Dispatches > Quick Takes
Illustration by Krieg Barrie

Quick Takes

Issue: "Trouble in Egypt," June 2, 2012

Store-bought drinks

It's not being generous if it's with other people's money. Police say a 23-year-old Montreal man robbed a pair of local convenience stores and a video rental company on May 7, walked across the street to a bar, and offered to buy all the patrons free drinks with the roughly $1,000 in stolen loot. After seeing police combing the neighborhood outside, one bartender grew suspicious of the unusual bar patron and alerted authorities, who quickly arrested the man.

Running strong

She might not have posted a time in the official record book, but no one will soon forget Claire Lomas' completion of the London Marathon on May 7. The marathon officially began on April 22, meaning Lomas, a 32-year-old British woman, finished the 26.2-mile race in 16 days. Which isn't bad considering a horse riding accident in 2007 left Lomas paralyzed from the chest down. With help from a $75,000 bionic suit, Lomas walked over 1.5 miles each day. Marathon officials said she couldn't officially receive her completion medal, since race rules require runners to finish the marathon on the same day that it starts. However, Richard Branson, whose Virgin Group sponsored the event, awarded her with a trophy anyway.


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A bouncer working the door at the Union Bar in Iowa City, Iowa, wasn't fooled when an underage University of Iowa student tried to use a stolen ID to gain entrance on May 7. That's because the card that 19-year-old Stephen J. Fiorella handed the bouncer happened to be the bouncer's own driver's license. The unidentified bouncer had reported his driver's license and other wallet contents stolen in February. Police quickly arrested Fiorella and charged him with fifth-degree theft and the unlawful use of another's ID.

Woman bites dog

Newsmen say that when a dog bites a man, it's not news. But if a man bites a dog, that's a story. But Analise Garner has taken the symbolic headline to a new level: Woman bites dog. Police say the Illinois native, 19, bit her pet bulldog at least three times when she came home drunk from a night of underage drinking on April 29. When police arrived, they arrested Garner for battery (she bit her mother too), as well as animal cruelty and underage drinking. Authorities say the dog should recover just fine.

Early bloomer

It won't be long until the Popa Urria family receives a deluge of letters from advice-seeking parents. That's because at 2 years, 9 months old, their son Anthony has posted a staggering 154 on an official IQ test. With a score that rivals Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking, young Anthony has already been accepted into Mensa, the international high IQ society-all before fully completing potty training. His parents say the Calgary, Canada, child could identify letters in the alphabet before learning how to speak and can easily solve a 70-piece puzzle.

Flame out

Residents of a city in Kyrgyzstan are angry at their city for allowing their eternal flame memorial to go out-all because the city failed to pay a gas bill. The city of Bishkek built the memorial in 1984 as a tribute to Soviet soldiers who died during World War II and kept it burning continuously until April 24. Then after failing to receive payment on the $9,400 bill, the local gas company cut off the gas, extinguishing the memorial flame. Local residents were fired up. "The eternal flame must be eternal. It must burn day and night and remind us of our sacrifice for victory," local poet and World War II veteran Sooronbay Jusuyev, 87, told The Washington Times. "We should be ashamed in front of our neighbors that we let the fire go out."

Seeing double

This year's senior class at Brookwood High in Gwinnett County, Ga., has a lot of brotherly and sisterly love. The one class at that one school boasts 12 sets of twins, a mix of identical and fraternal pairs. "You kind of wonder what was in the water back then," Brookwood softball coach Kent Doehrman told a local Fox affiliate. Whatever it was, it may have also been in the water two years later in Illinois. The sophomore class at Niles West High School in Skokie, Ill., reportedly has 14 sets of twins.

Packing the court

Huge traffic jams are so unusual in Auburn, Calif., that when law enforcement spotted a nearly quarter-mile tie-up along I-80 in the northern California town, they knew something was wrong. A computer glitch at the Placer County Courthouse meant that 1,200 of the city's 13,000 residents received jury summons on May 1. Officials at the courthouse apologized profusely to the frustrated citizens as they trickled in and learned they were not needed that day.


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