Cash for Clunkers Follies 

Curses, Foiled Again
Alaska State Troopers said Stacey J. Captain, 18, was driving a Dodge Dakota that burst into flames, but he was nowhere to be found when they responded. While a witness was giving her statement to troopers, she noticed someone, later identified as Captain, stealing her Chevy Blazer. The Daily News-Miner reported the troopers gave chase, but the driver abandoned it and fled on foot. Meanwhile, troopers who went to the address of the owner of the burning vehicle found Captain, the owner’s nephew. Vehicle theft was just one of several charges filed against him.

• Police responding to a bank robbery in Greensburg, Pa., arrested David Morgan, 35, several blocks away because 1. he matched the robber’s description and 2. they saw him counting the stolen money while walking down the street.

No Shortage of Shortages
Cypriots seeking love potions are wearing away the tomb of Saint Agapitikos in the village of Arodes. People have been using dust from the grave in the church courtyard for centuries and are supposed to slip it into the drink of the person they’re trying to attract. Reuters reported that in recent years people have started taking entire shards of stone, so that a quarter of the tomb has disappeared. “I don’t know what has come over people, but they are flocking to the tomb for the stuff,” Mayor Matthaios Stefanou said. “Just the other day, locals saw some people visiting the tomb, and they were there for a very long time. In the end, they walked off with a huge chunk of stone, maybe even half a kilo of it.”

• Cuba is running out of toilet paper and may not get new supplies until the end of the year. Cuba imports toilet paper and makes its own but doesn’t have enough raw materials on hand to make any, according to an official with the state conglomerate Cimex. The year-end shipment will enable the state-run company “to supply this demand that today is presenting problems,” the official said on state-run Radio Rebelde.

When Guns Are Outlawed
The day after David Whitaker, 18, told police he was stabbed during a home invasion in Cherokee County, Ga., he admitted making up the story. The Rome News-Tribune reported that Whitaker slashed his own arm while playing with a sword in the house.

• Witnesses told police in Austin, Texas, that Randy Keith Carlson, 43, and another man were arguing when Carlson attacked the other man with deer antlers. KENS-TV News reported the fight ended when an officer pulled up at the scene.

• Authorities charged Yurub Mohammed Arte, 25, with attacking another woman during an argument at a nightclub in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Globe and Mail identified the weapon as a potato peeler.

Hard Times Indeed
For the first time since the decade began, Americans are having fewer babies—68,000 fewer last year than in 2007, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. The New York Times said some experts are blaming the declining birthrate on the economy. “It’s the recession,” sociologist Andrew Hacker of Queens College of the City University of New York told the newspaper. “Children are the most expensive item in every family’s budget, especially given all the gear kids expect today, so it’s a good place to cut back when you’re uncertain about the future.”

• Divorce filings nationally are down as much as 50 percent, again because of the economy, according to WTHR-TV News in Indianapolis. Family law expert Drew Soshnick called divorce a path to bankruptcy because splitting up also means dividing debts. He added that people whose retirement savings have dwindled since last year are rethinking whether divorce is affordable, and many couples are choosing to stay married.

Cash for Clunkers Follies
Police who arrested Timothy Kissida, 23, for driving a vehicle involved in a hit-and-run accident in Phoenix, Ariz., said that after the collision, Kissida traded in his 1992 BMW 325i as part of the “Cash for Clunkers” program. Kissida insisted the damage to the vehicle occurred when he hit a wild pig, but ABC15.com reported detectives matched broken automotive pieces from the collision scene to the damaged area of the BMW.

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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