In this week's installment of odd news happenings: A well-hung TSA agent loses his mind, Camel Orbs (they're not what you think they area) and an unfortunate end to National Bike to Work Day.
Curses, Foiled Again
FBI investigators said Lois J. Harvey, 40, handed a hold-up note to a bank teller in Columbus, Ohio, who informed Harvey she couldn’t read it. While trying to explain the note, Harvey noticed an off-duty police officer in full uniform waiting in line behind her. She grabbed the note and hastily left. Informed by the teller what had happened, the officer went after Harvey, who, when caught, tried to eat the note. When the officer arrested her, she coughed it up.
Authorities identified Joshua Tell Warner, 23, as the man who robbed three Oregon banks after receiving calls pointing out that the suspect was a deckhand on a crab boat who appeared on the television reality show “Deadliest Catch.” Following his arrest at a traffic stop in East Peoria, Ill., Warner pleaded guilty.
Too Big to Prosecute
After investigators with Canada’s Bank of Montreal assembled more than 35,000 documents pertaining to what could be the biggest mortgage fraud in Canadian history, government authorities told the bank they weren’t interested in pursuing a criminal investigation against more than 300 Albertans, including mortgage brokers, real estate agents, lawyers and at least one member of parliament, whom the bank accused of generating $70 million worth of phony mortgages in one year. “There just aren’t enough police officers to investigate these crimes,” said Chris Mathers, a corporate crime consultant and former Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer. “If you double the number of investigators, you will just have double the number of crimes being investigated and still have a whole bunch stacked in a pile and waiting to go.”
Little Things Mean a Lot
Authorities arrested Rolando Negrin, 44, a federal security screener at Miami International Airport, who they said beat up a co-worker with an expandable police baton. According to the arrest report, Negrin explained that he endured repeated mocking about the size of his genitals after his Transportation Security Administration colleagues observed his private parts on one of the airport’s full-body imaging machines until “he could not take the jokes any more and lost his mind.”
When researchers denounced R.J. Reynolds Tobacco for marketing Camel Orbs, mint- or cinnamon-flavored dissolvable tobacco pellets that they said too closely resemble Tic Tac breath mints and will appeal to children because they can be eaten like candy, Reynolds official David Howard noted, “Virtually every household has products that could be hazardous to children, like cleaning supplies, medicines, health and beauty products, and you compare that to 20 to 25 percent of households that use tobacco products.”
The difference, insisted Dr. Jonathan P. Winickoff, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Tobacco Consortium, “is that kids potentially will be watching grown-ups ingesting these products. The last time I checked, we don’t have adults drinking toilet bowl cleanser in front of their kids.”
Above and Beyond
Two Japanese police officers spent six evenings in a row hiding in a closet before finally nabbing a 16-year-old boy suspected of stealing 862 yen ($9.72) in Wakayama Prefecture.
Joseph M. Veladro, 28, spared the world another lawyer by telling police in Port St. Lucie, Fla., that he stole more than $300 in merchandise so he’d be charged with a felony that would keep him from going to law school.
After students at a Pennsylvania high school were charged with child pornography for circulating cell phone images of a sex act on school grounds, school officials found themselves being investigated for examining the video images. Parents complained that officials at Susquenita High School who confiscated pornographic images and videos from the students “passed around” and viewed the offensive material. “Of course, one or two people had to see the images to determine what they were, but if more than one or two top administrators saw them, there better be a good reason why,” Perry County District Attorney Charles Chenot said, adding that employees who showed the images to people not involved in the investigation could face the same charges as the seven students involved.
Ironies of the Week
After Wisconsin state troopers needed tire spikes to stop a tractor-trailer whose driver refused to pull over, authorities said the 44-year-old driver appeared to be sleep deprived. His cargo: energy drinks.
New York City fire investigators blamed a blaze that gutted five businesses and required 140 firefighters to extinguish on a worker installing a fire-safety door at a pizza shop. The worker, an employee of Ideal Fire Safety Systems, said his welding torch apparently set some grease on fire.
Way to Go
Investigators said a car traveling at 92 mph ran off the road in Willowick, Ohio, then hit an embankment and went airborne. The car flew 173 feet, crashed into the side of an apartment building between the third and fourth floors, bounced off and landed in a parking lot, where police found the driver, Carmen Ritacco, 26, dead.
An out-of-control sport utility vehicle veered across a median strip and six lanes of traffic in Fairfax County, Va., before jumping the curb and hitting two bicyclists on a bike path. The Dodge Durango killed one cyclist, 18-year-old Abdel Ouahid Chadli, and injured another before crashing into a tree, killing driver Gary Anthony Thorne, 31. The incident occurred on National Bike to Work Day.
When Randal Grubb, 63, leaned out of his SUV to pick up mail he dropped onto the road in front of his home in Spring Township, Pa., he fell out of the vehicle, which then dragged him down the street and pinned him against a concrete wall. Grubb’s wife, a passenger, wasn’t able to stop the vehicle from rolling forward and called authorities, who pronounced Grubb dead at the scene.
Recidivist of the Week
Just one month after Douglas Gardner, 54, was released from a Vermont prison, where he spent nearly 20 years for a fatal drunk-driving crash, state police charged him with DUI when he drove a car down an embankment in Highgate.