Stranger Than Fiction 

Curses, foiled again
A shoplifter hid $300 worth of hunting knives in his waistband at a store in Grand Rapids, Mich., but got into a scuffle with security guards and fell on the knives. Police said the 26-year-old suspect suffered several puncture wounds to the abdomen and had to be hospitalized.

An armed man who tried to rob a convenience store in Kokomo, Ind., was putting the gun in his waistband when he shot himself in the groin. After viewing the surveillance video of the incident, police arrested Derrick Kosch, 25, at home with a gunshot wound to his right testicle and lower left leg.

Australian Judge Roland Williams branded Benjamin Jorgensen, 38, and Donna Hayes, 36, a "pair of fools" after they tried to rob a restaurant in Melbourne but failed when Jorgensen grabbed what he thought was a bag with $26,000 in cash, only to find it contained bread rolls. He then accidentally fired his gun, hitting Hayes in the buttocks.

South African authorities said suspected thief Mthandani Nqetho was fleeing from guards when he tried to jump a fence but impaled his feet on the fence's steel spikes. He managed to free one foot but couldn't release the other, and had to hang onto the railing for about 12 hours until bystanders noticed him and called police. In addition to pierced feet, Capt. Greg Bevan noted that Ngetho's wrists were swollen from clinging to the railing for so long.

According to his arrest warrant, Kelvin Ethelbert Roberts, 28, tried to rob a convenience store in Cherryvale, N.C., but dropped his .45-caliber handgun. The gun fired when it hit the ground, shooting Roberts in the foot.

Green vs. green
Authorities in Sunnyvale, Calif., ordered Richard Treanor and Carolynn Bissett to cut down trees in their backyard because shade from the 20-to-40-foot redwoods is blocking the solar panels of their neighbor. Mark Vargas filed a complaint insisting the eight trees, which the couple planted in the late 1990s, reduce the amount of electricity he can generate. The Santa Clara County district attorney said Treanor and Bissett are violating California's Solar Shade Control Act and face fines of up to $1,000 a day. The San Jose Mercury News reported that both the couple and Vargas consider themselves environmentalists and drive electric cars.

Helping self-helpers
Since forming a charity in 2004 to help needy retired football players, whom he says the National Football League players' union treats "like dogs," Mike Ditka has collected $1.3 million. According to tax records, though, only $57,000 has gone to players. USA Today reported the Mike Ditka Hall of Fame Assistance Trust Fund spent $715,000 of the donations putting on celebrity golf tournaments. Ditka insisted it isn't his fault he hasn't given away more money. "The problem is finding [needy] guys and getting them to fill out the [application] form," he said. "Some of these guys are scared of forms."

Slightest provocation
Authorities charged Paul Webster Feinstein, 24, with deliberately setting fire to the Austin, Texas, radio station where he volunteered because the station changed the music he had selected for its overnight Internet program. "He had a dream of a career in radio and was very disappointed about where it had led him," Austin Fire Department Battalion Chief Greg Nye told the American-Statesman.

Off the defensive
William E. Johnson, 75, a lawyer for the first officer of Comair Flight 5191, which crashed in Lexington, Ky., in August 2006, asserted that the 47 passengers aboard the doomed flight share the blame for their deaths. Twenty-one lawsuits were filed against James Polehinke, the only survivor of the crash, which the National Transportation Safety Board blamed on pilot error. Claiming "contributory negligence," Johnson said the passengers killed in the pre-dawn crash should have known that Blue Grass Airport was dangerous because of a massive construction project there, that the control tower was understaffed, that two nearby airports were safer and that taking off in the dark is dangerous. After an outcry by plaintiffs, their lawyers and legal experts, Johnson announced he was withdrawing that defense.

Seventeen Russians visiting a health spa in Yessentuki had to be taken to a hospital for treatment after a nurse giving them enemas used hydrogen peroxide instead of water. Itar-Tass news agency reported that spa officials blamed the mistake on water and hydrogen peroxide looking the same.

God's surgical plans
Charlene Hastings filed suit against Seton Medical Center in Daly City, Calif., after it denied her request for breast augmentation surgery. Hastings, who completed gender reassignment surgery in 2006, said she wants the surgery to look more feminine, but the Catholic-affiliated hospital has refused to operate because she was not born a woman. "I honestly believe that God has plans for me to have this surgery," Hastings told foxnews.com, adding that the hospital told her the surgery was not part of God's plan for her.

Drinking-class heroes
German authorities reported that when security officials at the Nuremberg airport told a 64-year-old Dresden man he would either have to empty a 2-pint bottle of vodka in his carry-on bag or pay a fee to have the bag checked, the man chugged the liquor. He collapsed and had to be hospitalized for alcohol poisoning.

A 56-year-old German man accidentally set his apartment on fire, police in Gross Godems said, when he reached for a bottle of alcohol but picked up a container of gasoline instead and took a swig. When he realized his mistake, he spit out the gas, which hit a lit cigarette, sparking the blaze and sending him to the hospital with severe burns.

Way to go
Darrell Lee Jones, 36, was killed while trying to repossess a car, according to police in Suffolk, Va., when the vehicle rolled off the back of his wrecker and pinned him beneath it.

Susan Banker, 51, died of injuries suffered when she fell while trying to pet a police officer's horse outside a shopping mall in Henrietta, N.Y. A witness said Banker lost her balance when she reached out to touch the horse and fell under the animal, which "stepped on her several times."


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