There are cons, and then there are great cons.
A Maryland woman paid $2,000 to bail her boyfriend out of jail last month, but he's still in the hoosegow while another man walks free, reports the Carroll County Times of Westminster, Md.
Charles Lawrence Armstrong was taken in March 12 after a drunken argument with his girlfriend, Debbie Ward, apparently got out of hand. His bail was set at $100,000, which she couldn't make.
The next day, Ward got a call from a "Sheriff Miller," who asked her for Armstrong's birth date. She gave it to him.
"Sheriff Miller" also rang up Armstrong's friend and employer, John Condon, and told him Armstrong's bail was being reduced to $50,000.
"He was an older man," said Condon. "He wasn't that pushy. He seemed like he was just passing information along."
Condon called Ward, who got a bail bondsman to put up the 50 grand for a $2,000 deposit.
There was one catch.
Before "Sheriff Miller" got off the phone with Condon, he said, "By the way, Chuck checked himself in with an alias" — one that would have to be used on all the paperwork.
You can probably see where this is going. For the record, the Carroll County sheriff's last name is Tregoning.
Sure enough, after Ward had posted bail for a "Robert Anthony Williams," and then waited patiently at the Carroll County Detention Center (search) for Charles Lawrence Armstrong to be released, the real Robert Anthony Williams slyly sauntered right past her out into the open air.
Williams, jailed since December on drug, weapons and assault charges, had happened to be in the same cell the still-drunk Armstrong was tossed into. He quickly convinced the less-experienced man that he could get them both out of jail if Armstrong would just give him his girlfriend's phone number.
Warden George Hardinger said Ward could have avoided the whole mess by being upfront about the "alias" to begin with. Without that information, the paperwork freeing Williams was all perfectly legitimate.
"We don't have a dog in that hunt," said Hardinger. "I feel terrible for [Ward], but that doesn't do anything for me as far as letting that man out of the door."
— Thanks to Out There reader Brian S.
PERTH, Australia (AP) — An overzealous attempt to rid a Thai restaurant of cockroaches sparked an explosion that blew the eatery apart, emergency services said Thursday.
Three men were hospitalized with burns after they set off 36 cockroach fumigation devices — aerosol cans filled with chemicals — which apparently exploded after their contents came into contact with an oven pilot light.
Duncraig fire station officer Kieran Cooper said the blast wrecked the restaurant.
John McMillan, manager of Western Australia state's fire investigations unit, said the huge blast lifted the roof off the Tamarind restaurant (search) in the state capital, Perth.
"The restaurant owner has used the principle that if you use twice the soap, you get your hands twice as clean. He's just overdone it," McMillan said.
— Thanks to Out There readers Shannon O. and Christina N.
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) — A man who claimed doctors "locked" his brain in a federal computer has been locked in the Vigo County Jail on a charge of threatening a physician.
Kriss L. Rehmel, 38, of Coalmont, was accused of sending letters to several people, including President George W. Bush, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (search), asking them to unlock his brain, which he believes has been controlled by a computer since Sept. 11, 2001, said Vigo County Sheriff Jon Marvel.
The letters claimed Dr. Michael Rader of Terre Haute was to blame. The writer said that he would "blow [Rader's] head off," Marvel said.
The first of the series of typed letters was received on or about March 4 by officials at the Vigo County facility of Pfizer Inc., where Rehmel formerly worked, Sheriff's Lt. Tim Gossett said.
Police said Rehmel was apparently angry over back surgery that Rader, Pfizer's corporate doctor, suggested he have.
According to the letters, Rehmel believed doctors "locked" his brain into a computer "to keep him mentally and physically controlled" and "tortured," Marvel said.
"This is the type of person we just can't ignore," Marvel said.
— Thanks to Out There reader Michael J.
ROCKPORT, Mass. (AP) — A Harvard economics professor has been accused of neglecting the standard market practice of paying for goods and services by trying to steal a truckload of manure from a horse farmer.
Stable manager Phillip Casey says Martin Weitzman, Harvard University's Ernest E. Monrad Professor of Economics (search), has been stealing manure from Charlie Lane's Rockport farm for years.
Police said Casey found Weitzman on the property April 1, so he blocked in Weitzman's pickup truck and called police. Weitzman got angry, Casey said, then offered to pay for the manure he'd already taken. But Casey said he wouldn't budge because he wanted the thefts to stop.
"He offered me $20 for it and then $40 for it," Casey said.
Casey said the land was marked private property and Weitzman, 63, had been warned before.
"He's been doing it for years," Casey told the Gloucester Daily Times.
The farm sells the manure for $35 a truckload and also uses it to fertilize a pasture.
Rockport police officer Michael Marino said Weitzman, who lives in neighboring Gloucester, is charged with larceny under $250, trespassing, and malicious destruction of property for tearing up some land with his tires.
Weitzman did not immediately return calls to his home or office on Wednesday morning. His attorney also did immediately return a call on Wednesday.
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) — Police say a 30-year grudge boiled over when a former elementary school teacher littered the driveways of former co-workers and bosses with roofing nails and splattered paint on their garage doors.
Thomas R. Haberbush, 72, pleaded guilty last Tuesday to one count each of stalking, criminal mischief and criminal tampering, all misdemeanors.
Police said that three former school board members, a retired principal and a retired assistant principal at Caroline Street Elementary School (search) were among the nine victims Haberbush targeted over the past two years.
Their car tires were damaged by roofing nails that Haberbush threw in the driveways, police said.
"It's very bizarre to carry around a grudge for nearly 30 years," said Saratoga Springs police investigator John Catone. "At least now there can be closure for all those people he terrorized."
Police said Haberbush had been angered after receiving poor work reviews.
Saratoga County assistant district attorney David Harper requested that Haberbush undergo a mental health evaluation as part of the plea agreement. He also will be barred from contacting the victims in the future.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — An iPod in every new student's hand? Not this year at Duke University (search).
The private university in Durham has decided not reprise last year's experimental mass handout to all incoming freshman of the pricey hard-disk portable digital players.
Only students enrolled in certain classes will get the free gadgets.
The school, which hoped the $300 players would enhance students' learning by allowing them to record lectures, capture oral notes, and play language-training recordings, spent $500,000 on the pilot project.
That covered the iPods, salary for an academic computing specialist and grants to faculty members who participated in the program.
Last year, newly arrived freshmen were given the high-tech welcome gift engraved with the school's crest and the words "Class of 2008."
Some students questioned the need for the giveaway, given that many students already owned iPods or similar devices, with some saying the money would be better spent on financial aid or campus security.
Compiled by FOX News' Paul Wagenseil.
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