'Dumb' wallet thief flashes victim's ID 

Stranger Than Fiction

Curses, foiled again

Two weeks after someone stole Briana Priddy's wallet and used her identity to write hundreds of dollars worth of bad checks, Priddy was waitressing at a restaurant in Lakeland, Colo., when a woman came in with a group, ordered a drink and presented Priddy's stolen ID to prove her age. "But I didn't say anything," Priddy said. "I handed it back to her and said 'Sure, I'll be right back with your margarita.'" She called police, who arrested the 26-year-old woman. Noting the suspect is old enough to buy a drink with her own ID, police official Steve Davis declared, "Dumb criminal. That's the first [word] that comes to mind. We found some narcotics in this woman's possession, so she's in quite a bit of hot water. (Denver's KUSA-TV)

Police said Michael Oliva, 34, tried to rob a bank in Trimble, Mo., by pointing a gun at a teller and demanding cash. The teller dropped to the floor and shouted for help. Another bank employee saw the masked robber leaning over the counter and pointing his handgun at the teller, so he got a Smith & Wesson .357 revolver from his desk and fired two rounds, one of which struck Oliva in the jaw. He fled, but police caught him and identified his weapon as a plastic toy gun. (Kansas City's WDAF-TV)

What a coincidence

After Florida's Department of Transportation Secretary Ananth Prasad was ticketed for driving 44 miles per hour in a 35-mph zone on a Tallahassee street, the DOT raised the speed limit on the road to 45 mph. Prasad said the change occurred after the DOT conducted a study that showed the previous speed limit "was artificially constrained." (Florida's Capitol News Service)

Gun for a good cause

After raising only $10 last year to buy new equipment, this year the Atwood-Hammond Little League enlisted the support of the Atwood Armory in Atwood, Ill., to raffle off an AR-15 military-style assault rifle. "It's for a good cause," Atwood Armory co-owner Charidy Butcher said, "for the kids." (Decatur's WAND-TV)

The two-wheeling life

A bicyclists association that promotes safety objected to a measure in the Maryland House of Delegates that would require all cyclists to wear helmets. Shane Farthing, executive director of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, said mandatory helmet use might discourage people from riding bikes and that fewer bikes on the road could limit "the safety-in-numbers effect." (The Washington Post)

The Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment addressed the issue of bicycle safety by funding research by automaker TNO to develop an exterior airbag. It covers the lower portion of the windshield, creating a softer landing than a pane of glass for a human skull flying through the air at 25 miles per hour. A camera positioned beneath the rear-view mirror can determine if a vehicle is approaching cyclists or pedestrians, and sensors in the bumper activate the airbag if they detect contact. (TNO)

Swedish industrial designers Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin unveiled the Hövding, a concealed bicycle helmet designed to inflate in .01 second in the event of an accident. "We wanted to see if there was a way to change today's helmets and wanted people to wear them by free will, not by law," Haupt said. "We found out people wanted something that was almost invisible that didn't destroy their hair or annoy them, something with the possibility to change the looks of the helmet like they can with mobile phone shells and wigs." Costing $600, the Hövding resembles a collar, but it contains an air bag, similar to the ones in cars. The air bag is shaped like a hood and is triggered when sensors (a combination of accelerometers and gyroscopes) pick up "abnormal movements of a bicyclist in an accident," according to the company's website. (ABC News)

Haberdashery follies

Police said a maintenance man at a Houston apartment building shot a man in the foot after the two argued for 30 minutes about the victim's missing pants. Sgt. M.D. Moses said Michael Jolivette, 32, accused the maintenance worker of taking his pants from an electrical box where he left them. (Houston's KPRC-TV)

When a police officer spotted a man walking along a street in Millville, N.J., with smoke coming from his jeans, the officer urged the man to take off the jeans to prevent injury. Lt. Ed Zadroga said the man refused, telling the officer it was too cold out. The man had to be taken to a hospital and then flown to a burn center. Zadroga said the fire probably started when vodka spilled out of a bottle in the man's pocket and was ignited by a lit cigarette. (South Jersey Times)

Ride of a lifetime

One man died and another was injured when the inflatable ball they were harnessed to while bouncing down a ski slope in Russia veered off course, careened along a jagged ridge and plunged over a precipice. It then picked up speed for almost a mile before slamming into rocks. The victims paid $10 to ride in the plastic ball, called a zorb. The accident at the Dombai ski resort followed a rash of winter sports injuries, which prompted an investigation that found 50 unlicensed operations and guides on the mountain. (The New York Times)

Small consolation

The U.S. Census Bureau announced it is dropping the word "Negro," used since 1900 to describe black Americans in its surveys, in favor of "black" or "African American." (Associated Press)

Identity crisis

A Japanese lawmaker who goes by the name of Skull Reaper A-Ji was banned from attending sessions of the Oita City Assembly for refusing to remove his mask. A-Ji, who's also a professional wrestler, campaigned wearing the mask and was elected, but his fellow councilors declared it is inappropriate to conceal his identity and noted that he was violating a rule stating that "a person taking the floor shall not wear items such as a hat." A-Ji responded, "If I take my mask off, I'm an entirely different person." (Time)

Jail sneak

New York City authorities accused Matthew Matagrano, 36, of using bogus credentials to impersonate a Department of Correction investigator and sneak into several city lockups, where he mingled with inmates for hours. The convicted sex offender aroused the suspicions of guards at Rikers Island when he moved inmates from one cell to another. (The New York Post)


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