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Stranger than fiction



Curses, foiled again

Rescue workers who found Sherin Brown, 23, trapped under a steel light pole in New York City said she told them the pole fell on her, causing back and neck injuries. After she was taken to the hospital to be treated, investigators reviewing nearby surveillance videos saw a passing tractor-trailer clip the pole. The footage showed Brown jumping out of the way of the falling pole, then crawling under it just before help arrived. She was charged with falsely reporting an emergency. (New York's Daily News)

Authorities said Rashad D. Wilson, 18, entered a convenience store in Mexico, N.Y., wearing a camouflage ski mask and black hooded sweatshirt and demanded cigarettes. The clerk told Wilson to remove his mask first. Wilson then showed a handgun, but the clerk still insisted he take off his mask. Wilson left the store empty-handed and drove off, but Oswego County sheriff's deputies stopped the car and arrested him. (Syracuse's The Post-Standard)

Scary tire thingie

Prosecutors in Salisbury, N.H., dropped charges against Walter Scott Jr., 59, after a device in his possession that police initially described as a powerful pipe bomb turned out to be a "tire thumper," used to check the pressure of truck tires by banging on them. The device, consisting of a piece of PVC pipe with metal weights inside, couldn't have harmed anyone, according to Scott's attorney, Ted Barnes, "unless they were hit over the head with it." (Concord Monitor)

She'd had enough

Norwegian radio journalist Pia Beate Pedersen announced to listeners of public broadcast station NRK that she was "quitting and walking away" because station management was putting too much pressure on the staff and that she "wanted to be able to eat properly again and be able to breathe." Before walking out, she refused to read the scheduled newscast, declaring on air, "Nothing important has happened anyway." (Britain's Daily Mail)

Games people play

Sheriff's deputies arrested Shannon Wriska, 34, at her trailer home in Milton, Fla., after her husband accused her of trying to burn his boat, go-kart and Jacuzzi because of an argument the night before while they were watching a movie starring actress Jennifer Lopez. Robert Wriska stated that his wife was very jealous of the actress and didn't like him seeing her in the movie. After they argued over the actress, both went to bed, but the next day the husband said Shannon Wriska saw him drinking with a neighbor and set the fires. (Northwest Florida Daily News)

Way to go

Christopher Kaiser, 29, died when he was hit by a train in Iredell County, N.C., while standing on a trestle with at least a dozen other people, who told investigators they had gathered hoping to see a "ghost train." Sheriff Phillip Redmond said the incident coincided with the anniversary of a train wreck that occurred at the same location in 1891. All of the people on the trestle when three Norfolk-Southern Railroad locomotives rounded a bend and headed for them managed to clear the trestle, except Kaiser. (Charlotte's WBTV News)

Pollution's curse

Australian researchers said female marine snails living off the Perth coast are growing male sex organs on their heads. The condition, called imposex, results from exposure to the chemical tributyltin (TBT), according to associate professor Monique Gagnon of Curtin University's Department of Environment and Agriculture. TBT is a common ingredient of paint used on boat hulls that prevents barnacles. Gagnon explained that although surveys show TBT contamination declined over the past 10 years at sites visited by recreational boats, the marine snail Thais orbita had a 100 percent rate of imposex at sites where commercial vessels were present. (Australian Associated Press)

Excuses, excuses

When police in Naperville, Ill., stopped a car clocked at 100 mph in a 50-mph zone, driver Lucas S. Wright, 24, explained "he'd just gotten his car washed and he was trying to dry it off," according to police Sgt. Lee Martin, who noted, "The car was wet, so Wright did have it washed — and just in time to get it towed." (Naperville Sun)

Police officers who caught a 20-year-old man selling marijuana in Orem, Utah, said he told them he was dealing drugs to save up enough money to attend police academy. "It's probably not the first time this has happened," police Sgt. Craig Martinez said, "but this is the first time I've heard of someone admitting it." (The Salt Lake Tribune)

Mother of invention

Responding to the growing popularity of chickens as house pets, Australia's Ingrid Dimock, 45, who sells and rents chickens in Brisbane and Sydney, introduced a diaper for indoor chickens. Developed in collaboration with a wedding-dress designer, the starry pink and spotty blue elasticized "chicken nappy" joins Dimock's line of fashionable chicken clothing. Her City Chicks business also sells small walking leads and harnesses for people who take their chickens for walks, stylish wristbands used to identify birds that stray and chandeliers for chicken coops. (Brisbane's The Courier-Mail)

Eligibility follies

Police arrested a 21-year-old man who posed as a 14-year-old boy so he could join a youth football league team in Tampa, Fla. Julious Javone Threatts played in one game for the Town 'N Country Packers as Chad Jordan before he was unmasked. Packers coach Ray McCloud said he thinks Threatts "just wanted to play football," adding, "I don't think he was good enough to play semipro or anything." (St. Petersburg Times)

Size matters

The "Big 10 Inch Team" used a 90-foot compressed air cannon to shoot a 9.5-pound pumpkin more than a mile. The group, comprising members from Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, traveled to Moab, Utah to launch the pumpkin, hoping the thin air would help it travel farther. The Big 10 Inch Team shot a pumpkin near Moab last year that traveled just shy of a mile, setting a Guinness World Record. (Associated Press)

When British farmer Rowie Meers, 45, of Purton House Organics started growing galia melons, they were so heavy that they fell off and got damaged. She asked her customers to send them their used bras, which she now uses to suspend the melons. "The smaller bras, the melons spill out of them, so we need the DD cup, which sort of cradles them nicely," Meers said, adding that next year she hopes to grow watermelons, which she figures will need an FF cup. (BBC News)

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