In this week's installment of odd news happenings: A man admits to punching children in an Ohio Wal-Mart and Montana makes the list after a muzzleloader discharges in a Reed Point classroom.
Curses, Foiled Again
A woman who police said tried to rob two credit unions in Memphis, Tenn., fled empty-handed both times because tellers couldn’t figure out what she wanted. The first attempt ended with the frustrated robber throwing her holdup note at the teller and running away after the teller couldn’t understand her mumbling. A few hours later, a teller at the second credit union kept asking the woman fumbling in her purse what she wanted. Finally, she produced a note. When she also pulled a gun, the teller left. The woman ran outside, tripped and fell, dropped her gun, then got into a car and drove off.
Alerted by neighbors that someone was breaking into their car, a couple in Lake City, Fla., used their entry remote control to lock the thief inside. “So every time he tried to get out of the car, the owners just kept hitting the lock button on their key fob, and eventually he gave up trying to get out,” Columbia County sheriff’s Sgt. Ed Seifert said after Travis James Neeley, 19, was arrested.
Get ’Em While They Last
The Hump, a Japanese restaurant in Santa Monica, Calif., known for its exotic sushi, admitted serving whale meat after federal prosecutors filed a criminal complaint against the restaurant and its chef, Kiyoshiro Yamamoto. The action followed an investigation by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the California Department of Fish and Game and the federal Customs and Border Protection agency, prompted by the team behind the Oscar-winning documentary about dolphin hunting, “The Cove.” “Someone should not be able to walk into a restaurant and order a plate of an endangered species,” U.S. attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said.
Canada’s Parliament reacted to a European Union ban on seal products by serving seal hors d’oeuvres and main dishes at its restaurant. Two dozen lawmakers attended a luncheon to eat seal and listen to speeches endorsing Canada’s annual seal hunt. “This support begins on the plates of Canadians,” federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea proclaimed while dining on medallions of double-smoked, bacon wrap seal loin in a port reduction.
The Last Straw
Police in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said Johnny Dossey, 43, reacted to a $70 water bill by dousing his mobile home with gasoline and then setting it on fire. A few minutes later, the home exploded. Neighbor Luis Alvarez, who said he heard Dossey arguing with his father about the bill, pointed out, “I guess he got fed up with it, and that’s the only way he saw out of it.”
A 46-year-old man was arrested for drunk driving in South Bend, Ind., after other motorists reported their vehicles were struck by a hose from a gasoline pump dangling from the gas tank of his truck. An employee at the gas station said the man bought gas with a credit card but then drove off with the hose still attached to the vehicle.
Selective brain damage might influence spiritual and religious attitudes, according to an Italian study of patients before and after surgery for brain tumors. Researchers interested in linking brain activity and spirituality focused specifically on the personality trait called self-transcendence (ST), which is considered a measure of spiritual feeling, thinking and behavior. Reporting in the journal Neuron, the researchers said they hoped their findings could lead to new strategies for treating some forms of mental illness.
Tell a Friend
Israeli military authorities called off a planned raid on a West Bank village after one of its combat soldiers posted the raid’s time and location on his Facebook page. The soldier was court-martialed and sentenced to 10 days in prison. Prior to the leak, the Israeli military had launched a public information campaign warning of the hazards of sharing military information online. In military bases, posters show a mock Facebook page with images of Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Lebanese Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. Below their pictures and a Facebook friend request, the slogan reads, “You think that everyone is your friend?”
School district superintendent Dwain Haggard was showing his replica black powder muzzleloader to five high school students in Reed Point, Mont., when the gun fired and lodged a ball in the front wall of the classroom. “I can’t explain how it was loaded,” Haggard said, insisting the students were “never really in danger.”
Stuck in the Past
Turkey recalled its ambassador to the United States after the House Foreign Affairs Committee voted to label as “genocide” the killing of Armenians by Ottoman forces during World War I. The symbolic resolution passed 23-22. The United States previously condemned the killings of 300,000 to 500,000 Armenians between 1915 and 1918 but refrained from calling them genocide to avoid straining relations with Turkey, a key Muslim-majority ally in the Middle East. President Obama promised during his campaign that he would recognize the events as genocide but backed down from using that term in his message last year commemorating the killings.
Florida Highway Patrol officials reported that a 17-year-old girl, after discovering that her ex-boyfriend was seeing another girl, headed for the boyfriend’s home in New Port Richey with the intention of egging his car, but she lost control of her Dodge Neon while swerving to avoid another vehicle and smashed into a house. The collision took out a wall of the one-story building and left the garage door mangled.
Kicks Just Keep Getting Harder to Find
After a mother caught Ralph Conone, 68, hitting her two boys, ages 6 and 7, at a Wal-Mart store in Columbus, Ohio, he admitted to police that he’d been punching children on the backs of their heads with his keys in his fist for months. “He stated that he does this because of the excitement of being able to do it and get away with it with the parents right there,” police Sgt. John Hurst said. Conone explained that he would wait until a parent wandered briefly out of sight of a child before striking the child with his keys between his fingers. When the child cried out, Conone would slip away unnoticed.