The bowling ball assailant 

Stranger Than Fiction

Curses, foiled again

Jamie L. Gordon, 30, told police she was "struck in the head with a bowling ball" by a robber, who took $2,100 from the safe at the bowling alley where she worked in Decatur, Illinois. When the manager gave permission to view the surveillance video, Officer James Weddle observed Gordon pick up a bowling ball and "strike herself twice in the back, left side of her head," then drop to the floor, where she remained for 13 minutes until another employee found her. Gordon admitted taking the money and gambling away most of it on the bowling alley's slot machines before conking herself on the head "to make it look like she had been robbed." (Decatur's Herald-Review)

While police searched for drugs at the Akron, Ohio, home of Andrew Palmer, 46, a UPS driver delivered a package, addressed to Palmer, containing four pounds of marijuana. (Cleveland.com)

Handyman follies

Canadian authorities deported Tom Rolfe, 24, for fixing cracks in the wall of his girlfriend's Edmonton apartment. The British man, visiting on a tourist visa, was doing the repairs for free, but officials said immigration rules prohibit tourists from performing any work that a Canadian could be hired to do. (Ottawa Sun)


Warren Jones, a city councilor in Jacksonville, Florida, introduced a bill making it illegal for homeowners to back into their own driveway. Jones said the proposal would crack down on visual blight caused by owners parking inoperative vehicles backward so officials can't read license plates, which Florida requires only on the rear. If the tag isn't visible, the measure requires the owner to write the info in 2-inch-tall letters and post it so code enforcement can see it from the street. (Florida Times-Union)

When patches fail

China is using public humiliation to punish smokers. Besides increasing the fine for smoking in public buildings to 200 yuan ($32.20), officials post the names of offenders three times on a website to shame them. (Washington Post)

Lightning justice

Lightning set a house on fire in Cape Coral, Florida, but firefighters contained the blaze. Clearing the house, they found a marijuana-growing operation, prompting police to arrest homeowner Jaroslav Kratky, 65. (Fort Myers' WBBH-TV)

Slight provocation

Police reported a 28-year-old man was grilling on his patio in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, when an upstairs neighbor complained of fumes coming into his apartment. When the man ignored him and continued grilling, neighbor "retorted by throwing a stool and chair down" to the patio, police said. (Chicago Tribune)

Police arrested Anh Nguyen, 42, after she argued with a department store manager in Newark, California, over the price of a Michael Kors purse. She succeeded in getting a discount but then "began to scream and curse at the manager" because she was still unhappy with the price. When a loss prevention officer tried to escort Nguyen from the store, she reportedly threw a tantrum and bit the officer's leg. (San Jose Mercury News)

Happy ending

After 46 years not knowing her father's identity, Melonie Dodaro, a social media consultant in Kelowna, British Columbia, found him on Facebook in 72 hours. Cees de Jong, originally from the Netherlands, has lived in Thailand for 16 years as an Elvis impersonator, actor and musician using the name Colin Young. "I guess he's very, very well-known and a little bit famous in Europe," Dodaro said, adding she plans to visit her father and his two children, Elvis and Priscilla. (CBC News)

Every bit counts

Transit police who nabbed Timothy Chapman, 35, for evading a $2.10 subway fare in Boston found $7,000 in his pocket. (Boston Herald)

Pooper news

Days before Germany's new interior ministry headquarters opened in Berlin, someone broke in and stole the toilet seats, faucets and toilet-paper holders. The thefts occurred two months after burglars stole all the faucets from the new intelligence agency Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) headquarters. (The Telegraph)

Newcomers to rural Loudon County, Virginia, are causing sanitation problems by not tending to septic systems. "Let's just say there are folks from Eastern Loudon that had, say, lived in suburbia their entire lives, had been on public water and sewer their entire lives, they move out to some beautiful little hamlet ... and all they really know when they buy their house out here is, 'cool, well and septic, no water bill,'" Algonkian District Supervisor Suzanne Volpe said. "Most don't realize that there's a problem until the kids come in from the backyard and go, 'the ground's all muddy back there, Mom, and it smells funny.'" (WTOP radio)

Seemed reasonable

A Welsh bus company promoting its new fleet posted ads on the back of them showing an apparently topless woman holding a sign saying, "Ride me all day for £3." Outrage on social media prompted an apology from New Adventure Travel, which explained the slogan was "a little tongue in cheek" but promised to remove the ads "within the next 24 hours." (Britain's The Guardian)

Florida environmental officials announced a two-year, $1.6 million project to remove an estimated 90,000 used tires from the ocean off Fort Lauderdale. The tires, among 700,000 dropped in 1972, were intended to attract fish and provide a foundation for corals. Instead, few corals grew, and the tire bundles broke apart and drifted into natural reefs, killing coral and creating a lifeless vista that stretches 35 miles. "There are just tires for as far as you can see," Broward County biologist Pat Quinn said. "They're piled on top of each other up to five feet deep." (Associated Press)


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