The shoplifter with green hair 

Stranger Than Fiction

Curses, foiled again

When a TV news interview with accident witness Courtney Barnes went viral, as much for his hilarious account as for his green hair and green fingernails, the owner of a store in Ridgeland, Mississippi, recognized Barnes as a shoplifting suspect from surveillance video and notified police. (Jackson's WLBT-TV)

British police recovered a stolen car when the two suspects tried driving it into the police station parking garage. Surveillance footage shows the men, 25 and 26, thwarted by the security gate but unable to back up because two police vans were waiting behind them. Thinking the vans were pursuing them, the men fled on foot, Detective Inspector Lee Hopwood said, but officers tracked them down. (Britain's Manchester Evening News)

Duh. Just duh.

A public safety message intended to shock people was removed because it shocked people. The billboard, promoting bicycle safety in Bakersfield, California, depicted a bicycle and a victim chalk outline, with the words, "See and be seen. Don't be roadkill." Rhonda Hiller complained of the wording and its location, near where her son died in a traffic crash. "My son's not roadkill," she declared. Kern Council of Governments official Susanne Campbell said the "roadkill" message would be changed on billboards and bus ads. (Bakersfield's KBAK-TV)

After Carl McCoid, 42, divorced in 2010, he covered his body with 29 Miley Cyrus tattoos. But after the performer told a U.S. interviewer, "There's a dude that holds a record of the most pictures of my face, he has like 18 pictures of my face and they're really ugly," the disappointed father of four in Bridlington, East Yorkshire, decided to have the tattoos removed by laser. "Right now, I have 29 tattoos done and have spent £2,800 (US$4,300)," McCoid said. "I never thought I would regret it." (Britain's Daily Mail)

At a Fourth of July celebration in Calais, Maine, Devon Staples, 22, decided to launch fireworks off the top of his head. He died instantly. "There was no rushing him to the hospital," said his brother Cody Staples, 25, standing a few feet away when Devon placed a reloadable mortar tube on his head and ignited the fireworks. "There was no Devon left when I got there." (Associated Press)

Milking the system

The federal Medicare Fraud Strike Force concluded a nationwide investigation into home health care fraud by charging 243 people, including 46 doctors and other medical professionals. Agents said various schemes netted a combined $712 million in billings for nonexistent treatments. One of the accused doctors, Noble U. Ezukanma, 56, submitted invoices claiming to have worked 205 hours in one day in 2012. Agents seized $344,900 from his Fort Worth, Texas, home. (The Dallas Morning News)

Naica Gibson, 31, an unemployed mother of four in London, withheld £400 (US$615) from her £1,300 (US$2,000) monthly welfare check until she saved £4,000 (US$6,150) to go to Poland for breast rejuvenation surgery. During the two years she saved, she admitted taking money from the food budget but declared she went hungry as often as her children. When she could afford it, she said the plastic surgeon left one breast bigger and both covered by unsightly scars. She's asking Britain's National Health Service to pay £5,000 (US$7,687) for corrective surgery. (Britain's Daily Mail)

Punctuation heroics

Andrea Cammelleri had her pickup truck ticketed and towed from in front of her home in West Jefferson, Ohio, because she parked it on the street for more than the allowed 24 hours. She protested after her boyfriend pointed out that the ordinance about parking time limits applies to "motor vehicle camper," not a motor vehicle and a camper, because there's no comma between them. An appeals judge agreed the ordinance should be read as it's written and ordered the city to reimburse her for towing and legal fees. "I was told, 'don't fight City Hall,' I'd never win," Cammelleri said. "I did." (Columbus's WTTE-TV)


Administrators at Encinal High School in Alameda, California, insisted a teacher was only joking when he assigned students to, according to one of their mothers, Kimberly Cobene, "go into your parents' private drawers or whatever to seek out sexual toys or condoms, or anything of that nature and to take a selfie with it." Cobene and fellow mom Evangeline Garcia promptly mounted a campaign to have the school district fire him. (San Francisco's KPIX-TV)

Someone threw a large rock through the window of the I Do! I Do! Wedding Boutique in Flagstaff, Arizona, said police, who reported the only item stolen was a 2-foot-long, 20-pound rubber adult toy modeled after a woman's torso. It sold for $600. (Flagstaff's Arizona Daily Sun)

Homeland insecurity

White supremacists and anti-government radicals have killed more people in the United States since Sept. 11, 2001, than Muslim jihadists have, according to Washington research center New America. The score: 48 to 26. New America program associate David Sterman warned that white supremacy and anti-government idealism constitute an "ignored threat" because the government has focused its surveillance and data collection efforts instead on domestic Islamic extremists. (The Washington Times)

Besides not recognizing 67 out of 70 test violations of airport security checkpoints during a recent exercise, the Transportation Security Administration failed to identify 73 airport workers potentially associated with terrorism. Former acting TSA administrator Melvin Carraway denied the Department of Homeland Security's finding that the TSA missed potential threats, insisting, "The term 'missed' is inaccurate, in that it implies a fault with the TSA vetting system or manual review process, which is not the case." (USA Today)

Decimal politics

Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee announced his presidential candidacy by calling for the United States to switch to the metric system of weights and measures. "Believe me, it's easy," he promised. "It doesn't take long before 34 degrees is hot." (The Washington Times)

Sticky trouble

Turkish authorities accused two men of making counterfeit popsicle sticks, which could be used to claim free ice cream bars from vendors. The manufacturer making the legitimate offer complained to police that it received more free-popsicle sticks than it originally produced. Investigators who raided an office in Istanbul seized thousands of fake popsicle sticks marked "free" and arrested suspects Ahmet A., 35, and Cem S., 27. (Turkey's Dogan News Agency)

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


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