Stranger than fiction 

Curses, foiled again

Police charged Dennis Lottig, 30, with stealing four security cameras from a bank drive-through in St. Albans, W.Va. The evidence against him, the Daily Mail reported, was videotapes of him stealing the cameras, taken by the cameras.

Sheriff's deputies charged Jonathan G. Parker, 19, with breaking into a home in Berkeley County, W.Va., after the victim noticed he used her computer to check his Facebook account but forgot to log out before leaving the home with two diamond rings.

To the rescue

Responding to a 911 call that a man was bleeding from the face near a fire station in St. Petersburg, Fla., two firefighters jumped into a rescue unit, opened the garage bay door and pulled forward. They promptly ran over the man they were rushing to help, Ted Allen Lenox, 41, who lay outside the station's garage bays. "They couldn't see him in front of the truck" because they were too close, fire rescue Lt. Joel Granata told the St. Petersburg Times, which said Lenox was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.

App for that

Authorities charged Donald Goodrich, 38, with menacing an Apple Store employee in Cincinnati because he was frustrated that his iPhone wasn't working properly. WCPO News reported Goodrich told the employee he "was so mad he could pop a 9 mm at it" and then opened his shirt and showed her the handgun.

A new iPhone application lets users send prayers to Jerusalem's Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site. The price of "Send a Prayer Western Wall" was reduced to 99 cents to promote its use in the days leading up to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Senders use their iPhone or iTouch to compose the prayers, which are printed out within 48 hours and placed between the stones of the wall.

Too green

A British town council fined a bicycle shop owner for failing to produce any commercial waste. The Daily Mail reported that Mark Howard, 50, reuses any surplus materials he can and sells any he can't for scrap. When the Southend Council waste contractor noticed Howard wasn't having any waste collected, the council refused to believe that he didn't have any waste to dispose and fined him 180 pounds ($285). "This is totally stupid," Howard told the paper. "I'm not some environmental fruitcake trying to save the world. I'm just an ordinary person using my brain to avoid waste. But they don't seem to care."

Gun goofs

Police in Miamisburg, Ohio, locked down an elementary school after a report of a shooting in the vicinity, even though students were off that day. Neighbors initially said someone was running around the area firing a gun, but police determined that a man who lives nearby accidentally shot himself in the hand while cleaning his gun.

Four days after Ralph Needs, 80, was pistol-whipped during a home invasion in Groveport, Ohio, he was learning to fire a gun to defend himself when he was shot in the hand as one of his sons was loading the 9 mm pistol.

James Looney, 40, accidentally shot himself in the head while teaching firearms safety to his girlfriend in Imperial, Mo. Witnesses said Looney was demonstrating the different safety mechanisms on several guns and would put the gun to his head and ask his girlfriend if she thought the gun would fire, then pull the trigger. KSDK-TV reported the safety mechanism worked for the first two guns but not the third.

Safety seat

Police in Albertville, Ala., stopped Jackie Denise Knott, 37, for driving a minivan with a large cardboard box on top with her 13-year-old daughter inside. The Huntsville Times said Knott told officers the child was riding on top because "the box was too big to go inside the van, and she would be able to hold it down if she was inside the box." She added the girl wasn't in any danger because Knott had secured the box to the van with a coat hanger.


As part of their campaign against Western cultural influences, Iran's morality police warned storeowners not to use scantily clad or curvaceous female mannequins in their windows. According to the state-owned newspaper IRNA, the police also banned men from selling women's underwear and shopkeepers from showing models wearing neckties or bow ties.

A gay bar in Elk Grove Village, Ill., began requiring cross-dressing patrons to show a valid government-issued photo ID that matches their "gender presentation." Peter Landorf, manager of Hunter's Nightclub, told the Chicago Tribune the policy is aimed at preventing prostitution "that could cost me my license." Ed Yohnka of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois said the rule could be discriminatory if it applies only to cross-dressers.

Case closed

After former Kansas radio executive Paul W. Lyle admitted in a Girard court to embezzling $88,000 to support an addiction to scratch-off lottery tickets, he learned he had won a lottery prize worth $96,000.

Sands of time

Responding to a 2007 United Nations study describing desertification as "the greatest environmental challenge of our times," architect Magnus Larsson proposed building a 3,720-mile-long wall across the Sahara Desert. The wall would be made by injecting shifting sand dunes with bacteria that produce calcite, a kind of natural cement, to bond the sand grains together, turning them into sandstone. "The idea," Larsson told BBC News, "is to stop the desert by using the desert itself."

Mexican authorities closed off hundreds of feet of a Cancun beach in front of a hotel accused of stealing powder-white sand. Patricio Patron, Mexico's attorney general for environmental protection, said five people were detained in a raid for using pumps to move sand from the sea floor onto the beach in front of the Gran Caribe Real Hotel. The hotel is also suspected of using a breakwater to impede the natural flow of sand onto other hotels' beaches. "This hotel was telling its tourists, 'Come here, I have sand ... the other hotels don't, because I stole it,'" Patron told the Associated Press.

Picky, picky

Police in Carlisle, Pa., cited Richard J. Cantor, 56, for harassment after he reportedly flicked a toothpick on the sidewalk in front of another man's home. The Patriot-News said the victim, Brian Taylor, 43, told police Cantor constantly does things to annoy him, in this case driving out of his way to flick the toothpick on Taylor's sidewalk.


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