Stranger than fiction 

Curses, foiled again

Police captured Juventino Sanchez Jr., 57, who they said tried to break into a bank in Topeka, Kan., but got stuck in a rooftop exhaust vent and had to hang upside-down for as long as four hours. The Topeka Capital-Journal reported that police learned of his predicament when his daughter called to say she received word that her father was trapped from a family member who had reached him by cell phone. Firefighters used ropes to pull Sanchez out of the vent feet first.

I said don't call me

Police arrested Daniel Adler, 61, for luring a telemarketer to his home to punch in the face. Investigators in Stony Point, N.Y., told WABC News that Adler was upset with being called by Sears Home Improvement telemarketers and reportedly scheduled an appointment, intending to tell them to place him on their do-not-call list. When the victim arrived, Adler cut up the telemarketer's identification card and then hit him.

Rules are rules

Michigan authorities warned Lisa Snyder she faces a $1,000 fine and jail time for watching her neighbor's three children until their school bus comes. Snyder told WZZM-TV News the bus arrives 15 to 40 minutes after the neighbors need to be at work. She said the Department of Human Services contacted her to say it had received a complaint she was operating an illegal child-care home and needed a license. A DHA official said the agency was only complying with state law.

After authorities in Indiana's Vermillion County arrested Sally Harpold, her police mug shot ran on the front page of her local newspaper with an article entitled, "17 Arrested in Drug Sweep." The grandmother of three was charged because she bought two bottles of decongestant cold medicine for family members that totaled 3.6 grams. State law limits purchases of medications containing ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, which are used to make methamphetamine, to 3.0 grams per week. The Clinton Tribune-Star reported authorities regularly check pharmacy records and arrest anyone who exceeds the limit because, Vigo County Sheriff Jon Marcel said, the law was enacted "for the good of everyone."

Vanity follies

After authorities in Birmingham, Ala., informed Scottie Roberson, 38, he owed the city more than $19,000 for unpaid parking tickets, the Huntsville resident explained he has been to Birmingham only once in the past five years. "Whenever I call, nobody seems to want to help me," Roberson told the Birmingham News. "One woman said not to worry about it because they didn't have the manpower to come arrest me." After a year of receiving notices, he finally heard from city officials that the tickets were issued by mistake because his vanity plate is XXXXXXXX, which is what parking enforcement officers enter on citation forms for illegally parked vehicles without license plates.

After a Welsh newspaper published a mug shot of Matthew Maynard, 23, wanted by police investigating a house burglary, the fugitive sent the paper a better likeness of himself standing in front of a police van. The South Wales Evening Post obligingly printed it on the front page. The police thanked Maynard, saying, "Everyone in Swansea will know what he looks like now."

Touch of class

A new Internet auction site aims to help down-on-their-luck millionaires by discreetly facilitating sales and trades of luxury assets, ranging from art and antiques to commercial properties, businesses and foreclosed homes, "so they don't have to deal with the shame and or embarrassment of downgrade," Quintin Thompson, co-founder of BillionaireXchange, told Reuters. "I would say that in the United States market, that's probably the majority of the types of the transactions that we're seeing right now." Thompson said the Miami-based company, which completed a 10-month test phase before officially launching Nov. 9, requires prospective members to have at least $2 million in verifiable net worth. He added it already has 26,000 multi-millionaire members and "nearly a dozen" billionaires, among them professional athletes and A-list actors.

Stick to the script

Charged with making 18 bomb threats to schools and hospitals in New South Wales, Australia, James Ronald Condren, 44, insisted his brother had made the calls. According to Sydney's Daily Telegraph, Condren didn't help his case when magistrate Kevin Maughn denied him bail by shouting, "There's a bomb in the courthouse, everyone back away right now."

It is written

Malaysian authorities confiscated more than 15,000 Bibles imported from Indonesia because they call God "Allah." Both Indonesian and Malaysian languages use "Allah" as the translation for God in both Islamic and Christian traditions, but Malaysia has banned non-Muslims from using "Allah" in their writings, declaring the word is exclusively Islamic.

Cheap date

Police arrested Joshua Basso, 29, in Tampa, Fla., for repeatedly calling 911 looking to have sex with the dispatcher. The Associated Press said Basso told police he called 911 after he ran out of cell phone minutes because it was the only number he could dial.

On duty?

Marie O'Kelly, 95, called police to report finding letter carrier Kristine A. Pflughaupt, 46, sitting on the floor of her kitchen in Marion, Iowa. "She was in uniform and had mail and a mail-carrying bag with her," Lt. Steve Etzel told the Cedar Rapids Gazette, adding that Pflughaupt was using her hands to eat leftover noodles, which were running down her shirt. When O'Kelly asked her what she was doing, Pflughaupt didn't answer. "She just kept eating those noodles," O'Kelly said.

Litigation nation

Scott T. Zielinski, 23, currently serving an eight-year prison sentence after being convicted of robbing a party store in Clinton Township, Mich., filed a lawsuit seeking $125,000 from the store, its owner and three employees. After holding up the employees at knifepoint and threatening to kill them in order to steal cigarettes, liquor and $873 in cash, Zielinski claims the store workers chased him, shot him twice and beat him excessively. The Macomb Daily reported that Circuit Judge David Viviano ruled Zielinski could proceed with his suit but only after posting a $10,000 bond in case he loses and has to pay the defendants' legal fees.

Evil is as evil does

Santiago Martinez, 28, got 50 years to life for killing his girlfriend and then received a death sentence for killing his new girlfriend because she refused to help him dispose of the previous girlfriend's body. California Superior Court Judge Joan Comparet-Cassani, who sentenced Santiago to die by lethal injection for the second murder, called him "a savage beast" and "the face of evil."


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