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Law/Police/Crime
David Jovani Vanegas claimed to be a sophomore transfer student at Rice University. In reality he had never managed to get into Rice.

Last September, Vanegas started attending classes. He also ate in the university's cafeterias, hung out with other students, and occasionally crashed in people's dorms when he was too tired to go back to his off-campus lodgings. Vanegas appears to have been relatively friendly towards students, but didn't seem to form many lasting relationships. Hardly surprising, really.

It was Vanegas' friend Daniel Rasheed that turned him in to the police. He says he wasn't expecting such repercussions.

On September 13th 2006, Vanegas was arrested.

On the day of Vanegas's arrest, criminal trespass charges were filed against him (but later dismissed). Within the next few weeks, campus administrators alleged that Vanegas had taken close to $3,700 worth of food from Rice cafeterias. On September 28, the district attorney's office filed felony charges for aggregate theft. Bail was set at $2,000.

The reason he gave for his fake studies? He didn't get into the university, but it would have broken his mother's heart for him not to attend.
Categories: Identity/Imposters, Law/Police/Crime, Miscellaneous
Posted by Flora on Tue Oct 17, 2006
Comments (34)
imageBanyan Tree Gets Police Protection
A century-old banyan tree in Jakarta has been given police protection after a group of youths attacked it to prove it had no mystical powers.

Parents Kidnap Bride-To-Be
The day before her wedding, Julianna Redd's parents told her they were taking her on a shopping trip. Instead, they drove her 240 miles to Colorado and held her there until after the wedding was supposed to take place.

3D Studies of the Mona Lisa
New 3D studies of the Mona Lisa have led scientists to be able to pinpoint more precisely the date it was painted.

Common Job Scams
A brief rundown of some of the most common job scams.

(Thanks, Accipiter.)
Categories: Art, Law/Police/Crime, Miscellaneous
Posted by Flora on Wed Oct 04, 2006
Comments (6)
imageimageNasser Khan left his car in what he was sure was an unmarked section of road. He was understandably bemused to return the next morning only to find yellow lines beneath his car and a ticket for illegal parking on his windscreen.

CCTV footage showed workmen crouching beneath the car to paint in the lines, whilst a traffic warden waited to write the ticket.

It appears that the machinery used to paint the lines damaged the tyres on Mr Khan's car, which were then declared unroadworthy by a local garage. Salford City Council have quashed the ticket, but refuse to pay for damages to his car.

A witness to the odd event, who works in a neighbouring building, said: "We saw a group of workmen and two traffic wardens surround the car for several minutes. One of the workmen came back and crouched under the car to paint the yellow line, and then the traffic warden issued the ticket. A friend of mine caught the whole thing on his mobile phone as we thought the driver might need evidence to contest the ticket."
Categories: Law/Police/Crime, Miscellaneous
Posted by Flora on Wed Oct 04, 2006
Comments (16)
Man Dives 50 Feet for 20 Dollars
$20 blew out of Mark Giorgio's hand when he was crossing a bridge. So he followed it.

Prisoners Train as Crocodile Handlers
Five prisoners from Darwin Correction Centre in Northern Australia are currently involved in an 11-week rehabilitation pilot scheme.

Mosquito Dance Track
The Mosquito anti-teenager device has theoretically already been used as a ring tone. Now it's being made into a dance track - 'Buzzin' - which mixes two tracks, one normal, and one using the Mosquito technology.

Chess Championship Split Over Loo Breaks
Viktor Kramnik of Russia has been accused of cheating during his multiple toilet breaks. He and Veselin Topalov are playing for the title of world chess champion and the bathrooms are the only area not under video surveillance.
(Thanks, Accipiter.)

Ethnic Games End in Cross-dressing and Gang Violence
After several contestants in the women's dragon-boat racing event were described as "big women with Adam's apples", it was found that they were men in wigs. Then a dispute over a wrestling final sparked off a violent brawl.
(Thanks, LaMa.)
Categories: Animals, Entertainment, Law/Police/Crime, Sports
Posted by Flora on Mon Oct 02, 2006
Comments (8)

Q-Ray Made To Pay
Remember the Q-Ray bracelet? There was a thread about it in the old forum. This "miracle bracelet" could do everything from curing arthritis to helping you win a marathon. Now a judge has slapped its inventor with a $22.5 million fine for false advertising. Turns out it couldn't do any of that stuff after all. Who would have thought?

Woman Robs Bank With Toy Gun
Another Stupid Criminal. Or perhaps a criminal suffering from senile dementia. A 79-year-old woman "walked into the Bank of America branch Tuesday morning and told a teller that she'd just come from the dentist and could only speak quietly... As the teller leaned in, Cooke whispered a demand for $30,000 and brandished a gun that turned out to be a toy, the affidavit says. Instead of handing over any money, however, the teller triggered a silent alarm and walked away. Cooke left empty-handed after several minutes and then ducked into a nearby store, where she was arrested. Officials said Cooke was dressed for the attempted heist in a black trench coat, sunglasses and a white "Princess" visor."

image Fire Truck Tops Dome
MIT students commemmorated 9/11 by placing a fake fire truck on top of the university's Great Dome. I have a short list of other things that have topped the dome here.

Attacked By Naked Men
"Dallas - A former city official who is under investigation in an FBI corruption probe was arrested for public intoxication after claiming he was robbed by naked and scantily clad attackers at a male strip club... Police said he told them he was attacked by three men, one naked and another in only a towel." Big Gary comments: "Who says Dallas doesn't have class?"
Categories: Con Artists, Law/Police/Crime, Pranks
Posted by Alex on Wed Sep 13, 2006
Comments (11)

Do you want to be a gigolo?
Malaysian men promised that, for a fee, they can become well-paid gigolos. It's the old dream job scam. One sucker "was told to meet a client at a city hotel. He waited for hours until he spotted a Western women who seemed to be searching for someone. 'I thought she was my client so I approached her and introduced myself. To my surprise, instead of receiving words of welcome, I got cursed and insulted,' he told the daily."

Dumb Robber #1
Forgets to bring bag for money as he robs bank. Consequently ends up dropping most of the money during the getaway.

Dumb Robber #2
Man attempts to hold up bank. Finds out the building he's in is not a bank. He thought it was because of the presence of an ATM machine.

Lost Candy Bars
If you're a fan of Lost, you might want to try some Apollo Candy Bars, being distributed at events across the country. The Apollo Candy Company is a subsidiary of The Hanso Group, which should be familiar to Lost fans. I should add Apollo Candy to my list of Lost-related hoax websites.

Church ponders possible balloon hoax
On July 23 the Gibbsville Reformed Church in Wisconsin released 600 balloons into the air. Attached to the balloons were tags saying, "When you find me, please send a note to my church." The Church soon received word from Indiana and Kentucky of found balloons. Then a tag was returned to them from China. The pastor is suspicious: "We're thinking it may be just somebody's idea of a joke, which puts us in a little bit of a bad spot. Just the fact that it wasn't signed was somewhat suspicious. There's probably some good sermon (material) in here somehow."
Categories: Con Artists, Entertainment, Law/Police/Crime, Religion
Posted by Alex on Mon Aug 28, 2006
Comments (11)

Woman Avoids Falling Cow
If Sally Brown hadn't moved when she did, she would have been hit by a cow that had tumbled 50ft off a cliff above her.

Man Claims Penis Pump is a Bomb
Madin Azad Amin really didn't want his mother to know he'd packed a sex toy for his trip to Turkey. So he told officials it was a bomb.
(Thanks, Big Gary C)

Cows Have Accents
A group of British farmers claim that their cows moo with regional accents.
(Thanks, Beverley.)

Man Survives 1000m Fall
A South African man survived a 1000m fall almost uninjured when his parachute failed to open on his first ever jump.
Categories: Animals, Law/Police/Crime, Sex/Romance
Posted by Flora on Thu Aug 24, 2006
Comments (6)
image Back in 1998 Psychic Dorothy Allison drew a sketch (on the left) during an appearance on the Leeza Gibbons show of what she thought JonBenet Ramsey's killer looked like. The sketch was posted online and distributed via flyers. Now that John Mark Karr has been arrested for the murder of JonBenet, some people are saying that the sketch looks an awful lot like him. Is this a case of a psychic making an accurate prediction?

First of all, the sketch looks vaguely similar, but not exactly like him. Her drawing would match up pretty well to any skinny, white guy. Second, although the guy has confessed, there seems to be some doubt about whether he's telling the truth, so he may not be the killer. Third, as the Amazing Randi always points out, only psychic's hits ever get counted. Never their misses. So how many completely bogus predictions did Dorothy Allison make? That needs to be considered in any evaluation of her ability as a psychic. However, in her favor, it seems that she really did produce this sketch in 1998. So this isn't a case of a Tamara Rand style prediction.
Categories: Future/Time, Law/Police/Crime
Posted by Alex on Fri Aug 18, 2006
Comments (20)

$3 Million Bounty For Elvis
Seen Elvis lately? If you have you might be eligible for a $3 million reward. Filmmaker Adam Muskiewicz "is offering $3 million to anyone who can provide legitimate proof that The King didn't die." It's a publicity stunt for a movie about Elvis he's releasing next year. For details check out his website: elviswanted.com. I believe that LaMa has been lobbying for quite some time to add an Elvis Sighting Report Page, interfaced with a Google earth map, to the Museum of Hoaxes. Maybe it's time to do it. We'll track him down and win that $3 million!!!

David Copperfield Finds Fountain of Youth
David Copperfield claims to have found a spring on his private resort in the Bahamas that brings dead leaves, bugs, and insects back to life. He thinks it can also vanish away wrinkles. I think it sounds like he's cooking up a scheme to vanish away people's money.

Woman Sues Weather Forecasters
The weather forecast said it was going to be sunny. Instead it rained during Alyona Gabitova's camping trip. That's as good a reason as any to sue.

SlimCam Helps You Shed Weight
imageThe new HP Photosmart R727 digital camera has a "slimcam" setting that allows people to pretend to be skinnier than they really are: "The 'slimcam setting' on the gadget uses high-tech digital trickery to shave a few inches off its subject. Marketed at women, the feature squeezes the picture in the middle, so the main object in focus looks thinner - but its surroundings are left unchanged." Yet another excuse not to diet (as if any more were needed).
Categories: Body Manipulation, Celebrities, Law/Police/Crime
Posted by Alex on Thu Aug 17, 2006
Comments (12)
Status: Stupidity in the news
Just a week ago there was a town in Texas praying for rain. Before that we saw prayer as a treatment for cancer. Now a town in England is going to encourage local residents to pray for less crime. I'm sensing a trend:
The Lincolnshire branch of the Christian Police Association is setting up a "Prayer Watch" scheme to alert Christians to local crimes. As well as encouraging worshippers to keep an eye out on their churches and each other, the police said the scheme would allow Christians to use prayer to help catch criminals. "It's largely geared to protecting congregations and church properties which are pretty vulnerable places, but with the added bolt-on aspect of prayer," a Lincolnshire police spokesman told Reuters Wednesday.
I assume this is like a Christian version of the Maharishi Effect. And doubtless just as effective!
Categories: Law/Police/Crime, Religion
Posted by Alex on Fri Aug 04, 2006
Comments (7)
Status: Dumb criminal
German police report an encounter with a master criminal who, when caught in the act of stealing a computer, tried the old "pretend you're dead" act to elude capture:
The 51-year-old sneaked into a company in the town of Hildesheim late Monday and tried to make off with a computer when the owner discovered him and called the police. The man had fled into the boiler room, where they found him lying on the floor, police said in a statement. He had a pulse, but was not responding to their commands, so they called an ambulance. Only after a doctor tried to insert a tube into the burglar's trachea to reanimate him, did he suddenly open his eyes and begin speaking.
Maybe he thought that if it works for opossums, it might work for him.
Categories: Death, Law/Police/Crime
Posted by Alex on Wed Aug 02, 2006
Comments (3)
Status: Unusual product
image Want some marijuana? Of course, here in America it's illegal to buy the real thing, but you can buy mock marijuana... lifelike marijuana plants made out of silk and wood. It would be a pretty cool conversation piece to have sitting in the corner, especially if the police ever show up unexpectedly. The mock marijuana is sold by New Image Plants, operated by pro-pot activist Joseph White. It's a small business. Most of his customers, ironically, are law-enforcement agencies. But he did just sell $40,000 worth of his plants to the set director of Weeds, a Showtime series about a marijuana-dealing suburbanite soccer mom. White notes that he does have some customers who seem to think he's selling the real stuff, but he notes that: "We cannot be held liable for stupid people smoking our plants."

Actually I did once hear that while it's illegal to buy and sell marijuana plants, it's legal to buy the seeds. I thought this was an urban legend (if not, it's a strange loophole in the law), but a quick google search reveals that there are quite a few internet sites offering to sell marijuana seeds. Personally, I'd be very cautious about giving money to these sites (not that I was planning on doing so, mind you). I'd be worried that they would take the money and run.
Categories: Health/Medicine, Law/Police/Crime
Posted by Alex on Mon Jul 24, 2006
Comments (24)
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