NewsQuirks 651

First Rule: Eat the Evidence

Authorities in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, accused Kimberly Hericks, 36, of concocting orders for 400 large pizzas at the restaurant where she worked. Instead of delivering the pizzas, she took them home, then forged documents and damaged the company's computer system and fax machine to cover her scheme. Kim Kowalski, a spokesperson for the Cuyahoga County prosecutor's office, said Hericks's aim apparently wasn't to steal money but to be recognized in the company's newsletter for increasing the store's pizza sales. She was caught when she asked the storeowner to help her move. "He found 400 pizzas in her garage," Kowalski said, noting many of them were rotting.

Nominee for Nobel Peace Prize

A Hong Kong company has adapted the same technology that the military uses to jam the signals of attacking missiles to block annoying wireless-phone calls. "This is a way to enforce the etiquette of mobile-phone usage where polite persuasion has failed," Paul Kan, chairman of Champion Technology Holdings Ltd., said. Kan pointed out that Champion's MuteTone device, which sells for around $1,600, can be used in areas up to 25,000 square feet.

Back to the Drawing Board

Mike Madden, 48, a welder and part-time inventor in West Yorkshire, England, was walking through the woods testing a bird-feeding hat when a large gray squirrel spotted the nuts on the hat's feeding tray and jumped onto his head. The animal landed with such force that Madden was knocked to the ground and injured his neck. "I've always liked squirrels," Madden said, "but once you've had one land on your head traveling about 30 mph, you can easily go off them."

The hat, which Madden designed so birds could feed from it while he was out walking, was destroyed in the attack. He said he has no plans to build another.

Reel Life

Police in Detroit Lakes, Minn., reported finding the body of a Japanese woman who came to the United States to search for money buried by a character in the movie "Fargo." Takako Konishi, 28, flew to Minneapolis, then boarded a bus for Bismarck, N.D., where she showed police a crude map indicating her quest for the buried treasure. Bismarck Police Lt. Nick Sevart said officers tried to explain to her that "Fargo" was only a movie, but she didn't understand because she spoke little English. Sevart said she apparently took a bus to Fargo, then a taxi to Detroit Lakes. A bowhunter found her body, which showed no signs of foul play, three days after she was last seen alive.

Mensa Reject of the Week

Aarti Rishi, 20, was leading a martial arts class in Bayonne, N.J., when she told a student to shoot an arrow at her, and she would try to catch it in midair. The missile deflected off her arm into her eye. Emergency medical technicians arrived but could do little to help the woman because her eye was out of its socket, apparently as a result of Rishi and the student pulling out the arrow themselves.

Defending the Homeland

Authorities at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport said a man checking luggage for an elk-hunting trip was showing a Delta Air Lines ticket agent that his rifle wasn't loaded. When he checked the bolt-action on the rifle, it fired. The bullet went through a window, but no one was injured. After being detained, the man and his wife were allowed to board a later flight.

Hundreds of passengers had to be rechecked at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport after a National Guardsman noticed that a metal detector they had passed through had come unplugged. About 100 flights were delayed. One flight that had already taken off was called back. As many as 10 airborne flights were allowed to continue, but passengers were checked at their destinations after they landed.

Reach Out and Touch Someone

Police in Jacksonville, Fla., reported that a 15-month-old child was apparently playing with a phone and accidentally dialed 911. When police arrived at the address, they heard a child crying inside the home, but no one responded to their knocking. They broke down the door and found Alfray Lamar Epps, 23, holding the child. Epps said he had seen the officers but didn't want to answer the door because he thought they had come to arrest him for a probation violation. They checked and found out Epps was wanted for resisting arrest and possession of marijuana, then arrested him.

A court in the Gulf emirate of Dubai validated the divorce of a husband who used the text-message feature of his wireless phone to notify his wife. Islamic Sharia law stipulates that a man can divorce his wife either by speaking or writing the words "I divorce thee" three times.

Getting Ready for Hunting Season

When Katarina Pulkinen, 32, admitted sheriff's deputies to her home in Baldwin, Maine, to serve a restraining order on her husband, William Bloomquist, 43, the officers found 81 guns, more than 20,000 rounds of ammunition, practice rockets and hand grenades hidden in the basement.

New Money

Jonas, an African elephant at Portugal's Lisbon Zoo, is being retrained to accept the new euro. The elephant's keepers have taught Jonas to ring a bell when a coin is placed in his trunk, but only if the coin is 20 escudos or higher. Anything smaller he tosses away. When Portugal switches to the euro, the escudo coins will be phased out.

A study of the eight euro coins making their debut in January found that handling two of them for just five minutes could trigger an allergic reaction by people who are sensitive to nickel. The one-euro and two-euro coins contain enough nickel alloy to cause skin inflammation or itching, according to Swedish dermatologist Carola Liden and British laboratory scientist Stephen Carter. Their study noted the two coins could release nickel up to 100 times greater than the European Union limit, endangering "many shop assistants and cashiers in shops, banks and post offices (who) handle coins during large parts of their workdays."

Audacity Alert

Chicago police reported that Curtis Reed, 42, was shot and killed after he broke into a couple's apartment, then, according to Detective Mike Miller, "stormed upstairs and into the bedroom and said to the woman, 'Show me your tits.' At that point, the husband fired."

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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