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News/Opinion
‹‹ V.21 No.3 | January 19 - 25, 2012

Odds & Ends

By Devin D. O’Leary
Odds and Ends

Dateline: England—Robbing banks can be stressful, so perhaps we shouldn’t judge bumbling crooks so harshly. Still, it’s pretty embarrassing that a man who tried to rob the Halifax bank in London bungled the assignment by handing his gun over to the cashier. A report in the Daily Telegraph says that on Oct. 22, a man wearing sunglasses and a flat cap pulled out a gun and demanded £700,000 in cash. He then gave his gun to the shocked cashier. “This man is not the sharpest tool in the box,” a police spokesperson told the newspaper. “The guess is that he is very inexperienced and panicked when he approached the cashier, handing over his gun instead of a bag by mistake.” Realizing the error, the disarmed robber tried to snatch back his weapon, but security shutters came down, shutting off his access to the cashiers. Bank staff immediately set off the alarm, however the thief escaped by stealing a bank worker’s bicycle and pedaling away. The bank has put up a £25,000 reward for information concerning the robbery, and police have released CCTV footage of the man.

Dateline: New York—A school employee scammed a whole extra week of vacation by fooling her bosses into thinking her daughter had died. The New York Daily News reports 58-year-old Joan Barnett had one of her daughters call the Manhattan High School of Hospitality Management to say that her sister had suffered a heart attack while on vacation in Costa Rica. Barnett then had another daughter call the school several hours later to report that her sister had died and that the family would be traveling to Costa Rica for the funeral. Mrs. Barnett even faxed a forged death certificate to the school as proof of death. The ruse allowed Barnett to stretch her school-sanctioned spring break into two and a half weeks in the tropical country during March 2010. According to a report, the school became suspicious of the death certificate because it contained “slightly different fonts which were not aligned properly.” Costa Rican government officials confirmed the certificate was a fake. Barnett later submitted a second death certificate with slightly different information. Barnett was ultimately fired from her $37,000 a year job. The case eventually went to court this past fall, and Barnett pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of forgery.

Dateline: Wisconsin—Beezow Doo-Doo Zopittybop-Bop-Bop was arrested earlier this month by Madison Police for several parole violations. According to the Capital Times, Mr. Zopittybop-Bop-Bop was charged with possession of marijuana and carrying a concealed knife on Jan. 5 after area residents complained to police about excessive drinking and drug use near Reynolds Park. “Officers contacted a subject they had previous dealings with, identified as Beezow Doo-Doo Zopittybop-Bop-Bop,” police spokesperson Howard Payne told the newspaper. The 30-year-old suspect, who legally changed his name from Jeffrey Drew Wilschke in October, was arrested last April for possessing a loaded handgun in another Madison park. Zopittybop-Bop-Bop’s most recent arrest was considered a violation of his previously set bail conditions, and he was taken back to jail.

Dateline: Florida—Police in Gainesville engaged in an extended car chase with a suspect who admitted he didn’t want to pull over until he finished smoking his crack. On the night of Saturday, Jan. 7, Gainesville Police officers tried to pull over a blue pickup truck because it had only one working headlight. Officers turned on their lights and sirens as soon as the vehicle ran a red light, but the driver refused to yield. An Alachua County Sheriff’s Office deputy joined the chase shortly after it spilled on to U.S. 441. Some 15 miles later, the suspect pulled over at a Kangaroo gas station in Micanopy. Kenneth P. Stine, 53, told police he had not pulled over initially because he wanted to smoke the crack he had just purchased before going to jail. He was arrested for fleeing and attempting to elude, possession of drug paraphernalia, and violating his felony drug probation.

Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. Email your weird news to devin@alibi.com.