Clueless Robber Gets No Respect

So much money, so few hands — or brains.

A Minneapolis man allegedly tried to rob a grocery store last month, but tripped himself up when he put his gun on the counter so he could scoop up the cash.

The store clerk lost no time in grabbing the gun himself, and chased the gunman out of the store, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Police say Dantzler L. Thomas, 24, walked into a Chinese grocery in the early evening of Jan. 25, mask on and gun drawn.

Things went well for the alleged robber, until he had to hold his money sack — in this case, a white plastic shopping bag with a smiley face on it — with one hand and take money out of the till with the other.

So he put the gun down on the counter. Duh.

The clerk, no fool, picked it up, pointed it at Thomas and told him to leave. He did.

A few minutes later, apparently wanting to at least come out even, Thomas allegedly returned, mask still on, and demanded his weapon back.

The clerk refused, and he now had backup — his cousin, who scuffled with the unarmed Thomas until Thomas' mask fell off and he fled again.

Two cops saw Thomas get into a car and drive away, and a license search led them to a residence six hours later.

In front of the house was Thomas' car, and in the back seat of the car was a glove matching one dropped at the Chinese grocery.

They knocked on the door. Thomas opened it himself. He was charged with first-degree aggravated robbery.

— Thanks to Out There reader Troy D.

Old Lady Forces Evacuation of Police Station

LOS ANGELES (AP) — It was the last thing they needed, as police near the site of last week's train derailment tried to deal with the aftermath of the crash.

Hours after the Jan. 26 derailment took place, police say a woman walked into a police station about a mile from the scene — with a live hand grenade.

The woman, in her 70s, had found the World War II grenade (search) in her garage.

She put it in a plastic bag and took it to the police station, where the officer who was at the front desk says she just put it on the counter "almost like it was a doughnut."

He says the woman "almost passed out" when she found out it was a live grenade.

Police evacuated the station — which had already been on full tactical alert dealing with the train wreck.

The grenade was put in a special explosives container and detonated.

Flour-Bomber Forces Evacuation of Campground

MESA, Ariz. (AP) — A man could face charges for dropping bags of flour from an airplane as he flew over a campground on the Tonto National Forest (search), authorities said.

The man, whose identity wasn't released, flew a plane out of Deer Valley Airport (search) and dropped sacks of white powder as a prank on friends who were playing paintball at Needle Rock recreation area, said Sgt. Travis Anglin, a Maricopa County sheriff's spokesman.

Some plastic bags broke before reaching the ground, while others landed intact in an area east of Cave Creek, near the Verde River.

Forest rangers evacuated the campground after seeing the drop around noon Sunday and contacted the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

The paintball players later explained that their friend had dropped flour bags as a joke.

Connecticut Tries to Force Evacuation of Itself

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Despite what residents may have seen on television, the state of Connecticut was not ordered evacuated Tuesday.

State emergency management officials believe someone pressed the wrong button, and instead of running a test of the emergency alert system, midday television viewers and radio listeners were told that the state was being evacuated.

"There is absolutely no evacuation or state emergency," said Kerry Flaherty, of the Office of Emergency Management. "It was an erroneous message."

The department was investigating how the alert was sent. Officials said it is manually released to broadcasters.

The error prompted Gov. M. Jodi Rell (search) to issue a statement reassuring residents.

"We are looking into the circumstances and will take every step necessary to make certain this type of problem does not reoccur in the future," she said.

State police said they received no calls related to the erroneous alert.

Bored Kid Puts Airport on Full Alert

OSLO, Norway (AP) — A bored 12-year-old boy passing time by trying out his new balaclava (search) — a knit stocking cap that often covers the face and neck — triggered a terrorism alert at a southern Norway airport.

Glen Tommy Hvorup was waiting in a car for a delayed passenger at the Sandefjord (search) Airport, about 60 miles south of Oslo, when he got fidgety, the local newspaper reported Monday.

"We had been waiting for an hour and a half, and I was really bored," the boy told the Sandefjords Blad newspaper. "I sat in the car and pulled the knitted cap down over my face a few times. I didn't notice anyone reacting."

Someone did. A passer-by noticed a person sitting in a black Volvo with his face covered by a cap, and immediately notified security officers at the regional and charter airport, who sounded the alarm.

Police in the small city sent all available personnel, which at the time of the incident Thursday were two patrols.

They searched the airport and the surrounding area for the black Volvo and its "terrorist" without success, because Glen Tommy had just left.

When the 12-year-old learned later that he had briefly been a wanted man, he promised to be more careful with his new cap.

"I bought it because it's handy when we play 'Kick the Can,'" a variation of hide and seek, the boy told the newspaper. "It's an advantage to not be seen in the dark. But after this, I don't think I'll use the balaclava for anything other than 'Kick the Can.'"

Right Drawbridge, Wrong Time

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A 79-year-old woman suffered only bruises after a drawbridge opened beneath her as she walked across it, leaving her dangling from the structure.

Helen Koton said she did not hear any warning signals before the bridge began to open with her nearly halfway across. She said she was able to grab the railing.

"I was holding onto the railing, and I went up in the air," Koton later told Miami television station WSVN.

As the bridge rose to its full height, motorists got out of their cars and told the bridge attendant, who lowered the span after several minutes.

"Finally, I came down. When I came down, I fell on my face, so I bruised my forehead and my nose," she told the station.

Koton, a winter resident of the area, also lives in Brookline, Mass.

Brian Scott, the bridge tender's supervisor, said the incident is under investigation. He declined to comment further.

Compiled by's Paul Wagenseil.

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