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The Odd Truth, Nov. 5, 2002

The Odd Truth is a collection of strange but factual news stories from around the world compiled by's Brian Bernbaum. A new collection of stories is published each weekday. On weekends, you can read a week's worth of The Odd Truth.

Not-So Convenient Store

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — When a robber demanded cash from 7-Eleven cashier Cathy Harris, she made him work for it.

Harris dropped the cash drawer on the floor and told the thief to get the money himself.

"She told him, 'If you want the money, you pick it up,"' store owner Katie Nelson said.

The man, who was wearing a bandanna over his face and said he was armed, helped himself to $36 and left, but not before Harris tossed a stapler at him and hit him in the shoulder, Nelson said.

Nelson said she reprimanded Harris for her daring response.

"You're supposed to be scared, not angry," Nelson said. "I was concerned about her safety. She's a very brave person."

Boxing For Contracts

OMAHA, Neb. — The head of an excavation firm has thrown down the gauntlet.

Art Dore Sr., 66, is challenging his 60-something rival Virgil Anderson to a boxing match.

The two have feuded over city demolition contracts — in court and at City Hall — for months.

The stakes? If Dore loses, he promises Michigan-based Dore & Associates Contracting will not bid for business in the city of Omaha again. If Anderson loses, Dore will keep his hat in the bidding ring.

"This is the way that men are supposed to settle things," Dore said. "Is he a man or is he a mouse?"

Anderson, head of Omaha's Anderson Excavating Co., apparently is declining the offer. He would only say: "I'm just not going to play their games."

Dore is the founder of and announcer for the Original Toughman Contest, a traveling amateur boxing show televised on cable.

Dore, who boasts of coming up with the nickname for actor Mr. T, prepared two more monikers for the fight, just in case: "Demolition Man" Dore and "Bulldozer" Virgil.

A Clerical Error At The DMV? Nahh!

GOOSE CREEK, S.C. - Jessica Thompkins hasn't been driving since she was four -- despite what the DMV says. The 21-year-old Thompkins was stopped for driving through a traffic light in Goose Creek, South Carolina. A sheriff's deputy did a computer check, and said her driver's license had been suspended following a traffic accident in 1986. That would have made Thompkins four at the time of the accident. But the deputy realized that something was amiss and didn't haul Thompkins off to jail. She was given a warning ticket for the traffic infraction, but wasn't allowed to drive away. A spokeswoman for the Division of Motor Vehicles blames the mix-up on a clerical goof, which has now been corrected.

Skinny-Dipping A Raw Deal?

WILMINGTON, Vt. - It's raw politics. Voters in one Vermont town today will decide whether skinny-dipping should be banned. The select board of Wilmington voted to bar naked bathers, after some locals complained about lewd behavior at a popular skinny-dipping spot. Voters narrowly upheld the ordinance at a special town meeting in August. But a petition drive put the issue on today's ballot. The fans of the all-over tan say the nudists are polite and bring needed tourists dollars to town. But opponents contend the naked people do more than sunbathe. The opposition says the nude beach is littered with used condoms.

Van On The Run

EVERETT, Wash. — It didn't take sheriff's deputies long to figure out who might have stolen a van outside a grocery store in Clearview.

No sooner did they arrive at a suspect's house than the van pulled in behind them.

A clerk at the store had told police she saw a regular customer standing next to the van, Snohomish County sheriff's spokeswoman Jan Jorgensen said.

Deputies went to the woman's home and the van pulled in.

The man at the wheel immediately backed out and sped off until the van was stopped. He was captured after a brief chase on foot, Jorgensen said.

To Protect and Promote

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The motto of the Albuquerque, New Mexico, police department won't be "To Protect and Promote." The department is turning thumbs-down on the idea of putting paid advertising on patrol cars. In exchange for the ads, the department would have gotten police cars for a buck apiece. A spokesman for the Albuquerque Police Department says they can save the ads for taxis and buses. He says it wouldn't be professional to have a police car plastered with advertising. But not all police departments agree. The North Carolina company Government Acquisitions says it has advertising contracts with 20 police departments, with 200 more considering the idea.

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