Hug Those Trees 

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Curses, Foiled Again
When Walter Allen Jr. bought two Bentleys from a Houston car dealership for $458,000, he paid by signing over a $500,000 check issued by the Federal Reserve Bank. Managers at the dealership became suspicious because the Federal Reserve Bank usually uses wire transfers, not checks. They asked Allen to return later to pick up his cars, then alerted police, who confirmed the check was a fake and were waiting for Allen when he returned. (Houston Chronicle)

• A man who was robbed at gunpoint outside a Subway store in Homestead, Pa., flagged down police and told them he recognized the suspect as having applied for a job at the Subway right before the robbery. “We checked with Subway, and they did have an application,” Homestead Police Chief J.A. DeSimone said. Using information from the form, police arrested Kris Johnson, 18. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, WTAE-TV)

Slightest Provocation
Massachusetts authorities concluded that Joseph Cummings, 51, killed his pregnant girlfriend, her sister and then himself during an argument over the last name of the baby that the girlfriend, Kimberly Nguyen, 35, was carrying. “She wanted to hyphenate the name,” said Steve O’Connell of the Essex district attorney’s office, “and he did not.” (Boston Globe)

Back to Paper-or-Plastic
Officials for Publix, a supermarket chain in the Southeast, said they would ask suppliers of their reusable grocery bags to lower the lead content after The Tampa Tribune found elevated levels of the toxin in bags it tested. The Florida newspaper reported that some of the bags had enough lead that they would be considered hazardous waste if residents put them in their household trash. (The Tampa Tribune)

Taking the Plunge
When a tractor-trailer caught fire after pulling over at a bridge on Interstate 65 in Hoover, Ala., the driver of a vehicle going the other way stopped to check on the truck driver. The good Samaritan jumped over a retaining wall but fell to his death. Police Capt. Jim Coker pointed out that a paramedic died at least 20 years before in the same spot when he leaped over the retaining wall to check on an accident victim and fell to his death. (The Birmingham News)

Sharon R. Glover, 55, was riding in a motor home traveling on Interstate 10 near Defuniak Springs, Fla., when she walked to the rear of the vehicle to use the restroom. She was seriously injured after she opened a door, fell out and slid 100 feet on the paved emergency lane before hitting the grass shoulder, according to the Florida Highway Patrol, which reported, “It is unknown if the passenger opened the wrong door or leaned on the door.” (Northwest Florida Daily News)

Above Suspicion
The Baltimore City Health Department issued its first environmental citation for repeat violation of the city’s trans-fat ban. The offender was a restaurant named Healthy Choice. (WBAL-TV)

Hug Those Trees
Crime occurs less in neighborhoods with big trees and more at homes with small ones, according to a U.S. Forest Service study using crime data from Portland, Ore. Forester Geoffrey Donovan explained that large trees might signal to crooks that a neighborhood is well cared for, making it more likely that criminals will be caught, whereas small trees can provide hiding places for criminals and obstruct their illicit activities. (Associated Press)

First Things First
Miguel Soto III, 25, was leaving a deli in New Haven. Conn., after buying a sandwich, when two men shot him in the leg and groin. The victim told police he went home and ate his sandwich before asking his father for a ride to the hospital to have his wounds treated. (The New Haven Register)

Compiled from the nation’s press by Roland Sweet. Authentication on demand.

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