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 V.13 No.23 | June 3 - 9, 2004 

Odds & Ends

Odds and Ends

Dateline: England—Britain has announced an independent investigation into training methods used by the country's armed forces following the death of four recruits who all allegedly killed themselves in one of the barracks. However, Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram ruled out a full public inquiry into the deaths at Deepcut barracks in Surrey. Six separate investigations have looked into the deaths of Privates Sean Benton, 20, Cheryl James, 18, and Geoff Gray and James Collinson, 17. The last investigation, a 15-month probe by police, uncovered no evidence that the soldiers were murdered. Nonetheless, families of the dead soldiers have consistently refused to accept that the deaths were self-inflicted. This belief is due, at least in part, to the fact that Gray died from not one but two separate gunshot wounds to the head, while Benton allegedly killed himself by pumping five bullets into his own chest.

Scott Rickson

Dateline: Monaco—Somebody's getting fired over this one. An advertising stunt which placed a $250,000 diamond on the front of a Formula One race car has gone predictably wrong after the vehicle wrecked head-on in last weekend's Monaco grand prix. Embedded in the nose cone of Team Jaguar's formula one racer was a button-sized gemstone furnished by Israeli diamond dealer Steinmetz. The expensive publicity stunt was designed to promote the upcoming George Clooney film Ocean's 12, which features a high-tech diamond heist. Unfortunately, according to a Jaguar spokesman, driver Christian Klien “lost his steering and hit the barriers, forcing him to retire. His car returned to the garage minus his flawless diamond, which has yet to be found.”

Dateline: New Jersey—Apparently unclear on the concept of “take the money and run,” a bungling bank robber hung around after looting a bank in Rutherford, N.J., waiting for a cab. The man, identified as 53-year-old Ernest Di Falco, entered the Bank of New York on Monday, showed the teller a fake gun and demanded cash. When a bank employee refused to give him a ride following the robbery, Di Falco asked if he could get a cab. The helpful employee phoned a nearby cab company, and Di Falco waited in the lobby for it to come. Eventually, police arrived, called the cab company and tracked down the getaway vehicle. Di Falco was arrested before he even got to his home in West Paterson. To add insult to injury, one of the bank employees had already identified Di Falco as an employee from a nearby pizzeria, despite the sunglasses and long brown wig he wore as a disguise. Di Falco has been charged with armed bank robbery, which carries up to 20 years in federal prison.

Dateline: Oregon—Angel Shuntaria Morris, 19, of Eugene, Ore., is being held in Lane County Jail on first-degree domestic violence assault charges after pouring boiling oil on her boyfriend's face during an argument over a Bible verse. The 31-year-old boyfriend was taken to Oregon Health and Science University Hospital in Portland for treatment of severe burns to his face, neck and chest, Eugene police Sgt. Scott McKee told the Register-Guard newspaper. According to the police report, the couple, who have been dating for about eight months, were reading the Bible at the boyfriend's apartment on May 13 when they began to disagree over a certain theological point. Morris went into the kitchen to prepare some french fries. When the man went to his bedroom to recline, Morris followed him in and dumped the hot oil on his head.

Scott Rickson

Dateline: West Virginia—Civic pride is apparently not a defining characteristic of tiny Littleton, W.Va. The deadline for write-in candidates to register for Littleton's upcoming municipal elections has come and gone with no takers, meaning the ballot will remain completely blank on June 8. It seems that none of the town's elected officials are seeking re-election and not one of the 217 residents is interested in filling their positions. Despite the empty ballots, “the Secretary of State's Office told us we still have to hold an election,” said City Recorder Kelley Phillips, who doesn't want her job back. Lisa Metz was elected Littleton mayor as a write-in candidate in 2002, an election in which only 19 ballots were cast. Since then, Metz and Phillips have sought to dissolve the town's charter, a proposal that will likely be approved by the county commission due to the town's low voter turnout.

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


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