1. In July a 29-year-old man was taken into custody in Brunswick, Maine, after police found him in the bottom of a portable toilet on a golf course.Police did not release his name, but he is not the same man who was charged in Portland, Maine, in 2009 after being found inside a pit toilet. That man was much older (49 at the time) and admitted to having an “outhouse problem.”
2. Coincidentally, in August, Luke Chrisco, 31, who was arrested last year in a portable toilet pit at a yoga festival in Boulder, Colo., pleaded not guilty and demanded a trial on burglary and invasion of privacy charges in the incident (and, in a potentially delightful development, promised to act as his own attorney). [Bangor Daily News, 7-9-2012] [Daily Camera (Boulder) via Times Call (Longmont, Colo.), 8-10-2012]
First Amendment Blues:
3. A bar in Horry County, S.C., named the Suck Bang Blow filed a lawsuit in May challenging the county’s new ordinance prohibiting motorcyclists’ “burnouts” (engine-revving with back-tire-spinning, creating smoke—and enormous noise). The bar claims that burnouts are important expressions of its customers’ “manliness and macho” and as such are protected by the First Amendment.
4. Luigi Bellavite complained to reporters in Mountain View, Colo., in July that the theft of his “Vote Satan” yard sign ought to be prosecuted as a “hate crime” under state law—as he is a member of the Church of Satan. Police called it an ordinary theft. [Sun News (Myrtle Beach), 6-10-2012] [KMGH-TV (Denver), 7-2-2012]
5. Stores and transportation carriers are, after all these years, still unsure about which “assistance animals” they must allow without violating the federal Americans With Disabilities Act. Under the U.S. Department of Transportation’s latest draft guidelines for airlines, released in February, miniature horses and pot-bellied pigs are allowed on board under certain conditions, but not ferrets, rodents, spiders, snakes or other reptiles. Apparently there is a North American Potbellied Pig Association, whose vice president pointed out to CNSNews.com that swine can be trained to open and close doors and to use a litter box. [CNS News, 7-6-2012]
6. New Mexico is an “open carry” state, with otherwise-law-abiding adults authorised to display loaded handguns in public. However, in the town of Vaughn (pop. 500, located mid-nowhere), perhaps the only ones not authorised to carry are the town’s two police officers. Chief Ernest Armijo had been convicted in 2011 of criminal nonsupport of a wife and two sons, and among the conditions of probation was the prohibition on gun possession. Deputy Brian Bernal has his own domestic issue: a conviction for family violence that bars him, under federal law, from carrying. [KOB-TV (Albuquerque), 6-28-2012]
7. In May, Chicago police arrested a man they believed had just minutes earlier used a Bobcat front-end loader to crash through the window of a Family Dollar store and steal two cans of deodorant and a handful of gift cards (and nothing else) and walk away.
8. Police in Lorain, Ohio, were looking in June for a black man about 18 years old who had been seen on surveillance video breaking into the same Sunoco convenience store several times recently and taking up to $600 worth of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. [Chicago Tribune, 11-11-2012] [Lorain Morning Journal, 6-20-2012]
9. Police in Lewiston, Idaho, discovered in July that someone had passed a counterfeit $1 bill recently. A veteran officer told the Lewiston Tribune that counterfeiting a $1 bill is so stupid that he had seen only one in his life, made by a junior-high student to pay off a bully. (2) In June, firefighters were called to a trolley stop in National City, Calif., to free the arm of a 17-year-old boy after he got it stuck when he reached up a vending machine slot to try to steal a soda. The rescuers employed axes, crowbars, an air chisel and a rotary saw. [Associated Press via KREM-TV (Spokane, Wash.), 7-24-2012] [KGTV (San Diego), 6-24-2012]
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