Stranger Than Fiction 

Curses, foiled again

Brazilian fire officials rescued a prisoner who tried to crawl through a hole in a prison wall but became trapped because he was too fat to fit through the opening. "The other prisoners tried to push him, but he stayed stuck in the wall," fire department Lt. Tiago Costa said. "He started screaming in pain, and that was when the prison guards were alerted." (London's UKMetro)

Police quickly identified Michael David Stoltenberg, 27, as the hit-and-run driver who fled on foot after rear-ending another vehicle in Salt Lake City, because he left behind not only his wrecked car, registered in his name, but also his two children, ages 9 and 2. (The Salt Lake Tribune)

Handyman hell

Authorities accused Jason DeJesus, 36, and Chanelle Troedson, 33, of luring a handyman to their northern California home, where they beat him and held him against his will for seven hours. They forced him to repair their dishwasher and other appliances, fix a broken door and perform other maintenance tasks at the couple's five-bedroom home, which includes a beach volleyball court, a pool and tennis courts.

Sheriff's Sgt. José Cardoza said next the couple forced the fix-it man to accompany them to another home to make more repairs. When they stopped for gas and snacks, leaving him alone in the vehicle, he ran to a neighboring home and called 911. (Associated Press)

Firearm follies

A police officer serving a warrant in Shoreline, Wash., accidentally shot himself in the buttocks. Police Commander Leslie Burns said the officer's firearm discharged after he took a man into custody. (Seattle's KOMO-TV)

A 45-year-old man bow-hunting alone in a Maryland wildlife management area shot himself in the calf with an unregistered .22-caliber pistol. He called 911, summoning police and a Maryland State Police helicopter to the heavily forested area. The hunter fired a couple of rounds to help rescuers locate him, barely missing the chopper. "The dispatcher told him, 'Please stop,'" Montgomery County Police Officer Rebecca Innocenti said, noting the hunter was airlifted to the hospital. (The Washington Times)

Say anything

A federal appeals court overturned the conviction of a former drug sales representative who suggested a doctor use a prescription drug for a purpose other than intended. In the case against Alfred Caronia, the drug was Xyrem, which is approved to treat the sleep disorder narcolepsy. Investigators recorded Caronia telling a doctor the drug could also treat insomnia, fibromyalgia and other conditions the Food and Drug Administration hadn't approved them for. The U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan ruled Caronia's sales pitch was free speech protected by the First Amendment. (Los Angeles Times)

Excuse of the week

When police found a 2-year-old child and 5-month-old infant locked inside a running vehicle outside a restaurant in Broken Arrow, Okla., they went to question their father, Jason Daniel Murray, 31, finding him in the bar. The report said Murray denied leaving his children in the car and insisted "someone else must have put the kids in the car while he was inside." (Tulsa's KOTV-TV)

Weapons of choice

Police accused Keith Paro, 34, of battering his girlfriend with a 4-foot python during a domestic altercation in West Springfield, Mass. (Springfield's The Republican)

When the clerk at a Seattle gas station tried to stop a man and a woman stealing a six-pack of beer, the man hit the clerk in the head with a ukulele. Detective Renee Witt said the couple fled. (Seattle's KIRO-TV)

Mary and Mohammad

Muslim enrollment is increasing at U.S. Catholic colleges and universities, according to both students and administrators, who indicate the Muslim population has doubled over the past decade, while the number of Muslim women has tripled. One reason given is that Muslims, whether from the United States or abroad, prefer a place where talk of religious beliefs and adherence to a religious code are accepted and even encouraged. "I like the fact that there's faith, even if it's not my faith, and I feel my faith is respected," Maha Haroon, a pre-med undergraduate at Creighton University, said. (The New York Times)

Slightest provocation

A sheriff's deputy who arrested David A. Kappheim, 60, in Lake Park, Fla., after his girlfriend reported he threatened to kill her, said Kappheim admitted trying to kill her three other times because "he was very conservative and she was a liberal." Inside their apartment, the deputy found documents suggesting that Kappheim is obsessed with FOX News and the Republican Party, and may be a danger to others. (Palm Beach Post)

No fun being God

The Dutch parliament revoked a long-standing, rarely enforced law making it a crime to insult God. The movement to decriminalize blasphemy intensified in the past decade during a national debate about free speech limits. Dutch law still bans insulting police officers or the monarch, Queen Beatrix. (Associated Press)

Diamond in the sky

Scientists announced the discovery of a planet twice the size of Earth that's at least one-third diamond. The U.S.-French research team said 55 Cancri e is about 230 trillion miles from Earth and orbits a sun-like star in the constellation Cancer. It moves so fast that a year there lasts only 18 hours, and surface temperatures reach 3,900 degrees. "This is our first glimpse of a rocky world with a fundamentally different chemistry from Earth," said Yale University's Nikku Madhusudhan, adding that the carbon-rich planet means scientists could no longer assume distant rocky planets have similar chemical constituents, interiors, atmospheres or biologies to Earth's. (Reuters)

Clichés come to life

Police officers arrived in time to stop an armed robbery at a doughnut shop in Rochester, N.Y. (Rochester's Democrat and Chronicle)


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