Cops Don’t Like When you Touch their Donuts

It’s a hefty price for a pastry: A man accused of stealing a 52-cent doughnut could face up to 30 years in jail.  Authorities said Scott Masters, 41, slipped the doughnut into his sweat shirt without paying, then allegedly pushed away a clerk who tried to stop him as he fled the store.

The push is being treated as minor assault, which transforms a misdemeanour shoplifting charge to a strong-armed robbery with a potential prison term of five to 15 years. But because Masters has a criminal history, prosecutors say they could seek 30 years.

“Strong-arm robbery? Over a doughnut? That’s impossible,” Masters told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch from jail.  He admitted that he took the pastry but denying touching the employee. “There’s no way I would’ve pushed a woman over a doughnut.”

Farmington Police Chief Rick Baker said state law treats the shoplifting and assault as forcibly stealing property. The amount of force and value of the property doesn’t matter.  “It’s not the doughnut,” Baker said. “It’s the assault.”

Masters said he didn’t even get to enjoy his ill-gotten gains: He threw the doughnut away as he fled.   I have a sneaking suspicion this donut belonged to a hungry cop.  Anyways if this guy tucked a donut into his sweatshirt and intended to eat it then he is probably not sane enough to stand trial.

Oh How the French Love to Love

In France a woman who planted a lipstick-laden kiss on an all-white painting by the American artist Cy Twombly went on trial Tuesday, telling the court she had committed an “act of love” – not a crime.

Rindy Sam, a 30-year-old French artist, faced charges of “voluntarily damaging a work of art.” The painting is worth an estimated $2,830,000 and restorers have tried to remove the lipstick smudge from the bone-white canvas using nearly 30 products – to no avail.

Prosecutors, want Sam to pay a $6,400 fine and take a class on good citizenship. The verdict was set for Nov. 16.   Sam was taken into custody after she kissed the painting July 19. It was part of a travelling exhibition on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Avignon.  The painting is owned by collector Yvon Lambert. He was asking for $2,878,000 in damages, which included the value of the painting and the $47,000 restoration cost.

Twombly is known for his abstract paintings combining painting and drawing techniques, repetitive lines and the use of graffiti, letters and words.  Born in Lexington, Va., in 1928, Twombly has lived in Italy for nearly a half-century. He won the prestigious Golden Lion award at the Venice Biennale in 2001.

Tuesday’s trial came as police in Paris jailed five people in connection with the weekend vandalism of a noted painting by French Impressionist Claude Monet, “Le Pont d’Argenteuil.”  Intruders, apparently drunk, broke into Paris’ Orsay Museum early Sunday and punched the renowned work, leaving a nearly 10 centimetre tear. The five were tracked by evidence from museum security cameras, police said. One person admitted to putting a fist in the painting under the influence of alcohol.

The intruders had entered by a back door. Culture Minister Christine Albanel said that apparently one in the group had information about access to the museum for professional reasons and used this information to enter. The minister did not say if any of those detained worked for the museum.  Why am I not surprised this happened in France, the land of love!

Man Gets Screwed

I must confess that this strange story was posted just for the fun headlines it could possibly generate.  German police have arrested a man for stealing more than one million screws from his employers and selling his booty on the Internet, authorities said Friday.

The man – a 33-year-old assembly worker at an unidentified company – squirrelled away screws in a specially designed hiding place and spirited up to 7,000 of them home every day when he left work, police said.   Over a two-year period, he stole some 1.1 million screws with an estimated value of C$155,000, police in the Bavarian city of Wuerzburg said in a statement.

The man allegedly sold the screws over the Internet at discount prices – ultimately alerting police, who wondered where he was getting them.  The man was arrested Wednesday at his Wuerzburg apartment. Police said he acknowledged stealing the screws and was in custody awaiting formal charges

Canada the Land Where Breasts Roam Free…

Since in my last post I spoke about personal freedom here in Canada I thought this would be a nice follow up post.  Boobs, boobs eerywhere…The countdown was on, and anxiously awaiting were more than 200 moms seated, with babies in arm, ready to pull out a breast and start feeding.  They converged yesterday at St. Laurent Shopping Centre for this year’s Breastfeeding Challenge to mark World Breastfeeding Week.

“I’m always extremely happy and extremely proud to come here,” said Louise Gilbert, a public health nurse with the City of Ottawa’s public health unit and the organizer of yesterday’s event.  “We have women from all over the city, outside the city, different cultures, different religions … and they’re all doing something nice here for their child.”

For the fifth year, Ottawa was competing with cities across the country to set the record for the most babies breastfed at one time. Last year, Ottawa placed fourth overall, with 202 babies who “latched” with 202 moms. This year, more mothers registered — 219 — but only 198 babies latched.

“When the mother attaches the baby to the breast and it starts sucking, it’s called a ‘latch’, ” Gilbert said, explaining it’s not easy and many moms need support.

In the short term, breastfeeding helps reduce the risk of infections and in the long term helps prevent obesity and heart disease, Gilbert said. It’s recommended that moms breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of the baby’s life and continue breastfeeding for two years.  The event aimed to raise awareness of breastfeeding’s importance and empower women to do so in public.

“For me, I wanted to promote awareness,” said Monique Hermeling, 35, of Ottawa, while her eight-week-old son Alexander latched. “We bring our family, we bring our friends, there are the people in the shopping mall.”

Beside her sat friend Chantal Pomerleau, 35, of Ottawa. “It’s a way to encourage other pregnant women to consider breastfeeding,” she said as she breastfed her 12-week-old son, Jarick Moran.

China Takes Stand Against Social Pollution

I am not sure how weird or strange this news would be for someone the is chineese but it sure sounds weird to me, a Canadian that ejoys lots of personal freedom and rights.

China has banned television and radio ads for push-up bras, figure-enhancing underwear and sex toys in the government’s latest move to purge the country’s airwaves of what it calls social pollution.  Regulators have already targeted ads using crude or suggestive language, behaviour, and images, tightening their grip on television and radio a few weeks ahead of a twice-a-decade Communist party congress at which some new senior leaders will be appointed.

The latest move by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, or SARFT, also bans advertisements for sexual aids such as tonics that claim to boost performance in bed.  The notice indicated that regulators were concerned about both lascivious imagery and outrageous or insupportable claims about some products’ benefits or effectiveness.

“Illegal ‘sexual medication’ advertisements and other harmful ads pose a grave threat to society,” said the SARFT notice, issued in the past week and posted on the administration’s website.  “They not only seriously mislead consumers, harm the people’s health, pollute the social environment, and corrupt social mores, but also directly harm the credibility of public broadcasting and affect the image of the Communist party and the government,” the notice said.

China has already also issued strict rules for TV talent shows, including the banning of “American Idol”-style mass audience voting by cellphone text message or the Internet.   A few weeks ago, SARFT ordered 11 radio shows off the air in southern and central China for talking too explicitly about sex or for broadcasting material of an “extreme pornographic nature.”

Regulators have also banned television shows about cosmetic surgery and sex changes, and a talent show that they deemed coarse.  Three cheers for China and is quashing of human rights!

Weird Crime Watch

Here are a few weird, strange tidbits on some truly interesting criminals. 

-Authorities say a man robbing a Colorado bank demanded money by writing a note on one of his own cheques.   Not surprisingly, he was caught shortly afterward. Authorities say Forest Kelly Bissonnette, 27, apparently tried to cover his name on the cheque, then handed the note to a teller September 5 at the Bank of the West in Englewood.   Nearly five thousand dollars U-S was taken.

Surveillance video shows a suspect similar to Bissonnette’s description and a tipster says a man named Forest Kelly claimed he got five thousand dollars in a bank robbery.   Bissonnette remained in federal custody Tuesday after turning himself in Friday.   A public defender was to be appointed for Bissonnette, who doesn’t have a listed phone number and probably has an IQ of 20.

-Here is one that will make you lose your appetite.  Police in Minnesota say a man who robbed a woman of her keys and cellphone took off her shoes and licked her toes.   Commander Kevin Casper calls the attack weird sexual behaviour. Authorities say the 24-year-old woman was leaving work around 1 a.m. Saturday when the 27-year-old suspect approached her and demanded her keys and phone. After that, he removed her shoes. Police say the woman was not hurt.

Police arrested the man a few minutes later about four blocks away.   The woman identified the suspect and police were able to recover her keys and phone.   The man was in custody but it was not clear whether he had been formally charged.

-And now for one that just warms the heart.  A man has been charged with extorting more than $20,000 from his elderly mother by repeatedly threatening to kidnap her beloved cat and demanding ransom, police said.   Garry Lamar, 47, was arrested Friday and released on $200 bail. He has been ordered to stay away from his 78-year-old mother, Mary Lamar Grancher.

He started threatening to kidnap his the cat just over a year ago, after his mother kicked him out of her home, accusing him of abuse, North Kingstown Police Sgt. Daniel Ormond said.   During the past year, Lamar allegedly kidnapped the cat once and made kidnapping threats on an almost weekly basis, Ormond said. Police don’t believe the cat was harmed but are continuing to investigate.   Grancher made at least two dozen payments totalling more than $20,000 in cash and checks to her son. Authorities are still sorting through her financial records to determine the precise amount.

Fake Bomb Scare

Fake_bombAn MIT student wearing what turned out to be a fake bomb was arrested at gunpoint Friday at Logan International Airport and later claimed it was artwork, officials said.  Star Simpson, 19, had a computer circuit board and wiring in plain view over a black hooded sweatshirt she was wearing, said State Police Maj. Scott Pare, the commanding officer at the airport. 

“She said that it was a piece of art and she wanted to stand out on career day,” Pare said at a news conference. “She claims that it was just art, and that she was proud of the art and she wanted to display it.”  Simpson was charged with disturbing the peace and possessing a hoax device. A not guilty plea was entered for her and she was released on $750 bail.

During the hearing, Simpson smiled as she entered wearing a T-shirt and sandals. After she posted bail, she left in a taxi with a man who identified himself as her boyfriend, but neither would answer more questions from reporters.  Prosecutor Wayne Margolis had requested $5,000 bail, saying Simpson showed a total disregard for the situation she was in — an airport after the 2001 terrorist attacks.  She definately should have thought more about this one and is lucky she wasn’t shot dead.

Ross Schreiber, who was appointed to represent Simpson, said she was not a risk to flee, was a good student with no prior convictions and she cooperated with authorities.  He said she had gone to the airport to meet her boyfriend. “She was there for legitimate purposes,” Schreiber said.

Simpson was “extremely lucky she followed the instructions or deadly force would have been used,” Pare said. “She’s lucky to be in a cell as opposed to the morgue.”  Simpson is a Massachusetts Institute of Technology sophomore from Hawaii, officials said.  The battery-powered rectangular device had nine flashing lights, and Simpson had Play-Doh in her hands, Pare said.

The phrases “Socket to me” and “Course VI” were written on the back of her sweatshirt, which authorities displayed to the media. Course VI appears to refer to MIT’s major of electrical engineering and computer science.  Simpson was a member of MIT’s swimming and diving team in 2006, according to the team’s Web site, which lists her hometown as Kihei, Hawaii. MIT spokeswoman Patti Richards said aside from confirming she was a student, the school did not have any comment.

She was arrested about 8 a.m. outside Terminal C, home to United Airlines, Jet Blue and other carriers.  A Massachusetts Port Authority staffer manning an information booth in the terminal became suspicious when Simpson — wearing the device — approached to ask about an incoming flight, Pare said. Simpson then walked outside, and the staffer notified a nearby trooper.  The trooper, joined by others with submachine guns, confronted her at a traffic island in front of the terminal.  “She was immediately told to stop, to raise her hands and not to make any movement, so we could observe all her movements to see if she was trying to trip any type of device,” Pare said. “Had she not followed the protocol, we might have used deadly force.”

Pare said Simpson took a subway to the airport, but he was not sure if she had the device on at that time.   The major praised the booth attendant, but said the incident is a reminder of the terrorism threat confronting the civil aviation system. Two of the four passenger jets hijacked on Sept. 11, 2001, took off from Logan.   The city was the focus of a major security scare Jan. 31 when dozens of battery-powered devices were discovered in various locations. Bomb squads were deployed and some transportation links were closed temporarily. They turned out to be a promotion for the Cartoon Network.

 

Earn a Degree on YouTube!

And here is yet another intersting internet based story.  It’s a dream-come-true for web addicts: you can now earn a college credit for watching YouTube.  Pitzer College began offering what may be the first course about the video-sharing site this fall . About 35 students meet in a classroom but work mostly online, where they view YouTube content and post their comments.

Class lessons also are posted and students are encouraged to post videos. One class member, for instance, posted a 1:36-minute video of himself juggling. Alexandra Juhasz, a media studies professor at the liberal arts college, said she was “underwhelmed” by the content on YouTube but set up the course, “Learning from YouTube,” to explore the role of the popular site.

Class members control most of the class content and YouTube watchers from around the world are encouraged to comment, Juhasz said.   She hopes the course will raise serious issues about YouTube, such as the role of “corporate-sponsored democratic media expression.”   YouTube is “a phenomenon that should be studied,” student Darren Grose said. “You can learn a lot about American culture and just Internet culture in general.”  I gotta get me one of those weird and strange degrees.