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Columns » Stranger Than Fiction

An easy catch of '22'

Stranger Than Fiction



Curses, foiled again

• A shoplifter made off with $150 worth of produce from a supermarket in Belfast, Northern Ireland, but surveillance video showed the thief wearing a Manchester United shirt with "Benson 22" printed on the back. That evidence led police to Paul Robert Benson, 24, who pleaded guilty after District Judge Mervyn Bates told him he might as well have been wearing a "neon sign" identifying him. (Britain's Metro)

• A uniformed police officer put his cellphone down on a counter when entering a deli in Bayonne, N.J., but returned to find it missing. Only one other person was in the store: Alvaro Raul Ortega, 34. The officer asked him about the missing phone, and Ortega admitted taking it. The officer arrested Ortega for theft. (Hudson County's The Jersey Journal)

Problem solved

• After complaining for 15 years about school buses cutting him off by running a stop sign while leaving their parking lot in Tulsa, Okla., Josh Holocker posted a video making his case. The Union Public School system responded by replacing the stop sign with a yield sign. "Now, someone is just going to drive right out," Holocker lamented. (Tulsa's KOKI-TV)

• When a California court ruled the state was financially obligated to provide sex-reassignment surgery for convicted killer Michelle-Lael Norsworthy (previously Jeffrey Bryan Norsworthy), a state panel recommended she be paroled before the surgery. (Associated Press)

Constitutional follies

• Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a law allowing residents without concealed-weapons permits to carry firearms for 48 hours during an emergency evacuation. Supporters of the measure said guns left at home risked being taken by looters, while opponents argued that evacuations were already high-stress situations without adding guns, which could make public shelters more dangerous. (Reuters)

• Boy Scouts of America ordered a ban on water gun fights. BSA's revised National Shooting Manual also forbids Scouts from using "marshmallow shooters that require placing a straw or similar device in the mouth." (Washington Times)

• Williamsburg, Va., has proposed increasing hands-on activities at a living history museum by opening firing ranges for 18th-century black-powder muskets. "We think giving [guests] the opportunity to handle the device, feel the weight of it, the noise, the smell, the recoil, it will provide a fun, enjoyable and of course, educational experience," officials said, noting the range should open this fall with six to eight lanes where shooters can load and fire muskets. (Norfolk's WTKR-TV)

• Marlon Paul Alvarez, 19, was seen removing an AK-47 rifle on display at a pawnshop in Davie, Fla., and stuffing it down his pants. He then pulled it out, put it back and grabbed another assault rifle, which he put down his pants. Owner Kevin Hughes noticed Alvarez limping out of the store, confronted him and recovered the $830 weapon. "It's one thing to try to steal a firearm," prosecutor Eric Linder said. "It's another thing trying to steal an AK-47." (South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Hand jobs, holy erections

• Muslim televangelist Mücahid Cihad Han warned his Turkish viewers Islam strictly prohibits masturbation and "those who have sexual intercourse with their hands will find their hands pregnant in the afterlife." (Turkey's Hurriyet Daily News)

• Aiming to provide moral support for Pakistan's persecuted Christian minority, Pavez Henry Gill is building a 14-story, bulletproof cross at a Christian cemetery in Karachi. He hoped the 140-foot-high, 42-foot-long iron, steel and concrete structure would be the world's tallest cross, but it's 68 feet short of "The Great Cross" in Florida. Still, it will be the biggest in Asia. (Associated Press)

Crimestopper of the week

A Subway sandwich shop in Knoxville, Tenn., became the first U.S. location to install the Intruder Spray System. The device, used in 30 countries, sits above a door and, when activated, showers a person with synthetic DNA that can't be washed off, is visible only under ultraviolet light and is traceable for up to seven weeks. (Knoxville's WATE-TV)

When guns are outlawed

• Police arrested twin brothers Michael and James Remelius, 52, for throwing "deadly" bricks at each other during an argument in Orange City, Fla. According to the police report, Michael's brick hit James in the leg, causing a small cut, while James' brick hit Michael in the right eye, causing bleeding and swelling. (Daytona Beach News-Journal)

• British authorities said Rostam Notarki, 53, used an ironing board to kill Charles Hickox. According to witnesses and surveillance footage, Hickox entered Notarki's pub, brandishing a tennis racket in each hand and accusing the landlord of substituting cheap wine for three expensive bottles Hickox bought and taking his credit card. After threatening to "crack some ribs," Hickox pushed Notarki with a racket and ran off. Notarki gave chase, "holding the ironing board aloft and horizontally," prosecutor Michelle Nelson told the jury. He struck Hickox from behind with the ironing board, pushing him into the road where his head hit the wheel of a passing van. He died an hour later. (Britain's Metro)

Wrong arm of the law

Officer Shaun Jurgens resigned from the Fredericksburg, Va., police department after using Taser and pepper spray on a hit-and-run suspect who refused to obey orders. The driver was having a medical emergency, possibly a stroke. (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)

• The city manager and the police chief of Whitehouse, Texas, were suspended, along with three other police officers, in an incident that began when City Manager Kevin Huckabee and visibly intoxicated Chief Craig Shelton visited the estranged wife of Officer Shawn Johnson. Shelton made sexual advances toward her but then came to his senses and left. Jessica Johnson called her husband about the incident. He arrived just before Shelton returned and proceeded to beat him up. Shelton texted Shawn Johnson, threatening his job, but he inadvertently sent the message to most, if not all, of the police force. Johnson was suspended, as were two other officers who reported the events to other law enforcement agencies. Huckabee then suspended Shelton and himself. (Tyler's KYTX-TV)

Compiled from mainstream news sources by Roland Sweet. Authentication on demand.

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