Stranger than fiction 

Curses, foiled again

After Daniel Rahynes, 35, told tellers at a bank in Harrisburg, Pa., that he wanted to open an account, he gave the bank his information, then announced he was there to rob the bank. Police said he drove away with a small amount of cash but left behind the two forms of identification he showed to open the account. He was arrested after he crashed his car during his getaway. (Associated Press)

While police were investigating a DUI-related crash in Westminster, Colo., Katherine Morse, 49, stopped to complain about how the officers had parked their patrol cars. When they told her to return to her vehicle, she became "belligerent with them, telling them it was a stupid place" for a traffic stop, a witness said. Officers then realized Morse was also drunk and arrested her for drunk driving. (Denver's KMGH-TV)

Holier than thou

When a German doctor praised Pope Benedict XVI for setting an example by having an organ donor card, the Vatican explained the pope wouldn't be donating any organs. "It's true that the pope owns an organ donor card," the pope's secretary, Monsignor George Gaenswein, said in a letter quoted on Vatican Radio, "but contrary to public opinion, the card issued back in the 1970s became de facto invalid with Cardinal Ratzinger's election to the papacy." Vatican officials said that after a pope dies, his body must be buried intact and that any papal organs donated would become holy relics in other bodies if he were eventually made a saint. (Reuters)


A security guard at a federal building in Detroit stored a suspicious package for three weeks before alerting authorities that it might contain a bomb. A police bomb squad promptly collected the package, which had been placed between two dumpsters behind the McNamara Federal Building, determined that it indeed contained a bomb and detonated it. (The Detroit News)

Slight provocation

Loniesh Veasey admitted slashing her friend to death with a razor in Tacoma, Wash., during an argument over whether crack cocaine or heroin was the better drug. (Tacoma's The News Tribune)

Unfriendly skies

A Continental Airlines flight leaving Pittsburgh for Houston was delayed nearly three hours because of a broken toilet in the first-class lavatory. The two lavatories in coach were fully functional, but first-class passengers would've had to walk to the rear of the plane to use them. Continental's Mary Clark said that after the maintenance crew failed to fix the toilet, the first-class lavatory was closed, and the plane took off. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Passengers trying to avoid checked-baggage fees are costing taxpayers $260 million a year, according to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who noted the money covers the extra workload on Transportation Security Administration officers. "When you have to pay to check a bag, it increases carry-on luggage," Napolitano told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee, "and that means there is more to inspect at the gate and so forth for passengers to get on planes." She said increasing mandatory airport security fees that passengers pay when they buy tickets would bring her department about $600 million a year. (Associated Press)

Rodents victorious

Annoyed by squirrels running around inside the wall of his townhouse in Richton Park, Ill., Robert Hughes decided to smoke them out by lighting a smoke bomb in a gutter near a hole in the wall the squirrels were using to access the home. The bomb went off but ignited and set the house on fire. Firefighters had to rip open the roof and drywall in Hughes's home and a neighbor's to extinguish the blaze. (Chicago Sun-Times)

A sticky end

A Columbus funeral home filed a lawsuit against the Ohio Department of Health after the agency blocked the home's use of an alternative to cremation that turns the remains to liquid, which proponents say can be poured down the drain. Any remaining bone pieces can be ground into a powder and kept, similar to cremation. Edwards Funeral Service is the first U.S. funeral business to publicly offer alkaline hydrolysis, which uses lye and heat to dissolve soft tissue. Having already used the process on 19 bodies since January, owner Jeff Edwards said health officials lack the authority to make him stop. (Associated Press)

Urban de-cycling

When Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn borrowed his wife's bicycle to ride to work, he parked it in a bike rack in the City Hall parking garage. After work, the bike was gone. "I know I've been encouraging people to ride bikes more," McGinn tweeted, "but I didn't mean u could 'borrow' my wife's bike w/o asking." Later, he posted a picture of the bike and added his wife's reaction: "Peg is pissed." McGinn admitted that he forgot to lock the bike when he parked it because he was preoccupied with city business, according to his communications director, who explained, "He just spaced." (Seattle Times)

Loons in blue

The Houston Police Department relieved senior police officer Mike Hamby, 51, of duty after he took part in a barbecue cook-off at a rodeo and reportedly threw a tear gas canister into the booth of an opposing cook-off team. The gas sickened several people and reached a tent occupied by military veterans, including some amputees in wheelchairs. "How stupid can an individual be?" rodeo executive director Mike DeMarco said. "If it was John Q. Public, we would arrest, then press the full charges that the law would allow." (Houston Chronicle)

The Sarasota, Fla., police department fired veteran homicide detective Tom Laughlin, 42, for trying to secede from the United States of America. In a document filed at the city courthouse, Laughlin renounced his U.S. citizenship and declared himself a "sovereign citizen" and included a thumbprint on each page and a photocopy of 21 silver pieces, explaining they're the price to become a "freeman." Internal affairs documents showed that Laughlin, a decorated and respected investigator who handled high-profile cases, believed with other freemen that the red numbers of a Social Security card were clues to finding a secret "straw man account," where the government hides millions of dollars from citizens, and that birth certificates were related to secret ships berthed in a port that held access to millions of straw man dollars." (Sarasota's Herald-Tribune)


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