Dispatches > Quick Takes
Illustration by Krieg Barrie

Quick Takes

Oddball occurrences

Issue: "New breed of homeless," Feb. 28, 2009

Getting their goat

Police in Nigeria have arrested a goat on suspicion of car theft. According to a spokesman for the Kwara state police, a group of vigilantes spotted a pair of crooks trying to break into and steal a Mazda 323. But when the vigilantes attempted to stop the robbery, the car thieves fled. "They pursued them," the spokesman told Reuters. "However, one of them escaped while the other turned into a goat." Police say they are holding the animal until they can either scientifically prove the suspected car thief morphed into the hoofed animal or until the goat's owner comes forward to claim ownership.

On the road

For the sake of the cleanup, workers could only be thankful it wasn't a tanker truck that crashed. And sorry that they didn't bring marshmallows. An 18-wheeler carrying nearly 24 tons of cocoa powder crashed on Feb. 2 just outside of Elkview, W.Va., spilling its contents onto the I-79 roadway and forcing a closure on the interstate's southbound lanes for 14 hours. The truck's driver escaped the crash with only minor injuries, but his payload of 47,000 pounds of cocoa was ruined, intermittently catching fire on the interstate as blowtorch-wielding rescue workers attempted to peel back the truck's roof.

Lost and found

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Steelworkers near Berlin discovered just how much treasure could be found in one man's trash. Workers at the steel plant made sure to check the inside of a safe sent to the plant for scrapping by a local bank. And the bank is probably glad they did. Inside the discarded safe, workers at the steel plant found 100,000 euros cash (about $130,000). But instead of pocketing the bills, the steel workers returned the money to the bank.

Stuck but not thirsty

The bottle didn't let him down. In fact, a bottle of whiskey proved to be almost the only comfort for a retired English bricklayer who became trapped under a sofa for two and a half days after a domestic accident. Joe Galliott of Somerset told The Sun he became trapped under his couch when he tripped over a phone cord during a power outage, toppled over a sofa and brought the entire thing over on him. The retired 65-year-old said back problems prevented him from freeing himself from his cushy, dark-blue velour entrapment, but that he was able to reach for a bottle of whiskey that had fallen also. "I didn't have the strength to shift anything," Galliott told The Sun. "I never had anything to drink except from that bottle of whisky, and I sipped on that." That bottle kept him comfortable, so to speak, until his grandson came to visit days later and freed him.

Vulture kryptonite

Officials at a Florida middle school have turned to the power inside grape bubble gum to rid the campus of annoying vultures that had been terrorizing school livestock. The scavenger birds were drawn to the area by a local landfill but had recently begun to peck away at pigs that were part of the Bradenton, Fla., middle school's agricultural program. The school district contracted with a local wildlife exterminator who misted the campus with methyl anthranilate, a chemical found in Concord grapes and used to create grape-flavored consumer goods like gum and soda. And while kids may like the smell, vultures can't stand it. "It's like a dentist hitting a nerve in your tooth," Nuisance Wildlife Removal president Jeff Norris told the Bradenton Herald, describing the chemical's effect on the vultures. "It's temporary, goes away almost immediately, and has no effect on people or pets."

Prison plan

All Matthew Robert Kiss wanted was to see his brother. Problem was, his brother was in a Michigan jail. Even worse: Kiss' plan to arrange a meeting. The 24-year-old Imlay City, Mich., resident was arrested on Jan. 27 after he allegedly broke into a gas station. Officials say he smoked a few stolen cigarettes, drank some stolen beer, and then dialed 911 to turn himself in. Sheriff Tim Donnellon said Kiss told deputies he wanted to see his incarcerated brother. Authorities booked Kiss into jail on a felony breaking and entering charge-where he was specifically kept from seeing his jailed kin.

Egg alert

Some might find the warning label on boxes of The Happy Egg Co.'s free-range eggs redundant. The label reads: "Allergy Advice: Contains Egg." That may seem self-evident for Britons surveying egg cartons at the grocery store, but the United Kingdom-based egg producer said the warning is simply a response to stringent labeling requirements from Great Britain's Food Standards Agency. "Some retailers insist on this information within their packs as part of a due diligence procedure," a spokesman for Happy Egg told the Daily Mail. "Any products deemed as potentially allergenic are included in this. A crazy world, but occasionally we have to do silly things to cover ourselves."

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