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Strange crime, Darwin Award nominees, commentary.

Source: Insane Pictures

January 15, 2004 BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese police have re-opened an investigation of a woman who killed a farmer with her BMW but was let off with a suspended sentence, unleashing national fury against cronyism and corruption. 

January 13, 2004 LOS ANGELES -- Seafood restaurant chain McCormick & Schmick's has settled a lawsuit brought by a California woman who said she suffered severe emotional distress after she discovered a condom in her clam chowder, a company spokesman says. (Reuters)

Flash of Anger Lands Man in Taxi Trouble

August 7, 2003 -- A South Korean businessman was nearly hit by a taxi while crossing the street in Manila. Outraged, he chose to vent his anger at the taxi driver by exposing his genitals. A drug squad officer was passing by and arrested the man, who had been in the Philippines for about two months. Police said the man was still shouting and cursing when he was brought to a station house. He faces exhibitionism charges, and we are left wondering what he was thinking when he flashed his genitals instead of flying the bird like a normal person. -- Source: Reuters

Odds and Ends in the News (Very Odd)

Slow-Speed Pursuit in Reno Ends in Arrest of Man on Bar Stool

August 13, 2003 RENO, Nev. -- Police pulled over a man on a barstool -- after a slow speed pursuit on one of Reno's busier streets. It started Monday when an officer saw a man riding the motorized barstool at 35 mph. He was being followed closely by a woman in a Mustang. Both driver and rider were pulled over.

The woman told police she had been on the phone with a dispatcher reporting the barstool stolen. The owner of the barstool confirmed that the stool, powered by a small engine, had been taken three weeks earlier.

Jarrett Orcutt, 22, said he had bought it a little over a week ago, thinking it was a toy and added that he had driven it between Reno and nearby Sparks several times. Police estimate its value at more than $1,000.

Orcutt faces Reno charges of possession of stolen property, possession of drug paraphernalia, and numerous traffic violations. Sparks police are handling the stolen vehicle report. -- Canadian Press (AP)

Hawaiians Reward Good Samaritan Turned Victim

July 16, 2003 HONOLULU -- A US Marine helped revive the victim of a near drowning on Oahu on Monday, only to learn that his personal belongings had been stolen during the rescue. But all was not lost -- when Hawaii residents read about Quentin Gwynn in the Honolulu Advertiser newspaper, they showered the Good Samaritan with gifts.

Gwynn and his girlfriend were relaxing at Waimea Bay when an unconscious 16-year-old youth was pulled from the ocean. The Honolulu Fire Department credited the 21-year-old Marine with saving the teen-ager's life by administering CPR. After the commotion, Gwynn discovered that his girlfriend's backpack -- with their identification, wallets, credit cards and a camera inside -- had been stolen.

The public responded with money, meals, and free accommodations in a Waikiki hotel and clothing. Gwynn was on liberty from the USS Bonhomme Richard, which had been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since January. The ship arrived at Pearl Harbor on Sunday. -- Edited and excerpted from the full article by Reuters

Cat's Comments on Good Samaritans

Good Samaritans are not always so fortunate. In 2001, a Namibian man stopped to help a woman who appeared to be having car trouble. Men who had been hiding in the bushes jumped out and stole his car, leaving him stranded, but alive. A Los Angeles man wasn't so fortunate in 2000, when he spotted a man being beaten by four other men. When he stopped his car to see what he could do to stop the assault, one of the perpetrators shot and killed him.

It's a shocking but commonplace occurrence when a Good Samaritan encounters a woman being beaten by a man in a public place and attempts to intervene, only to have the "victim" turn on the rescuer in defense of her abuser. Some Good Samaritans, after saving a victim from attack, have even been sued by crime perpetrators who claim injuries.

As Clare Booth Luce said, "No good deed goes unpunished." However, I'm glad there are still people who are willing to become involved when they see wrongdoing, and even more glad that the public will turn out like this to support the victimized Good Samaritan. I pray that there will never be another case like that of Kitty Genovese, the Queens woman who was stabbed to death in 1964. Her cries for help were ignored by at least 38 witnesses to the attack, which went on for more than a half-hour.

Common sense should be applied in liberal doses before jumping in to help where "even angels fear to tread." The following link leads to advice every Good Samaritan should read before acting:

Responsibilities of the Good Samaritan

'Time-Traveler' Busted For Insider Trading

Federal investigators have arrested an enigmatic Wall Street wiz on insider-trading charges -- and incredibly, he claims to be a time-traveler from the year 2256!

Sources at the Security and Exchange Commission confirm that 44-year-old Andrew Carlssin offered the bizarre explanation for his uncanny success in the stock market after being led off in handcuffs on January 28.

When investigators hauled Carlssin in for questioning, they got more than they bargained for: A mind-boggling four-hour confession.

Carlssin declared that he had traveled back in time from over 200 years in the future, when it is common knowledge that our era experienced one of the worst stock plunges in history. Yet anyone armed with knowledge of the handful of stocks destined to go through the roof could make a fortune.

"It was just too tempting to resist," Carlssin allegedly said in his videotaped confession. "I had planned to make it look natural, you know, lose a little here and there so it doesn't look too perfect. But I just got caught in the moment."

In a bid for leniency, Carlssin has reportedly offered to divulge "historical facts" such as the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden and a cure for AIDS.

However, he refuses to reveal the location of the machine or discuss how it works, supposedly out of fear the technology could "fall into the wrong hands."

Officials are quite confident the "time-traveler's" claims are bogus. Yet the SEC source admits, "No one can find any record of any Andrew Carlssin existing anywhere before December 2002."

Page Contents:

  • Drug Smuggler Rumbled by Call of Nature
  • Restaurant Settles Condom-In-Soup Lawsuit
  • Spreading the Wealth
  • Flash of Anger Lands Man in Taxi Trouble
  • Six Flags Killer' Still At Large, Say Souvenir-Bedecked Police
  • Odd News Clippings
  • 'Odds and Ends' in the News: Very Odd
  • Hawaiians Reward Good Samaritan
  • Advice for Good Samaritans
  • Charges Filed in Catapult Death
  • Nod Your Head, Go to Court
  • 'Time Traveller' Busted for Insider Trading
  • Life in Prison for Spitting

Spreading the Wealth: A bank robber throws money around

December 19, 2003 -- The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that some local motorists were hit by unexpected flurries a week before Christmas. But it wasn't snow. Police say that after a gun-toting Deanna L. Keith robbed a Wells Fargo Bank, she started throwing the loot out the window as she led officers on a high-speed chase that ultimately ended with her capture. Officer Jesse Hernandez said that one of the pursuing cops was surprised when he smacked into a bundle of cash. "It kind of exploded like a bird hitting his windshield and feathers going everywhere," he told the paper. -- Opinion Journal

GURNEE, IL -- Local authorities continue to search Gurnee's Great America theme park for a criminal dubbed "The Six Flags Killer," souvenir-laden police reported Monday. -- The Onion

Source: Splashspot

Two Charged After Human Catapult Death

July 15, 2003 LONDON -- An Oxford University student from Bulgaria died in a stunt with a giant "human catapult" on November 24, 2002. Now British police have charged two men, members of an "unofficial club" at Oxford University, with manslaughter.

Konstadin Yankov, 19, died when he was flung from a "trebuchet" -- a replica medieval catapult -- and failed to land in the net meant to catch him. Yankov was the sixth person that day to have been launched, and the only fatality.

The catapult event, now a Darwin Award nominee, was the idea of the "unofficial" Oxford Stunt Factory, not to be confused with the Oxford Stunt Factory, which has provided professonal services to the movie and television industry and extreme sports event organizers.

Yankov, a member of the club, had been properly weighed and that the machine had been correctly calibrated before he was fired in a 30-yard arc, according to organizers. They did not know what had gone wrong. -- Source: Reuters, Darwin Awards, Extreme Dreams

Nod Your Head, Go To Court

Most managers know they aren't supposed to make inappropriate comments. But they often think that if a subordinate or peer says something inappropriate in their presence, it's okay for them to say nothing. A recent court case dispels that myth.

A 69-year-old painter was laid off in a general layoff. One younger painter was retained, so the laid off employee sued for age discrimination. The court held that when the president nodded his head in agreement, that was direct evidence of his discriminatory intent. The painter was allowed to pursue his case to a jury trial.

In addition to the inconsistent treatment, the older employee pointed to two incidents involving the President of the company. In the first incident, the President said the painter was "too old" for the job. If that had been the only incident, it might have been treated by the court as a stray remark and not indicative of age discrimination. But there was a second incident.

A friend of the painter asked the President's secretary, in front of the President, why the painter was laid off. When the secretary said he was laid off because he was too old, the President nodded his head in agreement.

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