Chuck Shepherd

Despite California's 2015 law aimed at improving the fairness of its red-light cameras, the city of Fremont (pop. 214,000, just north of San Jose) reported earning an additional $190,000 more each month last year by shortening the yellow light by two-thirds of a second at just two intersections. Tickets went up 445 percent at one and 883 percent at the other. In November 2016, for "undisclosed reasons," the city raised the speed limit on the street slightly, "allowing" it to reinstate the old 0.7-second-longer yellow light.

Persistent thief

Doris Payne, 86, was arrested once again for shoplifting — this time at an upscale mall in an Atlanta suburb in December — but according to a 2013 documentary in which she was featured, she has stolen more than $2 million in jewelry from high-end shops around the world. No regrets, she said on the film, except "I regret getting caught." Said her California-based lawyer: "Aside from her 'activities,' she is a wonderful person with a lot of fun stories."

It's the thought that counts

When disaster strikes, well-meaning people are beseeched to help, but relief workers seem always bogged down with inappropriate donations (which take additional time and money to sort and store and discard; instead, all such charities recommend "cash"). A January report by Australia's principal relief organization praised Aussies' generosity despite recent contributions of high heels, handbags, chain saws, sports gear, wool clothing and canned goods — much of which will go to landfills. Workers in Rwanda reported receiving prom gowns, wigs, tiger costumes, pumpkins and frostbite cream.

Least competent criminals

• Alvin Neal, 56, is the most recent bank robber to begin the robbery sequence — at a Wells Fargo branch in San Diego — after identifying himself to a teller by swiping his ATM card through a machine at the counter. He was sentenced in January.

• Matthew Mobley, 41, was arrested in Alexandria, La., in February (No. 77 on his rap sheet) after getting stuck in the chimney of a business he was breaking into.

Might consider relocating

In January, another vehicle flew off a Parkway West exit ramp in Pittsburgh, plowing into — the eighth crash in nine years — the Snyder Brothers Automotive parking lot. ... Leonard Miller, 88, once again (the fifth time) picked up the pieces in January from his Lanham, Md., home after a speeding car smashed into it.

That's gotta hurt

Each December reviews public records of the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission to compile a list of items that caused emergency-room visits when they somehow got stuck inside people. Highlights from 2016: nose (raisin, plastic snake, magnets in each nostril); throat (pill bottle, bottle cap, hoop earring); penis (sandal buckle, doll shoe, marble; vagina (USB adapter, "small painting kit," heel of a shoe; rectum (flashlight, shot glass, egg timer, hammer, baseball, ice pick "to push hemorrhoids back in").

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