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September 2004


8 September 2004

John Kemper Hutcherson and Daniel Brohm, long-time friends from Marietta, Georgia, were out drinking when Brohm said he didn't feel well. Hutcherson decided to drive him home. Brohm apparently was leaning out of the window when Hutcherson hit a support wire for a telephone pole, decapitating Brohm. Hutcherson drove the remaining 12 miles home and went to bed. He remained in his bloody clothes, and Brohm's headless body remained in Hutcherson's truck in the driveway. A neighbour walking with his young daughter in the morning noticed the corpse and contacted the authorities.
Speaking for the county police department, Cpl. Dana Pierce said 'It's hard for one to imagine that you would drive miles from a crash site to your home, turning in various directions, and yet not know what has happened to a passenger sitting next to you.'

Paul Michael Callahan, 32, went to a photocopying shop at Boston University. When he handed a hold-up note to a clerk, an employee responded 'Do you know you are in a copy store and all we can give you is copies?', so the would-be robber said he was looking for a Fleet bank. After the staff gave Callahan vague directions to the nearest Fleet bank branch, he left and the employees called the authorities. Allegedly, Callahan still successfully held up a Fleet branch in the area about 40 minutes later. The robbery yielded only about $200, so Callahan apparently tried a different bank in the afternoon and netted a larger amount. As he made his getaway in his truck, a dye pack exploded. The truck then suffered a flat tyre. Police said a dye-covered Callahan abandoned the truck, running to a petrol station and asking to use a customer's mobile phone to report his truck stolen.
Less than six months ago, Callahan completed a prison sentence for bank robbery.

Alexander Mechthold wanted to pay tribute to Albert Einstein, he said, by sticking out his tongue in his passport photo. An official in Arnsberg, Germany, refused to accept the picture and explained that it was illegal. It appears the official was incorrect - a court has ruled that the country has no rule against a passport photo in which the bearer is sticking out his tongue. Before receiving his new passport, Mechthold did, however, have to sign a statement accepting that he has no right of recourse if he counters problems with border guards because of the photo.

In yet another story of overkill with insecticide, Japan's Kazutami Onishi was taking a nap in his car, which was parked outside his house, and kept being annoyed by a mosquito. After unsuccessfully spraying insecticide in the area around the car a few times, he decided to light a cigarette. The resulting explosion and fire gutted Onishi's home and left him with minor burns to the face and neck.

Also in Japan, a woman in Fukui was pulled over for driving while intoxicated, and the officer ticketed her. When the woman said she needed to use the loo, he let her drive the roughly 400 metres to her home to do so. He followed in his patrol car to make sure she arrived home safely. Rewarding him for his efforts, she spoke of the incident to another police officer the following day. Minoru Tsukomoto of the force's internal affairs division said the sergeant will be given thorough guidance on correct behaviour. He has also been fined 10 per cent of his monthly wage.

In a third story from Japan, an ambulance abruptly changed lanes in front of Hiroshi Kataoka's car. The next day, Kataoka rang a local firefighting office to report that he was having liver trouble. When an ambulance arrived at his home, Kataoka, 56, allegedly began arguing with the paramedics, demanding to speak with the driver of the ambulance that had annoyed him the previous day. He then kicked one of the paramedics and sat in the back seat of the ambulance for 44 minutes, keeping the paramedics from responding to another call.

Acting on a tip from local police, guards at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester conducted a slightly more thorough search than usual of the prison. They found a medicine ball - or at least a very heavy basketball. The ball contained two pounds of a substance that is being tested to verify that it is marijuana. Prison officials say they don't know how the basketball with its 30 bags of probable weed made its way into the prison.

A 46-year-old Washington man wanted his cremated remains scattered over the Mountain View Memorial Gardens cemetery in Oregon. Aboard the small aeroplane that the family hired for the task, the bag of ashes apparently slipped. It went through Barbara Vreeland's roof, finding its resting place in her attic. The man's family is paying for the damage to her house, but that doesn't quite fix everything. Vreeland said 'I think some of their relative is still in our attic'.

James Pengov set up an auction on eBay stating 'Up for auction is MY VOTE!'. Explaining that he was dissatisfied with both of the US's major political parties, he explained 'Simply tell me who to vote for, after paying the auction, and it will be so. If you care, buy my vote and you will have twice the power in the upcoming election!!!!' After 12 hours, the authorities put a stop to the auction. The 36-year-old Pengov, from Elyria, Ohio, said he thought selling his vote would help him pay his medical bills. He said he didn't know that selling a vote was illegal.

In a Jane Doe case in Virginia, a woman is suing her ex-Virginia-Beach lover for knowingly and intentionally giving her genital herpes. She is seeking $5 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages, arguing that the man persuaded her many times to have unprotected sex and 'intentionally withheld the fact that he was infected'. The lawsuit also claims that the man claimed to have been tested for sexually transmitted diseases and found to be clean.
The man's attorney, Brian Kantor, claims that his client cannot be sued, because the infection took place while the woman was engaging in a criminal act under Virginia law, sexual intercourse outside marriage.

In South Ogden, Utah, Zachary Hayden was so taken with a second-hand car that he told the salesman he would buy it on the spot and only needed to withdraw some money at the bank, which would also give him a chance to test-drive the vehicle. With a second salesman in the car, Hayden stopped at a bank where he didn't have an account and left when the tellers, becoming suspicious, rang the police. Hayden and the salesman stopped at another bank. While Hayden was inside, the salesman gave a woman directions. He was still doing so when Hayden left the bank, having robbed it, and took off in the car. Hayden was later arrested in Nevada.

When Renathe Opedal was stuck in the middle of a traffic jam in Kristiansand, Norway, she was surprised that a traffic attendant approached her car and gave her a ticket for the equivalent of about 80 UKP. The ticket was for illegal parking. Opedal, 32, took the case to court, and the ticket was annulled. Afterward she said 'I'm really glad I won, but it took much too much time and energy'. The Kristiansand District Court ruled that the traffic attendant misunderstood the situation.

A 15-year-old boy stole a lottery ticket from a grocery outside Oernskoeldsvik, Sweden, last month. When he returned home, he scratched the card - the ticket was a winner worth between 130,000 and a million pounds, The only problem was that the shopkeeper, Patrik Nygren, meanwhile had recognised the youth from surveillance tapes and arrived at his house to reclaim the stolen item. Nygren hopes he can lay claim to the lottery ticket and has contacted a lawyer; however, Svenska Spel, which runs all government lotteries in Sweden, said 'Legally, we own the ticket until someone buys it, scrapes it, and wins. In this case, that hasn't happened.'

Eight years ago, Jim Malone arrived at the Oakland, California, VA clinic with results from a testing firm showing that he had HIV. The clinic performed its own test to confirm the first set of results, but Malone was never told that the second test came back negative. Recently, after battling depression and learning to come to terms with his diagnosis, Malone was given the news that he is not HIV-positive, thanks to a computerised case-tracking system used by the Veterans' Administration. Malone's primary physician has now said he takes full responsibility for the 'very big mistake'.

Washington wildlife agents surveyed the scene at the Baker Lake Resort's campground area: about three dozen empty beer cans and several unopened tins of another brand, and one passed-out black bear on the lawn. Fish and Wildlife enforcement Sgt. Bill Heinck said the bear had tried one can of Busch beer but then ignored the rest. A wildlife agent tried to chase the bear out of the area, but it instead climbed into a tree to sleep it off for the next four hours. Then it left. When the bear returned the next morning, wildlife officers baited a trap with doughnuts, honey, and two open cans of Rainier, the bear's beer of choice. The bait worked, and the bear has been captured for relocation.

Policeman Jon Arnetts saw a car in Shawnee, Oklahoma, driving along with a bag on top of it. He pulled the vehicle over to tell the driver about the bag. He then discovered what was in the bag: marijuana, a small amount of a white crystalline substance, a smoking pipe, several pills, and a handgun. The two people who were in the car were arrested on drugs charges, and one will face a weapons charge.

Several on a boat tour to study Chicago's architecture noticed a tour bus offloading liquid waste into the Chicago River. The gunk, which was human waste, poured into the upper, open deck of the boat, which promptly turned round and returned to the dock. All who were aboard received refunds. Criminal charges against the driver of the bus, which was seen in security camera footage in the area, are possible. In addition, a civil suit has been filed against the driver and his client, the Dave Matthews Band. A publicist for the band, which is known for supporting 'green' causes, did not comment.

A 30-year-old man and his eight-year-old son had to be rescued near a Somerset beach when they became stuck in dangerous mud flats in a punctured inflatable dinghy. Coast guard Steve Bird told the BBC 'Yesterday we had 50 people involved in the rescue ... but nothing seems to have been learned'. Swansea Coastguard Watch Manager Helen Hutson said 'We are somewhat surprised that having lost one dinghy in a very dangerous situation, he then acquired another'. Less than 24 hours after the first incident and a warning of the dangers the man was courting, he and his son were rescued again. They had drifted out to sea in the second dinghy.

In a June 2004 Clipping, I reported on Judge Donald Thompson, who insisted that his penis pump was a gag gift and that he wasn't really using it to enhance his erections while masturbating under his robes during trials. Thompson has now said he will retire from the bench. The decision came days before a state hearing that was due to decide on whether he would be suspended. The 57-year-old Thompson will receive a full pension.

In Stockholm, a fibre-glass cow was stolen from the international CowParade exhibit. A video later sent to newspapers showed two masked figures in black holding power drills to the inanimate bovine's head while a voice stated 'We demand that the cows are declared non-art. Otherwise, the hostage will be sacrificed.' The cownappers identified themselves in a banner as 'Stockholm's Militant Graffiti Artists'. Helena Cederberg, speaking for CowParade, said 'We are very upset about the whole matter'.

In Burnaby, British Columbia, three Mounties were waiting at an intersection outside a bank when a man ran out of the building and into traffic, nearly colliding with a vehicle. The Mounties figured something was up. They chased the man on foot until he ran into a marine supply shop. He then tried to hide by climbing into a ceiling area. An RCMP statement said 'Customers and the officers could hear the man struggling, until they finally heard him say, "Help me"'. The ceiling tiles then collapsed under the bank robber's weight. He landed in a boat that was on display.

After a motorist in Imperia, Italy, complained to police about a windscreen damaged by a flying guinea pig, police noticed six hamster corpses on the road as well. After studying the likely trajectories of the animals' bodies, they questioned a pensioner who owned a nearby apartment. The man explained that he had been sweeping when he accidentally knocked his pet guinea pig and hamsters off the terrace and into passing traffic. He could be held in prison for up to a year and a half.

Police in Bethel, Alaska, tried to pull over John Smith's sport-utility vehicle for having a burned-out taillight. The vehicle didn't stop, however. Given Bethel's isolated location, with the nearest state highway 400 miles away, Smith was left with little to do but surrender or be chased back and forth along the town's eight or nine miles of bumpy, twisty roads. He chose the latter option, leading police on a chase for an hour or so. When his SUV became bogged down, he took off across the tundra on foot. The police simply checked the licence number, determined where Smith lived, and waited for him to return home. After he did, he was charged with failure to stop, driving with a revoked licence, reckless driving, and felony driving under the influence. The charges listed do not mention the taillight.

When Pedro Calvo, the Madrid town councillor in charge of traffic safety, crashed his motorbike, he didn't have his driving licence with him - not that it would have done him much good, as it had expired anyway. Calvo said an approaching policeman who recognised him wasn't sure whether to ticket him or not. Calvo said he lost it and replied to the officer 'Of course you have to fine me!'
Calvo said his mistake was unexemplary. Opposition parties termed it deplorable.

Monroe County, Indiana, coroner David Toumey was demonstrating gun safety on Wednesday when he accidentally shot himself. He said he was verifying that his gun wasn't loaded when it discharged. He was struck in the left leg. Toumey was taken to hospital and scheduled for surgery.
Unfortunately, I will no longer cover gun safety demonstrations showing what not to do unless there are added elements of weirdness. There are simply too many stories like this.

Reginald Abram, 29, told an inmate in the Crittenden, Arkansas, county jail that he could bring the inmate two ounces of cocaine for $1,000. After the drug transfer, Abram was nabbed in an undercover operation. He has been suspended with pay from his duties as the administrator of the jail. He had been hired after his predecessor, Robert Bretherick, was charged with witness tampering and deprivation of rights.

Gerardo Lozano, a 16-year-old student at a Harlingen, Texas, school, decided to grow his hair to 25 centimetres in length so he could donate it to Locks of Love, which makes wigs for children who have lost their hair to cancer treatment and other medical circumstances. His hair is now half the required length. A school district rule forbids boys from having hair that hangs below their shoulders, so Locks of Love sent the school a letter verifying that Lozano had filed a donation form. That was last year, after Lozano was forced to cut his hair. Lozano says there are no rules on the length of girls' hair, so he is claiming discrimination.
The solution to such problems in Thailand's southern Chumpon province is a bit simpler. Noticing at morning assembly at Wat Dan Prachakorn school that 15-year-old student Theedarat Pattong's hair was beyond regulation length, teacher Laweng Yangpakdee cut it. Media reports quote plastic surgeon Dr. Wiboon Thongduang as saying that half of the girl's earlobe was also severed and couldn't be reattached, as medical attention wasn't sought in time.

The Statesman of Calcutta reports that Colonel HS Kohli, who commanded an artillery regiment in India, was found guilty in a court martial of making a false claim for military gallantry medals. With the help of another army officer, he had allegedly splashed catsup on three civilian employees of the army and had them pose for a photograph as rebels he had killed at Bada Nagadun in 2003. The claim was being processed when the military received a letter of complaint, prompting an investigation. He is likely to be dismissed from service.

Veteran Atlanta, Georgia, police officer Stanley Street has confessed to armed robbery of three banks over the last two months. He explained that he needed the money so he could pay employees at Atlanta's Finest Security Co. Street, 44, was arrested after a bank customer followed Street's getaway car and reported the licence number to police. It was his own vehicle.

At Calanan Elementary School in Cayagan de Oro province in the Philippines, teacher Ursula Janeth Abellanosa became upset at three unruly pupils. She punished them by allegedly having them enter the school toilets and lick the floor. When the students were brought to the Commission on Human Rights for questioning, they stated that 20 students in total had been given this punishment. When irate parents came to the school to complain to Abellanosa, the teacher hurried back home in tears. In an interview with ABS-CBN Cagayan de Oro, Abellanosa said (in translation) 'I would say I'm sorry to them'.

In Grand Coteau, Louisiana, Mayor Jean Coco confronted the fire chief about the all-volunteer department's poor fire record. According to some reports, the mayor threatened to fire the fire chief and harsh words were exchanged. What is clear is that the 22-year-old fire chief punched the mayor in the face. The mayor, who is the fire chief's uncle's former wife, reported the incident to the chief of police, her son, Jonty Coco. The fire chief was arrested. Afterward, Jean Coco said 'I thought we had a good conversation', but the recommendation to suspend Troy Coco as fire chief stands.

Westminster City Council decided to continue its campaign to wipe out call girls' advertisements in phone boxes by pressuring mobile 'phone companies to bar incoming calls to numbers found in such advertisements. This pressure included placing the names of Vodafone, Orange, and other executives on 20,000 mock call girl advertisement flyers handed out to pedestrians in central London. The Conservative deputy leader of the council, Kit Malthouse, said 'Mobile phone company chief executives must take personal responsibility for the fact prostitute cards contain numbers that their companies provide'.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the companies expressed concern about data protection and pointed out that pranksters could use a barring policy to cause the blocking of numbers unrelated to prostitution.

Staff at the Pinguin Foods plant in Kings Lynn, Norfolk, heard a metallic clanging sound on the production line. It was coming from the potatoes that were being washed. Actually, it was coming from the two hand grenades that were among the potatoes. An Army press office spokesman from Colchester said 'They were live grenades and very unstable'. The rusty grenades were taken to a nearby field, where they were detonated by bomb disposal teams.

Prison authorities in New South Wales, Australia, believe inmates at Grafton maximum security prison found four redback spiders in the prison nursery. The prisoners bred the spiders in jars and milked them, diluting the venom with water before injecting themselves with it to get high. A bite's worth of the venom can kill a child or elderly person.
This bad publicity for the Australian prison system follows on the heels of outrage concerning marijuana plant that was found in a prison when it had reached 40 centimetres in height.

22 September 2004

Larry Bostic says he asked an employee in a Vineland, New Jersey, Home Depot store for a pushcart so he could load some lumber. The employee told him take a cart that appeared to have been abandoned with some wallboard still in it. When Bostic began loading his two-by-fours into the cart, 45-year-old Wei Sun appeared and demanded that the cart be returned to him. Witnesses said both men tried unsuccessfully to punch each other. Each then grabbed a two-by-four, and a 'sword fight' commenced, according to the police. The end of the fight came when Sun threw his board at Bostic. It connected with his chin. Court action is pending.

A man in Burnaby, British Columbia, stole a car. According to RCMP spokesman Cpl. Pierre Lemaitre said 'Because of the high rate of auto theft, he decided he was going to lock the doors so nobody could steal this car'. He had no keys for the stolen vehicle, however, so began knocking on doors in hopes of borrowing a coat hanger so he could open the door. Lemaitre said area residents grew suspicious. With baseball bats in hand, they apprehended the man and held him until police arrived. According to the police, this is the same man who fell through a false ceiling from his hiding place after allegedly robbing a bank. See http://theanna.org/clip/september2004.html#ceiling.

According to AFP reports, three armed guards were delivering cash to the Maybank bank in Malacca, Malaysia, when one dropped his shotgun near the cashpoint machine. Police spokesman Sidin Abdul Karim said the gun fired when it hit the floor, and pellets flew through the enclosed area. Ong Poh Choo said 'I was shocked to hear the blast and fell down as both of my legs were in pain'. Five people who had queued up to withdraw cash were hit. Police are keeping the guard in custody for questioning.

A 38-year-old man from Omaha, Nebraska, was accused of attempted burglary and $5000 bail was posted by a 40-year-old local woman. After the man failed to appear in court, he went to her home. She was apparently not pleased at losing her money. He was beaten, blindfolded, and driven the 56 kilometres to the jail. Sheriff Terry Baxter said 'He was in the back seat, completely restrained in duct tape, all across his head and facial area.' He was treated for his wounds and returned to the jail. The woman was arrested on suspicion of false imprisonment, serious assault, and aiding and abetting a fugitive.

In another update on an earlier story, David Havenner, who hit his girlfriend with his fists and then with an alligator to back up a point during an argument (see the story at http://theanna.org/clip/july2004.html#gator), has been sentenced to six months in jail. The Port Orange, Florida, man pleaded no contest to charges of battery and possession of an alligator. He had earlier claimed he wasn't guilty.

Antoinette Jenkins, 19, of Chicago and cousin Antoine, also 19, began fighting over a box of French fries in a White Castle burger joint. The argument ended when Antoinette produced a knife and stabbed Antoine once in the heart. The wound was fatal. Police arrested her later in the day at a hotel. The fries had cost 99 cents.

On 6 August, an 11-year-old boy from Duncan, Mississippi, was arrested in connection with the hanging death of Angela Trotter's pit bull, Meg Sanders. The boy also allegedly had had sex with the animal. At the urging of Constable Samuel Toliver, who worried that the boy might attack a human later, Trotter signed a complaint against the boy. However, the boy was released into his uncle's custody. He now stands accused of raping a four-year-old girl. Witnesses say the girl was attacked when she went across the street to get her cat. She was rushed to the emergency room. The boy's current whereabouts is unclear.

Authorities say this next story began when Wisconsin's Dana Bettin argued with his girlfriend. He drove off with their eight-month-old daughter. The police were summoned to retrieve the girl, and a car chase ensued. Bettin, 23, rammed one of the police cars. Later, he braked suddenly and opened the door. He then threw the child and her car seat onto the road and again took off. Officers quickly retrieved the girl. Bettin eventually ran into a stationary, empty police car and was pinned underneath his own vehicle. He died in hospital three days later.

Mukund Sharma, a Bihar state government employee in India, claims he hasn't been paid his salary since 1977. Sharma, 50, threatened to mount an indefinite protest in front of the Patna High Court. His goal is not a ruling forcing him to be paid but rather permission to commit suicide. He wrote to the court that he has been miserable since he stopped receiving his pay 27 years ago, telling the Indo Asian News Service 'I have no option but to commit suicide to protest non-payment of salary for so long'.

Anthony R. Gallagher, 23, is an enterprising college student in Madison, Wisconsin. He is accused of placing fake parking tickets on cars, with his own address listed as the place to send payment. He earned several hundred dollars doing this. The scam came to light when a victim's payment, sent to the post office box Gallagher had set up, was returned by the postal service as non-deliverable. Further implicating Gallagher is the fact that the fake tickets all were identical copies of a parking ticket he received last year. All bore the same citation number. Gallagher has admitted his guilt.

Emerson Moore Jr., 46, from Caernarvon Township, Pennsylvania, was waiting for his drink-driving hearing to begin when he got into an argument with state trooper Roberto Soto, who was due to testify against him as the arresting officer in the case. During the argument, Soto smelled alcohol on Moore's breath. His blood-alcohol level was tested. It was above the legal limit for driving. Moore, who had driven himself to court, had his bail revoked and was sent to prison, with an additional charge of public drunkenness added to his tally. The judge, Justice Dean R. Patton, said 'You don't show up drunk for a preliminary hearing, especially when it's a drunk-driving case. I asked him what he was thinking and he said "You told me I could drink at home."'

Robert and Deborah Perry-Rogers have accepted a settlement for an undisclosed amount from their doctor at a fertility clinic. A white surrogate mother who had used the clinic's services gave birth to one black boy and one white one. Doctor Michael Obasaju admitted to mistakenly implanting one of Deborah's embryos in the woman. The embryos implanted in Deborah's womb weren't viable. The Rogers couple won custody of their biological child, and the surrogate mother was denied visitation rights.

The police in Clarksville, Tennessee, were tipped off that a drug dealer lived at 343B Old Trenton Road. Officers showed up and raided the home at 341B, which had only a 'B' on the outside. Teresa Guiler, whose arm was in a sling, and James Elliott, a 54-year-old man recovering from a liver transplant, were watching television when the team of masked men with rifles burst in. Elliott, who is deaf, wasn't sure what was being shouted. According to Police Chief Mark Smith, he resisted and officers responded by 'bringing him down'. Guiler took him to hospital after the raid. Smith said the department would issue a written apology for the mixup.
The ecstasy dealer at the home next door was arrested later.

Someone contacted the police in Port Washington, Wisconsin, to report the licence number of a man who had thrown a 24-ounce beer can out his car window. The licence number matched the duty vehicle of Police Chief Ed Rudolph. Rudolph said he may have drunk a beer at the city's lakefront area and later threw the empty can from his car window. Sheriff Maury Straub, who decided not to ticket Rudolph, stressed that no special treatment was involved. He said there simply wasn't sufficient evidence to charge Rudolph with having an open intoxicant in the car, for example. In the wake of a public outcry, Rudolph has since been issued a citation for littering.

The Daily Record reports that bus driver Lee Donaldson's rapid and erratic driving upset passengers in Androssan, Ayrshire. Steven McMillan told him off: 'It's not your car you're driving - it's a bus'. Donaldson, 36, reacted by stopping the bus, opening his door, and swinging his fist at McMillan, who had got off the bus by this point. McMillan decided not to accept Donaldson's challenge to a fight. He did decide to take down the bus's registration number, so Donaldson drove the bus at him. McMillan's partner pulled him out of the way. Donaldson was fined UKP 200 and disqualified from driving for six months. Also, he has lost his job.

Dr. Eric Voice, who has died at age 80 after an illness, will be buried in a lead-lined coffin. Since 1992, he had volunteered for various personal experiences with plutonium in an attempt to prove that the substance isn't dangerous to the human body and to examine what effects plutonium-237 has when injected into the body or inhaled. While he was alive, his bodily waste had to be given special care and was taken away by armoured car. He said 'When I arrive at people's houses with a carrier bag of bottles, people assume I've brought them a gift When I explain I can't use their facilities, their expressions are extremely comical.' The nuclear power industry worker's cause of death was not made public.

A nursing home in Zeltweg, Austria, decided to rent space out to a funeral parlour. Those who live in the nursing home were unhappy to discover coffins on display in the window. The residents' relatives weren't pleased either. Amid calls to the local council to have the Pax funeral parlour removed from the home, mayor and nursing home landlord Kurt Leitner said plans were being made to renovate the facilities so the funeral parlour could use the back rooms, keeping coffins out of the view of residents.

Millionaire African evangelist Gilbert Deya claims to help barren women conceive through the power of prayer. On a tour of the UK, he has another simple message: that he doesn't kidnap babies. This is in response to charges raised by Kenyan authorities, who say Deya gives infertile women babies kidnapped from maternity hospitals. He is suspected of being part of a child-trafficking racket involving Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, and Britain. One of the hospitals to which he brought infertile women to 'give birth' has been closed down, and another is being investigated in connection with claims of neglect and murder. The 14 UK branches of his ministry are under investigation by the Charities Commission.
Deya's wife too has been charged with kidnapping a baby in Kenya. He claimed it was her baby, explaining that the negative DNA test was part of a plot by the jealous Kenyans, who want to distract him from his holy work and destroy him. He added: 'DNA is what the world, not God, believes in. If it matches or doesn't match, it's the same.' As to why the miracle mothers' DNA doesn't match that of the babies and the pregnancies don't show up on scans before the women travel to Kenya, 'miracles cannot be explained', he said. He plans to sue the BBC and the Kenyan authorities.
The Kenyan cop in charge of the case was killed by thugs while at home last month. Deya says the man had told him the charges would be dropped.

George Long, father of Sherry Kelley of Mat-Su, Alaska, said his daughter was arguing with her 15-year-old girl over whether the teenager could take a part-time job or not when the teenager mentioned the abuse she'd suffered at the hands of her parents. Long contacted the authorities. When troopers neared Sherry and her husband Patrick's trailer home, Kelley hit her 10-year-old son with a steel pipe to get him to enter her van. It later emerged that she hadn't wanted the authorities to see his untreated burns or his frostbitten finger, which her daughters had scrubbed to the bone to remove the maggots and dead flesh. The blow from the pipe broke his arm.
Troopers came back the next day with an order for Kelley to receive psychiatric evaluation. The boy, found hiding outside, had to have part of the finger amputated and remained in hospital for weeks.
Kelley and Patrick had adopted their five children through the state and received $3,400 a month to look after them. This care included making sure the three girls and two boys didn't attend school, had junk vans to sleep in at night, and were disciplined. When their 13-year-old boy stole food from his grandparents' house, she threw him into the family's pond. He tried to run away so was chained to a tree and later had a brick tied around his leg. An aunt said her son had seen the coffinlike box that the boy had been sealed inside while naked.
The children have been placed in the care of a relative.

In Carlisle, Pennsylvania, newspaper carrier Betsey Patrick didn't want the recent flooding in the area to ruin her perfect delivery record. She and her father, Rick, used a rubber raft to deliver the Patriot-News to six subscribers who had been isolated by the weather and couldn't leave their homes. Patrick said 'It made their day'. Rick was cited for negligent operation of a watercraft and fined $220. Betsey plans to fight the charges, explaining that both she and her father were wearing life vests and had signalling whistles. Danny Diego, circulation director at the newspaper, said that while the company couldn't help Betsey, her action was worthy of praise and demonstrated her commitment to excellent customer service.

Cynthia Williams, 45, of Orlando, Florida, was beaten by her boyfriend and had her face fractured in several places while she screamed for help. An officer arrived and cuffed the man, Peter Lamb Reddy. Williams then slapped Reddy in the face. She said the officer told her 'You shouldn't have done that in front of me'. She was hospitalised for three days. When she was charged with misdemeanour battery, she tried to strike a deal with prosecutors. She refused a plea offer involving a year of probation and battery counselling, saying that she didn't want a criminal conviction on her record. In the end, she refused to testify against Reddy because, although 'he tried to kill me', she didn't want to incriminate herself regarding the slap. Prosecutors dropped the charges against Reddy, explaining that they didn't have much of a case left since Williams wouldn't testify.

A Ridgefield, Washington, man said it was reading the Bible that gave him the idea of circumcising his son. According to Sgt. Tony Barnes of the county sheriff's office, the man took the boy into the bathroom and used a hunting knife to perform the operation. 'When he couldn't stop the bleeding, he called 911', said Barnes. The man was taken into custody, and the eight-year-old boy was taken to Southwest Washington Medical Center, where he received several stitches. The case will be referred to Child Protective Services, who have visited the nine children in the home before.

The Norwegian grocery store chain Kiwi pays customers the retail price of any product they find on the shelves that is past its 'best before' date. According to Verdens Gang, two boys, ages 14 and 15, found 280 cans of expired Carlsberg beer at a Kiwi store on the outskirts of Oslo. They loaded the beer into shopping carts and asked the cashier for their reward. The boys were under 18, the age for legally buying beer in Norway, so clerks rang the police and the boys' parents. Since the boys had not tried to buy the beer or remove it from the premises, they were determined to be entitled to the reward. They received the equivalent of about EUR 2000.

Raphael and Alexandria Spindell's 14-month-old child, Andre, became very sick two months ago and was diagnosed with anaemia. The child's strict vegan diet might have contributed to this. The couple stayed with Andre at the hospital for several days but removed him from the facility because, they said, conditions were unsanitary. The hospital rang the police, who took the Spindells into custody for interfering with the toddler's treatment. The boy's maternal grandmother, Zoya Watterson, was awarded temporary custody the same day.
The next day, the 34-year-old Raphael came to Watterson's apartment and, when she answered the door, shouted 'You don't feed my baby right!'. He grabbed the child. He later rang Watterson and dictated a note in which she is to promise to adhere to his dietary demands if she wants to see the boy again. Watterson said she is worried about the skinny and small Andre, as he 'eats every 15 minutes but he only eats fruit juice, seeds, and breast milk - it's not enough calories'. She said Alexandria, 21, has been brainwashed by Raphael, who is also known as the radical environmentalist Archangel. From a wealthy California family, he is working to establish a 'tribal eco-village' in Belize.

Ryan C. Moore is a 54-year-old anger management counsellor in Stuart, Florida. He was annoyed that several co-workers were taking shelter from Hurricane Frances in the office building where he works. His solution was to release his two pit bulls in the building, with the command 'Go get them'. William E. Schoomaker, who runs an insurance agency from the office two doors down from Moore's, suffered multiple deep bites, and Sabrina Stuart was bitten on one leg. Stuart rang the police, who were unable to respond for an hour due to the storm. Moore has a history of arrests for various types of assault.

On a plot near Groblershoop, South Africa, a six-month old girl drowned in a bucket of home-brewed beer that was next to the bed where she had been sleeping. Tony Modise, an inspector with the Northern Cape police, said 'Police could not interrogate both parents as they were under the influence of alcohol'.

In Marondera, Zimbabwe, the army staged a mock battle at an agricultural show. Something went wrong. At least 13 people were wounded, three of them seriously. Some of the injuries were consistent with those caused by stun grenades, which the Zimbabwean army sometimes uses in mock battles. In addition, state radio reported that rifles used by soldiers in the display had malfunctioned. An unnamed hospital official was quoted as saying that live ammunition had been used, in which case it might well have functioned according to spec.

Kathryn Harrington, 52, was stopped by screeners at the airport in Tampa, Florida. They thought her bookmark looked dodgy - it was a 21-cm-long strip of leather with small lead weights at either end. As it resembled a weapon that could knock people unconscious, the special education teacher was handcuffed and arrested, charged with carrying a concealed weapon. In the end, the state declined to prosecute Harrington, saving her from a possible criminal trial and $10,000 fine. The Transportation Security Administration has said it probably won't impose a fine.

Dennis and Shirley Bartlett are a blind couple who live in Desert Grove, California. They were approached by the head of their gated community's homeowners' association, Delmar Pierce, who says he simply told them 'We need to talk about your dogs and relieving themselves in the streets'. Dennis Bartlett pointed out that the guide dogs' training programme included learning to defecate as they went about their duties rather than stopping elsewhere to do so, but he also said he scoops up the animals' droppings from the street. Pierce said Bartlett does not want to abide by the rules and that 'they don't clean it up all the way and that's a health and safety concern to the board'. Dennis said 'You can't get everything all the time'. He and his wife are taking Pierce to small claims court.

28 September 2004

A 12-year-old Indiana boy fell foul of school rules against low-hanging trousers. Scott Allison came before the Concord School Board to complain that his son, Spencer, had been singled out by a teacher who noticed that his underwear was showing above his trousers. The teacher asked Spencer to lift his shirt. Deeming the sag too great, she sent Spencer to Assistant Principal Patricia Walters. According to the boy's father, Walters told him to pull up his pants and tuck in his shirt, then encircled his waist three times with duct tape. 'Then she sent him back to class, in front of his peers', lamented the elder Allison, who worried that his son would be mocked by his classmates over the issue.

The Mardomsalari newspaper reports that an Iranian woman, identified simply as Maryam J., took her husband to court, where she complained that she was beaten nearly every night by her husband. Since having a child hadn't made things better, she sought a judicial order concerning domestic abuse. She told the court 'I don't want a divorce or compensation. My husband is violent. It is in his nature. I just want him to promise to beat me only once a week.' The judge and audience reportedly began laughing. After the husband admitted to beating his wife 'every evening', the judge demanded written assurance from him that the beatings will stop altogether.

Maddalena Camillo, 67, was walking through the main square of Sant Onofrio, Italy, when a three-metre-tall monument at the centre of the square fell over. Camillo's skull was smashed by the monument, a 100-year-old crucifix. Investigators believe the accident might have been caused by work being carried out in preparation for a religious festival honouring the town's patron saint. The festival has been suspended.

In Bristol Township, Pennsylvania, a 39-year-old woman struck a teenaged boy's bicycle with her car. The woman stopped her car and offered him a ride. He accepted, and she placed the bike in the car. On the journey, the teen exposed himself to the woman, telling her he wouldn't sue her if she would simply have sex with him. The woman stopped the car and told the boy to get out. According to the police, he then grabbed her and, when she resisted, tried to snatch her handbag instead. She pulled the bike out of the car, drove away, and contacted the police. The boy has not yet been caught.

In 1999, a woman who was arrested for cocaine possession didn't show up for her day in court. A judge therefore signed warrants for her arrest - or thought he did. Stancy Nesby, whose name the woman used while in custody, has as a result been arrested or thrown in jail seven times in the last 15 months alone. She succeeded in getting a letter from San Francisco officials that admits the error, but the warrants have yet to be cancelled. The last time she was arrested, on her way to a family reunion, the 28-year-old Nesby showed Berkeley officers a newspaper clipping describing her pending lawsuit against the city and carrying her photograph, but that didn't keep her out of jail. When she was released five hours later, the police suggested she remain at home until the issue with the warrants is sorted out.

According to the police in Miami, Larry Miller entered a bank and demanded $1500. The teller gave the wheelchair-bound Miller $200 and dismissed him. Police Lt. Bill Schwartz said 'He became very upset, started cussing. He threw the note on the floor and wheeled himself out of the bank and down the street'. A security guard across the street caught up with him and held him until police arrived. When they did so, he complained 'What's going on in this society, where I had to do this here in order to get $200?'
Miller fared poorly when he tried to rob a store 15 years ago as well. The shopkeeper turned Miller's gun against him. He has been in a wheelchair ever since.

On patrol in Lakewood, Ohio, a policeman saw a man run away from a change machine at a car wash. He was leaving a trail of quarters behind him. The officer thought this was suspicious and grabbed the man, 35-year-old Stephen C. Jackson, by the sweatshirt. At this point, the sweatshirt fell to the ground under the weight of 10 kilos of quarters. The banknotes Jackson had been feeding into the change machine had been stained by an exploding dye pack. Investigators have charged Jackson, a law student, with conspiracy and the robbery of a bank earlier that morning.

In Connecticut, we have psychiatrist Joan Schmugler, who got into an argument with cat breeder Sharyn Hauck over which of the two owned Moses, an award-winning five-month-old Bombay cat. Schmugler scratched and bit the breeder during the argument, according to police. She also is accused of choking the cat. She is due in court in a month's time.

In 2002, Ronnie Lynn Robinson won the Lake County, Florida, bass-fishing tournament. When tournament director Darren Ratliff recently gutted the winning fish, he found three eight-ounce weights in its stomach. Ratliff says he now knows why the fish looked pale at the time of the win and seemed to be showing signs of rigor mortis: it had been weighed down in advance and thawed out for the tournament. Robinson was stripped of the 2002 honour after admitting to common-law cheating. His lawyer, Henry G. Ferro, said his client is innocent but made the admission 'strictly as a matter of convenience'. Bail was set at $2000, $84.80 more than the tournament prize.

A woman in Kyoto, Japan, stabbed her husband, 63-year-old Toshiaki Ueda. She then told a neighbour what she had done, and the man was rushed to hospital, where he died. The woman told investigators that she did it for her husband's own good. Said the woman, who has an illness that requires regular visits to hospital, 'I caused my husband a lot of trouble. I killed him so as not to give any more trouble.'

Daisuke Kuroki, a civil engineering official for the Miyazaki Prefecture government in Japan, was out at 4:00am and wanted something more to drink. He went to a bar he often visits, but it was closed. Frustrated, he vented his anger by setting fire to the building that houses the bar. The 22-year-old government worker said that after a section of the wall had burned, 'I felt guilty about what I'd done and put it out'. He then turned himself in at a local police station.

Three students at Florida's Jacksonville University bought a steel pole from Home Depot and attached it between the ceiling of their on-campus apartment and a plywood stage covered in red felt. James Foster, 20, said 'Honestly, we just wanted to say we had a stripper pole'. University officials told the students to remove the pole. They did so, after holding a party at which about a dozen female students competed for a $100 Victoria's Secret gift certificate by performing on the pole. None of the women stripped. The students had friends check ID and provide security, in order to be in compliance with the laws on alcohol. Speaking for the institution, John Daigle Jr. said the students might have broken rules against indecent behaviour. They have been punished. Residential adviser Amber Davis said 'There are other ways they can go out and get a girlfriend if that's what they want'.

A 91-year-old Tokyo woman was spotted by a sales clerk when she apparently tried to steal an envelope from a woman's handbag in a clothing shop. She was turned over to the police. Police spokesman Norio Hoshi said 'She appears to enjoy the thrill'. This is the woman's 11th arrest for shoplifting or pickpocketing in three years. Hoshi said the woman told police 'I just cannot resist taking other people's things'. The police let her go out of consideration for her age, and prosecutors will decide whether to charge her. Hoshi said she will probably receive a warning.

A teacher at Gabe P. Allen Elementary School in Dallas, Texas, decided to punish a six-year-old student for defecating on the classroom floor. The teacher, whose name was not released, wrapped up the faeces and sent the boy home with them in his backpack, along with a note. Speaking for the school district, Donald Claxton said 'It generally appears the teacher was trying to help raise awareness with the family. ... Unfortunately, she took this course of action.' She has been placed on paid administrative leave.

Virginia's Robert Chamberlain, who covered all the furnishings and surfaces in his Binghamton, New York, motel room with Vaseline, has been indicted on a charge of felony criminal mischief. In the incident, which occurred last spring, Chamberlain was arrested at another area motel, where he was found covered in petroleum jelly.

A car reported stolen about two years ago in Tsuchiura, Japan, was found on Wednesday in a parking lot. The woman who had been driving it was arrested on drug charges, and the vehicle was impounded for evidence. There was no space in the area normally reserved for such vehicles, so the police parked the car in the regular parking lot at the Tsuchiura police station. Late in the evening, it was discovered that the car had been stolen again. Chief Minae Igawa termed the incident 'extremely regrettable'. Two days later, the vehicle was found parked outside a pachinko parlour.

The New York Daily News reports that traffic agent and firefighter Ronald Lucia apparently stopped a woman as she returned to her car with her two daughters, telling her she could escape a court summons for traffic violations if she came along with him. Police Lt. Kevin Smith says the woman, believing Lucia's Jeep was headed to a police station, followed it. When he stopped, at a park, Lucia allegedly told the woman that she could avoid the ticket if she convinced her elder daughter to go into a park loo with him. Smith said the girl, who is 13, overheard this and became hysterical. When Lucia then sped off, the 40-year-old woman took down his Jeep number, and she asked a passerby with a mobile 'phone to ring the police. The 60-year-old Lucia, who has pleaded not guilty to all charges, has also been sued for molesting a six-year-old girl at a fire department pool party held at his house four years ago.

California's San Bernardino County Sun said Mark Edward Thomas, 23, insists that he didn't kill his 18-year-old girlfriend, Briele Johnson. He did, however, admit to packing her body into a suitcase at the motel where the two were staying, and to then hitching a ride to another motel. He explained that he wanted to care for the body, which showed signs of strangulation. Thomas's backpack contained photos suggesting that he might have severely choked Johnson on previous occasions.
Thomas says he never harmed her. As to how she died, he said she was prostituting herself to other men and that he returned to the room to find her naked and unresponsive on the bed. There will therefore be DNA tests.
Thomas was arrested at the second motel after a woman reported that he had stabbed her and stolen her handbag.

A quiz show based in Thessaloniki, Greece, relieved viewers of several million euros by fraud. In the 24-hour live programme, Fotofault, viewers were asked to examine two photographs onscreen and call in if they could spot the difference. 'Viewers who appear [to be] taking part in the game strangely failed to spot the obvious difference', encouraging real viewers to ring the number, said police in Salonica, who themselves made multiple calls to the number, usually costing 250 euros each, but failed to get through. It appears that all callers were put on hold for 15 minutes, then the line was cut. Thessaloniki crime squad chief Christos Radopoulos, said 'We found records showing that the call centre had received about 115,000 calls in a year'. The programme's two presenters were arrested, along with some production and station staff.

After Heather Zlotshewer's unlicensed day-care centre in Queens, New York, was closed down, an inspector headed over to the other facility she runs, Devlin Daycare. When the inspector asked to see an upstairs room, Zlotshewer said it was a private bedroom and that her son and his friends were up there. In reality, the room was part of the facility, and two three-year-olds were there, along with seven-month old Matthew Perilli. While the worker in charge of the room was downstairs dealing with the inspector, the two older children piled toys in Perilli's playpen. The worker later returned to the room and saw that Perilli had been buried in toys, so she took the baby to nearby Parkway Hospital, where the child was pronounced dead. City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Frieden, who fired the head of the day-care inspection bureau after the incident, said 'The inspector was concerned about [the room]. He didn't know he had the authority to go upstairs.'

When a homeowner in Wenaichee, Washington, was awakened by a barking dog, he found a neighbour trying to enter through the home's dog door. The homeowner opened his back door and asked the woman what she was doing. She explained that she had dropped her hammer inside the house and asked him to return it. Instead, he rang the police. The 57-year-old woman was arrested and is being investigated for residential burglary, said Sergeant John Kruse, speaking for the police.

Mother of seven Sylvia Payne of Maryport, West Cumbria, was comforting her son after he suffered a panic attack, and one thing led to another. This is what a court recently heard in explanation for how Payne ended up having sex with her 18-year-old son, Mark Wall, after watching a Disney film with him. The couple were discovered by a young family member. Payne, 45, was given a three-year rehabilitation order aimed at turning around a life her solicitor described as a 'graphic and horrific tale' involving two abusive relationships.

In Milwaukee, an 11-year-old boy repeatedly broke into a 76-year-old neighbourhood woman's home, stealing cash and other items. The woman told the police she was taking a sponge bath a week later when the boy entered her house with three other youths and ordered her to give him money and remove her clothes. The boy's brother said the woman refused to go into the bedroom, at which point the 11-year-old put on a condom and tried to rape her, as did another of the boys. The mother of one of the boys said 'I'm very hurt because my son was raised as a good boy'. She concluded that confessions must have been extracted from the boys by force.

Responding to a call about an alleged child-abuse case, police found a 15-year-old boy chained to a bed railing in Lebanon, Tennessee. The boy's father, James Osborne III, told the police that he had noticed that the boy was chained up when Osborne went to work in the morning and when he returned home at night. The explanation offered by the boy's step-mother was that the teenager, who weighed 49 pounds when found, was a troublemaker. Both adults were jailed. The teen, who had been fed only soup and water, is in hospital.

Eric Dau found about 500 35-cm Ronald McDonald dolls lined up on trailer park roads in Camanche, Iowa. In the morning, the dolls were gone. Carl Small, guidance counselor at Camanche High, said 100 have now appeared on the school athletic field. He said 'I suspect some dumpster diver found lots of them and spread them around. They had strange faces.' The answer, however, was that a Professional Fulfillment Corp. warehouse near Camanche had been broken into a few days earlier. Larry Barnes, one of the owners of the company, said 'Old Ronald McDonald dolls were stolen. I can't say how many, but we can handle 5,000 or 10,000 items in a single promotion. I do know that they were old and water damaged.'

Sverre Moen of Olso is busy in his job as a driver for physically challenged people. One May afternoon, he had time to sit down between jobs to eat his lunch on a park bench in Vestre Gravlund graveyard. As he headed back to his taxi, two police officers approached him and indicated that he looked suspicious. Finding the pocket knife he had used to peel his apple, they arrested him. He was taken to the police station, then to jail. He was fined the equivalent of about EUR 850 for possession of a weapon in a public place. His company paid for him to take the case to court, where he was acquitted. While his knife was returned to him, the 50-year-old Moen said 'I'll eat the apple with the peel on after this'.

The police department in Blue Lake, California, said an 18-wheeler in front of a police vehicle swerved into the other lane. The officer soon followed suit - to avoid hitting Damon Barry Colegrove, a 38-year-old Orleans man who had decided to do one-handed push-ups in the middle of State Highway 299. When the officer pulled over, Colegrove explained that he had been trying in vain to hitch a ride home and thought the push-up approach would be a good way of getting someone to stop. Police said Colegrove had a strong odour of alcohol about him, although he insists he had drunk less than one beer. He was booked into jail for public intoxication and giving a false name to an officer earlier in the day.

What was supposed to be a 40-minute driving test in Wanstead, East London, went wrong when 18-year-old Tina Wilson's examiner, from Middlesbrough, gave incorrect directions at a road closure. The Nissan Micra ended up heading for the City on the A12. Wilson was then asked to pull off and negotiate various suburban streets and roundabouts. She said 'I thought the examiner knew where she was going. But we kept going farther and farther out.' After well over three hours, the pair finally hired a cab, which led them back to Wanstead. Wilson exited the car in tears. She later said 'At no point did the examiner say the test was over. As far as I was concerned I was being assessed the whole time.' She was given a pass.

The Sri Lankan national handball team fared poorly against all its German rivals in a sports exchange programme. They didn't score a single point. If you knew that Sri Lanka doesn't have a national handball team, you should have mentioned this to German immigration and sport officials. 'We don't even have a single club', said Hemasiri Fernando, president of Sri Lanka's Olympic Association. That the team were not legit came to light only after the 23 Sri Lankans and their coach disappeared from their hotel part of the way through the taxpayer-funded trip. The Sri Lankans left a note indicating that they had gone to France. Border guards later recalled allowing them to leave for Italy.


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