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Stranger Than Fiction

Curses, foiled again

Police reported that a gunman forced a 60-year-old man in New Orleans to withdraw money from an automated teller machine, but before the ATM dispensed the cash, the robber fell asleep. The victim alerted police, who arrested Meyagi Baker, 17. (New Orleans' WDSU-TV)

While shooting scenes for a Fox television show in Chicago, a production crew was granted access to the Cook County Jail but had to undergo background checks because of the "extensive security measures that we impose on any visitor," sheriff's official Ben Breit said. The screening discovered that crewmember James Suhajda, 52, was wanted on a domestic battery warrant dating to 2003. Deputies took him into custody. (Chicago Tribune)

Makin' bacon

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is funding a study to see if sodium nitrate, the preservative used to cure bacon, can also kill wild hogs. The estimated 5 million descendants of escaped domestic pigs and imported Eurasian boars are "wildly prolific," the USDA says, and cause about $800 million in damage a year to farms nationwide. Testing the feasibility of poisoning feral swine with sodium nitrate is part of the department's $20 million program to control the rampant population. (Associated Press)

Firearms follies

Siegried Betterly, 40, shot herself in the leg during a marksmanship competition in Volusia County, Fla. Sheriff's official Gary Davidson said the 9 mm handgun fired when Betterly was holstering it and accidentally touched the trigger. (Orlando's WESH-TV)

Rachel Mendoza told authorities in Liberty County, Texas, that her 12-year-old son injured himself with a bullet he found. "He held a cigarette lighter under a .22-caliber round to see what would happen," the sheriff's report said. "The bullet exploded, sending bullet fragments through his left middle finger and lodging in the left eye lid." (Houston Chronicle)

Police said L.C. Williams, 70, shot himself in the foot in a supermarket parking lot in Orlando, Fla. Williams told police that his holster had recently broken, so he was carrying the concealed weapon in his waistband. The gun fell out of the waistband, hit his foot and fired. The round then ricocheted into the grille of an automobile, causing about $500 in damage, said police, who did not charge Williams. (Orlando Sentinel)

While attempting to holster his .45-caliber pistol at a gas station in Macon, Ga., a man shot himself in the groin area. Authorities reported that when he took off his pants to check the wound, he saw that he had "shot himself in the penis and that the bullet exited out of his buttocks." (Macon's WMAZ-TV)

Vacation at bernie's

The European Court of Justice ruled that a German man's widow was due payment for the man's 140.5 days of accrued vacation because "the unintended occurrence of the worker's death must not retroactively lead to a total loss of the entitlement to paid annual leave." (Associated Press)

Family feud

Two weeks before the death of DJ Casey Kasem, 82, the feud between his wife, Jean, 59, and his daughter, Kerri, escalated when Kerri arrived at his home in Silverdale, Calif., with an ambulance to take her father to the hospital. Jean threw a pound of raw hamburger meat at Kerri. She explained that she was following a Bible verse: "In the name of King David, I threw a piece of raw meat into the street in exchange for my husband to the wild rabid dogs." (NBC News)

Slightest provocation

Authorities said Derrick Johnson, 25, shot and killed a 21-year-old man in York, Pa., after they fought because the victim's friend had asked Johnson and his friends to move aside so he could make a pool shot. (Associated Press)

Look out below

Operator error and mechanical failure have caused at least 49 military drones to crash during flights near domestic bases since 2001. Under orders from Congress, the Federal Aviation Administration is preparing to allow civilian drone flights and predicts that as many as 7,500 small commercial drones could be flying in U.S. airspace by 2018. (The Washington Post)

Gray power

When Russell Cooper, 77, was unable to withdraw $130 at a bank in Boynton Beach, Fla., because a lack of funds had caused the bank to close his account, Cooper became "increasingly agitated" and used his walker to shuffle over to a manager's desk. He pulled out a pocketknife and demanded to be escorted to a teller. After getting his money, Cooper told the manager he was taking him hostage. By now, police had arrived, but Cooper refused to surrender and had to be subdued with a Taser. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

Problems solved

An Oklahoma company has developed a blanket that it declares can protect youngsters from school shootings. Developed by podiatrist Steve Walker and one of his patients, inventor Stan Schone, the Bodyguard Blanket costs $1,000. Conceding that it won't protect as well as a tornado shelter, Walker pointed out that when faced with budget constraints, "this might be a viable alternative." (Oklahoma City's The Oklahoman)

Free expression follies

Arizona's Maricopa Association of Governments ordered Dianne Barker, 65, to "immediately cease performing cartwheels at MAG meetings." Officials said they had warned Barker repeatedly not to perform cartwheels because doing so disrupts meetings. "You have from time to time suggested that MAG cannot prevent you from performing cartwheels during your comments," their letter to her states. "That position is incorrect." Barker called the letter "intimidating, threatening and defaming," and said the agency has infringed on her right of free expression. Michael LeVault, who chairs MAG's Regional Council, denied the ban is an attempt to shut down public comment but "a safety issue." (Phoenix's The Arizona Republic)

Double jeopardy

A woman who discovered a small fire in the rear of her family's home in Louisville, Ky., grabbed the dog's water bowl to douse the blaze. Instead, the fire quickly spread, fire and rescue Major Rob Millner said, because the woman's 3-year-old daughter had mistakenly filled the water bowl with gasoline. Crews needed an hour to extinguish the fire, which had spread to a neighbor's house. (Louisville's WAVE-TV)

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