Monday, December 20, 2010

Extra, extra: In Other News, online

Posted By on Mon, Dec 20, 2010 at 9:00 AM

In this week's installment: The bet that ended with a man eating his own beard (it tasted like chewing a "sponge"), a terrible way to remove a tattoo, and an MIT study on how cats drink. Meow.

Curses, Foiled Again
Police had little trouble identifying the masked woman who robbed a drug store in Manchester, N.H. A witness reported seeing the suspect flee the store and get into a car with vanity plates that read “B-USHER.” Police arrested Bonnie Usher, 43, at her home with stolen money. (Boston’s WCVB-TV)

New York City police investigating a murder at a Chelsea diner identified Earle Barranco, 24, as their suspect after witnesses reported the gunman wore a diamond-encrusted moneybag hanging from a gold chain—Barranco’s signature bling. A week after police issued a nationwide arrest warrant, Barranco was spotted in Charlotte, N.C., on the JumboTron video screen at a Bobcats basketball game wearing the same telltale pendant. Charlotte authorities and FBI agents arrested Barranco two nights later, when he returned for another Bobcats game. (New York’s Daily News)

Overreactions
James Hill, 51, and Troy Holt, 47, pleaded guilty in Anderson County, Ky., to shaving a man’s beard and forcing him to eat it at knifepoint after a disagreement that victim Harvey Westmoreland, 41, said began over a riding mower he sold to Holt but that Holt insisted was about a woman. Asked what it was like to eat his beard, Westmoreland said, “Well, did you ever chew on a sponge? That’d be about what it would be like.” He added, “I remember it pulling. I’d say it pulled out as much as he cut off.” (Kentucky’s Lexington Herald-Leader)

Ronald Miner, 30, told police in Lincoln, Neb., that his girlfriend, Tressa Amerson, 19, became upset because “she believed he ‘broke her car,’” according to a probable cause affidavit, and “grabbed a knife and attempted to cut the tattoo of her name off his neck.” An officer reported that a 2-by-2-inch “Tressa” tattoo appeared to have “two scratch marks that ran across the tattoo.” (The Smoking Gun)

A Mole Hill out of a Mountain
New Hampshire’s Mount Washington Hotel and Resort notified other businesses with “Mount Washington” in their name to cease and desist or face a legal challenge, even though the celebrated 6,288-foot peak’s name is stamped on everything from the local chamber of commerce to a towing company. Larry Magor, managing director of the 108-year-old hotel in Bretton Woods, insisted it’s trying to protect its identity, not patent the name. (Conway’s WMWV-FM)

Fruits of Research
Four researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology spent four years finding out how cats drink. “We did it without any funding,” said Roman Stocker, an associate professor at MIT’s department of civil and environmental engineering, who initiated the project. The team’s finding, reported in the journal Science, is that cats simultaneously overcome gravity and inertia by forming a ladle with their tongues and lapping liquid at the rate of four times a second to create an upward stream. (The Washington Post)

Negotiating Power
Florida authorities said Patty Bigbee, 45, tried to sell her 12-year-old grandson for $75,000, but the buyer talked her down to $30,000. The buyer turned out to be an informant and notified Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents, who arrested Bigbee at the scene of the would-be transaction. (Orlando Sentinel)

Bucket List
Donald Davis, 67, who suffers from dementia, managed to escape from a care home in a wheelchair, buy a new truck and lead authorities on a high-speed chase, according to police in Manteca, Calif. His wife, Janet Davis, said she discovered her husband missing from the home and found a number for a local car dealership on his bedside. Police Sgt. Ralph Colin said the dealership admitted sending an employee to drive Davis, who was wearing pajamas and slippers, to pick up his new pickup truck, which he’d asked to be outfitted with chrome wheels. He put 300 miles on the vehicle, leading police on a brief chase at speeds reaching 103 miles per hour, before they pulled him over. Officers noticed he was disoriented and took him to a hospital, where he died of a heart attack. “How could something like this happen?” Janet Davis said. “He didn’t have a wallet or a driver’s license. They threw his wheelchair in the back of the truck and gave him the keys.” (Sacramento’s KXTV-TV)

Of Mouse and Man
Sheriff’s deputies responding to a burglary call in Oconee County, S.C., found Noah Smith, 31, lying face down and naked inside the victim’s house. He appeared to be on drugs, according to the incident report, which stated that during an exam at a nearby hospital, medical personnel found a mouse tail hanging from Smith’s rectum. An X-ray revealed a mouse lodged inside Smith. A subsequent report noted that the tail was really a cord and that the object was a computer mouse, not a rodent. Either way, Smith said he had no idea how it got there. (Charleston’s WCSC-TV and The Smoking Gun)

Fool Me Once…
Part of the compensation offered passengers of the Carnival Cruise liner Splendor that was adrift in the Pacific Ocean for three days without electricity and hot water is a free cruise. “Thank you for understanding,” a voice announced over the ship’s loudspeaker as the 4,500 passengers disembarked in San Diego. “And we hope you come back real soon.” (Los Angeles Times)

When Guns Are Outlawed
A New Zealand court sentenced Fiona Jane Jordin, 44, to 6-1/2 years in jail for attacking a friend in Otaki and smashing her skull with an 11-pound statue of Buddha. (New Zealand Press Association)

When a masked man grabbed the cash register at Amigo’s Mexican Food in Deming, N.M., he started to flee but, according to police Capt. Brandon Gigante, dropped the register after a clerk hit him on the back of the head with a package of empanadas, a Mexican pastry. (The Deming Headlight)

Second-Amendment Follies
Police in San Antonio, Texas, said a man and a woman were playing Monopoly while handling a gun they apparently forgot was loaded. It fired, injuring the man in the groin and narrowly missing an artery. (San Antonio’s Express-News)

Police in Manchester, Vt., said Nicholas Bell, 23, hoped to play a prank on his sleeping friend, Jeffrey Charbonneau, 24, by waking him with the loud sound of an air gun. He mistakenly used a loaded .22-caliber rifle instead. When Bell pulled the trigger, the rifle fired a real bullet, killing Charbonneau. (Manchester’s WCAX-TV)

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