Columns » Stranger Than Fiction

Escapee hides next door to police station

Stranger Than Fiction



Curses, foiled again

Convicted bank robber Kenneth Conley managed to escape from Chicago's Metropolitan Correctional Center but was caught 17 days later living at an apartment building in Palos Hills, Ill., that's located, according to reports, "just steps from Palos Hills police headquarters." (NBC News)

After police arrested Aleasha Haines in Peoria, Ariz., she complained of back pain and nausea and was taken to the hospital, where she asked to use the restroom. Five minutes later, the police report said, "a large crashing noise was heard," and the officer guarding Haines ordered her to unlock the door. "The ceiling tiles above the toilet had been pulled down and broken," the report stated. "Aleasha exited the bathroom and was covered with a white chalk substance consistent with the ceiling tile material." Police said the sink also broke under Haines' weight, as did the steel support beams holding the ceiling in place, "showing force had been used to pull the ceiling down." Damage from Haines' escape attempt was estimated at $1,500. (Phoenix's The Arizona Republic)


Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell proposed a $3.1 billion transportation plan that would eliminate the state's gas tax but impose a $100 fee on hybrid and electric vehicles. "It's meant to compensate for the federal gas tax that those vehicles do not pay," McDonnell explained. (Washington's WTOP-FM)

Fruits of research

It's healthier to pass gas when flying than hold it in, according to a team of British and Danish gastroenterologists. Their report, "Flatulence on Airplanes: Just Let It Go," published in the New Zealand Medical Journal, explains that restraining gas could lead to "significant drawbacks," including discomfort, pain, bloating, indigestion, stress and heartburn. "Obviously," the report acknowledges, "proximity to other passengers may cause conflict and stigmatization of the flatulating individual." (QMI Agency)

Carnivore's revenge

Leafy green vegetables cause the most food-borne illnesses in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Most of the contaminants are noroviruses deposited by food handlers. According to the CDC study, plants cause 51 percent of the 9.6 million cases of food-borne illnesses reported each year, with leafy greens contributing 23 percent of the total. Meat and poultry combined for 22 percent of illnesses, and dairy products caused 17 percent. (Popular Science)

Happy Father's Day

The Kansas Department of Children and Families ordered William Marotta, 46, to pay child support because he gave sperm in a plastic cup to a lesbian couple who advertised on Craigslist seeking a donor. The couple later separated, and Jennifer Schreiner, who conceived the child, fell on hard times and eventually received more than $6,000 in state benefits. Even though Marotta signed an agreement giving up parental rights and absolving him of financial responsibility, the state insisted the agreement isn't valid because Schreiner didn't use a licensed physician to perform the artificial insemination. (Topeka's The Capital-Journal)

Drinking-class heroes

To cut its fuel costs, the Alaskan Brewing Co. installed a $1.8 million boiler system that turns waste grain accumulated during the brewing process into steam that powers the Juneau-based brewery's operations. Brandon Smith, the company's brewing operations and engineering manager, estimated that the spent-grain system will offset the brewery's yearly energy costs by 70 percent. (Fox News)

Hare-raising tales

Rabbits have been plaguing cars parked at Denver International Airport. "They like to chew on the insulator portion of the ignition cables," Wiley Farris of Arapahoe Autotek repair shop explained. To discourage the rabbits, U.S. Department of Agriculture wildlife agents remove about 100 a month, while airport parking companies are installing better fences and building perches for predator hawks and eagles. Noting that damage to cars "can run from the hundreds into the thousands" of dollars, Farris said a cheap but effective deterrent is to coat the wires with fox or coyote urine. "You can pick up fox urine at any pro hunting shop." (Denver's KCNC-TV)

A family in Plymouth, England, credited their giant pet rabbit with interrupting a burglary by thumping its feet on the floor of its indoor cage. "In the early hours of the morning, Toby our rabbit did five loud thumps," Kimberley May said, noting the 2-year-old rabbit is nearly 2 feet long, 10 inches tall and weighs 10 pounds. "We think that when the rabbit thumped, it scared the burglar off." (Plymouth Herald)

Second-Amendment follies

After Ruben Sanabria, 37, hopped over a New York City subway turnstile to avoid the $2.25 fare, two police officers who witnessed the incident stopped and searched him. They found an illegal loaded .40-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun. He pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a weapon and was sentenced to seven years in prison, plus 31/2 years' parole. (New York Post)

Add a comment

Clicky Quantcast