Curses, Foiled Again
Police said Steven Mercado, 32, walked into a bank in Vineland, N.J., indicated he had a weapon and demanded money. He fled with an undisclosed amount of cash but didn’t get far before his getaway car ran out of gas. He then called for a taxi, but police nabbed him before it arrived. “When Guns Are Outlawed” footnote: The weapon turned out to be a garden hose spray nozzle. (New Jersey’s The Star-Ledger)
Investigators accused Krystle Marie Reyes, 25, of using Turbo Tax to file a false state tax return claiming a $2.1 million refund. Oregon’s Department of Revenue approved the refund and issued the Salem woman a debit card for that amount. She promptly used the card to go on a spending spree totaling more than $150,000. Officials learned of the fraudulent tax return when Reyes notified Turbo Tax that a second debit card was lost or stolen. Turbo Tax notified state authorities, who discovered the fraud and arrested Reyes.
Meanwhile, the Revenue Department’s Derrick Gasperini, said the size of Reyes’ claim caused the tax return to be flagged. Multiple people examined the electronic document but approved it. “We do not have that many $2.1 million refund claims,” he said. “It absolutely should have been caught and was not.” (Salem’s KATU-TV and Associated Press)
Expose of the Week
Shortly after uncovering a major corruption scandal that forced the German president to resign, Germany’s best-selling Bild newspaper published a world map showing where women have the biggest breasts. It revealed that women in Russia lead the world, with “greater than D cups,” followed by women in the United States, Germany and Iceland, with D cups. (Business Insider)
Eyes Bigger Than Stomachs
Japanese scientists have developed goggles designed to curb appetites by making food appear to be as much as 50 percent larger than actual size. To make the illusion more convincing, the image processing system is able to make the user’s hand appear to be normal size, so the food looks bigger rather than simply magnified. “By changing the size of the food and scaling it up, we have shown that participants eat about 10 percent less over the course of a day” while wearing the goggles, said Takuji Narumi, one of the University of Tokyo researchers working on the project. (Britain’s Daily Telegraph)
Police charged Calvin Bernard Hill, 54, with stabbing a 41-year-old man while the two were riding in the back seat of a PT Cruiser in Greenwood City, S.C., after they argued over which one of them “can have the most sex.” When questioned, Hill denied stabbing the victim, claiming, “That man stabbed his self.” (The Smoking Gun)
A 78-year-old woman reported that her deceased husband’s 1973 Chevrolet van was missing from the front yard of her home in Dacula, Ga., even though it was inoperative. Later that day, she notified police that the vehicle had been parked in the yard the whole time, but, according to the police report, “she could not see the vehicle which was covered by the tall grass that grew around the vehicle, and she automatically assumed the vehicle was stolen.” (Dacula Patch)
Sperm in the News
The United States is the world’s leading exporter of sperm. According to market analyst Marketdata, the U.S. fertility industry has gone from $979 million in 1988 to $4.3 billion projected for 2013. American sperm is considered the “gold standard,” Time senior editor Jeffrey Kluger said on CBS This Morning. He attributed its reputation to Food and Drug Administration-regulated quality control on sperm donations, including who can donate, and variety, thanks to America’s multi-ethnic population. Also, unlike Canada, Australia and Western Europe, U.S. donors may remain anonymous. They’re paid according to quality standards such as height, health and education, and can earn as much as $60,000 a year. (CBS News)
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.