tampabay.com

The skinny

By TIMES WIRES
Published May 16, 2007


THWARTED THIEVES

RETURN THE SKITTLES AND NO ONE GETS HURT

So, Alan Chavez tells police that he paid some guy $500 for a set of rims and tires off a semitrailer truck. That's why they caught him taking them off. Dallas police were suspicious, however, because the truck was stolen. The truck and trailer were worth about $115, 000. But the cargo was $250, 000 worth of Skittles candy. And when police caught Chavez there, a quarter of that load was missing. So Dallas police ask concerned citizens to be on the lookout for hundreds of pounds of rainbow-colored candy.

Now, going to jail just seems stupid

Lawrence Lawson, 61, devised a plan that he thought would keep a roof over his head and food on the table. Last July, after he had been laid off from his job as an automotive designer and was facing homelessness, he robbed a bank in Troy, Mich. After getting $4, 900 from the teller, he pretended to pass out. That way police could catch him with no one being put in danger. "It was a dumb thing to do, " Lawson said. "I've apologized in court and to everyone else." Even the prosecutor felt bad for him, referring to him as the "courteous bandit." But it all may have a happy ending after all. Lawson was released from jail this week, and was greeted with two job offers and some housing options. Not that anyone would suggest that his was the best way to get those things.

Cops renege on bribery agreement

Police in Texas took in a Maverick County man on an outstanding warrant. He told them that he could make it worth their while to let him go, wink, wink, nudge, nudge. The officers' ears perked. Let me make a phone call, he told them, and my people will bring you $20, 000. So they let him make the phone call and arranged a meeting place to make the switch. But then the cops went and arrested the friends too, which was not part of the deal at all. Who can you trust?

RENOVATION

A little mud could shine up Taj Mahal

Pollution is turning the famously pale Taj Mahal a tinge yellow, and some say the best way to restore the lack of color is to cover the landmark in mud. The marble mausoleum is becoming encrusted with granules of dirt and soot found in high levels in the air around the city of Agra. The mud bath plan involves caking the building in mud, and as it dries, it sucks all the yellow stuff out and leaves the marble pearly white. The process takes about two months, costs about $230, 000, and is recommended to be repeated every 2 to 3 years.

Compiled from Times wires and other sources by staff writer Jim Webster.