Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Family Affair

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In February, Elizabeth Russell, 45, and her 13-year-old daughter were arrested in Hartford, Conn., and charged with shoplifting from a Kohl’s department store. Upon hearing of the arrests, her husband, Daryll, 47, and son, Jonathan, 19, arrived at the police station to bail them out. However, a quick check revealed that both Daryll and Jonathan had warrants against them for violating probation, and they were subsequently arrested. Said a police lieutenant, “I don’t ever recall having four related people in lockup at the same time.”

Recurring Themes

Least Competent Criminals:

(1) Alleged bank robber Feliks Goldshtein was arrested after a brief chase by police, who were summoned to National City Bank in Stow, Ohio, in January. Employees may have been tipped off because Goldshtein, wearing a ski mask, waited patiently in a teller’s line and only displayed a gun when he finally reached the counter.

(2) Romeo Montillano, 40, who was being sought the December robbery of a Kmart in Chula Vista, Calif., pleasantly surprised police when they learned that a “Romeo Montillano” had registered for the upcoming police officers’ exam on Feb. 25. Indeed, he showed up—and he was arrested.

Oops!

In December, Idaho State University sent certified-mail letters to its adjunct faculty to disclose (as required by law) that some of them would soon be laid off. However, only the first-class mail fee was billed to the university, so each professor had to pay the certified-mail surcharge upon receipt in order to find out what the university had sent. (The Idaho State Journal reported that it was the Postal Service’s error.)

Jailers Not Paying Attention: (1)Christian Colon, 21, had a plea deal worked out to testify against alleged murderer Joel Rivera in exchange for a lighter sentence, but suddenly decided in February that he would not take the stand. The change of heart came right after Colon was accidentally housed in the same Milwaukee County Jail holding cell with Rivera. (With no plea deal, Colon got 46 years.) (2) At least Colon is still alive. A 23-year-old inmate at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary was found beaten to death in March after mistakenly being assigned to the same cell as his former partner-in-crime—the same one he had testified against in a 2002 murder trial.

Bright Ideas

At least four food emporiums in the United States serve deep-fried pizza, including the takeout Pizza Snobz in Wilson, Pa. Pizza Snobz owner David Barker said the specialty is more common in Scotland. The key point, he noted, is to begin with frozen pizza; otherwise, the cheese soon slides off into the fryer.

In February, Britain's Southwark Crown Court ordered Elda Beguinua to give back the equivalent of $1.2 million to investors who had believed her story that she was a countess who could recover treasures in the Philippines but needed money for expenses. Despite the setback, Beguinua told the judge that she was sticking with her story and begged him for more time to look for the "22 caves," protected by "10,000" guards, containing tons of jewelry and gold worth "300 followed by 41 zeros."

News That Sounds Like a Joke

London’s Royal Opera House announced in February that its next biennial original production would be a libretto based on the life of the late Anna Nicole Smith.

2009 Chuck Shepherd

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