Water Cooler Chatter: Gasoline goof, burglary gone bad, the wriggling backpack and more

It’s been a while since we posted any ‘Water Cooler Chatter,’ which is where we give you a few of our favorite headlines from around the globe to ‘chatter’ about while at work, and so we’re getting caught up. Today’s installment begins with the Shreveport, La., gas station owner caught re-selling gasoline he’d purchased elsewhere at his own store for much higher prices . . .

• The Associated Press reports that Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator says a 43-year-old Keithville man was arrested at a Wal-Mart gas station as he was about to fill a 350-gallon plastic container with gasoline to re-sell at his convenience store in south Caddo Parish. He says Sgt. John Hay had been tipped that Iftikhar Hussain was buying gas from other businesses, transporting it illegally, pumping it into his underground storage tanks and reselling it at higher prices. The container was in the passenger-cargo area of a 1995 Ford Econoline van, which Hay impounded, Prator said. “Mr. Hussain admitted transporting large quantities of gas in this container to his store on several occasions, and that’s a bomb waiting to happen,” the sheriff said. Prator says Hay ticketed Hussain for careless handling of a hazardous material, failure to register a vehicle, having no driver’s license, and having switched plates.

Read on for more weird and unusual news, including the tale of the Jonesboro, Ark., man who busted a few burglars from the sky . . . 

• Speaking of the thefts, the AP reports also that an Arkansas man who wanted to capture aerial photos of his home during his first plane ride instead helped catch two men burglarizing it. Steven Lynn said he could see the two taking items from his house. “I looked down, and sure enough, there was a truck hooked onto a trailer, and guys were loading stuff up,” Lynn told The Jonesboro Sun. “It didn’t seem to faze them that we were buzzing over in an airplane; we got down pretty low.” Lynn called an uncle who lives nearby and 911. Craighead County Sheriff’s deputy Phillip Wheaton said the two men unloaded the trailer and left the scene when the uncle arrived. But the pilot and Lynn’s uncle followed them until they were stopped near Bay by Wheaton and two other officers. “They were giving us turn by turn directions and giving us a description by county road,” Wheaton told television station KAIT. The two men in the truck, Roosevelt Smith III and Joseph Peel, both of Jonesboro, now face burglary and theft charges. Smith and Peel didn’t have listed phone numbers and couldn’t be reached for comment. Most of the stolen items were found, but Lynn said a rifle valued at $1,200 is still missing. Lynn said after talking to deputies, he realized a next-door residence he also owns had also been burglarized with several new ceiling fans, tools and copper wire missing. “It’s slim to none that you would ever see anything like that happening. I never would have expected it,” Lynn said. “I just wanted to see my house from the air, but to see something like that is a complete mood change. I feel like I was really lucky.”

• Also in AP reports, people at a Jonesboro Walmart found it odd that a backpack inside a parked car was wiggling. It turned out that a dog was in the backpack, and that was enough for police to cite two women for animal cruelty. The Jonesboro Sun reports that the women were cited Saturday with the misdemeanor offense. Two witnesses noticed the squirming backpack when they parked next to the women’s car. One was able to reach in a partially open window, open the door and free the dog. When police arrived, they cited 24-year-old Rayonica Thomas and 19-year-old Daisy Fuentes. They are to appear in court on Sept. 14.

• The drag racers got away, but the spectators got citations, reports the AP. The Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department on Saturday cited 19 people who gathered to watch drag racers on Frazier Pike. Deputies say numerous residents in the area have complained about illegal drag racing, and say they have warned racers previously about the danger that illegal racing generates. At about 1 a.m. Monday, deputies parked where they had a clear view of Frazier Pike. Two cars sped by, spun around and headed in the opposite direction. The drivers kept going. The people watching were all cited for loitering and will have to appear in court.

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