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Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2008

The Hazards of Burglary

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In the course of robbing Yaakov Kanelsky’s apart ment in Brooklyn, N.Y., in July, Victor Marin, 20, accidentally left his wallet— which contained his ID, credit cards and photos—on the bed. After Kanelsky arrived home and called 911, Marin returned and knocked on the front door. From the hallway, he begged for his billfold back and began shoving Kanelsky’s money under the door, hoping to persuade him to trade.Unfortunately for Marin, $93 of his $218 cash haul was in $1 bills, and the crack under the door was tiny. Marin was still busy stuffing money under the door by the time police arrived.

Compelling Explanations

In June, Edward Defreitas, 36, was arrested in Toms River, N.J., and accused of causing a three-vehicle collision that injured two men in a car and sent two paramedics riding in an ambulance to the hospital. Defreitas told police that he had been drinking and had decided to drive around until he sobered up. “He (said he) was afraid to go home and [was scared of] his mother finding alcohol on his breath,” said a local police sergeant.

Ironies

In July, the new smoking ban for bars and restaurants in the Netherlands took effect, but it won’t curtail the right to smoke marijuana in Amsterdam’s coffee shops, where patrons can buy up to 5 grams a day to smoke on the premises. And, just as the ban became law, the Dutch special-effects company Rain Showtechniek began selling a machine (for the equivalent of about $900) that replicates the scent of traditional, cigarette-smoked air, but which does not damage health or linger in clothing or hair.

Not Quite Rehabilitated: Russell Simon Jr., 45, a prominent motivational speaker who uses his own sordid life story to inspire troubled kids to turn their lives around and avoid drugs, was arrested in May in Isanti County, Minn., and charged with attempted murder after allegedly shooting at his girlfriend and an old buddy from prison following a long evening of alcohol and methamphetamines.

People With Issues

When Alan Patton, 56, of Columbus, Ohio, made News of the Weird in 2006, he said he had already been consuming boys’ urine for 40 years. Apparently, a 2007 jail sentence has not deterred him from his habit. He was arrested in June 2008 (and twice since then), accused of turning off the water in a recreation center restroom and placing plastic wrap inside the bowl to catch the nectar that, he says, enables him to “become a part of their youth.” While no Ohio law prohibits collecting or drinking others’ urine, Patton violates his almost-perpetual probation by visiting any public rest room.

The French

Among President Nicolas Sarkozy’s recent moves to trim the size of the French government, according to a July Wall Street Journaldispatch: figuring out why France employs more than 700 diplomats in Senegal, compared to 271 in India, a much larger country.

Update

In July in Brisbane, Australia, the Indian-born surgeon known Down Under as “Dr. Death,” Jayant Patel, was freed on bail on manslaughter charges, even though he fled to the United States in 2005 to avoid the charges and only recently had been extradited. Patel’s medical license had been revoked in New York and Oregon before he became head of surgery in a short-staffed Australian hospital in 2003 (a job for which a background check was not performed). While Patel was there, at least 17 of his patients died under preventable circumstances, and some nurses said they took to hiding their patients from Patel, who was quoted by one nurse as saying, “Doctors don’t get germs.” He was also charged with falsifying patient records.

Things You Thought Didn’t Happen

(1) People would hardly expect a brawl at the Guilford (Maine) Historical Society, but members apparently rumbled in May. Al Hunt, who was irate that rare photographs of the town had been loaned to a local restaurant, allegedly bumped the society’s secretary, Zarvin Shaffer. According to witnesses, Shaffer then punched Hunt in the face, Hunt’s wife grabbed a chair and Shaffer’s son yanked Mrs. Hunt away by her hair.

(2) In April, the Sycamore (Ill.) City Council voted to quadruple the fine for overstaying a parking meter (from 25 cents to $1). However, the city’s 360 meters themselves will remain at a penny for 12 minutes, a nickel for an hour and a dime for two hours.

Copyright 2008 Chuck Shepherd

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