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Bank hero gets a cuppa, with thanks

Stranger than fiction

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Curses, foiled again

Dean Richard Smith, 27, entered a bank in Treorchy, Wales, holding a breadknife, covering his face and wearing socks over his shoes. When he demanded money, teller Catherine Stockton stood behind her glass partition and pressed the alarm. Meanwhile, a gentleman in his 70s standing next to Smith offered him £20 ($33) to leave. Smith declined the offer but left anyway, empty-handed, according to prosecutor Rachel Knight, upon hearing that bank managers were preparing to lock the doors. "After the incident, they closed the bank and made a cup of tea for the elderly gentleman," Knight said after Smith pleaded guilty. (Wales Online)

Police charged Luke David Payne, 36, with holding up the same Louisville, Ky., doughnut shop twice in one week. The first time Payne wore a mask, police said, but the second time he skipped the mask, and all the employees recognized him as a co-worker. (Louisville's WAVE-TV)

Fuzzy on the concept

Intent on making solo diners feel less self-conscious, Tokyo's Moomin Café began seating them at tables across from giant stuffed animals representing characters from a Finnish picture book series. (Time)

Litigation nation

Families with autistic children are suing Walt Disney Co. because its theme parks stopped letting the kids bypass lines for rides. Disney parks used to offer autistic visitors a "guest assistance card" that let them and their families board rides without waiting. The company cited instances of visitors hiring disabled people to obtain the cards as the reason it switched to "disability access service" cards, which let autistic children schedule times for park attractions. The 16 plaintiffs who're suing Disney under the Americans with Disabilities Act insist scheduling times amounts to waiting, which autistic children have difficulty doing. (Reuters)

Much better

Residents of Castrillo Matajudios, Spain, voted to change the name of their village, but only by 10 votes. The name translates as "Little Fort of Jew Killers." In announcing the 29-19 vote, Mayor Lorenzo Rodriguez said the village would be renamed Castrillo Mota de Judios, or Little Hill Fort of Jews. One explanation for the original name is that Jewish converts to Catholicism living there in the 17th century wanted to avoid further persecution by making clear their position. (The New York Times)

Mixed message

Hours after Allegheny County, Pa., announced that wireless users could start texting emergency dispatchers instead of calling, the 911 center received a text message about a drunk driver from a sender. The message indicated the sender was texting while driving, which county official Amie Downs pointed out is illegal, adding, "This is one that probably should have been better served by a phone call." (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

Lawn order

After covering her yard in Kansas City, Mo., with 80 tons of sand, Georgianna Reid explained, "Now being over 60, I've decided that I've owned the house for 33 years and that I wasn't going to mow anymore or water." Neighbors complained, but city inspectors said they found no violations because the sand is being used for landscaping. (United Press International)

Faux firearms

Andrew Murray, 33, used a stick to rob a bank in Neptune Beach, Fla. Police said he wrapped the stick in a black plastic bag and produced it to back up his demand for "$50,000 from the vault." (Jacksonville's WJXT-TV)

After Celestino Moras, 25, opened fire at a church picnic and rodeo in Cassville, Ga., he was apprehended by one of the rodeo cowboys who lassoed him after he ran out of bullets. Others tied Moras up until deputies arrived. (Atlanta's WSB-TV)

When a masked man ordered Miyo Koba, 89, to open the cash register at her store in Moses Lake, Wash., she refused and threatened the robber with scissors. He countered by pulling a 3-foot-long sword out of his jacket. Koba trumped his move by grabbing a golf club and hitting him in the legs. The man fled on a bicycle with the cash register and sword, but police said he dropped the register nearby with the money still in it. (USA Today)

Kids today

Hours after graduating high school in Catersville, Ga., Chance Werner, 18, drowned while tied to a shopping cart. Investigators said his friends were taking turns sitting in a shopping cart tied to a pole on a dock at Lake Allatoona. Others pushed the cart off the dock, flinging the occupant into the lake, then used the rope to pull the shopping cart out of the water. Werner tied the rope to his belt loop instead of the pole, however, so that when he hit the water, the weight of the cart pulled him to the bottom of the lake. Melissa Cummings of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources called the drowning a tragedy and pointed out that kids playing with ropes and heavy objects is "an accident waiting to happen." (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

After causing a three-car crash while driving through a tunnel near Manning, Ore., Daniel J. Calhoun, 19, told investigators that he fainted while holding his breath. State Police Lt. Gregg Hastings called the crash "odd" but indicated some people hold their breath in tunnels as a game or superstition. (Associated Press)

Role model du jour

Sheriff's officials charged high school football coach Rodney Barnes, 43, with stealing $950 from the wallets of nine of his players in Volusia County, Fla. Barnes confessed to these and other thefts. (Associated Press)

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