Curses, foiled again
Two men wearing heavy makeup, women's clothing and wigs held up a Denver jewelry store at gunpoint, forcing the owners to unlock display cases. They then stuffed the jewelry in garbage bags and fled. Sonny's Rocks owners Mark Allen and Mike Nedler told police the stolen items were mostly display samples that are worthless outside the store. (Denver's KCNC-TV)
Thieves broke into a British museum in Hertfordshire and used a large hammer to pry loose two rhinoceros horns from taxidermy displays. The stolen horns would have been worth about $400,000, Natural History Museum officials said, only the displays were resin replicas with no financial value. (BBC News)
Join the nuclear club
Swedish authorities arrested Richard Handl, 31, for trying to split atoms in his kitchen. Handl, who is unemployed, explained he bought the radioactive elements radium, americium and uranium on the Internet and from Germany and tried setting up a nuclear reactor at home in Angelholm. After causing a small meltdown on his stove, Handl contacted Sweden's Radiation Authority to make sure his experiments were legal. Police were dispatched immediately. Handl stated he was just "curious" about splitting atoms but admitted his plan was "crazy." (Britain's The Telegraph)
Walk this way
Surveillance video at a pet shop in Mesa, Ariz., showed Eric Fiegel, 22, stealing several snakes, including baby boa constrictors, by stuffing them down his pants and walking out. Police said Fiegel went to another pet store and traded some of the snakes for $175 and a large reptile tank. (Phoenix's The Arizona Republic)
He's honest, but ...
When Willie David Rice, 45, appeared in federal court to answer charges that he guarded a brothel in Oakland Park, Fla., U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas asked Rice his occupation. "Criminal," Rice answered. Explaining he's never had legitimate employment, he pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. (South Florida's Sun Sentinel)
Michael Andes, 29, called police in Shelton, Conn., around 2 a.m. to report illegally parking his car in a handicapped parking spot on purpose because police don't enforce parking laws. He placed 15 more calls over the next few minutes, each time berating the dispatcher about the lack of enforcement. When officers arrived and found the illegally parked vehicle, they said Andes approached them yelling and screaming about the lack of enforcement. When he refused their order to calm down, they shot him with a Taser and arrested him. He was charged with breach of peace and interfering with an officer. Police also issued him a ticket for parking in a handicapped space without a permit. (The Hartford Courant)
The California Senate passed a bill that would require hotels to use fitted sheets. Noting scores of housekeepers suffer back injuries each year lifting heavy mattresses to replace and tuck in flat sheets, the bill's author, state Sen. Kevin De Leon, declared the measure, which would also require hotels to provide maids with special tools so they can clean bathrooms without having to stoop or get down on their hands and knees, would be the first law of its kind in the nation. "My mother was a housekeeper," De Leon explained, "and worked herself to the bone." (Los Angeles Times)
Police in Gainesville, Fla., reported that a 36-year-old woman tried to wake up her boyfriend by lighting a firecracker she was holding and tossing it out the front door, thinking the noise from the explosion would do the trick. Instead, the device exploded in her hand, tearing off three fingers. Police said the blast was so powerful they found one piece of bone embedded in the ceiling. (The Gainesville Sun)
Construction worker James Huff, 38, found what he thought was a homemade firecracker at a job site in Owensboro, Ind., and lit it. Construction manager Ted Lolley described the ensuing explosion as "huge" and said it seriously injured Huff's hands. Police official Marion Cossgrove explained the device appeared to have been a commercially made firework. (Evansville's WEHT-TV)
On track for healing
The latest medical treatment in Indonesia involves as many as 50 people a day lying on railroad tracks outside Jakarta, believing that the electrical current from the tracks will cure them of various ailments. Patients scramble to safety when a train approaches, then resume their position the minute it passes. "I'll keep doing this until I'm completely cured" of diabetes, Sri Mulyati, 50, said, twitching visibly as an oncoming passenger train sent an extra rush of current racing through her body.
Train-track therapy began after a rumor spread that a partially paralyzed stroke victim lay on the tracks to commit suicide but instead found himself cured. Accelerating the trend has been the failure of the state-sponsored health system since the 1998 ouster of longtime dictator Suharto, according to Marius Widjajarta, chair of the Indonesian Health Consumers Empowerment Foundation. Hoping to discourage the practice, police and the state-run railroad company erected a warning sign threatening penalties of up to three months in prison or fines of $1,800. (Associated Press)
Hoping to boost attendance, a Spanish soccer team is encouraging its male fans to make donations to local sperm banks while watching an erotic movie that the team produced. La Liga's Zombies Calientes del Getafe has struggled to fill its 17,000-seat stadium, the smallest in its division. "We are few, and we have to be more," said the video's creator, Angel Torres. "We have to move a mass of fans to seed the world with Getafe supporters."
The team's commercial on national television shows a Getafe fan eyeing an empty stadium while a narrator says the solution to low attendance "is simple. It's within you. We talk about donating sperm. The more donors, the better." The commercial cuts to half-naked zombies rolling around on beds saying how important it is to get Getafe back on track. The next scene shows the Getafe supporter marching to the sperm bank with fellow fans and heading into individual cubicles to complete their mission. (Britain's Daily Mail)
Tipping the scales
A New York appeals court overturned the robbery conviction of 400-pound Eric Kenley, 48, because the police lineup where witnesses identified him didn't include any other 400-pound men. "Although the fillers were large men, there was a very noticeable difference between defendant and the fillers," the Appellate Division ruling stated, suggesting that the "situation would call for some kind of covering to conceal the weight difference." (New York Post)