The Civil Defense in Dubai, the largest city in the United Arab Emirates, recently started using water jet packs that lift firefighters off the ground to hover in advantageous positions as they work the hoses. Also, using water scooters, rescuers can avoid traffic altogether by using the city’s rivers to arrive at fires (and, if close enough to a waterway, can pump water without hydrants). Even more spectacularly, as early as this summer, Dubai will authorize already tested one-person, “Jetsons”-type drones for ordinary travel in the city. The Ehang 184 model flies about 30 minutes on an electrical charge, carrying up to 220 pounds at about 60 mph.
Slow it down
The Cleveland (Ohio) Street Department still had not (at press time) identified the man, but somehow he, dressed as a road worker, had wandered stealthily along Franklin Boulevard during March and removed more than 20 standard “35 mph” speed limit signs — replacing all with official-looking “25 mph” signs that he presumably financed himself. Residents along those two miles of Franklin have long complained, but the city kept rejecting pleas for a lowered limit.
• Jurors in Norfolk, Va., found Allen Cochran, 49, not guilty of attempted shoplifting in March, but he was nowhere to be seen when the verdict was announced. Apparently predicting doom (since he had also been charged with fleeing court during a previous case), he once again skipped out. The jury then re-retired to the jury room, found him guilty on the earlier count and sentenced him to the five-year maximum. Because of time already served, he could have walked away legally if he hadn’t walked away illegally.
• Ghanaian soccer player Mohammed Anas earned a “man of the match” award in March (after his two goals led the Free State Stars to a 2-2 draw), but botched the acceptance speech by thanking both his wife and his girlfriend. Reportedly, Anas “stumbled for a second” until he could correct himself. “I’m so sorry,” he attempted to clarify. “My wife! I love you so much from my heart.”
Most competent criminal
A woman called police in Coleshill, England, in February to report that a car exactly like her silver Ford Kuga was parked at a garden center — with the very same license plate as hers. Police figured out that a silver Kuga had been stolen nearby in 2016, and to disguise that it was stolen, the thief had looked for an identical, not-stolen Kuga and then replicated its license plate, allowing it to be driven without suspicion.
Least competent criminals
• Thieves once again attempted a fruitless smash-and-grab of an ATM at Mike & Reggie’s Beverages in Maple Heights, Ohio, in March — despite the owner’s having left the ATM’s door wide open with a sign reading “ATM emptied nightly.” Police are investigating.
• Boca Raton, Fla., jeweler “Bobby” Yampolsky said he was suspicious that the “customer” who asked to examine diamonds worth $6 million carried no tools of the examination trade. After the lady made several obvious attempts to distract Yampolsky, he ended the charade by locking her in his vault and calling the police, who arrested her after discovering she had a package of fake diamonds in her purse that she likely intended to switch.
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