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Burglars try to sell stolen goods back to their owner

Stranger than fiction

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Curses, foiled again

Denver police arrested four burglary suspects who tried to sell stolen goods back to their victim. Lacinda Robinson, 24, said that after discovering the crime, she went to a nearby McDonald's parking lot, where two young men offered her a PlayStation 3 video game similar to the one she lost. She declined, but when another youth approached her wearing a distinctive Washington Redskins jacket "that I believe belonged to me" she realized the men were selling her stuff. She reported the incident to two off-duty police. (Denver's KMGH-TV)

A man aroused suspicion by repeatedly calling a post office in Nashville, Tenn., asking if a package had arrived. When it did show up, postal workers inspected it and found it reeked of marijuana. They alerted police, who arrested Terrell Mills, 24, when he came to claim the package, which contained 10 pounds of pot. (Nashville's WSMV-TV)

Next Olympic event

Quebec inventor Yvon Martel unveiled an electric-powered sled. Dubbed the MTT-136, it weighs about 280 pounds and can haul a person or cargo for 130 miles on an eight-hour charge. (Popular Science)

Gun replacement?

Ken Birdsill, 56, reported that he was beaten and robbed by a man armed with an icicle. The victim said two men came to his house in Windsor, N.Y., demanding drugs and money. One man punched Birdsill in the face when he opened the door; the other hit him on the head with the icicle. (Binghamton's WBNG-TV)

Hard news

The federal government overpaid by $86.4 million to provide penis pumps to Medicare patients at twice the price private providers charge, according to the Health and Human Services Department's inspector general. The IG report noted that the vacuum erection systems cost taxpayers nearly $175 million during the years 2006 to 2011 and that reducing the Medicare payment for the devices to the level of non-Medicare payers could save the federal government about $18 million a year. (The Washington Times)

Extreme makeover

Hoping to distance aspiring middle-class Kazakhstan from its low-class neighbors, President Nursultan Nazarbayev suggested eliminating "stan" from its name. The word means "place" in Persian, but Nazarbayev said that it causes foreigners to lump the country in with its economically less-developed or more politically volatile neighbors. He suggested the name "Kazakh Yeli," or "Land of the Kazakhs," and invited public discussion of his proposal. (The Economist)

Fuzzy on the concept

Authorities in Mount Vernon, Ill., charged Sammy Kehrer, 47, with stabbing a 37-year-old man to death at a gun club. (Associated Press)

Rocket surgery

Two boys working on a school science project involving model rocketry caused an explosion so powerful that it blew out several windows of their Seattle home, blasted open the back door and propelled debris into the backyard. After the boys were hospitalized, one of the fathers said the boys had tried to start a fire in the fireplace and may have used some of the rocket fuel to get it going. (CNN)

After students at Reed College in Portland, Ore., rolled a 900-pound snowball, a pair of math majors seized it and started shoving it toward a city street. They miscalculated its trajectory, however, and it ended up plowing into a dorm and ripping apart a room's wall. Maintenance workers spent 45 minutes cutting through the 40-inch-thick icy globe. (Portland's The Oregonian)

Write what you know

Alaric Hunt, 44, won a $10,000 literary prize from Minotaur Books and the Private Eye Writers of America for his crime novel Cuts Through Bone. The award includes a publishing contract for the author, a convicted murderer who has been in a South Carolina prison since 1988. Hunt said he assembled his view of the outside world for the novel from books he read and from episodes of television's Law and Order. (The New York Times)

Slight provocation

James Jugo, 52, admitted beating his roommate to death in Tampa, Fla., after the two argued about a chicken foot. Roommate Benjamin Calderon, 52, objected when Jugo took the chicken foot from a skillet while Calderon was cooking it. (Tampa Bay Times)

Travis Schelling, 35, assaulted his girlfriend, police in Phoenix, Ariz., said, because he didn't understand how Facebook works. According to investigators, whenever one of her friends' posts appeared on her news feed, Schelling thought other men were sending messages directly to her. Every time Schelling read a post, he would hit her. The attacks, which lasted nearly four hours, included sexual assault, punching, slapping and pulling out clumps of hair. (Phoenix's The Arizona Republic)

Lesson unlearned

Police who stopped Michael Heller, 21, for stealing a truck in Redding, Calif., said he told them he needed it to make a court appearance for stealing another vehicle. (Redding Record Searchlight)

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