Acrobatics leave burglar dangling over the toilet 

Stranger than fiction

Curses, foiled again

British authorities said habitual burglar Daniel Severn, 27, got his foot caught while climbing through a bathroom window of a house in Howden and wound up hanging upside down over the toilet. He was found by homeowner Richard Wilson, whose wife took a photograph of Severn before her husband called police. Severn admitted trying to burglarize the residence and explained he tried to call police himself to come rescue him, but he dropped the phone into the toilet. (Britain's Daily Telegraph)

Surveillance cameras recorded Joshua M. Pemble, 23, stealing a security camera system at a Walmart store in Joliet, Ill. When store security employees tried to stop Pemble after he exited the store, police Capt. Tab Jensen said he took off running but was arrested nearby and charged with shoplifting. Jensen said a charge of unauthorized use of a handicapped parking space was added after security footage showed Pemble parking in one "without a placard in his vehicle." (Joliet's The Herald News)

Mistaken identity

Sculptor Robert S. Davison is suing the U.S. government for copyright infringement because the U.S. Postal Service used his sculpture of the Statue of Liberty on a stamp, instead of the original statue in New York Harbor, without his permission. Davison's replica welcomes visitors to the Las Vegas casino hotel New York New York. Davison's attorneys contend that the post office chose their client's image, which appeared on more than 5 billion forever stamps printed in 2011, because it was more "fresh-faced" and "sultry" than the original. (Associated Press)

Gangnam style

South Korean teens who can't afford plastic surgery are turning to do-it-yourself cosmetic enhancements, using cheap tools bought online. Instead of double-eyelid surgery to give them a "Hollywood look," for example, some teens wear glasses, costing $5 to $20, that force their eyes to stay open without blinking. Another popular item is a $6 jaw roller intended to push the jaw line into a petite, oval form. "We want to become pretty without spending all the money," one 17-year-old said. According to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, South Koreans are the world's most cosmetically enhanced people. (GlobalPost)

Driving lesson

Truck driver Jeffrey Glossop, 58, was transporting a 58-ton vintage battle tank but couldn't climb a hill outside Gold Beach, Ore., so he decided to unload the tank and drive it up the hill. Glossop had never driven a tank, but "he had the manual, so he thought he could do it," State Police Lt. Gregg Hastings said. The tank slipped out of gear, however, then rolled back down the hill and crashed through a guardrail. Glossop tried again, but the tank again slipped out of gear and rolled down an embankment. It wasn't damaged, but Glossop was cited for reckless driving. (Portland's The Oregonian)

Moonlighting by day

University of Colorado at Denver officials placed cultural diversity coordinator Resa Cooper-Morning, 54, on administrative leave while they investigated reports that she operated a phone sex business during the hours she was working at the school. Her website, "msresa.com" featured numerous nude, provocative photos of Cooper-Morning, and a phone sex component invited callers to talk dirty with her Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. until late at night. Her university work hours are 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. After Cooper-Morning was placed on leave, the website stated that she was available for phone sex weekdays only after 3 p.m. (Denver's KCNC-TV)

Drinking-class hero

A pilot program in the Netherlands that hires alcoholics to collect litter and do other light work in Amsterdam pays them with beer. The 20 men must show up at 9 a.m. three days a week. They start with two beers, work all morning, eat lunch, get two more beers, do an afternoon shift that ends with a beer and sometimes a bonus beer. Besides the beer, participants receive a meal, tobacco and $13 cash, a lot of which, the men admit, goes to buy more beer. Amsterdam East District Mayor Fatima Elatik defended the program, which the city operates with the nonprofit Rainbow Group Foundation, declaring, "I am giving the people a sense of perspective, even a sense of belonging. ... We validate them, and we don't ostracize our people." Insisting that the program's goal is to get alcoholics to stop drinking and move back to mainstream society, Rainbow leader Gerrie Holterman said beer was the obvious choice because it's easy for the sponsors to regulate the men's consumption." (Associated Press)

Punctuation follies

England's Cambridge City Council voted to ban apostrophes from street names, insisting that the change will clarify addresses for emergency services. "It was decided potential confusion over incorrectly punctuated street names meant we wouldn't use punctuation any more," council officer Nick Milne explained, pointing out that the move follows guidelines prescribed by the National Land and Property Gazetteer. "Our understanding was that many data users including the emergency services make no reference at all as to whether an apostrophe is used or not." The council's new policy affects only new street names and also bans street names that would be "difficult to pronounce or awkward to spell," as well as names that "could give offense" or "encourage defacing of nameplates." (Cambridge News)

Shifting priorities

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has changed its mission, according to national security lawyer Kel McClanahan, who said he noticed the change in December while reviewing a Freedom of Information Act request from the agency. The FBI fact sheet previously stated, "The primary function of the FBI is law enforcement." Now, McClanahan told Foreign Policy, it's, "The primary function of the FBI is national security." FBI official Paul Bresson clarified that the agency's mission "changed after 9/11," and the number of FBI agents dedicated to counterterrorism doubled between 2001 and 2009. As the FBI focus shifted to counterterrorism, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported a sharp drop in the number of white-collar criminal cases investigated. (MSNBC)


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