A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Flotsam and jetsam from the news

Here are some interesting, shiny bits that caught my eye:

1. This is just "crackers." From Irvine, CA:
The box of crackers Debra Rogoff bought from the grocery store had some crackerjack in it - an envelope stuffed with $10,000.

Yet the Irvine woman was more curious than ecstatic about her daughter's find. After all, who would leave money in such a place?

"We just thought, 'This is someone's money,'" she said. "We would never feel good about spending it."

Rather than go on a shopping spree, the family called police and was initially told the money could be part of a drug drop.

Police later heard from store managers at Whole Foods in Tustin that an elderly woman had come in a few days earlier, hysterical because she had mistakenly returned a box of crackers with her life savings inside. In a mix-up the store restocked the box rather than composting it.

The Lake Forest woman, whose identity was not released, had lost faith in her bank and decided the box would be a safer place for the money.

Luckily for her, the box of Annie's Sour Cream and Onion Cheddar Bunny crackers were bought by the Rogoffs, who discovered the crisp $100 bills in an unmarked white envelope on Oct. 10.

The Rogoffs never heard from the woman and didn't receive a reward, but Rogoff did return to Whole Foods a couple weeks later.

"I asked them if I could have another box of crackers," she said with a laugh. The store obliged.

Yeah, that was MUCH safer than a bank.

2. To make this a perfect story, shouldn't this have been a "cat burglar?" From Murray, UT:
A thief remains at large after pulling off a daring heist - in the pet food aisle.

Surveillance video at a supermarket in this Salt Lake City suburb caught a dog shoplifting, KSL-TV reported Wednesday.

The video showed the dog walking in the front door of Smith's Food & Drug in Murray, and heading straight to Aisle 16, the pet food aisle, where it grabbed a bone worth $2.79.

The thief wasn't even perturbed by a face-to-face confrontation with store manager Roger Adamson.

"I looked at him. I said 'Drop it!'" Adamson said. "He looked at me, and I looked at him, and he ran for the door and away he went, right out the front door."

I heard that the store manager's nickname was Paddywhack. So come on-- it's just a nick-knack, Paddywhack! Give the dog a bone!

3. All together now: "You don't jump on Superman's cape, you don't spit into the wind...." Or at a crime scene, apparently, especially in Oklahoma, where we know from tobacco spit:
A trail of tobacco spit has led investigators to a suspect in at least five burglaries across eastern Oklahoma, police said.

Randy Lee Shoopman Jr., 33, was charged with 11 counts of second-degree burglary after a sample of his DNA matched that taken from expectorant left behind at the scene of several burglaries in Oklahoma, said officer Brad Robertson, a spokesman for the Tahlequah police department.

Shoopman was taken into custody Friday in Merced, Calif., on an unrelated stolen property charge, Robertson said.

Investigators also said Shoopman may be involved in break-ins at businesses across eastern Oklahoma and in Missouri.

Stilwell police detective Chad Smith said he was investigating the burglary of an insurance company in September when he noticed a tobacco stain on papers in the ransacked office.

"None of the ladies that worked there chewed tobacco," Smith said. "You could tell that the stains were from the suspect."

Smith said he sent a sample of the spit to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation for testing. Detectives in Tahlequah who were investigating Shoopman as a possible suspect in a string of burglaries obtained a warrant to get a DNA sample from him.

The sample linked him to at least five burglaries in which the suspect also left behind tobacco spit, Robertson said. Shoopman was released on bail before the DNA match was obtained.

The evidence helps build a strong case for prosecutors, said Shannon Otteson, assistant district attorney in Adair County.

"Eyewitness testimony is unreliable at best. Even video tape surveillance is sometimes grainy. But this is pretty good," Otteson said. "Through this guy's bad habit, we could possibly solve several different burglaries."

Oklahoma officials hoped to have Shoopman extradited from California soon to face charges, said Otteson.

A telephone message left Wednesday with Shoopman's attorney in Muskogee was not immediately returned.

Probably because he was out looking for a Hills Bros. Coffee Can that his client can carry on his next heist, if there is one.

4. Just goes to show that Darwin may have been on to something:
Fire officials in New Bedford, Mass., say a man using a blowtorch to melt ice on his back porch ended up setting his house on fire, causing up to $30,000 in damage.

Fire Capt. Scott Kruger tells The Standard-Times of New Bedford that no on was injured during Monday's incident at the three-story home.

Kruger says the man was using a torch hooked up to a 20-pound propane cylinder. He got too close to the building's wood frame and ignited the vinyl siding. The fire quickly spread into the building's second- and third-floor apartments.

It took 25 firefighters to subdue the blaze that damaged bedrooms in the upstairs units, and caused damage to the structure and wiring.

The homeowner will not be charged.

Hey Clark, Ellen, Rusty, and Audrey! Cousin Eddie lives!

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At 12/28/08, 7:23 AM, Blogger Mrs. Chili said...

We heard about the New Bedford story when it happened - that kind of our local neighborhood, so the news feeds picked it up. Seriously? I can't tell you how many people are injured doing dumbass things in the cold (my own father-in-law, for instance, gave himself third-degree burns trying to use boiling water to melt an ice dam over his front door a few years ago. Lucky he didn't break his neck in the process; he was up on a METAL ladder (think about that for a minute - water, cold temperatures, metal...). Man's got a Ph.D., too, but is sometimes dumber than I am...

At 12/28/08, 3:41 PM, Blogger Fred said...

And I thought I read it all....

At 3/27/09, 11:12 PM, Blogger lillian said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.




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