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News Quirks

Good Housekeeping

By Roland Sweet
Posted // November 11,2009 -

Curses, Foiled Again
An armed robber entered a Pizza Hut restaurant in Statesville, N.C., and ordered worker Therman Martin to empty the safe. Martin told WSOC-TV that when he explained he couldn’t open the safe because “I’m just the oven man,” the robber forced him into the bathroom and tried to shoot him, but the gun misfired. Martin then bit the robber’s hand until he dropped the gun and took off running. He paused, Martin said, and asked, “Please give me the gun back. It’s not my gun, and I’ll leave.” Martin refused, and the robber fled.

Good Housekeeping
Scientists investigating a large crater in Latvia, initially believed to have been caused by a meteorite, concluded it was a hoax. Uldis Nulle, a scientist at the Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Center, said he and other experts agreed after visiting the site that the 27-foot-wide and 9-foot-deep hole near the Estonian border couldn’t have been caused by a meteorite. It was too tidy.

Meals on Wheels
Bears looking for food ransack minivans more often than any other vehicle, according to scientists at Yosemite National Park. They found that of the 908 vehicles broken into by park bears between 2001 and 2007, 29 percent were minivans, which represented just 7 percent of all the cars that visited Yosemite. The study, published in the Journal of Mammalogy, explained that minivans, which are typically driven by families with children, are virtual picnic baskets on wheels, containing plenty of snacks, drinks and well-stocked coolers.

When Guns Are Outlawed
Police arrested Erik John Batty, 40, for attacking Officer Myles J. Lawler with a pillow. The Orlando Sentinel reported that Lawler responded to a call about a medical situation at Batty’s mobile home in Edgewater, Fla., but Batty ordered him out of his room and threw the pillow at him. Lawler deflected the weapon but stated in his arrest report that because Batty had several diseases, “I felt the pillow was biohazardious (sic) material and could contain hazards.”

Spot the Silver Lining
William Seago, 52, pleaded guilty to careless driving after running over and killing friend and coworker Keith Warman, 55, while making a three-point turn in a 26-ton truck. BBC News reported Seago was born blind in his right eye but received his commercial driving license in 2003 by memorizing the lower two lines of an eye chart to pass the exam. When Judge Neil Ford of Bristol Crown Court heard that since the accident, Seago has lost his wife and his truck-driving job and now works at a cheese factory, he promised Seago no jail time.

Too Pious to Fail
State regulators closed a 6-year-old bank in Otsego, Minn., that attracted national media attention for advocating prayer in the workplace. Riverview Community Bank was an aggressive real estate lender and was hit hard by foreclosures, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The bank opened as a “Christian financial institution,” with a Bible buried in the foundation and the words “In God We Trust” engraved in the cornerstone. The office wall of bank president Duane Kropuenske features a large color print of Jesus and two businessmen closing a deal. One of the bank’s founders, mortgage banker Chuck Ripka, once boasted that God had actually guaranteed success for investors, claiming God personally assured him, “Chuck, if you pastor the bank, I’ll take care of the bottom line.”

Nice Work If You Can Get It
Anthony Armatys, 35, accepted a job at Avaya telecommunications firm in Somerset Township, Ill., and filled out the necessary paperwork to start, but changed his mind at the last minute and kept his current position. Avaya’s new computer system removed Armatys from the human-resource database but not the payroll system. As a result, Armatys received Avaya paychecks from September 2002 to February 2007. After auditors uncovered the error, an investigation learned Armatys also withdrew funds from an employee retirement savings account he had been contributing to. Accused of stealing $470,995.53, Armatys pleaded guilty.

Compiled from the nation’s press by Roland Sweet. Authentication on demand. Submit items, citing date and source, to P.O. Box 8130, Alexandria VA 22306.

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