Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Issue: "Daniel of the Year," Dec. 17, 2005

Meat heaver

Forget a trail of breadcrumbs. Police used a trail of meat to capture a grocery thief. Police say Johnny McCray heisted 19 packages of meat-including some weighing more than a pound-and fled from a Marion, Ind., market in a car. But when cops pulled him over, he sped away, chucking packages of meat out the window. Police followed the packages to an apartment complex where they discovered Mr. McCray's abandoned car. He was captured on foot shortly thereafter and charged with criminal recklessness and resisting arrest, as well as theft.

Nap time

Even the state-run media in North Korea is admitting communist leader Kim Jong Il is a bit goofy. The North Korean leader was quoted in a glowing profile story as saying he rarely slept and in fact was a bit of an insomniac. "I spend days and months on field guidance, so I've never slept comfortably for one night," the dictator said. "The people are concerned about my health and want me to rest if only for one day, but I cannot rest lest it slows the movement of the motherland."

Sleep tight

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The posh Hotel Pennsylvania in Manhattan gave guests a little something extra, according to two Swiss women. In a lawsuit filed in New York state court, Ksenija Knezevic of Zurich and Marlies Barisic of Kreuzlingen became "sick, sore, lame, and disabled" from bedbug bites after staying at the hotel across from Madison Square Garden. Hotel Pennsylvania had no immediate comment.

Sonic solution

Mark one for the grownups. A Welsh inventor says he's created a device that may forever squelch loud and disorderly teenagers. Howard Stapleton's device, called the "Mosquito," emits a high-pitched buzzing noise that teens and children can hear, but almost anyone over 30 cannot. According to scientists, the ability to hear many ultra-high-pitched noises deteriorates with age.

A free ride

A Canadian tow-truck driver hauled off more than an illegally parked car-he towed the driver, too. According to police, frost on the windows meant the tow-truck driver couldn't see that an 85-year-old man was in the driver's seat of the car. The man spent hours inside the car in a impound lot with temperatures well below freezing. When discovered, the elderly man was disoriented, but conscious and eventually fine.

A bit squirrely

One Michigan City, Ind., woman may have forgotten she was a librarian who moonlighted as an animal-rights activist-not the other way around. The city library where Cindee Goetz works suspended her for a week for spending too much time trying to free a squirrel that had taken up residence in the library's attic. Ms. Goetz was moved to action when she learned the library had hired a firm to trap the rodent in a way that would possibly kill it. "It's a real pickle to be in, all over me being compassionate toward animals," Ms. Goetz said. But Judy Hamilton, the library's executive director, said the library had problems with Ms. Goetz in the past, including a time when she devoted her work breaks to care for pigeons she housed in the library's garage. "I don't want that squirrel to die, either, but I can't allow a live animal to be headquartered in that building," Ms. Hamilton said. "It's a severe situation I can't ignore. I'm not running a squirrel condominium here."

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