Odds & Ends
By Devin D. O'Leary
Dateline: Portugal—Police didn't have to work too hard to crack the case of junior gangster Marco Guerra. The 17-year-old criminal apparently set up a Web page that featured photos of him posing with a machine gun along with cash he had obtained through crime. The site also listed Guerra's full name and telephone number. Guerra told the newsweekly Sabado that he was charged with illegal possession of firearms and drugs after police searched the room he occupies in his parents house in suburban Lisbon. “The police came and they took everything: the gun, a cap and the shotgun,” marveled Guerra. “They took the computer and now I don't have access to the Internet anymore.” Guerra's site included pictures of the teen holding a 9 mm handgun, carrying a rifle and waving a machine gun in the air, as well as shots of him posing at a table full of cash and marijuana. “Through illegal or obscure deals you can live really well,” Guerra's site advised. Guerra now faces up to three years in jail for the illegal possession of arms and another two years for the possession of drugs.
Dateline: Belgium—A court has apparently ruled that a 46-year-old bank robber can deduct the $3,400 cost of his gun as a legitimate business expense. The judge in Breda Criminal Court reduced the man's fine against his gross proceeds from the bank robbery which took place in the southern town of Chaam and netted about $10,000. Leendert De Lange, a spokesman for the notoriously liberal Dutch prosecutors' service, said the judge had followed sound legal precedents on the confiscation of criminal assets. “You can compare criminal acts to normal business activities, where you must invest to make profits, and thus you have costs.” De Lange told the Dutch newspaper De Standaard. For example, he noted, a drug dealer would be within his rights to claim the cost of a car used to transport those drugs around. Dutch judges do insist on receipts, invoices or other forms of proof when calculating how much to confiscate from convicted criminals, De Lange added. Gerald Sta, national director of the Office of Criminal Assets, added some other strict conditions: A criminal's costs must be directly related to the crime. “A second condition is that the criminal offense must be carried out,” Sta said. “The idea is that crime does not pay,” concluded De Lange. “But you are allowed to claim your expenses.”
Dateline: Delaware—Two men are accused of robbing a Domino's Pizza delivery woman. The men were arrested shortly after the crime when one of them called the woman to apologize and ask her out on a date. “It would make a perfect story for the television show ’The World's Dumbest Criminals,'” New Castle County police spokesman Corporal Trinidad Navarro told The News Journal of Wilmington. Brent Brown, 25, and Andre Moore, 18, were charged with second-degree robbery and conspiracy. Late last Wednesday night, their 18-year-old victim delivered three pizzas to a home in the Wilmington suburb of New Castle. Brown, Moore and one unidentified 16-year-old male allegedly refused to pay for the pizzas, then took all of the delivery woman's cash. A little while later, the woman got a call from one of the men on her cell phone. He apologized and asked if she'd like to meet for a date. She politely declined the offer, then turned his phone number over to police. The number was traced back to Brown, who was arrested on Thursday after the pizza girl picked him out of a lineup. A search of the home turned up empty pizza boxes, along with the original Domino's receipt. Brown posted bail and protested his innocence, saying he'd lent his cell phone to Moore and knew nothing of the crime. “I'm innocent,” he told The News Journal. “I work every day. I have no reason to rob the pizza lady.”
Dateline: Austria—Daniel Berk narrowly avoided death when he canceled his Christmas holiday trip to Sri Lanka just days before the deadly tsunami hit. Unfortunately, Berk went to the Austrian Alps instead, where he was killed by a freak avalanche while snowboarding last Saturday. Daniel Berk, who grew up in San Mateo, Calif., had been scheduled to go to Sri Lanka in December to finish his scuba diving certificate. Instead, he changed his plans when his Polish girlfriend wanted to go home to visit her parents instead. Berk, an experienced snowboarder, was on an off-trail area in the western province of Tyrol when the 300-yard-wide avalanche occurred. Two Canadians were also killed and another was seriously injured, the Associated Press reported. Three friends who saw the avalanche hit Berk say he was not wearing a transmitter.
Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. E-mail your weird news to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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