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Curses, foiled again

When a taxi arrived at its destination in Bowie, Md., the passenger demanded money from the driver, then "struck him in the head and then threw some kind of liquid on him," Police Chief Chuck Nesky said. The passenger then ignited the liquid. As it caught fire, the driver escaped, but the passenger didn't. Firefighters who extinguished the blaze found the would-be robber's body in the back seat, burned beyond recognition. (The Washington Post)

Larry Laugen, 37, went to the police station in Turlock, Calif., as required to register as a sex offender. Also at the station was a woman giving details of her confrontation with a man who broke into her apartment the day before. As she was leaving, she recognized Laugen and told the officer with her, "Hey, that's the guy." He was arrested on a burglary charge. (The Modesto Bee)

Happy ending of the week

Mark Simmons, 40, was piloting a single-engine aircraft towing a banner for a customer that read "Michelle, will you marry me? Mike," when he experienced engine trouble and had to ditch off Rhode Island's Block Island. Rescuers said the pilot's 8-year-old son, Ethan, heard his dad's emergency call and alerted authorities, who rescued Simmons from Block Island Sound. He "did not appear to have any serious injuries," Coast Guard Lt. Bryan Swintek said. The next day, Simmons climbed back in the cockpit of another plane and completed the marriage proposal flight that had been cut short. Mike, who hired Simmons to tow the banner, reported that Michelle said yes. (The Westerly Sun)

Fired up

Police responding to reports of a man setting fire to a toilet seat at a convenience store in Louisville, Ky., said suspect James Crittenden, 36, told store workers who confronted him that he lit the fire for religious reasons. Several news outlets accompanied their report with a photo showing what a burning toilet might look like.

Police noted they had arrested Crittenden two weeks earlier for huffing 10 cans of Reddi-wip at another convenience store without paying. He asserted that the U.S. Constitution gave him the right to huff Reddi-wip. (Louisville's WAVE-TV)

Learn to love them

The drone industry issued a code of conduct pledging to properly test all unmanned aerial vehicles before flight, comply with all laws governing aircraft, respect the privacy of individuals, and work to better educate the public about the benefits of drones. The guidelines apply to private individuals, companies and all government agencies, but compliance is strictly voluntary, according to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI). Currently limited to use by the military, law enforcement and government agencies, drones will be eligible for commercial and personal use starting in 2015, at which point they'll be available to news agencies, private investigators and, electronic-privacy attorney Amie Stepanovich noted, "an ordinary person who just wants a toy to play with." (The Washington Times)

Michael P. Huerta, the acting administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, promised AUVSI members gathered in Las Vegas for their annual convention that the agency won't stand in the way of unmanned aerial vehicles and will even help promote the aircraft as the next generation of flying machines. (The Washington Times)

The leaders of the drone industry object to the term "drone." Michael Toscano, who heads the AUVSI, explained: "People in the past thought of drones as stupid and unsophisticated. When we say unmanned system or unmanned vehicle, it gives the connotation that there's more to it than just the piece that's flying." Envisioning a role for driverless cars, pilotless submarines and unmanned cargo trucks, Toscano predicted, "Eventually, you're going to have cars that have gyms in them. You'll have your car, with an exercise bike, and you'll be exercising while it takes you to work." (The Washington Times)

Rodents revenge

Dale Whitmell, 40, told Ontario Provincial Police he was using the butt of a rifle to kill a mouse at a camp at Anjaigami Lake when the weapon accidentally fired. Noting the bullet grazed his forehead, Constable Amanda Huff said Whitmell insisted he didn't know the weapon was loaded. (Sault Ste. Marie's The Sault Star)

Litigation nation

After Atlantic City's Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino lost $1.5 million in a Mini Baccarat game, it filed a lawsuit against the 14 players and Gemaco, which makes pre-shuffled cards. The casino claims Gemaco certified the cards dealt in the game as pre-shuffled, but they were later determined not to have been and repeated a pattern. As a result, the casino insisted, "The gamblers unlawfully took advantage of the Golden Nugget when they caught onto the pattern and increased their bets from table minimums to table maximums and by placing bets for others." (Philadelphia's KYW-TV)

We're against us

The United Nations General Assembly voted, 133 to 12 with 31 abstentions, to condemn the U.N. Security Council for failing to end the unrest in Syria. (BBC News)

Gun goofs

Police investigating the shooting death of Xavier L. Cooper, 20, in Racine, Wis., concluded that Arsenio R. Akins, 23, was using a .357-caliber revolver to pistol-whip another man during a fight when it inadvertently fired, killing Cooper. A witness told Investigator Don Nuttall that Cooper looked like he "was trying to break up the fight." (Racine's The Journal Times)

The weekend after the Aurora, Colo., movie shootings, police in Cookeville, Tenn., received a call from an employee of a movie theater showing the Batman film The Dark Knight Rises. He said a man with a holstered pistol walked into the theater, despite a posted sign prohibiting weapons. Police responded but couldn't identify the man, so they stopped the movie and asked whoever the man was with a gun to stand up. Three separate people stood up. Officers asked them to return their guns to their vehicles and advised the theater that the sign prohibiting weapons needed to be bigger. (Nashville's WSMV-TV)

Who's left?

When the rock band The Who announced it would end its Quadrophenia and More tour in Providence, R.I., next Feb. 26, Lawrence Lepore, general manager of the Dunkin Donuts Center, said the venue will honor tickets for a 1979 show canceled by then-Mayor Buddy Cianci, who cited safety concerns after 11 fans were trampled to death and several dozen others injured before a Who concert in Cincinnati. The top ticket price at the 1979 show was $14, Lepore said, adding that refunds were given but people sometimes save tickets as souvenirs. (Associated Press)

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

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