Smoking-Class Heroes 

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Curses, Foiled Again
Police said two men making their getaway after an armed robbery in Orange County, Fla., tried to distract authorities from pursuing them by reporting a carjacking. The vehicle they described, however, was the same white Honda Accord they were driving. Law enforcement officers spotted it and arrested the suspects, charging them with filing a false report in addition to the armed robbery charge. (Orlando’s WFTV-TV)

• During a traffic stop in Great Falls, Mont., Jonothan Ray Gonsalez, who had three outstanding warrants for his arrest, told police his name was Timothy Michael Koop Jr. The officer learned that Timothy Michael Koop Jr. was also wanted and arrested Gonsalez. When he told authorities his real name, they added a charge of issuing a false report. (Great Falls Tribune)

Smoking-Class Heroes
Mark Moody, 40, was taking a cigarette break on the window ledge of his second-floor apartment and talking on his cell phone when two New York City police officers stopped and asked if he intended to commit suicide. He explained the ledge was his regular smoking spot and pointed out that he was only 12 feet off the ground and would probably just sprain his ankle if he jumped. The officers insisted he come down anyway. When he refused, they summoned three ambulances and four other patrol cars, broke down Moody’s door and took him to a hospital psychiatric ward for observation. The on-duty psychiatrist interviewed him briefly, concluded he was sane, apologized and released him. Moody, who happens to be a lawyer, filed a $400,000 lawsuit against the city and the officers. (New York Post)

• New Zealand’s Gambling Commission ruled that a suburban Wellington pub could operate video poker machines in an outdoor area where smoking is allowed. The Department of Internal Affairs had tried to ban the machines, citing a link between smoking and problem gambling. The Gambling Commission said that the ban would have interfered “with the enjoyment of customers carry out lawful activities” — smoking and gambling. (New Zealand’s TV 3)

Slightest Provocation
Police said Anthony Rapoport beat his aunt to death with a baseball bat at the home they shared in Wilmette, Ill., after a series of minor disputes that began when the two argued over the type of doughnuts that Nancee Rapoport, 49, wanted her nephew to buy. Later, she reported he had hidden her cell phone. Police who responded to the call said Anthony Rapoport told them he was “tired of being nagged.” A subsequent call reported seeing Nancee Rapoport’s bludgeoned body on the kitchen floor. (Chicago Tribune)

• Police charged Tony Morris, 37, with using a crowbar to beat his brother, Thomas Morris, 41, while they were visiting their mother in Akron, Ohio, after the two argued because Tony thought Thomas had taken a bite out of a piece of chicken and placed it back in the frying pan. Tony tossed the half-eaten piece of chicken at Thomas, who suggested they go outside and handle their dispute like men. Tony grabbed the crowbar and charged after Thomas, who ran outside but slipped on the icy porch. Tony then struck him several times in the head. Their 57-year-old mother, who called 911, admitted to police that she ate the chicken. (The Akron Beacon Journal)

• Police responding to an assault in Redding, Calif., at 4 a.m. reported that the incident began when a woman saw her neighbor empty a cat litter box in the woman’s front yard. The woman responded by pouring her own cat’s litter box over the neighbor’s car, whereupon the neighbor pushed the woman to the ground. Both women called the police, who said they have a long-standing dispute. (Redding’s The Record Searchlight)

Silver Lining
New York City authorities credit a post-Christmas blizzard with saving the life of Vangelis “Angelos” Kapatos, 26, who tried to commit suicide on Jan. 2 by jumping from his ninth-floor apartment window. Police said he landed on top of a mountain of trash bags that had been piling up since nearly 2.5 feet of snow fell on Dec. 26. (New York Post)

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

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