Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Issue: "Marx isn't dead," July 19, 2003

Placing Betts

When escaped Pennsylvania prisoner Shane Betts tried to check into a Harrisburg Comfort Inn last week, the only Identification he had was his prisoner ID card. So that's what he showed the clerk, who called the police. Authorities staked out Mr. Betts's room and nabbed him when he returned from buying beer. The escapee had been doing time for burglary.

Sensor & sensibility

A burglar at a Tulsa, Okla., clothing store last week remembered to remove the sensor tags from the clothing he allegedly tried to steal, but apparently he forgot where he put them. Alarms that detect the sensors sounded as he tried to leave the store; employees say he had the 12 tags in his pocket. Tulsa police arrested the forgetful suspect.

Hard target

We see you’ve been enjoying the content on our exclusive member website. Ready to get unlimited access to all of WORLD’s member content?
Get your risk-free, 30-Day FREE Trial Membership right now.
(Don’t worry. It only takes a sec—and you don’t have to give us payment information right now.)

Get your risk-free, 30-Day FREE Trial Membership right now.

Perhaps trying to fool experts was part of the challenge, but it didn't work. A French thief this month allegedly tried to rob a Paris gun shop-with a toy gun. Reuters reported that employees at Armurerie Gare de l'Est weren't fooled. They quickly determined that the revolver was fake and summoned police, who arrested the 26-year-old Mauritanian.

Don't call him or he will call you

Most companies like receiving cold calls from the public, but Minnesota Auto Glass has probably had enough of Duluth resident Marc Plaisted. Fed up with telemarketing calls from the company-up to three per day-Mr. Plaisted called the company more than 100 times in two days this month. He says that he had placed his name on Minnesota's "do-not-call" list and had asked the company to stop calling, but was ignored. That's when he decided to take action. "I just called them every five minutes and let them know that, no, I don't have a crack in my windshield, because this seems to be something they are very concerned about," said Mr. Plaisted. A company spokesman says the company has now removed Mr. Plaisted's name from its call list.

Fry guy

Don't tell Simon Holland about deflation. Mr. Holland last week sold a 6 6-inch french fry, which he billed as the largest in the world, on eBay for $202.50. "I could probably write the book, How to Sell a French Fry on eBay," he said. He found the fry while dining last month at a Culver's restaurant in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. Employees at another Wisconsin Rapids restaurant, Chips, now say they have found an 8-inch fry. Meanwhile, a Wisconsin Rapids fry that's supposed to be longer than 7 inches also went on sale on eBay.

Finns against fines

Some Finns are so opposed to paying for public transportation that they have formed a union that pays members' fines for jumping turnstiles. Membership in pummit.org ("pummit" means freeloader) costs 15 euros per month, while a typical fine for those caught freeloading on Helsinki's buses, ferries, trams, streetcars, and subway is about 50 euros. (The price of a two-week pass for the city's public transportation is between 19 and 34 euros.) "With the help of the freeloader's fund, we can share the risk associated with stealing rides," advertises the group, which believes taxpayers should bear the full cost of public transportation. Helsinki officials condemned the concept of fine insurance. "The marketing of the freeloader's fund is probably illegal," said Yrjo Judstrom of the city's transportation department. "There absolutely is no such thing as a free ride."

Maximum spit

Convicted rapist John Marquez last week was sentenced to life in prison-for allegedly spitting on a police officer in Sapulpa, Okla. The incident occurred as the officer took Mr. Marquez into custody following a domestic disturbance. A state law, passed in 1996 amid concerns about AIDS and other diseases, makes it a felony to place bodily fluids on law enforcement officers. Prosecutors had requested a 25-year prison term, but Creek County associate Judge April Sellers followed a jury's recommendation of a maximum sentence. The jury also considered prior felony convictions, including rape and burglary, during their 15-minute deliberation. Both men tested negative for communicable diseases, and Mr. Marquez plans to appeal the sentence.


You must be a WORLD member to post comments.

    Keep Reading


    Troubling ties

    Under the Clinton State Department, influence from big money…