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Independence

In Everett, Wash., in January, sheriff’s detectives told The Herald that they had recently tracked down a 21-year-old man who confessed to stealing checks from people’s mailboxes in Lynnwood, Wash., and then forging signatures.

According to the detectives, the man was clear about his motive: “I don’t have an addiction. I don’t need to use drugs,” he said.

“I am doing this to show my parents that I can make it on my own, without them.”

Wisconsinites in Love

• In October, Robbie Suhr, 48, of Pleasant Prairie, Wis., unsuccessfully sought the affections of the 26-year-old exchange student living with Suhr and his wife and children. According to police, a disguised Suhr approached the woman one night, intending to tie her up, leave and then return undisguised to "rescue" her. However, she fought back, sending the masked man fleeing. Police later traced the incident to Suhr.

• In Milwaukee, Jordan Cardella, 20, attempted to win back his girlfriend the hard way. Cardella convinced a buddy to shoot him, hoping for the girlfriend's sympathy and a change of heart. Although he initially requested three shots in the back, he wisely settled for one in the arm. Alas, the girlfriend continued to ignore him.

Navigational Errors

In a world of advancing technology and declining map-reading skills, some users of GPS navigators have become overly reliant on the devices. News of the Weird has reported on enough of their predicaments that the category is considered “no longer weird.” However, in March in Brisbane, Australia, three Japanese students on vacation created a new standard for ignoring common sense. They were attempting to reach North Stradbroke Island, which is located about 8 miles offshore—hence, the word “Island” in the name. According to authorities cited by the local Bayside Bulletin, the driver decided to put maps and eyesight aside, in favor of the all-powerful navigator. As news spread on the Internet, photographers rushed to capture the car, which was half-buried in water and sand. (In the students’ defense, the beach seemed to extend to the horizon at low tide.)

The Continuing Crisis

• The entire village (almost!) of Sodeto, Spain, shared the grand prize in the country's huge Christmas lottery in December, earning each of the 70 households the equivalent of at least $130,000. The joint purchase of tickets is a town ritual, but one resident missed the canvassing: filmmaker Costis Mitsotakis. He said he was happy that everyone else was happy.

• Make Yourselves at Home: (1) Keith Davis, 46, was caught red-handed in Ashley Murray's house in South Bend, Ind., in February and charged with burglary. Murray, though, said she had mixed feelings because, while there, Davis had folded Murray's clothes and vacuumed the house. (Police said they had reason to believe that Davis thought he was in his own home.) (2) Officials at the county courthouse in Charlotte, N.C., were startled to learn in January that Paul Frizzell, 30, had commandeered a vacant office in the building and for two months had been running his business out of it—complete with telephone, copy machine and bulletin board, among other items.

Least Competent Criminals One of the largest methamphetamine busts in U.S. history was made in March by police in Palo Alto, Calif., with the help of the popular “Find My iPad” app. Apparently, someone at the drug house had stolen the iPad. When police turned on the owner’s global-positioning app, it pointed to an apartment complex in Santa Clara County. During the search, almost 800 pounds of meth was confiscated, with a street value of about $35 million. Said the father of the iPad owner, “They have $35 million, and they can’t go out and buy an iPad?”

© 2012 Chuck Shepherd

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