Dateline: The Netherlands--Residents of chilly Terschelling island, 70 miles north of Amsterdam, are getting their recommended daily allowance of potassium thanks to the tons of unripe bananas that have washed up on a half-mile stretch of beach. The fruit fell off a Cuban cargo ship that encountered stormy weather last week. Authorities estimate that six containers were washed off the ship and at least one burst open. Local beachcombers checked out the tropical bounty but weren’t as excited as they were one year ago when tennis shoes, aluminum briefcases and toys washed ashore. Old-timers also remember a nice load of sweaters that was swept onto the beach 20 years ago.
Dateline: Ireland--A ship in some serious trouble sent out a distress signal last week in Northern Ireland. Ofcom, the independent regulator for the communication industries in the United Kingdom, found the ship’s beacon sitting in a Belfast junkyard after the mayday signal was picked up by receivers on the Isle of Man. Normally, a rescue helicopter is dispatched when a distress signal is picked up, but the Royal Air Force station near Kinloss, located north of Scotland, could tell the signal was coming from dry land. It was tracked by satellite from a scrap-metal yard in north Belfast late last month as it was moved by truck to one in Queen’s Island in the city’s dock area. The beacon was eventually located in the middle of a 20-foot pile of scrapped refrigerators and old electronic equipment. It is assumed the ship it came off was long ago decommissioned and scrapped.
Dateline: New York--A homeless man allegedly broke into a church in the Rockland County hamlet of Valley Cottage so he could use the phone to call a sex hotline--twice. Clarktown Justice Scott Ugell told The Journal News that James Macnair, 35, picked the lock at the Elim Alliance Church and used the church’s phone to call a sex chatline number. Macnair was caught by the church treasurer, who also caught him chatting on the phone the previous Friday. She let him go the first time, but the second time she called 911. Macnair was charged with two counts of felony burglary, misdemeanor possession of burglary tools and petty larceny.
Dateline: Florida--Police say Timothy Cleary of Apopka walked into Orlando’s Harvest Baptist Church while an open casket funeral service was underway and attacked the corpse. Horrified mourners watched as Cleary punched the dead body. When officers arrived, they took Cleary into custody at the church. He faces several charges in connection with the incident. Orlando’s WKMG-TV reports that Cleary has been held over for mental evaluation. A motive for the alleged attack was not known.
Dateline: California--An Oceanside woman was arrested last Monday for allegedly falsely reporting her vehicle stolen. The North County Times reports that Sandy Mathews, also known as Sandy Smith, got behind on the payments for her 1999 GMC Yukon. To keep the vehicle from being repossessed, she took license plates from her boyfriend’s 2006 Buick and put them on the Yukon before hiding it in the backyard of a friend's house in Escondido. Mathews then reported the Yukon stolen to Oceanside police and filed an insurance claim. As soon as police got the signed report, they activated the vehicle’s LoJack system--an antitheft device Mathews obviously knew nothing about. Within minutes, the vehicle was traced to Escondido. Mathews’ friend said she didn’t know it was stolen and that Mathews had simply stored it there. Mathews was arrested on suspicion of falsely reporting a crime to a police officer and filing a false report of a vehicle theft with the intent to deceive.
Dateline: Connecticut--A man who tried his hand at a smash-and-grab robbery at a Dunkin’ Donuts in Fairfield fled with the store’s adding machine, which he apparently mistook for a cash register. Police say the unidentified man walked into the doughnut shop about 10:28 p.m. and handed the clerk a note stating that he had a gun and a bomb. The man then grabbed the adding machine, which has no cash drawers, off the counter and ran from the store.
Dateline: Texas--When will stoners learn? You should never call police to report your stolen drugs. Jose Guadalupe Flores, 35, was arrested for drug possession after telling authorities that two masked gunmen had stolen 150 pounds of marijuana from his home. Hidalgo Country sheriff’s deputies arrived at the home near Penitas in South Texas to find the door kicked in and nearly 15 pounds of pot scattered about the floor, Sheriff Lupe Trevino reported. Flores escaped while the masked men ransacked the house but later returned and told deputies he had been wrapping the drugs for shipment when the intruders burst in. “The guy walked right up to us and said the drugs were his,” Trevino said. “That’s not the smartest move.” Flores, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, was charged with felony possession of marijuana at an arraignment last Monday. No word on Flores’ missing stash.