behind the bank to open the money envelope as a dye pack explodes, causing him to drop some of the money. He ran to a nearby service station, hopped into the parked car of a woman and asked for a ride. The woman got out, taking her keys with her, and called police, who arrested Hawkins while he waited in her car, covered with red dye, the wig stuffed in his clown pants and still wearing the fake breasts. “He’d be my candidate for America’s dumbest criminal,” police Chief Greg Geppert said.
(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) Authorities in Greene County, Ind., arrested Justin S. Johnson, 21, after a bank reported he was trying to cash a check for $1 million at the drive-through window. Sheriff’s Lt. Bryan Woodall said Johnson left without any money, but he had presented identification to prove he was the payee, and the teller photocopied his driver’s license before informing him the check wasn’t valid. (Greene County Daily World)
The Name Game
Police investigating the murder of Samuel Boob in Centre County, Pa., arrested suspect Kermit Butts, 26. (Central Pennsylvania’s WTAJ-TV)
The name of Illinois gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney was misspelled as “Rich Whitey” on electronic-voting machines in nearly two dozen Chicago wards, about half of them in predominantly black neighborhoods. “I don’t want to be identified as ‘Whitey,’” said Whitney, who represents the Green Party. The error was discovered just before the Nov. 2 election, and elections board Chairman Langdon Neal assigned crews to work overtime to correct it in time for Election Day balloting, at a cost he estimated in the “low tens of thousands” of dollars. (Associated Press) A digital billboard in South Bend, Ind., urged people to go to the website southbend. com for a look at the “15 best things about our pubic schools.” After a neighbor notified South Bend School Superintendent Jim Kapsa of the missing “L,” the Blue Waters Group, which does consulting work with South Bend’s redevelopment commission to promote the city, took responsibility, explaining that “four people looked at” it without noticing the mistake. (South Bend Tribune)
At Least He Can Hit Something
Baltimore second baseman Brian Roberts, 33, missed the final six games of the baseball season with concussion-like symptoms after, he said, “I whacked myself on the head with my bat” when he struck out. “It’s something I’ve done a million times,” Roberts pointed out, adding, “I had my helmet on.” (The Baltimore Sun)
Lest They Forget
Concerned about the number of children who die from heat or cold after being left in cars by allegedly absent-minded parents, David Bell of Menlo Park, Calif., invented a device that he declared would help parents remember not to leave their children in the back seat when they get out of the car. Viz- KID is a 2-pound, 24-inch-tall, blue Hawaiian-print construction cone with a bright yellow ball on top with a painted-on happy face that rides in the passenger seat. (San Jose Mercury News)
New York City authorities accused Jennifer Mercado, 20, of stealing a credit card belonging to John Postrk when the two of them were serving on a jury hearing a burglary case involving a stolen credit card. Mercado was charged with using Postrk’s card to buy more than $500 worth of shoes and clothing at stores near the Bronx courthouse. (New York’s Daily News)
After high school students and college-age adults complained that the 40 million condoms the District of Columbia distributes free each year are poor quality and too small, the city began offering Trojan condoms, including the company’s super-size Magnum variety. Durex condoms are still available, but health officials acknowledged that, although both brands are equally effective in preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, Trojan condoms have greater appeal because of the company’s marketing strategy, which includes packaging Magnums in a shiny, gold wrapper that HIV/AIDS Administration representative Michael Kharfen noted “has a little bit of the bling quality.” (The Washington Post)
Not-So-Safe Hiding Places While Nicholas Ryan Harris, 19, was being booked into Florida’s Bay County Jail, officers conducting a strip search reported “several dollar bills. . . fell from Nicholas’ buttocks area.” A thorough search recovered $45. (Panama City’s News-Herald) After being booked at the Martin County, Fla., jail, Elizabeth Athenia Progris, 22, showered and was drying off when a deputy noticed a clear bag drop “from her genital area to the floor by her feet.” The bag contained pills, which were later identified as generic Xanax. (TCPalm.com) Jason Graham, 33, was changing into his jail uniform while being booked into the Manatee County, Fla., jail when a supervising deputy said he heard a rubber band snap as Graham pulled up his pants. After recovering a package containing prescription pills, the deputy reported, “It is apparent that Graham had this package secured around the genital area, and it popped off during the changing of his pants.” (Bradenton Herald)
News and Blues is compiled from the nation’s press. To contribute, submit original clippings, citing date and source, to Roland Sweet in care of The New Times.