Rock, Paper, Scissors, Sledgehammer, Gun

Thursday , March 25, 2004



A fake gun proved no match for a sledgehammer in an Ohio attempted robbery, reports WEWS-TV of Cleveland.

Customers were eating in Stoney's Pizza (search) in Columbus Saturday night when a man came in wearing a ski mask and waving a gun around.

The shop's staffers locked themselves in a walk-in refrigerator. Customers lay on the floor while the gunman searched an office for money and tried to open a cash register, both in vain.

Finally the robber gave up and started walking out. He hadn't noticed that a customer had slipped out the back door and was waiting outside for him.

"He already had tape on his license plate," J.R. Croy told the TV station. "The door was open and the van was running. He was on his way out."

Croy bashed the robber in the head with a 2-pound sledgehammer. Four times.

"He wouldn't go down," Croy explained.

Police and paramedics soon arrived to take the gunman to the hospital in handcuffs. His weapon turned out to be a paintball gun.

The pizza shop gave Croy $500 for his trouble, but he says he's no hero.

"I'm sure others in the store," he shrugged, "if they'd had that opportunity, would've done it."

Cop Eats Spit Burger

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — A Rio Rancho fast food restaurant worker is accused of spitting into a police officer's hamburger.

Marcus Calderon, 19, of Rio Rancho, was arrested and charged Saturday with assaulting a police officer and altering food, both misdemeanors.

He remained jailed Monday on a $2,000 bond.

The officer noticed there was something wrong Saturday after he took two or three bites of his hamburger, said Rio Rancho Department of Public Safety spokesman John Francis. After inspecting his food, the officer found someone had spit in his burger.

Francis said Calderon told police he was sick and may have accidentally coughed or spit on the burger.

Calderon was fired from the restaurant.

Officials with the restaurant said they had never before experienced this kind of incident, and all other employees are outstanding, clean and courteous.

Calderon provided police with blood and saliva samples to be tested for HIV and hepatitis.

Thank You for the Free Car, Young Man

CHICAGO (AP) — A 75-year-old woman is suspected of using her age and apparent frailty to fleece about a dozen auto dealers, police and prosecutors said.

Over the past four years, Betty A. Gooch has walked into several Chicago-area dealerships with a cane and an oxygen cart, then paid for cars with bad checks, police said.

"She'll say she's sick and going to be hospitalized, or that her stockbroker is sending the money, or promises they'll have the money next Friday," said Tony Kotlarz, an investigator for the McHenry County (search ) state's attorney's office.

In the latest case, Gooch wrote a check for $36,534 for a new Toyota Sienna (search) and another check for $20,041 for a new Toyota Matrix (search ) during a November visit to one dealership, said Cook County state's attorney's spokeswoman Marcy Jensen.

Gooch is to be arraigned April 8 on charges of theft by deception and passing bad checks. She is out on bail and declined to comment Tuesday.

Gooch was sentenced to a year of court supervision in October after admitting she wrote a bad check to buy a motorcycle in 2001. She is scheduled to appear in court later this month on charges she wrote a bad $22,000 check last year for a Mazda SUV.

She is being investigated for other possible crimes, police said.

"From the information we've gotten, she has done this in Cook, McHenry and Lake Counties — about a dozen dealerships," said Elgin police Lt. Cecil Smith.

Orchestra Musicians Want to Tie Salaries to Notes Played

BERLIN (AP) — Violinists at a German orchestra are suing for a pay raise on the grounds that they play many more notes per concert than their colleagues do — litigation that the orchestra's director on Tuesday called "absurd."

The 16 violinists at the Beethoven Orchestra (search ) in Bonn argue that they work more than their fellow musicians who play instruments like the flute, oboe and trombone, and also say a collective bargaining agreement that gives bonuses to soloists is unjust.

But Bonn orchestra director Laurentius Bonitz said it was unreasonable to compare playing a musical instrument with other jobs.

"The suit is ridiculous," Bonitz said. "It's absurd."

He also argued that soloists and musicians in other leading roles — like the orchestra's two oboe players — should make more money.

"Maybe it's an interesting legal question, but musically, it's very clear to everyone," Bonitz said.

The case is scheduled in a labor court during May.

Neighbor's Son Soon to Be Found in Acapulco

KEARNS, Utah (AP) — Talk about a brazen thief.

Someone stole a woman's car right before her eyes.

It happened as Erin Elliot was dropping her children off at her mother's house in Kearns, Utah.

Salt Lake County sheriff's deputies say she left her car running while she took her kids inside the home. Deputies say she returned to find a male teenager driving away in her car, honking and waving as he left.

The car thief made off with Elliot's purse along with a $3,000 tax-return check she'd just received.

Mike Rowe Comes Out a Hero

VICTORIA, British Columbia (AP) — A teenager who tangled with Microsoft Corp. over his domain name says he's donating most of his legal defense fund to a hospice for terminally ill children.

As reported in Out There, Mike Rowe, a 17-year-old resident of Victoria, was accused of copyright infringement by the software giant in January.

In a posting on his site, the teen said he received a 25-page letter from Microsoft in January threatening legal action for copyright infringement.

Rowe said he got about $6,000 in donations from supporters but reached an agreement with Microsoft that month to pick a new name for his site, Microsoft agreed to cover the costs of changing to the new site and threw in an Xbox game console.

The teen took a poll to see whether he should refund the donations or make a charitable contribution, and his readers favored the donation. He decided to give $5,250 to the hospice, Canuck Place (search ), and kept $750 to apply toward a university education.

Compiled by's Paul Wagenseil.

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