Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

"Quick Takes" Continued...

Issue: "Schock factor," Jan. 31, 2009

Rock and a hard place

Finders keepers rules do not apply in the case of one of the largest gemstones ever unearthed. A federal judge in California will decide who gets possession of the gigantic, 850-pound Bahia Emerald that was once appraised at $370 million. Three parties claim ownership: a California man, the company he hired to sell it, and a third party claiming to have bought it. A flimflam artist with fake papers stole the rock from a secure vault in suburban Los Angeles and moved it to a Las Vegas warehouse in September. With a court order, deputies repossessed the emerald for safekeeping with the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department until the judge can determine ownership.

Run down

Police in Monterrey, Mexico, say a woman well known for spending her days begging for change from her wheelchair fled on foot Jan. 5 after a bungled attempt to rob a furniture store. Authorities say the 30-year-old woman and her husband tried to break a window in a local storefront when they were scared away by a security guard. Police arrested the couple when they returned to the furniture store to recover her wheelchair.

Far from home page

The skyline pictured on a Wisconsin state government website wasn't Madison, the state's capital-or even Milwaukee, the state's largest city. "I'm looking at that thinking, what the heck?" state Sen. Jeff Plale told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Dec. 29. What Plale saw on the state's new website for campaign finance disclosures was a picture of the Wisconsin state capitol building set against a backdrop of the Minneapolis, Minn., skyline. State officials paid $1 million to develop the site, but say they won't be able to cut out the image of a Minnesota city from the site's home page until later in January. "The state doesn't need to outsource their skyline," Steve Filmanowicz, aide to former Milwaukee mayor John O. Norquist, told the Sentinel.

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