Watercooler Stories

Aug. 13, 2008 at 6:30 AM
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Police: Big nose foiled suspect's disguise

NEW YORK, Aug. 12 (UPI) -- New York police said a bank robbery suspect's cross-dressing disguise wasn't enough to hide his distinctive nose from investigators.

Police said Samuel Manoharan, 31, is suspected of robbing five banks in New York's Manhattan and Brooklyn boroughs while dressed in a wig, makeup and women's clothing, the New York Post reported Tuesday.

However, officers said a teller took down his license plate number after one of the robberies and police who arrived at his home said they immediately recognized him from his facial features.

"He has very distinguishable features -- a very big nose. His wig couldn't cover his nose," one police source said.

Prosecutors said Manoharan was charged with grand larceny and robbery for a June 28 robbery in Manhattan. They said charges are pending for the other incidents.

The suspect was being held by police in lieu of $30,000 bail.

Man apologizes for NYT building stunt

NEW YORK, Aug. 12 (UPI) -- A daredevil who scaled The New York Times building to hang an anti-al-Qaida banner has apologized for the stunt.

David Malone, who was charged with reckless endangerment, trespassing and disorderly conduct after Monday's incident said the stunt was "the biggest mistake of my life," The New York Daily News reported Tuesday.

"It caused a public disturbance and put police officers potentially at risk," Malone, 29, said. "These were consequences I had not anticipated. I didn't think it would be that big a deal."

Malone's first appearance in Manhattan Criminal Court was scheduled Tuesday.

He said he no longer believes scaling the Times building was a good way to make his point about that he called al-Qaida's "crusader-baiting" of President George W. Bush.

"Climbing a ladder on The New York Times building was not the best way to do it," Malone said. "It was probably the worst."

3 arrested after glitch gives free fares

NEW YORK, Aug. 12 (UPI) -- New York authorities said three suspects used a software glitch in a MetroCard machine to take $800,000 in free fares over nearly three years.

Authorities said married couple Cary Grant, 40, and Lisa Foster Jordan, 37, along with friend Christopher Clemente, 37, were charged with grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property after a Metropolitan Transportation Authority audit discovered the three had been using the software glitch to obtain free fare cards, the New York Post reported Tuesday.

"The odds of [the suspects] stumbling on this were astronomical," MTA spokesman Jeremy Soffin said.

The free fare glitch "would only happen if you used an active debit card but had insufficient money in your account and it was from a smaller, non-local bank," Soffin said.

"The woman stumbled on it unwittingly, and they proceeded to very knowingly steal form the MTA," he said.

Law enforcement sources said the three would obtain the free cards and then sell them to other riders between September 2005 and May of this year.

Woman gets house arrest for tiger import

HERCULES, Calif., Aug. 12 (UPI) -- Prosecutors said a Hercules, Calif., woman has been sentenced to house arrest after she pleaded guilty to illegally importing a stuffed tiger from Vietnam.

Federal prosecutors announced Tuesday that Nicki Phung, 31, was sentenced to six months of home confinement and three years of probation after pleading guilty to a violation of the Lacey Act, which bans importation or exportation of wildlife barred from sale by U.S. law, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday.

Phung was also ordered to pay $5,000 to a nonprofit group aimed at the protection of big cats.

The woman's boyfriend, Steven Tieu, 38, received the same punishment when he was sentenced for the same crime in April. The couple had been accused of importing the mounted tiger from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, in December 2007 without the proper permits.

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