NewsQuirks 433

Double TroubleIdentical twins Geoffrey and Kristopher Putt, 18, were driving their new Nissans around Alameda, Calif., when one of them ran a stop sign and smashed into the other, sending the car spinning into a house. Neither driver was hurt, according to police Lt. Craig Ojala, who noted, "We have a lot of people crashing into each other on a regular basis, but not two members of the same family, let alone twins."Just DessertsWhen a masked gunman grabbed a waitress at a Jacksonville, Fla., restaurant full of senior citizens and tried to force her to open the cash register, two of the seniors drew their own weapons and opened fire. "My wife and I were just there for the Early Bird specials, but I'm always ready for trouble," said Oscar Moore, 69, who shot the gunman in the abdomen with his .22-caliber revolver. "That gun I didn't trust to try to go for a head shot. If I'd had another gun with me, I'd have gone for the head shot, taken care of it from here to eternity." Robert Guerry, 81, of Birmingham, Ala., joined Moore by pulling a .22-caliber derringer and firing at the 17-year-old suspect, who was arrested later at a hospital seeking treatment for gunshot wounds. Two men in Temple Hills, Md., tried to rob John Quillen Hammiel, 54, using a toy handgun. Prince George's County police said Hammiel drew a real weapon, then shot and killed one of his attackers. The other fled, but was arrested later.MemoriesWilliam Nixon, 36, claimed to be as surprised as anyone when he saw himself on a television crime program wielding a fake gun as he robbed a gas station in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland. According to testimony in Belfast Crown Court, Nixon didn't recall the robbery, having spent his entire welfare check on drink before the raid, until he saw the gas station's security video on TV and turned himself in to police.Curses, Foiled AgainHong Kong gangster Chan Koon Shing was sentenced to a year in jail for extorting money from local businesses in exchange for "protection." He was arrested after he demanded $50 from a medical clinic, then issued a receipt -- complete with his name and identification number -- to Dr. Lui Siu-ko, who turned the incriminating document over to authorities Not All Crooks Are DumbThieves in Warwick, R.I., made off with a "substantial amount" of money, according to police Capt. Joseph Tavares, by posting a computer-printed note at a bank branch explaining that the regular night deposit box was broken and directing business customers to put their money in a box set up inside the bank's foyer near the automatic teller machine. Although the box looked real, it wasn't, and the crooks removed it and the money before the bank opened. "Everybody fell for it," Tavares said. "They were duped." The Best DefenseNewark, N.J., has acquired a military tank, courtesy of the Defense Department. City police said they will use the 10,000-pound vehicle, the same kind used in the assault by federal agents on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, in 1993, in cases involving snipers and suspects who barricade themselves inside buildings. The tank -- called the "Peacekeeper" -- has seven gun ports, a 60-caliber machine-gun turret, carries up to five passengers and can travel at highway speeds. Clothing OptionalA 16-year-old student in Providence, R.I., who received a four-month suspension for running naked through Coventry High School, insisted that his action was not a prank, but a demonstration of his Greek pride. George Giovanis told authorities that his naked sprint during school lunch was a celebration of ancient Greek athletes who competed naked in the Olympics. He also claimed that he was merely supporting the city of Athens in their quest to hold the Olympics there in 2004. Superintendent John Deasy was unmoved, explaining, "Students are expected to wear clothing in school. Students are not expected to create a disturbance in school relative to appearing naked in front of 600 students."An elementary school teacher in Jakarta, Indonesia, ordered six students to run naked around the soccer field as a punishment for tardiness and misbehavior. Two children refused and had their ears pulled, while the other four stripped naked and ran around the field as other students and teachers booed them.Marv Albert at Home in BelgiumLight slapping in a sadomasochistic relationship is not a legal offense as long as each partner agrees and is over the age of consent, a Belgian court ruled. It added, however, that the use of electric shocks, clamps, weights and other such devices in sexual relationships still lays practitioners open to charges of lewd and lecherous behavior. Free at LastBrazilian transsexuals are entitled to free sex-changes under new rules that classify the operations as experimental. Explaining that transsexuals were carriers of a "permanent psychological distortion in their sexual identity," officials at the Federal Council of Medicine said the only conditions for patients wanting their penises removed were that they be older than 21 and undergo two years of hormone treatment and psychological counseling. Newspapers reported that gleeful transsexuals immediately began lining up for operations, which usually cost $15,000. "I've been dreaming about this for so long that I'd already given up hope," one Sao Paulo nurse told the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper.Legal LogicAfter Francis Glancy, 41, was arrested in Pittsburgh, Pa., for riding his 10-speed bicycle under the influence of alcohol, he was told to apply for a driver's license -- so the state could suspend it. A 1993 court decision found that a bicycle is a "vehicle," and Glancy, who doesn't drive a car, was charged under the DUI statute, which permits first-timer offenders to avoid a trial if they accept probation, attend an alcohol-awareness program and have their licenses suspended for 30 days. "If he doesn't go and get a driver's license," Assistant Public Defender Tom Caulfield said, "he's going to end up with a criminal record."Compiled by Roland Sweet from the nation's press. Send clippings, citing source and date, to POB 8130, Alexandria VA 22306.

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