Curses, Foiled Again
Los Angeles police reported that a holdup victim recognized the robber’s gun was a fake, so he grabbed it and beat the startled robber with it. Sgt. Jeff Collado said the bloodied suspect had to be hospitalized before being charged. (Associated Press) Two masked men entered a restaurant outside Green, Ohio, demanded money and then ordered the 17 people in the place into a storeroom while they stuffed a duffel bag with stolen cell phones, cash and wallets. A 20-year-old waitress slipped out the back door and called 911. Meanwhile, the robber who’d herded the people into the storeroom headed back to the dining room to help his partner. When the door closed behind him, it locked, separating him from the hostages. “We were all standing there crying when he started banging on the door saying, ‘Let me in,’” waitress Marla Sprinkle said, noting the room had a side door that led outside. “The cook said, ‘Everybody run out the door.’” The robbers, racing from the front door to the side door to recapture the hostages, were greeted by responding sheriff’s deputies, who arrested Joseph Cornelius, 18, and Jeramiah Haugen, 29. (Akron Beacon Journal) A man wearing a transparent plastic bag over his head demanded money from a convenience-store clerk in Phoenix, Ariz. After threatening to shoot the clerk in the head, the robber stopped abruptly and ripped a hole in the bag, apparently to prevent suffocating. “It gives the impression, looking at the pictures, that he was using it kind of like a nylon to distort the appearance of his face,” police Sgt. Darren Burch said. “But he was having problems with his airflow.” Once he’d torn the plastic bag, surveillance cameras got a clear shot of his face. (The Arizona Republic)
Fool Me Once…
Part of the compensation offered passengers of the Carnival Cruise liner Splendor that was adrift in the Pacific Ocean for three days without electricity and hot water is a free cruise. “Thank you for understanding,” a voice announced over the ship’s loudspeaker as the 4,500 passengers disembarked in San Diego. “And we hope you come back real soon.” (Los Angeles Times)
When Guns Are Outlawed
A New Zealand court sentenced Fiona Jane Jordin, 44, to 6-1/2 years in jail for attacking a friend in Otaki and smashing her skull with an 11-pound statue of Buddha. (New Zealand Press Association)
When a masked man grabbed the cash register at Amigo’s Mexican Food in Deming, N.M., he started to flee but, according to police Capt. Brandon Gigante, dropped the register after a clerk hit him on the back of the head with a package of empanadas, a Mexican pastry. (The Deming Headlight)
Police in San Antonio, Texas, said a man and a woman were playing Monopoly while handling a gun they apparently forgot was loaded. It fired, injuring the man in the groin and narrowly missing an artery. (San Antonio’s Express-News) Police in Manchester, Vt., said Nicholas Bell, 23, hoped to play a prank on his sleeping friend, Jeffrey Charbonneau, 24, by waking him with the loud sound of an air gun.
He mistakenly used a loaded .22-caliber rifle instead. When Bell pulled the trigger, the rifle fired a real bullet, killing Charbonneau. (Manchester’s WCAX-TV)
When Ricky New, 45, used a stick to rob a convenience store in Aiken, S.C., “he received an undisclosed amount of money and fled the scene on his getaway vehicle: a Craftsman riding lawn mower,” sheriff’s Capt. Troy Elwell stated, noting that deputies easily caught up to New. (Aiken Standard) Authorities charged Billie Jo Stevenson, 36, and Jonathan Lee Misner, 34, with stealing a motorized shopping cart from a Wal- Mart store in Huntington, W.Va., after a state trooper found it — abandoned — blocking a highway lane. A sheriff’s deputy who responded observed the suspects walk from a strip club to the cart, then drive it home, with Misner walking beside the cart while Stevenson drove. (Huntington’s The Herald-Dispatch)
When Condoms Aren’t Enough
Laptop computers with WiFi can damage DNA and decrease sperm motility after only four hours’ exposure, according to a study by the American Society for Reproduction, which blames microwave radiation. The findings prompted Conrado Avendano, research director at the Nascentis Reproduction Medical Center, to warn men trying to have children not to work with a WiFi-enabled laptop near their lap and instead connect to the Internet with cables. (Denver’s KUSA-TV) Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical found in plastic bottles, soda cans and other everyday products, adversely affects sperm in men, according to a study of factory workers in China. Those who were exposed to BPA were more likely to have lower sperm counts and poorer sperm quality. “The higher your exposure, the lower your sperm quality is,” said De-Kun Li of Kaiser Permanente’s Division of Research in Oakland, Calif., who conducted the study, which was reported in the journal Fertility and Sterility. (The Washington Post)
Hairless Sex or Sexless Hair?
Researchers found that men using the baldness drug finasteride (brand name Propecia) may grow hair, but one in 80 also experience erectile dysfunction. Those who do, however, are unlikely to stop taking the drug. “It seems that most men taking the drug really prefer to have hair,” said Dr. Jose Manuel Mella of the Hospital Aleman in Buenos Aires, the author of the study reported in the Archives of Dermatology. (Reuters)
Of Mouse and Man
Sheriff’s deputies responding to a burglary call in Oconee County, S.C., found Noah Smith, 31, lying face down and naked inside the victim’s house. He appeared to be on drugs, according to the incident report, which stated that during an exam at a nearby hospital, medical personnel found a mouse tail hanging from Smith’s rectum. An X-ray revealed a mouse lodged inside Smith. A subsequent report noted that the tail was really a cord and that the object was a computer mouse, not a rodent. Either way, Smith said he had no idea how it got there. (Charleston’s WCSC-TV and The Smoking Gun)
Not the Chilean Miners, but Still
A 69-year-old French grandmother spent 20 days trapped in the bathroom of her Paris apartment after the door lock broke. She survived by drinking warm water from the faucet and tried calling for help by knocking on the pipes. Her neighbors heard the banging but explained they thought it was someone making repairs. In fact, they were circulating a petition because the noise was “preventing us from sleeping,” one neighbor said, adding, “If we had known.” After some neighbors reported not seeing the woman for a long time, firefighters broke into the apartment and found her lying on the floor in a “very weakened state.” (BBC News)
Slow Down, Curves Ahead
Czech authorities announced a drop in speeding violations in several towns since placing life-sized cardboard cutouts of female police officers in miniskirts alongside roads. A radio station in Myslotin, one of the towns, provided a hat and a jacket for one of the cutouts, but they were stolen in a day. Then someone else stole the cardboard officer. (Associated Press)
Britain’s National Health Service is so short of organ donations that transplant patients are being given the lungs of chain smokers. “In an ideal world, you would rather have lungs from 20-year-old healthy people, who have never smoked,” said James Neuberger, associate medical director of the NHS Blood and Transplant. “But this isn’t a luxury we have.” The NHSBT said it’s also resorting to transplanting hearts from elderly and obese donors. (Britain’s Daily Mail)
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.