Watercooler Stories

June 29, 2012 at 6:30 AM
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Woman arrested over 'speed trap' sign

HOUSTON, June 29 (UPI) -- A Houston woman said she was wrongfully arrested by police for holding up a "speed trap" sign near where an officer was pulling over motorists.

Natalie Plummer said she wrote "speed trap" on a grocery bag and held it at the roadside on West Dallas June 21 after she spotted an officer pulling motorists over while she was riding home on her bicycle, KTRK-TV, Houston, reported Thursday.

"I felt like he was just pulling random cars over," Plummer said.

Plummer said an officer drove up to her after a few minutes, searched her backpack without consent and placed her under arrest.

"He was telling me he was taking me to jail for obstructing justice, that was an automatic three to five years," Plummer said.

However, she was only cited with a misdemeanor count of walking in the roadway where there is a sidewalk present.

"I for sure did not step into the street," Plummer said. "(I stayed) on the sidewalk the entire time."

A police representative said Plummer, who spent 12 hours in jail, was "in the roadway" and "was a danger to herself and others ... the sum total of which was is an arrestable offense."

Woman sues after overdue 'Twilight' arrest

PORTALES, N.M., June 29 (UPI) -- A New Mexico woman is suing her city after she spent the night in jail as a result of an overdue "Twilight" book and DVD from the library.

Lori Teel, whose attorney sent a tort claim notice to the Portales city clerk Monday, said police officers visiting her home on a report of a disturbance June 12 arrested her in front of her five children, ages 1 to 10, and she spent the night at the Roosevelt County Detention Center while her children stayed with a neighbor, the Albuquerque Journal reported Thursday.

"My kids are still very emotional," Teel said. "They had to stay with a complete stranger. My 3-year-old is traumatized over it. She will not leave my side."

Eric Dixon, Teel's attorney, said the Portales Public Library showed his client had not returned Stephenie Meyer's novel, "Twilight," and a DVD copy of "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" despite an Oct. 5, 2010, due date. He said his client was ordered to appear in court, but the notices were sent to a children's home where Teel lived when she was young.

"Ms. Teel and her small children have been traumatized, humiliated, embarrassed, subject to ridicule, and otherwise suffered pain and suffering and other damages as a result of the wrongful arrest," Dixon wrote in the tort claim.

Hundreds seek gold in Alaska

NOME, Alaska, June 29 (UPI) -- Locals in Nome, Alaska, said the city might be experiencing a second gold rush, with hundreds of people coming from all over to search for the precious metal.

Mitch Erickson of Nome Gold Alaska said he started preparing for an influx of out-of-towners by setting up campsites when the recession hit in 2008, due to its similarity to the economic conditions leading to the gold rush of the 1890s, KTUU-TV, Anchorage, reported Thursday.

"I'm up here to have some fun, and If I find some gold, that will make it more pleasurable," said Ken Scott, who is visiting Nome from Thibodaux, La.

However, not all locals are happy with the newcomers.

"They don't seem to respect the knowledge of the old-timers," said Bob Hafner, who has been dredging in Nome for 20 years. "These new people come up here, they look at our dredges, they copy our dredges, and they think, 'Oh, this is really easy to do.'"

Armed boy, 9, steals electric car

KORTEDALA, Sweden, June 29 (UPI) -- A Swedish company said a 9-year-old armed with what was believed to be an air gun stole an electric car and drove around for about 10 minutes before crashing.

Jan Jentzell of Poseidon, the property management company that owns the car, said the boy waved the realistic-looking gun at passersby who saw him unsuccessfully attempting to break into a different car parked in Kortedala, a suburb of Gothenburg, The Local.se reported Thursday.

Jentzell said the boy then turned his attention to another car, which turned out to be Poseidon's electric car. The 9-year-old drove the vehicle, which has a top speed of about 18 mph, for about 10 minutes before crashing in a roundabout, witnesses said.

He was grabbed by a bystander and held until police arrived.

Police said the boy is too young to face charges and the case has been referred to social services.

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