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Stranger Than Fiction


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Curses, foiled again

After robbing a bank in Marietta, Ga., Garrett Lee Ledbetter, 27, stuffed the money under his T-shirt and dashed across the street to the Mount Zion Baptist Church, hoping, police Officer Gwen Lewis said, to blend into a crowd of volunteers unloading food for distribution to area churches. As he walked among them, $20 and $50 bills fell from his shirt. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that when a woman shouted, "Sir, you're dropping your money," Ledbetter kept on walking, arousing the suspicion of two church members, who happened to be retired law-enforcement officers. They grabbed him and, despite his insistence that he got the money from his parents, held him until police arrived.

A man who wrapped his head in duct tape to conceal his identity tried to rob a liquor store in Ashland, Ky., police reported, but store owner Bill Steele responded with duct tape of his own, wrapped around a wooden club. The robber fled, but store employee Craig Miller tackled him and held him in a chokehold until police arrived.

After his arrest, Kasey G. Kazee, 24, denied being the duct-tape bandit, even though police photos showed him with the duct tape on and then a photo where his face is revealed. Kazee looked straight at the camera and asked, "Do I look like the duct-tape bandit to you?"

Silver lining

Steven Earp, 48, was eating a breakfast sandwich while driving in Eugene, Ore., when he choked and passed out. He hit a parked car and regained consciousness, police Sgt. Doug Mozan said, calling Earp's revival a "seatbelt-induced Heimlich maneuver."

All in one

German authorities accused psychotherapist Peter Blaeker, 43, of taking advantage of a patient with multiple-personality disorder. The London Evening Standard reported that Monika Mirte, 44, who also has personalities named Kathrin, Finja and Leonie, went to see Blaeker, who, she said, used "Kathrin for sex and Finja to do the shopping and pay for it, while Leonie gave him money to travel on holidays to Mallorca and Sylt." When Mirte realized what was going on she confronted Blaeker, but he said he couldn't discuss her accusations because he had a "duty of confidentiality" to her other personalities.

Love hurts

A Hong Kong woman who blinded her boyfriend in one eye in a fight six years ago was jailed for jabbing a chopstick into both his eyes. The South China Morning Post reported that Po Shiu-fong, 58, accused long-time boyfriend Kwok Wai-ming, 49, of having an affair and stabbed a plastic chopstick into his left eye, which she had previously poked with her finger. "Po became hysterical when she saw the wound and mopped it with a towel. The pair then went to bed," the paper said. "The next morning, they had another argument in which she grabbed a chopstick and stabbed Kwok's right eye."

Double trouble

An off-duty sheriff's deputy in Elko County, Nev., was pulled over and charged with driving under the influence by a fellow deputy who also happened to be her husband. The Elko Daily Press reported that Charlotte Moore, 36, left the scene before Mike Moore could administer a portable Breathalyzer test, but he pursued her and pulled her over again. This time, he called Elko police officers for assistance.

Way to go

Robert McCarty, 37, died in a house fire in Cincinnati, according to investigators, because his exit was blocked by a 5-foot-tall stack of beer cans.

A 34-year-old Italian woman died when she was struck in the head by a helicopter's rotor blades following a joyride in Australia's Northern Territory. A man who was with the woman when she was hit told the Herald Sun he noticed the increasing noise from the helicopter but took no action because it was behind them.

Thanks for the fat

Fat from the tummy or buttocks could be used to grow new breasts, according to scientists at San Diego-based Cytori Therapeutics, who explained they can create a fat mixture with concentrated stem cells, which, when injected into the breast, apparently encourages tissue to grow. Chemistry and Industry magazine reported the treatment, which takes only an hour, might eventually rival silicone for those seeking bigger breasts.


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