Newsquirks | If the Briefs Don’t Fit, You Must Acquit 

Curses, Foiled Again
nAfter New Hampshire state police stopped a vehicle going 69 mph in a 45-mph zone, the driver identified himself as Jonathan Brackett. When asked, however, he spelled it “Jothan.” Trooper Chris Storm eventually learned the driver was Paul Sans, 26, who was wanted for burglary. A drug-trafficking charge was added when passenger Alicia Kelley, 20, voluntarily produced 16 grams of cocaine hidden in her vagina.
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n• Authorities in Hamilton County, Ohio, identified Gary Walker, 24, as the one who snatched a cell phone from a deaf woman because he used the phone to take his own picture. The victim spotted Walker’s photo after she got a new phone and was transferring data to it from her phone network.
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nCutting Down on Side Effects
nMany American doctors prescribe placebos for their patients, according to researchers. What’s more, six out of 10 of the doctors polled believe the practice is ethical. The survey of 679 primary-care doctors and rheumatologists, who treat arthritis patients, found that about half prescribed placebos at least two or three times a month without telling the patients, despite American Medical Association ethical standards requiring full disclosure. Usually, the placebos weren’t sugar pills but relatively harmless vitamins or over-the-counter pain relievers, although 13 percent of doctors prescribed a sedative, and an equal number prescribed an antibiotic.
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nSchool Daze
nThirty-three-year-old Wendy Brown enrolled at Ashwaubenon (Wis.) High School by posing as her 15-year-old daughter. Police, who charged Brown with identity theft, said she was trying to relive her high school years. She attended cheerleading practice and a party at the cheerleading coach’s house, was given a cheerleader locker and paid for her uniform with a check that later bounced. Noting the student appeared older but acted like a teenager, school officials discovered Brown’s true identity because she stopped attending school after the first day, prompting a truancy investigation. “In school, you see a lot of children who look older and dress older,” liaison officer Don Penza told the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “At what point do you say, ‘You’re lying’?”
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nTouch But Don’t Look
nSouth Korea’s Constitutional Court upheld a national law permitting only people registered as visually impaired to work as licensed masseurs. South Korea’s estimated 200,000 sighted, unlicensed masseurs had asked that the law be changed, insisting it denied them a right to make a living. The Korean Association of Masseurs, which has about 7,100 blind members, objected to any change by staging noisy protests in Seoul that included jumping off bridges into the Han River. “Massage is in effect the only occupation available for the visually handicapped,” the court decreed, “and there is little alternative to guarantee earnings for those persons.”
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nHousing Woes
nLandlord Daniel Cunningham, 56, blamed the collapse of a makeshift apartment building in Kalihi, Hawaii, on its 50 residents, who paid between $250 and $750 a month for a small room with two shared bathrooms in the four-story structure made of steel poles, plastic tarps and cardboard. Residents responded by accusing Cunningham of forcing them to take injections of an unknown substance or risk eviction. Cunningham told KITV News the shots were intended to prolong the tenants’ lives. A former candidate for mayor of Honolulu who wears white socks on his hands and lost his chiropractor’s license after patients accused him of injecting them, Cunningham stated in previous court filings that the rule barring chiropractors from giving injections was a sign of a “paternalistic government with Socialist/Babylonian objectives.”
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nUnwitting Accomplices
nA man who pulled off an armored car robbery in Monroe, Wash., may have been the one who placed an ad on the Website Craigslist.org offering $28.50 an hour to anyone who showed up at a Bank of America branch at the prescribed time wearing a blue, long-sleeved shirt, yellow safety vest, eye protection and ventilator mask. Suspecting the oddly attired people who responded were decoys, police said a similarly dressed man accosted the armored truck guard with pepper spray, grabbed a bag of money and eluded pursuers by entering a nearby creek and escaping on a yellow inner tube. “The Craigslist thing is very weird,” police official Debbie Willis told ABC News.
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nAttack of the Sand Snatchers
nCaribbean beaches are shrinking, thanks to thieves who are stealing sand to feed a local construction boom. The Associated Press reported Caribbean round grains, favored in creating smooth surfaces for plastering and finishing, are being hauled away by the truckload late at night, exposing towns and ecologically sensitive areas on smaller islands to tidal surges and rough seas. The sand sells for nearly $200 per cubic yard. Thieves face light fines, sometimes less than the cost of a single load of sand, meaning anyone caught could “still come out making a profit,” said Randolph Edmead, director of St. Kitts’ planning and environment department.
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nIf the Briefs Don’t Fit, You Must Acquit
nDhirendra Kamdar escaped a death sentences for drug trafficking, even though Indian police in Mumbai testified they caught him carrying four 500-gram bags of heroin in his underpants while walking 1 kilometer to catch a taxi. Kamdar’s lawyer, Ayaz Khan, argued that no one could have walked about half a mile while concealing roughly 4.5 pounds in his underwear and demonstrated his theory using bags of sugar. The court agreed.
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nCompiled from the nation’s press by Roland Sweet. Submit items, citing date and source, to P.O. Box 8130, Alexandria VA 22306.
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