While police were in the process of citing Eldon Alexander, 36, and Korin Vanhouten, 47, for shoplifting merchandise worth about $25 from a store in Ogden, Utah, someone broke into their parked getaway vehicle and stole $60 worth of items. (Deseret News)
Jonathan D. Miller, 18, and Myshawn L. Bonds, 19, arranged meetings with people selling items on Craigslist and then grabbed the items without paying, according to police in Carpentersville, Ill. Cmdr. Tim Bosshart said investigators identified the suspects after they advertised the stolen items on Craigslist. One victim spotted his $8,000 watch with the same photo he’d used, clearly showing its individually numbered back plate. (Chicago’s WLS-AM)
Voters in Medicine Lodge, Kan., approved Sunday liquor sales for the first time since Prohibition, which ended in 1933, even though Kansas still hasn’t ratified the constitutional amendment that repealed it. Medicine Lodge, population 2,000, was the home of Carry A. Nation, who famously crusaded against liquor by smashing up saloons with her hatchet. (Associated Press)
Police officers working a traffic checkpoint in Plaistow, N.H., suspected Barry Short, 22, might be driving while intoxicated when he drove by at a slow rate of speed in a vehicle that “was missing a rear tire and was riding on the rim,” Officer Michael Beauchesne said, adding Short had no idea how long he had been riding on the rim and believed he was in a different town. His blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit. (Manchester’s WMUR-TV)
Chelsea Hess, 22, who rolled her car while driving drunk, filed suit against a bar in Bluffton, S.C., because the bartender failed to check her age or whether she was already drunk before serving her. She was only 20 at the time of the accident, which left her a paraplegic. Hess, who wasn’t wearing a seatbelt when she was thrown from the vehicle, is also suing the state Department of Transportation, claiming the agency failed to properly maintain the shoulder of the road where the wreck occurred. (The Beaufort Gazette)
Hoping to discourage commuters from riding on top of trains, Indonesian authorities began suspending rows of grapefruit-sized concrete balls to rake over the roofs of trains as they pull out of stations or go through rail crossings. Hosing down scofflaws with red paint, threatening them with dogs and asking religious leaders for help have failed to discourage roof riders, who risk danger —dozens are killed or injured each year—to escape overcrowded railway cars, avoid paying for a ticket or experience the thrill.
“We’ve tried just about everything, even putting rolls of barbed wire on the roof, but nothing seems to work,” Mateta Rizahulhaq, an official of the state-owned railway company PT Kereta Api, said. “Maybe this will do it.” As for concerns that the balls could seriously hurt or even kill the roof riders, he insisted that wasn’t his problem, noting, “They don’t have to sit on top.” (Associated Press)
Invitation to Invasion
A floating fence intended to stop terrorist attacks and protect Canadian navy ships has been dismantled after it was weighed down by mussels and kelp and battered by waves in Halifax harbor. The mile-long orange fence, which cost $3.5 million Canadian, was designed with hard plastic teeth jutting 5 feet into the air to thwart small boats carrying explosives. Dennis Smith of WhisprWave, a New Jersey company that has built similar floating fences for navies around the world, said the Halifax barrier was under-engineered from the start and unable to withstand the “constant 24/7-365 pounding” from the waves. (CBC News)
To deal with stares that greet foreigners traveling in Tokyo, Iceland native Arni Kristjansson, 29, created a fake cover to fit over whatever book he happens to be reading on the train. Its title, in Japanese, is, Why Do Japanese People Stare at Foreigners? Kristjansson, a DJ and musician, said most people’s reaction to his non-confrontational approach is laughter. “When I explain the idea,” he said, “they realize that a 300-page book on why Japanese people stare at foreigners is pretty ridiculous.” (CNN)
Scott Ritter, 50, a former United Nations weapon inspector in Iraq who became an outspoken critic of the U.S. invasion that overthrew Saddam Hussein, was sentenced to at least a year and a half in a Pennsylvania prison after he exchanged explicit online messages with a detective posing as a 15-year-old girl and then performed a sex act on himself in front of a webcam. Ritter’s attorney, Gary Kohlman, explained that his client’s sexually explicit chats were his way of coping with depression over being called unpatriotic for criticizing American policy on Iraq. (Associated Press)
Still angry three years after being fired from his job as a mental health counselor in Rockland County, N.Y., Michael Davitt, 54, protested his treatment by dangling on a rope ladder from the Tappan Zee Bridge for more than three hours. He waved a banner that accused Rockland officials of a “cover-up” and “retaliation.” County spokesman Ron Levine called Davitt’s action “a very strange way of making a point.” (Associated Press)
The Environmental Protection Agency is penalizing the companies that supply motor fuel about $6.8 million for failing to comply with the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, which requires them to blend 6.6 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel into their gasoline and diesel. The companies were unable to meet the requirement because the specified additive is unavailable commercially. (The New York Times).
Hoping to generate new interest in the Powerball lottery game, officials announced starting jackpots would double from $20 million to $40 million. Officials added that the price of Powerball tickets would double from $1 to $2. (Chattanooga, Tenn.’s WRCB-TV)
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