NewsQuirks 563

Curses, Foiled AgainPolice in West Memphis, Ark., said Eugene Bohanon, 42, entered an ice cream parlor in a wheelchair, indicated to waitress Erica Jones that he had a gun and presented a holdup note. After Jones handed over $120, the robber wheeled out the door and down the street. Police arrived and gave chase. When the slow-moving Bohanon saw them, he jumped out of the wheelchair and began running, but by then police had no trouble catching him. Further evidence against Bohanon was his holdup note, which he had written on the back of one of his personal checks.Linda Lee Kraige, 50, was convicted of trying to rob a tavern in Roanoke, Va., after she asked the cook for $100 and pulled a gun when he said no. When employees and patrons of the Texas Tavern ignored her, she resorted to pleading, then finally left empty-handed. At one point, a security camera showed the frustrated Kraige knocking a package of hot dog buns on the grill, demanding to be taken seriously. While an employee slipped out back to call police, the cook calmly put the buns back and told Kraige that he was busy cooking.Not-So-Secret Hiding PlacesPolice arrested a 30-year-old Frenchman trying to sneak through customs at Paris's Roissy airport with a 16-inch snake hidden in his underpants. An airport spokesperson said the snake was discovered when a security dog got wind of it beneath the man's bulging trousers.When Ohio Highway Patrol officers stopped a van for a traffic violation, a drug-sniffing dog alerted them that the vehicle contained drugs. When a search failed to turn up any, a female officer conducted a patdown search of passenger Eunice Santana, 24, and found a magnet in her bra. The magnet aligned with a device in the van's center console, providing access to a secret compartment, where troopers located 22 pounds of cocaine.Turkish police detained Alison Mary McKinnon, 37, after she set off metal detectors at the Istanbul airport. Unable to find the cause, police conducted a body search and discovered that McKinnon's intimate body piercing had activated the metal detectors. The search also uncovered 6.6 pounds of heroin taped to her chest.Just CausePolice in Vero Beach, Fla., arrested Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Carlos Perez after they found him asleep at the wheel at a stoplight in Vero Beach, Fla. Perez explained the last thing he remembered before nodding off was listening to a campaign speech on the radio by Vice President Al Gore.King LuckyHenk Otte, 43, an unemployed Dutch construction worker on welfare, was visiting the hometown of his Ghanaian-born wife, when he was identified as the reincarnation of the late chief, his wife's grandfather, and proclaimed King Togbe Korsi Ferdinand Gakpetor. Otte rules an area comprising about 40 villages and more than 100,000 people that was leaderless for almost 17 years until he was crowned. He still lives in Amsterdam but keeps in touch with his domain by phone and fax.Cool IdeaSwedish inventor Bruce Lambert received a patent for a refrigerator whose door is a mirror. When a light is switched on inside, the mirror turns into a clear window so users can see the food inside without opening the door. Lambert said the mirror also encourages dieting by letting people see their reflections as they approach the door.Yo, CanadaWhen officials of Quebec's Colisee announced they had signed a 10-year contract with Pepsico to rename the arena Colisee Pepsi, the Quebec City newspaper Le Soleil pointed out that "Pepsi" was, and may still be, a derogatory term among Anglophones for French-speaking Quebecers. It reportedly originated as a put-down because Quebecers were said to be unable to afford the higher-priced Coca-Cola.Conceding that written warnings aren't doing enough to persuade cigarette smokers to kick the habit, Health Minister Allan Rock proposed that the government require cigarette companies to cover 50 percent of each pack with color photos of cigarette-damaged hearts, lungs and lips or the image of a drooping cigarette to symbolize impotence caused by smoking. Written warnings accompanying the images would be equally graphic, Rock said.An analyst with Canada's Intelligence Security Service violated security rules by removing highly classified materials from the spy agency's Ottawa headquarters, apparently to study them in hope of gaining a promotion. She drove to Toronto, where she left the materials in a briefcase on the back seat of her minivan while attending a hockey game at the Air Canada Center. During the game, thieves smashed in a window of the vehicle in a public parking lot and stole the briefcase. An intensive search by Toronto police turned up three drug abusers, who admitted stealing the briefcase but said they were so disappointed with the contents they simply threw the briefcase into a Dumpster, whose location they couldn't remember. "It's like something from an Austin Powers episode," Parliament member Peter MacKay said, "not a front-rank intelligence service."Bad VibesEastern Connecticut State University instituted an alternative restitution program, which punishes students who commit minor infractions by requiring them to attend an opera or a symphony.Louisiana District Judge Tom Yeager sentenced two men, who pleaded guilty to violating a Rapides Parish noise ordinance by playing loud music in their cars, to attend a three-hour session of country music, which the men said they hated. "I thought if they had to listen to stuff they hate, it would teach them to respect other people's rights," Yeager said.Britain's Gloucestershire airport finally found the perfect recording to frighten birds off its runway. "We used to broadcast tapes with birds' distress sounds, but we found they don't work very well," airport chief fire officer Ron Johnson said. "What the birds really hate is Tina Turner."After rap fan Justin A. Rushford, 18, was ticketed in Clawson, Mich., for violating the city's loud-radio ordinance, Troy District Judge Michael Martone sentenced him to "bring a Wayne Newton CD with you and listen to it for two hours straight."When the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board gave the University of Pittsburgh a $25,000 grant to enforce underage drinking laws, campus police set up two 450-watt speakers outside the station to broadcast classical music. University police chief Deborah Furka said the music is intended to calm students heading for off-campus bars so they'll stay sober.Compiled by Roland Sweet from the nation's press. Send clippings, citing source and date, to P.O. Box 8130, Alexandria VA 22306.

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