NewsQuirks 637

Curses, Foiled Again

Police in Brockton, Mass., charged James M. Jorritsma, 38, with holding up a coffee shop. When he fled, taking the cash register with him, two customers gave chase, easily catching him because he was slowed by the weight of the register and the cast he was wearing from a broken leg. Before calling the authorities, the two customers broke the suspect's other leg.

Kristopher Huie, 22, was arrested in Johnson County, Texas, for trying to steal a freight train. Sheriff Bob Alford said Huie got caught after he managed to start the engine but had trouble releasing the brake and radioed Union Pacific dispatchers for help. A passing conductor and engineer, alerted by the radio call, overpowered Huie and held him for the sheriff. Two teen-agers were arrested in Covington, Ky., after a police sergeant interrupted them stealing money from a vending machine. The machine was in the bar portion of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 1, which has the word "POLICE" in bold letters over the front door. Police Lt. Col. Jim Liles told the Kentucky Post the burglary attempt is the first anyone can recall at the lodge.

When North Carolina state police stopped Michael Dennis Long, 30, in Mecklenburg County for speeding, he also received a ticket for driving on a revoked license. Eight hours later, a sheriff's deputy in Davidson County arrested Long for doing 88 in a 70-mph zone and driving on a revoked license. He was released on a $5,000 unsecured bond. An hour later, he was stopped again and arrested for going 91 in a 70-mph zone, driving while his license was revoked and a seatbelt violation. After he was given a secured bond of $1,500, deputies discovered the car he was driving had been reported stolen and increased his bond to $10,000. "This guy is a complete idiot," Davidson County Sheriff Gerald Hege said.

Better to Curse the Darkness

A 15-year-old boy in Washington, D.C., was searching for a television remote control. When he looked under the bed, he used a cigarette lighter to see and set the bed on fire. The blaze quickly spread throughout the apartment and caused the evacuation of the 40-apartment complex.

Bad Luck Gets Worse

When someone found a wallet containing more than $2,300 in cash and turned it in to police in Watsonville, Calif., officers determined it belonged to Ricardo Landecho, 39. A further check revealed that Landecho was on parole for various drug-related offenses and that his driver's license had been suspended. They notified Landecho to come to the station to claim his wallet, but when he showed up with his teen-age daughter, a search turned up nearly a pound of marijuana, 33 grams of suspected methamphetamine and 8 grams of suspected cocaine.

Neither Rain nor Gloom

William J. Henderson, who was the U.S. postmaster general from 1998 to 2001, said he advocates privatizing the Postal Service, suggesting the government corporation raise its rates "at times of high demand" and lower them during traditionally slow times. His opinion piece in the Washington Post also questioned the Postal Service's obligation to "deliver everywhere six days a week, at a regularly scheduled time, making the delivery even for a single piece of mail, which is not cost-effective." He recommended restructuring the Postal Service to make it employee owned through an employee stock-ownership plan.

Laurence Lyttle was fired from his job as a relief mail carrier in Isleton, Calif., after just two months when he failed to deliver the day's mail because he went for a joy ride. Authorities said Lyttle was involved in two hit-and-run incidents: crashing into a fence near a marina and backing over a water main at a trailer park. While investigating the incident, postal officials discovered an outstanding warrant for Lyttle in San Mateo County for failure to appear. "He had a lot of training," Isleton postmaster Richard Webberson said. "We had high hopes for him."

Johnny on the Spot When police in Morro Bay, Calif., received a report of a man struggling to get out of a Port-a-Potty being towed on a small trailer at 40 mph, they found the man was an inmate from California Men's Colony. Police Officer Rick Catlett said the prisoner wasn't trying to escape. He was part of a road crew working along Highway 1 who stopped to use the portable toilet moments before a city truck drove off with it. Rick Grantham, who alerted the police, said he spotted the man opening the door and yelling "Hey! Hey!" to get the driver's attention.

A 63-year-old Austrian man was trapped for more than three days in a portable toilet after fleeing from muggers in Vienna. When his assailants began chasing him, he spied the mobile lavatory and locked himself in, according to the Kurier newspaper, but they flipped the toilet over with the door face down so he couldn't get out. "He screamed again and again for help and banged against the walls," a police officer told the paper, "but nobody heard him because it was a very busy crossroads." After spending 80 hours in the cramped plastic container while outside temperatures neared 90 degrees, the man was rescued when he managed to break open one of the vents and flag down a passer-by.

Baby Driver

After a teen-age girl in Toronto completed her driving test, the examiner told her to park the car while he issued her driver's license. As she pulled into the parking lot, the car went out of control and hit four vehicles, then spun around and hit two more and a pedestrian, who was taken to the hospital with leg injuries. The teen-ager also suffered minor leg injuries. The driving instructor was treated for shock. He also changed his mind about issuing the girl her license.

Litigation Nation

The Garden Plain State Bank in Wichita, Kan., is suing Sunflower Bank for $7,165, claiming a man robbed a Garden Plain branch of that amount, then deposited the stolen money at Sunflower. Sunflower insisted it couldn't legally return the money.

Compiled from the nation's press by Roland Sweet. Send original clippings, citing source and date, to P.O. Box 8130, Alexandria VA 22306.

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.