Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Issue: "Iraq: The other caucuses," Jan. 31, 2004

Extended streak

A trio of teenage streakers, who ran naked earlier this month through a Spokane, Wash., Denny's restaurant, found that their streak lasted a little longer than they had planned. Hoping for a quick getaway, they had left their car running with their clothes inside. But while streaking through Denny's, they could only watch as a thief drove away in their car. In 20-degree weather, the three boys hid behind cars in the parking lot and waited for police to arrive. "We always tell people not to leave their car running," said police spokesman Dick Cottam.

Taboo broken

Rosie's first Broadway production apparently wasn't very riveting. Taboo, backed financially by Rosie O'Donnell and starring the cross-dressing '80s pop star Boy George, has failed to break even and will close on Feb. 8, less than three months after it opened. Ms. O'Donnell poured $10 million into the musical about the decadent London nightlife of the early '80s and once predicted that Taboo would win the Tony Award for best musical. Instead, Taboo opened to largely negative reviews and small audiences. Ms. O'Donnell lost her entire investment, but her disaster did inspire a new line in the hit Broadway comedy The Producers: "Never put your own money in a show. That's taboo."

Picture imperfect

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A pair of Chinese thieves left more than fingerprints on their stolen loot; they left photos of themselves. That's because their loot included digital cameras. The thieves happily took incriminating pictures of each other, stored them, and then were arrested trying to sell the cameras in the city of Changzhou. "Having stolen some cash and three digital cameras, they were so excited that they took photos of each other," reports the China Daily newspaper. "Neither of them knew how to delete the stored pictures."

To dye for

Robert Whitney could probably die of embarrassment. A recurrent spelling error-a confusion of the words dye and die-led police to connect him to holdup notes used in a string of bank robberies. A note used in a Gainesville, Fla., robbery read, "If a die pack blows, so do you." Investigators found the same mistake in two other holdups and collected forensic evidence from the three slips of paper linking Mr. Whitney to the crimes.

Note taker

Perhaps it was the proverbial "strange compulsion to return to the scene of the crime." On Jan. 14, suspect Eugene D. Golden of Briarwood, W.Va., returned on foot to the Community Bank in Parkersburg to retrieve the holdup note several minutes after he had allegedly robbed the bank. A police officer saw him grab the note, chased him down, and found the stolen money in his car.

In the bag

The Marines may have found one of their "few good men" in Nevada teenager Luke Schober. The Nevada Appeal reports that the grocery clerk, who plans to join the Marines after high school, was collecting stray carts at a Carson City Albertson's store when he discovered a bank bag stuffed with $88,904 in cash, checks, and money orders. Not taking a dime, he gave the bag to his manager, who called the police. Authorities say a Reno investment consultant intended to deposit the money at a bank branch inside the store, but misplaced it while loading groceries into his car. The man, whom police did not identify, later left an emotional message on Mr. Schober's answering machine, telling him, "You saved my life."

OnStar witness

Two men phoned in a fake bomb threat to the Detroit Institute of Arts this month, but they made it easy for police to track them down: They made the threat using OnStar, GM's emergency roadside system. OnStar officials called the police and the museum briefly closed, but authorities quickly traced the call to suspects Thomas King and Jason German, workers at the Detroit Auto Auction. They face up to 20 years in jail if convicted.

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