Stranger than fiction 

Curses, foiled again

Police said Eugene Edward Palmer, 40, tried to rob a bank in Brunswick, Fla., but gave up after yanking futilely on the locked door, failing to realize the branch was drive-through only. Police Lt. Leon Tucker said Palmer was armed and wore a ski mask during the attempted robbery but took off the mask in frustration when leaving, giving witnesses a good look at his face. (Jacksonville's Florida Times-Union)

After a car dealership reported a pickup was stolen, police in Lincoln, Neb., arrested a 39-year-old man who had taken the vehicle for a test drive earlier, having provided the dealership with photo identification and his address. After finding the truck parked near the man's home and arresting him, police said the suspect made a copy of the truck's key during the test drive and used it that night to steal the truck. (Lincoln Journal Star)

Slow to rebound

Urologists reported a spike in men scheduling vasectomies during college basketball's March Madness so they can avoid work and chores to watch games while recovering. The American Medical News reported that some clinics have started giving vasectomy patients recovery kits that include pizza coupons and sports magazines. "We suggest the guys ice it and stay off their feet for 24 hours. Some will take it a little farther than that," said Dr. Bill Utz, whose clinic in Edina, Minn., gives patients a brochure showing a man recovering in a recliner while his wife waits on him. (St. Paul's Pioneer Press)

Where's the bonus?

A North Korean firing squad executed Pak Nam-gi, 77, the ruling Workers' Party's finance chief, after currency reforms he implemented damaged the country's already ailing economy. He was accused of being "a son of a bourgeois conspiring to infiltrate the ranks of revolutionaries to destroy the national economy," a South Korean news agency reported. The reform wiped out the savings of well-off North Koreans who had managed to save money earned from international trading and caused widespread hoarding and even starvation as food prices soared. (Britain's The Guardian)

Pay day for some

Sheriff's investigators in Dodge County, Ga., said James Clarence Davis and Sandra Davis, both 36, made their 14-year-old daughter perform "sexual favors" for Wayne Bearden, 66, the manager of Shorty's Used Cars, so they wouldn't have to make the $281 monthly payment on their 1998 Dodge Caravan. (Macon Telegraph)

Irony illustrated

Authorities investigating the death of Anthony Rankin, 26, said he was shot at his Atlanta, Ga., home during an argument with his wife of five days, Arelisha Bridges, 45, who is a registered lobbyist for a group fighting domestic violence. (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

More woes

Scientists warned that methane gas bubbling up from a long-frozen seabed north of Siberia "could trigger abrupt climate warming." Their study, reported in the journal Science, said about 8 million tons of methane a year — equivalent to the annual total previously estimated from all of the world's oceans — were seeping from vast stores long trapped under permafrost. "Subsea permafrost is losing its ability to be an impermeable cap," said Natalia Shakhova of the University of Fairbanks, Alaska, a co-leader of the study. She noted current methane concentrations in the Arctic are the highest in 400,000 years.

Downplaying the threat, Martin Heimann of Germany's Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, said the Arctic emissions have been occurring since the last Ice Age 10,000 years ago. He insisted that the release of 8 million tons of methane a year was "negligible," compared with current global emissions of about 440 million tons. (Reuters)

Nature's bounty

The Utah Legislature approved a measure to allow citizens to collect rainwater for their personal use. The state has prohibited rainwater harvesting for decades. The bill requires Utahns collecting rainwater to register with the state and limits the collection to 2,500 gallons, which must be stored in an approved, standardized container. (Associated Press)

Wish come true

A Florida judge sentenced Sylvester Jiles, 25, to 15 years in prison for violating his probation by trying to climb a 12-foot fence to break into the Brevard County jail. Jiles, who accepted a plea agreement on manslaughter charges before his release, had begged jail officials to take him back into custody because he feared retaliation from the victim's family. (Associated Press)

Emergency parking

After the driver of a fire truck responding to an accident in Detroit parked the vehicle on a set of train tracks, a Chicago-bound passenger train crushed the vehicle, according to witnesses, like an aluminum can. The driver of the fire truck was injured when he ran back and tried to get the rig off the tracks after someone yelled, "Train coming!" No one on the train was seriously injured. "It was a $600,000 truck," executive fire commissioner James Mack said, adding the incident was "not acceptable" and that "we'll do some training." (The Detroit News)

Shaving time

A two-vehicle crash in the Florida Keys was caused by a man driving from the passenger seat while the woman driver was shaving her bikini area, according to state police. "She said she was meeting her boyfriend in Key West and wanted to be ready for the visit," Trooper Gary Dunick said after charging Megan Mariah Barnes, 37. After her 1995 Ford Thunderbird slammed into the back of a 2006 pickup truck on Cudjoe Key, Barnes drove another half-mile, then switched seats with her ex-husband, Charles Judy, who claimed he was driving. Burns on Judy's chest from the passenger-side airbag disproved their story. (Key West Citizen)

Guilty by proximity

Authorities in Glendale, Ariz., charged Gabriel Aguilera, 19, with murder after he drove a stolen car through the gates at Luke Air Force Base, apparently by mistake while fleeing from law enforcement. A security guard opened fire on the vehicle as it drove through the base, wounding Aguilera and killing his 16-year-old male passenger. "They were probably just trying to get away," said police Officer Karen Gerardo, who explained Aguilera was charged with murder because his passenger died during commission of a felony. (The Arizona Republic)


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