Curses, Foiled Again
After robbers used heavy metal drain covers to smash their way into a Welsh bank in Cardiff and make off with $171,156, police quickly identified the culprits because a witness remembered the personalized license plate—“J4MES”—on the sporty blue BMW used as the getaway vehicle. Police found James Snell, 27, and his brother Wayne, 34, holding more than $48,944 of the loot and rounded up the rest of the gang. “It was the distinctiveness of the car which contributed to the robbers’ undoing,” prosecutor Daniel Williams said. (The Daily Telegraph)
• After receiving a report of a City Transfer truck broken down outside Renton, Wash., state police arrived to find a 19-year-old Tacoma man claiming the truck had run out of gas. At the same time, a City Transfer worker reported spotting the stalled vehicle, saying it had been stolen from City Transfer yard in Sumner. Shortly after police arrived, a City Transfer worker who witnessed the theft arrived and identified the 19-year-old as the thief. After the suspect’s arrest, Trooper Dan McDonald said the truck hadn’t run out of gas; the suspect had filled it with unleaded gas instead of diesel fuel. (Associated Press)
Cities that installed energy-efficient traffic lights are discovering the new LED bulbs don’t burn hot enough to melt snow and can become crusted over in a storm, leading to accidents. As a result, crews are being dispatched after storms to clean off the snow by hand. “It’s a bit labor-intensive,” said Green Bay, Wis., police Lt. Jim Runge. (Associated Press)
The Wanxiang-Tiancheng shopping center in Shijiazhuang, China, opened a parking garage with extra-wide spaces to accommodate women drivers. The bays are 3 feet wider than normal and painted pink and purple. In addition, the shopping center hired female attendants to guide women into their spaces. “The added space helps us to park safely,” a driver identified only as Miss Zhang told the Hebei Youth Daily newspaper. “I think it shows respect for women.” (Agence France-Presse)
On the Cutting Edge
Police in Beloit, Wis., said that when Yvone Coleman, 31, became suspicious of text messages from other women to boyfriend Lester Burks, 33, she confronted him with a knife. Burks responded by attacking her with a sword. Coleman required six stitches on her forearm. (Beloit Daily News)
• After police arrested Jared Weston Walter, 22, for snipping off the hair of a woman sitting in front of him on a bus outside Portland, Ore., they identified him as the “TriMet barber,” who prosecutor Chuck French blamed for “a number of incidents” in which women have either had their hair cut with scissors or “superglued” on TriMet buses. (The Oregonian)
Canada’s second-oldest magazine is changing its name because its unintended sexual connotation has caused the history journal to run afoul of Internet filters and turned off potential readers. The Beaver, founded in 1920 as a publication of the Hudson’s Bay Company, will become Canada’s History with the April issue, editor-in-chief Mark Reid announced. “Market research showed us that younger Canadians and women were very, very unlikely to ever buy a magazine called The Beaver, no matter what’s about,” Reid said.
Champion hurdler Jana Rawlinson had her breast implants removed to better her chances of winning a medal for Australia at the 2012 Olympics. Rawlinson told Woman’s Day magazine she “loved having bigger boobs” but didn’t want to “shortchange Australia.” (Agence France-Presse)
When the Heimlich Maneuver Fails
While handcuffing assault suspect Andrew Grande, 23, sheriff’s deputies in Bay County, Fla., said they observed him swallowing what turned out to be a “large bag of marijuana.” When deputies ordered him to “spit it out,” he continued to resist. Deputies tased him, whereupon he fell to the ground and choked to death, sheriff’s officials concluded, on the marijuana. (Panama City News Herald)
Compiled from the nation’s press by Roland Sweet. Authentication on demand.