Priest Beats Up Would-Be Robbers

A tough Chicago priest foiled two would-be robbers who tried to steal money from the church collection box, keeping one of them in a headlock until the cops came.

St. Agnes' Church (search) in the city's West Side had been robbed before, reports WBBM-TV, so video cameras were installed overlooking the collection box.

On Wednesday afternoon, church volunteers saw a man lay out tools and try to break into the box, which was holding about $300.

Father Matt Foley ran in and grabbed the man's tools, but the crook fought back, and the tussle wandered into the street, then a nearby alley.

"He had threatened me that he had a knife," Foley told the TV station. "I had to physically keep his hand away from the knife so I wouldn't be harmed. So I put him basically in a half-nelson and held him to the ground."

Two men who had gotten free meals at the church were arrested.

Growing up with four brothers and two sisters taught him how to fight, Foley explained, adding that he was ready to risk his life again for the sake of the church's money.

"No one steals from God," he declared.

Insult Added to Injury

It was bad enough for the would-be thief when he got stuck trying to rob the store. It got worse when store workers, police and firemen couldn't stop laughing at him.

The unnamed man crawled into the air-conditioning vent Saturday night at Hansen's Used Car Store in Baldwin Junction, Kan., reports WDAF-TV of Kansas City.

The next morning, the opening-shift clerk thought she heard a voice, so she called police.

Eventually, the fire department came as well to get him out of the vent.

"It was hard for them to keep from laughing when they were here trying to rescue," said store manager Kathy Thompson. "They were talking to him, saying, 'What are you doing down there?'"

The man went to the hospital with minor injuries.

— Thanks to Out There reader James T.

Win the Championship — And Free Beer

A Czech brewmaster has offered his national soccer team the best incentive he can — free beer for a year.

The Bernard brewery (search) promises to give each player 160 liters (about 42 gallons) of beer over the next 12 months if the Czech team wins the Euro 2004 (search) soccer tournament, reports the BBC.

"While they will earn a lot of money if they win," said brewery spokesman Zdenek Mikulasek, "we think the offer of free beer on top is extra motivation for the team and will inspire them to go for gold."

The deal for Czech team coach Karel Bruckner is even better — 60 liters (about 15 gallons) per year for the rest of his life.

Sixty liters of lager is what the average Czech drinks in a year.

The brewery may just have to make good. The Czech national team is unique in having won all its matches at the Europe-wide tournament, and forced the once-mighty German team out of the competition Wednesday with a 2-1 win.

Primitive Pesticide Shuts Down Shopping Mall

JOHNSON CITY, N.Y. (AP) — Here's how NOT to kill a spider.

A worker at a sporting goods store near Binghamton, N.Y., tried to kill a spider by burning it. He wound up starting a fire that caused the evacuation of a mall yesterday.

Police say an assistant manager at a Champs Sports store doused a spider with a flammable substance and lit it. The flames quickly spread to merchandise in the storage area.

No one was hurt, but several stores had smoke and water damage. Smoke from the fire filled the mall, forcing it to close for the day.

Police charged the employee with fourth-degree arson, a felony.

Strip Clubs Launch Voter-Registration Drive

CLEVELAND, Ohio (AP) — Ladies, don't get miffed if your man is out at the strip club. He may just think it's time to get politically active.

A Cleveland gentlemen's club is offering a new service — voter registration — and asking other clubs to do the same.

At Circus in the Flats, servers supply patrons with registration cards, pens and instructions. And on breaks, dancers mail letters urging thousands of other clubs to help register voters.

Club co-owner Angelina Spencer said she has signed up about 225 workers and customers.

Spencer is the executive director of the Association of Club Executives. The organization, which represents about 800 exotic establishments, has registered another 5,000 voters, she said.

Spencer said she took action after seeing what she calls blows to freedom by Republican leaders.

"What starts in adult entertainment as censorship eventually trickles down into journalism, art, film, music," she said.

Compiled by's Paul Wagenseil.

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