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Stranger than fiction



Curses, foiled again

William Pace said Johnnie Butts approached him at a grocery store in Randolph, Mass., and offered to sell him a bracelet and chain stamped as 14-karat gold for $100. Pace immediately recognized the gold was fake by its look and feel because he owns a jewelry store. He's also Randolph's chief of police and arrested Butts for attempted larceny by false pretense. (Quincy's The Patriot Ledger)

An unidentified suicide bomber who targeted a New Year's Eve crowd near Moscow's Red Square was killed hours before the planned attack when the bomb exploded while she was alone at her safe house. The device was supposed to have been triggered by an accomplice using a cell phone once she was in position to inflict maximum damage, but Russian security officials believe it was activated prematurely when someone called the cell phone to wish her a happy new year. (Britain's The Daily Telegraph)

Just leaky

Following the deluge of leaked documents by WikiLeaks, senior officials at various U.S. government agencies received a classified memo outlining the government's strategy to prevent further leaks. The 11-page document was promptly leaked to MSNBC. (

Explosive sex

Authorities in Waseca, Minn., charged Terry Allen Lester, 37, with making an explosive device and hiding it in a sex toy. Lester left the sex toy at an apartment where he'd been staying with two women, who became suspicious after he left and called police. According to the criminal complaint, Lester put gunpowder, BB shot and buckshot from shotgun shells inside the sex toy with black and red wires that connected to a trigger from a cordless drill. The complaint went on to say that Lester planned to give the modified sex toy to a woman who had ended her relationship with him. (Waseca County News)

Litigation nation

A federal appeals court ruled that Lee Paige, an undercover agent with the Drug Enforcement Agency, can proceed with his lawsuit against the U.S. government for releasing a video of him shooting himself in the foot with a Glock during a presentation about drug education at a Florida community center. The video turned up on YouTube and several television news shows. Paige insists that since the DEA had the only footage of the incident, someone with the department who had "animosity for Paige" must have posted it online or released it to the media. (Mediaite)

Alex Good, 15, sued a golf course in Hillsboro, Ore., for $3 million after his own golf ball hit him in the eye. Good and his teammates on the Liberty High School golf team were using the practice range at Pumpkin Range Golf Club. Because it was raining, the staff set up an awning to cover the golfers teeing off. Good's ball hit a metal post supporting the awning, ricocheted and hit him in the left eye. Even though the pole was just inches from Good's driving mat and an obvious and observable danger, Good's suit claims negligence. (Portland's KATU-TV)

Salesmanship 101

Rusty Lynn Patterson, 28, showed up at neighbor Johnathen Vann's home in Oliver Springs, Tenn., and asked if Vann wanted to buy the rifle he was carrying. Anderson County Sheriff's Deputy Mark C. Hobbs reported that when Vann declined, Patterson hit him in the forehead with the rifle's stock butt, demanded money and took a wallet from Vann's pants pocket. He threatened to kill the victim if he reported the incident, then grabbed a bottle of Crown Royal whiskey and left. Vann waited until the next day to call authorities. (Knoxville News Sentinel)

Human Yule log

Jason Leblanc, 44, a veteran firefighter in Apopka, Fla., resigned after being charged with setting fellow firefighter Jack Shumate, 25, on fire at a Christmas party. Police Officer Steve Popp said Leblanc allegedly poured lighter fluid on the victim's legs and ignited it, causing second-degree burns. (Orlando Sentinel)

BFF follies

Authorities accused Marc Higgins of fatally stabbing his Facebook friend Matthew Walton and wounding three others at a party in Bristol, Conn., after a female guest objected to his repeated flatulence and slapped his face. He stormed out of the house, telling police later that he "decided to return to the party and stab everyone in the house." According to the police report, minutes after police received a report of multiple stabbings at the party, Higgins appeared at the police station, saying repeatedly, "I did it," "I need help" and "They deserved it." The report said he admitted stabbing "his friend Matt" and the others because "they just happened to be the first people he saw when he returned." (The Bristol Press)

Police investigating a robbery attempt at a house in Tulsa, Okla., said that when a resident opened the door around 4 a.m., he saw two men, one of whom pointed a gun at him. Then, according to the police report, one of them said, "Man, Zack, I'm sorry. We didn't know you lived here." He and the victim had been prison cellmates. The men left but returned two minutes later, said they'd seen police in the neighborhood and asked the victim to hold onto the gun for them. The would-be robber threw the sawed-off shotgun through the front door onto the couch, and the two men fled in a pickup truck. After the truck crashed, police arrested Justin Roy Day, 22, and Ryan Monroe Brewer, 21. (Tulsa World)

Avoirdupois alert

The Department of Defense released data that show 75 percent of Americans aged 17 to 24 don't qualify for military service because they are physically unfit, have a criminal record or didn't graduate high school. The DoD report notes that about one-fourth of high school graduates are obese, making them medically ineligible to enlist in any branch of the military. In 1980, by comparison, just 5 percent of youth were categorized as obese. (Associated Press)

Despite growing concerns about obesity among America's young people, 32 states allow students to waive physical education classes, according to the National Association for Sport and Physical Education. Students in those states can skip phys ed by enrolling in interscholastic sports, marching band, cheerleading, ROTC or other activities. Thirty of the states allow waivers for health issues, disabilities or religious reasons. Some students are able to fulfill their phys ed requirement with online courses, which combine health and nutrition study with exercises for students to do on their own. (USA Today)

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