Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Issue: "Arafat: The devil you know," Sept. 20, 2003

Old, old clothes

A German man returning from a trip to Senegal had to wait a while for his luggage to catch up to him-about 24 years. Duesseldorf police told the Reuters news service that they found the case next to a police station and tracked down its owner, now 61. The man, Reuters reported, was amused and didn't want the disco-era clothes back until his wife changed his mind. Said a police spokeswoman: "She was curious to see what was in there."

Your brain on drugs

Sheriff Terese Amazi of Mower County, Minn., had not meant to go undercover on Sept. 5, but it worked out that she was. That's when two teenage girls called Ms. Amazi's cell phone asking to buy marijuana and hung up when she told them she was the sheriff. Thinking they had dialed the wrong number the first time, the teens called back. This time, Ms. Amazi had a deputy answer. He called himself "Dupe" and arranged a meeting at a local convenience store, where the girls were promptly arrested. "Apparently, they didn't know the meaning of 'Dupe' as in 'duped' either," said Ms. Amazi. "It's incredible."

Ceiling fan

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DeKalb County, Ga., inmate Ben N. Rogozensky was his own worst witness last week. Awaiting a court hearing, Mr. Rogozensky went to a courthouse restroom and climbed into a ceiling crawl space to escape. His plans fell through, though, when he fell through the ceiling-and landed next to Judge J. Antonio DelCampo's desk in the judge's chambers. Mr. Rogozensky now faces further charges of obstruction of officers and giving false information.

He absolutely, positively had to be there

Charles McKinley of New York City is apparently one of those people who will do anything to save a buck. To keep from having to buy an airline ticket, the 25-year-old packed himself into a wooden cargo crate earlier this month and shipped himself from New York to his parents' home in DeSoto, Texas. Upon arrival, he stunned the deliveryman (who later called police) by prying open the crate with a crowbar from the inside. The crate and its human cargo had traveled in a pressurized Boeing 727 from New York to Fort Wayne, Ind., where it was transferred onto a plane to Dallas. Once in Dallas, a ground shipping company picked up the crate and took it to its destination in DeSoto, a suburb of Dallas. "It's amazing that the gentleman survived," said Lori Bailey, a special agent in the FBI's Dallas field office. The FBI and the Transportation Security Administration are investigating the incident, and prosecutors have charged Mr. McKinley with stowing away on a cargo jet.

House broken

Palle Brinch of Odense, Denmark, just wanted to bring the new pet he had bought for his daughter home for the evening earlier this month. The only problems: The new pet was a pony and his home is a second-floor apartment. Locked in the kitchen for the evening, the horse apparently turned the room into its stall, according to the Fyens Stiftstidende newspaper, with first-floor neighbors complaining of a rumbling ceiling and an overpowering stench of horse manure. Mr. Brinch says a Danish children's movie that includes a horse living in an apartment inspired the idea. Odense police say they haven't filed any charges in the incident, but the pet is now staying with Mr. Brinch's brother-in-law in the country.

Swedish 'scholarship'

Students at Sweden's Lund University may have to start taking mental notes. The Reuters news service reported that the university, one of Sweden's oldest, is planning to appoint Scandinavia's first professor of parapsychology, hypnology, and clairvoyance. An American named Heaven Lord and an Indian man who claims to be a medium are among the nearly 30 candidates to become what the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet is calling Lund's "ghost professor." Two other European universities, Utrecht University in the Netherlands and Edinburgh University in Scotland, already have chairs in parapsychology.

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