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Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2008

Like Father, Like Son

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David Norris never knew his father, who left home when Norris was 5 months old. Now 22, Norris is serving a minimum-12-year sentence for killing a man after an earlier rape conviction and is housed in Peterhead Prison, which is the primary lockup for Scotland’s sex criminals. Soon after his arrival, according to a Scottish Daily Record report, Norris ran into David Gilles, 39, who is serving a life sentence for the kidnapping and sexual torture of a young woman, and realized that Gilles is his dad.

Better Sex Lives Than Yours
Two British couples were given sanctions by local councils in August because their loud, long sex sessions disturbed neighbors. Steve and Caroline Cartwright were issued a noise abatement order by the Sunderland City Council. Caroline Cartwright said, "I must admit I do scream and make lots of noise when we are having sex, but I can’t help it." And the Brighton & Hove City Council fined Kerry Norris for violating a previous sex-noise order with her boyfriend, Adam Hinton. A neighbor said sometimes their headboard bangs against the wall until 6 a.m.

In September, officers responding to a neighbor's report of domestic violence in a subdivision near Payson, Ariz., decided that the "fight" the neighbor heard was actually the high-pitched mating scream of a male elk. And an August police search near Linz, Germany, was called off after the "bloodcurdling" screams reported as a woman in distress were really the mating cries of a badger. And officials at the Bristol Zoo Gardens in England promised neighbors they would temporarily house gibbons inside during the night because of their loud mating duets.

Family Values
Michele Cossey pleaded guilty to one count of child endangerment in September in Norristown, Pa., admitting that she bought her son Dillon, 14, a rifle and gunpowder. Prosecutors said that Dillon was planning to use the weapon in a Columbine-style attack on former classmates. Michele said she had no idea of her son’s plans, but only wanted to help boost his self-esteem since he is severely overweight and left school after the seventh grade because of bullying.

Bright Ideas
Wendy Brown, 33, was charged with identity theft in Green Bay, Wis., in September after she enrolled at Ashwaubenon High School pretending to be her 15-year-old daughter, who actually lives in Nevada. One possible motive in this case was to fulfill a longtime dream of becoming a cheerleader. According to school officials, Brown made the squad and had been attending practices, even though some people had noticed that she looked a little older than the other girls.

Entrepreneurs: (1) Sarah Lavely opened Sarah's Smash Shack in downtown San Diego this summer with the idea of allowing people who are angry at someone or something to slam ceramic plates, vases and glass pieces, such as framed photographs of an ex, against walls in special rooms (15 minutes, 15 plates, $45). (2) Australian Wool Innovation recently introduced a washable business suit that can be cleaned in an ordinary shower and will dry overnight, virtually wrinkle-free. And, in a pinch, it can even be worn in the shower.

Least Competent Criminals
Not Ready for Thugdom: (1) In September, police in Wilmington, N.C., arrested Anthony Mallette, 30, and Capria Rouser, 28, for driving an allegedly stolen car. Mallette and Rouser have been accused of trying to extort money from the owner for its return: They wanted $40. (2) Two men attempted an armed robbery of the Brighton Mini Mart in Chicago in August, but when it was over, the man with the gun had accidentally shot himself in the foot and been stabbed in the back by the 61-year-old store owner. The pair fled, but the wounded man was arrested in a hospital waiting room.

Rookie Mistakes: (1) Kody Merrival, 21, was arrested in Iowa City, Iowa, in September after he used an allegedly stolen credit card in three different establishments. At a coffee bar, Merrival asked for points on his personal account while using the card; at another store, he signed his own name; and in the third, he offered his own ID to accompany the card, leading the merchant to confiscate the card and notify police. (2) Tommy Patterson, 41, vacationing in Ormond Beach, Fla., in July, decided to do some impromptu shoplifting at a Wal-Mart, according to police, but was caught after a chase that was brief because he was still wearing flip-flops from the beach.

Hey, Want to Go Hang Out?
Daytime burglar John Pearce, 32, was arrested in Dartford, England, in August after getting his foot caught in a window and hanging upside down for more than an hour in full view of congregating (and taunting) neighbors before police arrived. However, in Chester Township, Pa., in July, scrap-metal burglar Charles Ancrum, 50, beat that record, hanging from a window for an entire weekend, dead, after he broke his neck attempting to climb into a residential garage. (While sticking his head through a small window, he fell off the sawhorse he was standing on.)

2008 Chuck Shepherd