Cute as a baton

Robert Richardson, 20, and Lakrisha Nash, 18, were arrested in May after allegedly walking out of a Costco store in Chula Vista, Calif., with $600 worth of unpaid-for DVDs. In their getaway, Richardson lost control of the baby carriage that contained both the DVDs and the couple's 6-month-old girl, sending the baby tumbling. Hurrying to continue, Richardson tossed the infant over to Nash, but she, too, dropped her. The baby did not appear seriously hurt, but the delay allowed police to catch up to the couple.

Take your tired ash back home

A freighter left Philadelphia in 1986 carrying 14,000 tons of incinerator ash intended for burial in the Bahamas, but when that country reneged on its offer, the ship drifted at sea under worldwide media scrutiny while new sites were pursued. Only Haiti seemed even mildly interested, offloading 2,000 tons before it, too, backed off. After more attempts to strike deals, the captain finally dumped the remainder at sea. But in 1998, Haiti ordered the Philadelphia contractor (Waste Management Inc.) to remove the original 2,000 tons. The company agreed to bury the ash in one of its U.S. landfills, but so far, several states have denied it permits, for fear that the ash was contaminated in Haiti. Thus, 14 years after leaving Philadelphia, the ash is still around; at press time, no one knows where it will finally be deposited.

Thick Scullys

Claiming that Virginia has inadequately prepared for extraterrestrial invasions, Larry W. Bryant and two colleagues filed a lawsuit in June in Alexandria, seeking to force Gov. James Gilmore to empanel a grand jury that would investigate alien abductions, train the National Guard to handle attacks from outer space and cover abductees under civil-rights laws meant for rape victims. Bryant told the APBnews service that he was especially worried about the "dark, silently floating flying triangles" observers have noticed, and expressed his distress that Gilmore has neither explained nor put a stop to the phenomena.

Booby prizes

Dancer Doddie L. Smith sued her plastic surgeon in January, claiming her implant operation left her breasts too high on her chest for any gentleman's club to hire her (Milwaukee, January). A Sarnia, Ontario, dancer sued Dr. Gilles Lauzon because her implant made one breast look like a "banana" (Montreal, February). And dancer Mary Gale won $30,000 from a jury, claiming that Dr. Elliot Jacobs used breast implants for her buttock-augmentation surgery, making her posterior painful and unsightly (New York City, June).

Septic ulcer

In May, the city of Pineville, La., admitted that about 60 homes had been receiving a mixture of drinking and sewer water for the previous three months. The city said that its chlorine treatment had probably killed any bacteria, but that various water filters -- in washing machines, icemakers and the like -- had become clogged with dark specks (feces) and white strands (toilet paper).

Printed warnings

Prosecutors said Alpna Patel, now awaiting retrial for murdering her husband, committed the crime because he had ignored her written list of 39 specific complaints about the marriage (Baltimore, February). And Pierre Navelot, 21, convicted of murder in France in February, told the court that his professional aspiration in high school was to "kill people," recalling that he had once written out a 13-page "career plan" that included the names of his pending victims. And the best evidence against Sante Kimes, convicted of murder in New York City in May, were her numerous notebooks filled with personal reminders, such as "when `does the victim go` to sleep?" "any exits in her apt?" and "is there a burglar alarm?"

Charity bash

Pamela Oliver, 39, was arrested in April in Des Moines, Iowa, and charged with assault for convincing three total strangers she had met on the street to go beat up her husband, which they did. Oliver said she was surprised to find out that what she did was illegal, since she had not even offered to pay the men.

Remedial reading

The Food and Drug Administration announced in May that it was considering several plans to get more doctors to read the labels of the drugs they prescribe, which many physicians now say they are too busy to do. In five previous instances, when dozens of patients died after taking misprescribed medicines, a skeptical FDA chose to ban the drugs altogether, rather than try to change doctors' reading habits.

Going the distance

Philadelphia police told reporters that Officer Margo Grady, who disappeared on April 1 while transporting a crime victim from one station house to another (three miles away), had inadvertently gotten on the New Jersey Turnpike and was almost to Newark (75 miles away) before she turned on her emergency lights to stop a car and ask where she was.

Taking leave of his sentence

Douglas Holmes, 30, explaining in February why he had fled in the middle of his robbery trial in Kansas City, Mo., the month before (after grabbing cash from the table of exhibits): "I saw the evidence piling up on me `and` I thought it would be in my best interest if I left for a little bit." Found guilty in absentia, he was sentenced to 55 years in prison and recaptured two weeks later.

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