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Originally published:  01/05/2010
Always read the label
Standards are slipping. Only last month police in Atlantic County, New Jersey, apprehended a man in the process of burgling a pharmacy – and it was as well for him they did. It seems that the perp, one Jacob Collins, had broken in to steal drugs that could be used as (or sold for) narcotic purposes.
Described by the local paper, the Daily Journal, as an “addict-turned-burglar” (are the two mutually exclusive?) Collins said to police that the drugstore owed him money and he was just taking what he felt was fair. This apparently included industrial-size quantities of codeinebased drugs, tranquilisers and painkillers. Among his haul was also a bulk container of Oxybutynin, which is used to control bladder problems.
Investigators were puzzled as to why Jacob would have targeted this particular drug, until it was explained that he was actually after Oxycontin, a powerful narcotic and analgesic. “Sadly, illiteracy affects all lifestyles, including criminal activity,” said Lt David Sherma. “The subject wasted his time because he couldn’t even decipher the labels properly.”
Jacob, who was charged with burglary, theft, criminal mischief and possession of burglary tools, was said to be “shocked” at his mistake. Not as shocked as he might well have been if he had remained free to indulge in the incontinence pills.
Don’t smoke and drive
There has been some silly talk lately in the UK about banning smoking inside private cars, apparently on the spurious basis that it could lead to passive smoking by any children that might be in the car at the time or who might enter it at some point in the future.
However, some incidents make one think it might not be a bad idea. Earlier this year, for instance, a young hairdresser was killed near Sturminster Norton in Dorset, UK, after sparking up. The 19-year-old, Jennie Mitchell, was on her way to her parents’ house, having promised to style her mother’s hair. She had a small container of hydrogen peroxide beside her on the passenger seat, which she was planning to use as bleach.
Her father, who has 24 years’ experience as a fireman, said it was suspected that vapours had escaped from the container and were ignited when she lit her cigarette. Her car veered off the road and was seen by witnesses to be immediately engulfed in flames. Fire crews were unable to save her.
Shake a leg
As if to prove life isn’t fair, another story from India shows how even drunken idiots can place themselves in imminent danger of a nasty death and still walk away. While doing their rounds of Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi one day in March, security personnel were astonished to see a human leg dangling out of the back of an aircraft engine.
On close inspection the leg was attached to the rest of a human being, clearly drunk, who said he had arrived at the airport by truck, felt sleepy and lay down “behind the biggest fan he could find” in order to keep cool through the hot and sultry night. He hadn’t noticed that this fan was part of the engine of an Indian Airlines Airbus A-320. When he was found, the plane was less than two hours away from its first flight of the day.
The Times of India reports that the man was dragged out of the engine by security staff and was “roughed up a little”. It is not clear why they felt they had to take it out on him, but his beating was less than he might have suffered had they not found him in the first place. Perhaps the security team was being particularly assiduous about its tasks; only a month earlier an approaching aircraft had to go around after a drunk (presumably a different one, though it is not known for sure) was seen to be fast asleep on the runway.
This from Ontario, Canada: “Police say a southwestern Ontario man was injured by shrapnel after the propane tank he was using for rifle target practice exploded.”
It’s hard to know what to say…