Police investigating the theft of a safe from a home in Winona, Minn., discovered bicycle tracks leading from the yard and began following them. Officers noticed the rider stopped frequently, each time leaving a square imprint in the snow the same size as the safe. The trail led to a backyard, where police found the safe and arrested a 20-year-old man who was in the yard, according to Deputy Chief Andrea Foss, who noted, "The bike was stolen, too."
After an unidentified couple in Woodstock, Ga., had their car and checkbook stolen, they went to the bank to close their account and spotted their car in the drive-through lane. The couple alerted the authorities, who arrested Roderick C. Chatman, 36, and Julie Marie Levinge, 30, after a brief chase. Cherokee Sheriff Roger Garrison said Chatman and Levinge had been trying to cash one of the stolen checks, which he said was made out in Chatman's name. Chatman also left his driver's license with the bank teller. "Obviously," Garrison said, "he was doomed from the start."
When Bruce Harrison, a builder in Christchurch, New Zealand, had some tools stolen, he placed an ad in the newspaper indicating he was interested in buying a rare tool. Albert Garfield Kira replied to the ad, saying he had such a tool and others, all of which were among those stolen. Harrison went to Kira's house and recognized his tools. He left but returned later with the police, who also found $9,800 worth of computer equipment stolen from another house.
After truck driver Ron Seaward stopped to help a police officer push a car out of a ditch outside London, Ontario, two cars hit his truck. While the officer was writing up a report for Seaward's insurance company, he discovered that Seaward's driver's license had expired and issued a citation.
The Washington Post reported that aides of President George W. Bush reported to work at the Old Executive Office Building, only to discover that many of their computer keyboards were missing the W key. "There are dozens, if not hundreds, of keyboards with these missing keys," one White House aide told the Post's Reliable Source. "In some cases the W is marked out, but the most prevalent example is the key being removed. In some cases the W keys have been taped on top of doorways, which are 12 feet tall."
While Theresa Burch was walking down a street in Melbourne, Australia, a man forced her into his car, drove her to his apartment and made her wash and iron a pile of clothes, then wash his dirty dishes. He then drove her back into Melbourne and released her.
David Joyner sued Penthouse magazine for $500,000, claiming that its December layout of Paula Jones was not sufficiently revealing and caused Joyner to be "very mentally hurt and angered." U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks dismissed the suit and fined Joyner, who is serving 14 years in a Texas prison for robbery and assault, $250 for filing a frivolous legal motion.
A study by the International Journal of Obesity concluded that seven out of 10 Playboy Playmates are too thin. Using vital statistics from the magazine's "Playmate data sheets," researchers Peter Katzmarzyk and Caroline Davis of Canada's York University analyzed the weights and measurements of 240 centerfold models featured between 1978 and 1998. Their average body mass index was 39.8 pounds per square foot, the study said, noting anything lower than 40.7 is considered underweight.
Australian gynecologists complained that a law forcing men's magazines to digitally alter pictures of women's genitals is confusing health patients into thinking they need plastic surgery so their genitals will look like the ones in the magazines. "I don't know how my patients come to decide what their appearance should be," Peter Haertsch, the head of plastic reconstructive surgery at Sydney's Concord Hospital, said. "But I now believe it's got something to do with what's occurring in men's magazines." Australia's guidelines only allow realistic genital detail in magazines sold in plastic wrappers, but Penthouse and Playboy prefer to retouch their photos so the magazines can be sold openly on newsstands. Des Clark, the country's chief censor, admitted to Melbourne's The Age newspaper that the alterations make for "some very strange photographs."
While A.R. Connor, 78, was clearing ground for a new hangar at the Bartow, Fla., airport, he bulldozed trees and brush into a pile, set them on fire and walked off to get a drink of water. Authorities said he also had inadvertently dug up a 2-foot-long World War II rocket, which heat from the brush fire ignited. The rocket shot out of the fire and crashed into a chain-link fence 700 feet away, according to Connor, who recalled, "It sounded like dynamite."
When Scottish police officer James Kiernan arrested Thomas Stevenson, 21, for indecent exposure, he was bitten by a boa constrictor hidden in Stevenson's pants. Stevenson still had the snake with him a month later when it bit someone else while he attempted a break-in. Among the charges he pleaded guilty to was "recklessly concealing a reptile."
Britain's Department of Health said it might allow people born from donated sperm or eggs to learn the identity of their biological parents. The 1990 Human Fertilization and Embryology Act entitles people over 18 or children over 16 who are planning to get married to know if they were conceived from donated sperm or eggs but not the donor's identity. That guideline will be reviewed this year to determine how much additional information children are given.