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Snow pants stop thief 

Stranger than fiction

Curses, foiled again

A woman was kneeling in prayer on the kitchen floor of her Seattle home when she felt someone grab her hair from behind. She later told police she thought it was her husband playing a joke on her, but when she turned around, she saw an unknown man. According to the police report, she yelled out, "Lord help me," whereupon the intruder fell back, hitting his head on the refrigerator. The man then stumbled out of the house, taking only a $20 bill that had been sitting on the table, and drove off in a white Cadillac. (Seattle's KOMO-TV)

A woman told police in Des Moines, Iowa, that she returned home one morning to find a strange vehicle in her driveway. She parked behind it and saw a man walk out of her front door. He told her two other men had broken in and that he was driving by, saw them and stopped to investigate. When the homeowner started to call police, however, the man grabbed a crowbar, smashed the window of her car, put it in neutral and rammed it with his pickup truck to push it into the street so he could drive off. Police officers spotted him and gave chase. After he crashed into a utility pole, he fled on foot but didn't get far, according to police, who reported, "He would have been able to run faster if he wasn't wearing snow pants." Officers arrested Martin Thicklen, 49, on multiple charges. (Des Moines Register)

Irony illustrated

University of Louisville police accused Terry J. Davis of shoplifting after surveillance video cameras showed him stealing a textbook and then trying to sell it back to the university bookstore. The book was titled Resolving Ethical Issues. (Louisville's The Courier Journal)

Days after the CQ Press City Crime Rankings rated Sugar Land the second-safest city in Texas, two teenagers burglarized the home of Police Chief Doug Brinkley, 48. After Conner Hinton and Taylor Nuttal, both 17, were arrested and confessed to the break-in, Brinkley said he's looking into camera surveillance and a safe for his home, noting, "You never know what could happen." (The Huffington Post)

Second-Amendment follies

A month after a Texas school district voted to allow school employees to carry firearms on campus, a maintenance worker was receiving one-on-one training from a concealed handgun license instructor, when a mechanical malfunction caused his weapon to fire. The bullet ricocheted, striking the employee of the Van Independent School District in his left leg. The victim was hospitalized in fair condition. (NBC News)

A California judge said a Los Angeles police officer, who was paralyzed from the waist down when his 3-year-old son shot him with his service pistol, may proceed with his lawsuit against gun manufacturer Glock. Enrique Chavez claims that the Glock 21 lacked adequate safeguards against an accidental discharge. Collin Chavez found his father's loaded weapon beneath the front seat of the officer's pickup truck and shot him in the back. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Indiana State Police Sgt. Jerry Goodin said a 3-year-old boy found his father's loaded handgun at a home the man was remodeling in Salem and accidentally but fatally shot the 33-year-old man. (Associated Press)

When guns are outlawed

After a snowstorm, authorities in Rexburg, Idaho, said Jonathon Cliff, 31, parked his vehicle on the sidewalk. When a man trying to clear the sidewalk with a snow blower blew some snow on Cliff's vehicle, Cliff reportedly attacked him with an ice scraper, hitting him in the head and groin. (Idaho Falls's East Idaho News)

Breaking the faith

Raymond Dolin, 39, reported that he was shot in the arm outside Glasgow, Mont., while hitchhiking across America to write a book abut the kindness of people he met along the way. Authorities launched a manhunt and arrested a 52-year-old Washington man, who they said was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

When deputies couldn't find a gun in the suspect's pickup, however, they returned to the scene and found a Derringer pistol in a nearby field. They traced the weapon and discovered that Dolin had bought it in his home state of West Virginia just days before the shooting. Suspecting he shot himself to promote his book, Valley County Sheriff Glen Meier confronted Dolin, who confessed to making up the story. (The Billings Gazette and Associated Press)

Caddy slack

While competing in the British Senior Open in Turnberry, Scotland, pro golfer Pete Oakley, 63, was assessed a two-stroke penalty because he lost his wife in the rough. Jennifer Oakley, who is his caddy, had wandered over to the wrong hole and left him without his clubs. Oakley, who won the Senior Open in 2004, sent her down the 13th fairway to ball-spot while he teed off. But when he got to his ball, in a bunker, she was nowhere to be seen. She had mistaken a ball landing in the rough for her husband's when it was actually from another group back on the 10th tee. When a rules official informed her that she was looking for the wrong ball, she rushed back to her husband but by then had wasted too much time to escape a penalty for undue delay. (Scotland's Daily Record)

Missing the point

After Rodney Dwayne Valentine, 37, was released from the Rockingham County, N.C., jail, he refused to leave. Deputies charged him with trespassing and re-arrested him. (Greensboro's The News & Record)

Money problems and more

When their children bought them a home in Toronto for $718,000, Shih and Yang Tseng tore down an existing rotting wooden addition and hired a contractor to build a new brick addition for $80,000. They failed to get a permit, however, and their addition was larger than allowed by today's code. When notified by authorities, the couple embarked on a six-year legal battle that included appeals to the courts, the Ontario Municipal Board and even the United Nations. By last spring, they had spent more than $200,000 on lawyers and other professionals to save the addition. In addition, distressed members of 70-year-old Yang's family committed suicide, according to lawyer Clayton Ruby, who argued that proceeding against the Tsengs amounts to discrimination against the disabled. Despite their protests and appeals, a committee-of-adjustment panel told the Tsengs they had 30 days to demolish the two-story addition. "This is not a human rights issue," Councilor Adam Vaughn pointed out. "It's a planning issue." (Toronto Star)

  • All the weird news that's fit to print.

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