News Quirks | School Daze 

Curses, Foiled Again
nPolice in Council Bluffs, Iowa, reported that a man who threatened a store clerk with a gun took cash and then pulled out a can of pepper spray and tried to spray the clerk. Instead, he accidentally sprayed himself in the face and ran away.

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• A shoplifter who made off with $1,200 worth of designer purses from a store in Cape Coral, Fla., was run over twice by her getaway car. The Fort Myers News-Press reported that a security guard said the woman tried to enter the vehicle when it pulled up as she was fleeing, but she fell out. After the car ran over her, she got up and jumped onto the hood. As the car started driving away, it ran her over again. She managed to get into the car on the passenger side, but a personal business check fell out of the vehicle made out to LaKeitha Watson-Atkinson, whom police charged with several retail thefts.

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School Daze
nChicago Public School employees spent $67,000 to buy 30 cappuccino machines for a culinary arts program, according to an inspector general’s report, which noted that employees separated the purchases to stay under $10,000 so they wouldn’t have to seek competitive bids or school board approval. The report indicated that several months after the purchase, only three of the machines were in use, although not for the program. One has disappeared, and 22 hadn’t even been opened.

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A new school in Sheffield, England, has dropped the word “school” from its title, calling itself a “place of learning” instead. “We decided from an early stage we didn’t want to use the word ‘school,’” Watercliffe Meadow head teacher Linda Kingdon said. “One reason was many of the parents of the children here had very negative connotations of school.”

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Forgive and Forget
nTwo years after Kevin Dean, 49, was convicted of embezzling $1.2 million from an auto dealership in Anacortes, Wash., the dealer rehired him. “He was good at his job before,” Frontier Ford owner Ron Rennebohm told the Skagit Valley Herald. “I can’t live in the past.”

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Dean apparently can. Since returning to work, he has continued his appeal against the court order to repay the money he and comptroller Lisa Mullen, 48, stole from the company. “I’m glad to be back,” Dean said.

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Assisting Arrest
nEmployees who caught a man stealing $900 worth of power tools, clothing, video games and DVDs at a Sears store in Frederick, Md., called police, but when officers hadn’t shown up after three hours, store officials released him. The Frederick News-Post reported that Maryland State Police eventually got around to tracking down the suspect and called him to come in for questioning. He not only agreed, but even showed up early and confessed to shoplifting.

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Tree Hugger
nSheriff’s deputies in Hillsborough County, Fla., charged Jose Raul Moreno-Lopez, 38, with “lewd and lascivious exhibition” after they said he made sexual motions against a tree.

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When Guns Are Outlawed
nPolice arrested Cassady C. Catolico, 28, in St. Petersburg, Fla., for hitting a man in the head with a bagel.

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Paul A. Wood, 25, was arrested in Palmyra, N.Y., after he threw the family cat at his wife during a domestic dispute.

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Sheriff’s deputies in Volusia County, Fla., accused Zachary Moir, 19, of hitting his mother in the face with a taco after she unplugged his Xbox because he didn’t come to dinner when she called him.

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Way to Go
nJames Maurice Kaiser, 43, burned to death in a motor home in Benton County, Wash., investigators concluded, after setting the fire himself to cover up a burglary. Sheriff’s Det. Bob Brockman told Benton’s Tri-City Herald that smoke overcame Kaiser before he could escape with the VCR and electronic equipment found next to the body.

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

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