tampabay.com

Bandit asks for a hug, but she takes more

By TIMES WIRES
Published February 24, 2007


CASH ON DEMAND

If you happen to be in Buffalo, N.Y., and a woman comes up to you offering you a hug - particularly if it's like 4 a.m. and you're coming out of a bar - hold on to your wallet. Police are on the lookout for the "Hugging Bandit." Dozens of men say they have been victims. Police say others stretching back more than a decade are too embarrassed to admit it. "She doesn't just go up to you and hug you," said Sgt. Tom Donovan. "She actually grabs (them), tries to talk them into something more, and there goes their wallet." Her latest victim lost about $25 plus some debit cards. But when police showed him a photo array, including the suspect, he said he had been too drunk to remember what she looked like.

Hot beverages are weapons grade

Two men robbing convenience stores in the Philadelphia area are packing heat. They don't use guns to commit their crimes. Working as a team, one will go into the store and buy a steaming hot cup of coffee. Or sometimes hot chocolate. Then as he is paying, he throws the drink at the cashier and his accomplice empties the till. "In my 37 years of reading police reports, and studying criminals and crime, I have never heard of something like this," said Lawrence Sherman of the University of Pennsylvania. At least one cashier has suffered third-degree burns.

WELL, LOOK AT THAT

He likes what he's seeing out there

Above, Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz inspects his troops during an exercise in Golan Heights. According to the photographer, Peretz raised and lowered the binoculars three times to discuss with other officials what they were "seeing." Israeli newspapers had a field day with the photo, given that it is unlikely Peretz actually saw anything through the lens caps. Peretz has been under fire from the day he took up the post because of his limited military background, and it has only gotten worse since last summer's inconclusive war against Hezbollah.

WHAT'S IN MY GRUB?

Prisoners treated to bowls of weevil

Inmates at the El Paso County jail in Texas got a little extra protein in their diet: The noodles they were served were infested with weevils. It wasn't a new recipe. The little bugs apparently made it into the boxes shipped to the facility. "We have prepared new meals and are taking extra steps to safeguard that this type of incident doesn't take place again," Deputy Jimmy Apodaca said in a news release, adding that the food was removed as soon as they learned of the problem. There were no reports of anyone getting sick.