QUIRKY WORLD ... Father goes a step too far with fake intruder ‘test’

USA: A suburban Cleveland man had a friend pose as a threatening ex-convict during a test to see whether his teenagers would let a stranger into their home, prompting them to flee and call 911, police said.

A prosecutor will consider potential child-endangering charges against the adults.

Westlake police said the father “refused to acknowledge the emotional upset he had caused” and described his 14- and 16-year-old sons’ actions as an “epic fail”.

But officers commended them for barricading themselves in a bedroom, jumping out a second-floor window onto a garage roof and then running to a neighbour’s home to call for help.

The stranger showed up at their door last Thursday afternoon and was let in by the younger teen, breaking the family rule on admitting only known relatives, police said.

Once inside, the man told the boys that their father owed him money, and he threatened them.

“This guy was crazy. This guy wanted to kill us,” the elder son told a dispatcher on the 911 call. “He said, ‘If I start chopping up bodies in here, then I’m going to be the bad guy. I just got out of jail two weeks ago.’”

The fake convict, a 45-year-old man from Cleveland Heights, was in contact by phone with the father during the charade, and when the friend thought things had gone too far and wanted to stop, the father insisted it play out, police said.

One son said in the 911 call that he’d spotted his father’s car parked in the street but didn’t see him in it. The teen said he thought his father was around the house but wasn’t certain, so their instinct was to run away.

Changing times

VENEZUELA: Venezuela has reversed a half-hour time change that was one of the measures of former president Hugo Chavez’s idiosyncratic 14-year rule.

Chavez turned Venezuela’s clocks back 30 minutes in 2007 so children could wake up for school in daylight.

But his successor Nicolas Maduro has decided to return to the previous system, four hours behind GMT, to ensure more daylight in the evening when energy consumption peaks.

Brought to book

USA: A judge told a Michigan couple they could land in jail for up to 93 days and face a maximum $500 fine for failing to return a novel and a Dr Seuss book borrowed from the local public library.

Cathy and Melvin Duren of Tecumseh, Michigan, appeared in court to each face a misdemeanour charge of failure to return rental property.

They owe about $35 in late fees for The Rome Prophecy, borrowed in April 2015. They lost a Dr Seuss book their teenage son borrowed in July 2014.

“I can’t imagine going to jail over it, but I certainly will fight these charges because I’m not guilty,” Cathy Duren said.

Although the couple admitted they were negligent in returning the books, they think it’s unfair to each be charged a $105 “diversion fee” to the Lenawee County Economic Crimes Unit in addition to fines owed to the Tecumseh Public Library, WXYZ-TV reported.

In December, the Durens received a letter advising them to return the books and pay the fees, as well as the replacement costs if they couldn’t find the books. The letter also informed them that they could be charged with a crime.

In January, the couple was able to find and return The Rome Prophecy but they couldn’t locate the Dr Seuss book.

Cathy Duren sent a $55 money order to the prosecutor’s office to cover the late fees and replacement costs for the lost book. But she said her money order was refused because she and her husband declined to pay the additional $210 in diversion fees.

Cathy Duren said she feels that she’s being extorted by the prosecutor’s office.

The couple said they probably will never check out a library book again.

Lottery luck

USA: Don’t tell Clark Voge, of Cherokee, Iowa, that lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice.

The Sioux City Journal reports the Iowa man has hit two $30,000 lottery jackpots in as many months.

Voge claimed a $30,000 prize last Wednesday from a scratch card. He did the same thing just a month earlier.

Both winning tickets were bought at Sparky’s, a convenience store in Cherokee.

The Iowa Lottery says the odds of winning the jackpot on that scratch card game are 1 in 120,211.

Big tipper

USA: A customer eating alone at a Texas restaurant left a big surprise behind for an 18-year-old waitress — a $1,000 tip.

Alesha Palmer says she was so stunned by the gift she began crying in the middle of Vetoni’s Italian Restaurant.

The high school senior said she was serving a couple and they asked about her college plans. She says she told them her parents would be helping her pay for it.

Another customer who was seated nearby got up to leave and approached the restaurant owner. She says after he left, she asked if everything was all right and her boss showed her the receipt with the huge tip from the man, who asked to remain anonymous.


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