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The Odd Truth, Aug. 31, 2004

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The Odd Truth is a collection of strange but factual news stories from around the world compiled by CBSNews.com's Brian Bernbaum.

Robber Can't Find Bank

BOSTON - Paul Michael Callahan was a bank robber in search of a bank, according to police.

First thing Monday morning, he allegedly tried to rob a copy shop at Boston University thinking it was a bank. Boston police said he walked into the shop on Commonwealth Avenue and passed a note to a store employee asking for money. When he was told the shop wasn't a bank, Callahan asked for directions to the nearest Fleet bank branch, police said.

About 40 minutes later, he allegedly robbed a Fleet branch - but came away with less than $200.

By Monday afternoon, Callahan allegedly held up a Citizen's Bank, making off with $2,500. But a bright red dye pack exploded as he fled in his truck, which got a flat tire not far away.

In a last-ditch effort to get away, police said Callahan, covered in red dye, abandoned his truck and ran to a Brookline gas station, where he asked a customer there to use his cell phone. He wanted to report his truck stolen.

Police found Callahan, 32, hiding in the gas station.

Crime Almost Pays

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - The old saying that crime doesn't pay seems especially true for a teenager who allegedly stole a lottery ticket but was forced to hand it over after discovering it contained the jackpot win.

The 15-year-old boy shoplifted the ticket from a grocery store outside the northeastern Swedish town of Oernskoeldsvik last week, local media reported Tuesday.

When he went home and scratched the ticket, he discovered it contained a winning combination worth up to $1 million.

Store manager Patrik Nygren, however, recognized the teenager on surveillance tapes, and went to the boy's house to reclaim it. Nygren then handed the winning ticket to police and reported the theft, the newspaper Oernsoeldsviks Allehanda reported.

Nygren told the newspaper he would contact a lawyer to see if he could claim the winning ticket for himself. However, state-owned Svenska Spel, which runs all government lotteries in Sweden, said neither the boy nor Nygren will get the payoff.

"Legally, we own the ticket until someone buys it, scrapes it and wins," Svenska Spel's spokesman Claes Tellman said Tuesday. "In this case, that hasn't happened."

The winning lottery ticket, which cost $3.30, contained three clover symbols, which means the buyer would get to participate in another lottery broadcast on national TV every weekend.

The odds of getting a ticket with the three clover symbols is about one in 3 million, Tellman said.

"This is an incredible case," Tellman said. "The probability of him stealing that ticket is extremely low."

Police would not release the boy's name due to his age, and it was not immediately clear whether he would face any charges.

8,000-Foot Long Burrito 'Just For Looking'?

RENO, Nev. - It's a brute of a burrito. Take more than 8,200 four tortillas, ladle on a ton of refried beans, than add truck-loads of sour cream, cheese and salsa - and you've got the world's biggest burrito. Officials of the Nevada State Fair are claiming a new Guinness burrito record. The burrito was more than 8,000 feet long. If recognized, the Reno burrito will surpass the current record of 7,700-plus feet, set in Mexico in 2001. But the Nevada burrito was just for looking, not munching. It took more than two hours to make and organizers feared the sour cream might have gone bad.

Only The Good Drive Young

LONDON - Police in southern England got a surprise when they cut a driver from a wrecked car Tuesday - he was 10 years old.

The youngster, who has not been identified, is reported to have been driving his father's blue Rover 420 through Basildon, northeast of London, early on Tuesday when he lost control and hit a lamppost.

The boy, who was alone in the car, suffered a hand injury and was taken to Basildon General Hospital where his condition is described as stable.

Woman Jumps Out Of Plane For 93rd Birthday

CALDWELL, Idaho - A woman who has six children, 35 grandchildren, 75 great-grandchildren and 10 great-great-grandchildren jumped from an airplane to celebrate her 93rd birthday.

"Because it's a new adventure," explained Luree Kohtz, of Burley.

After seeing a videotape of her great-granddaughter doing the same thing, Kohtz set her mind to skydive in Caldwell. Her age wasn't a concern, she said.

Thirteen cars full of family and friends watched the jump Saturday.

Age hasn't slowed down Kohtz, who celebrated her 91st birthday by riding the automated bucking bronco at the Cassia County Fair.

"She kept on telling the guy to speed it up," said John Price, a grandson-in-law. "She got so mad 'cause he wouldn't do it."

Kohtz is tightlipped about plans for her next birthday.

"I'll have to wait and see if I have one," she said.

The Other Kerry Edwards

DAVIS, Calif. - Kerry Edwards says it's pretty nice to be so famous. Kerry Edwards is an eight-year-old California girl who sees her name on everything from T-shirts to bumper stickers. Kerry's father Bill Edwards said he had a feeling earlier this year that his daughter's name might be an omen of the Democratic ticket. But not Kerry's mom. Florie Edwards was sure John Kerry would pick Dick Gephardt as his running mate. The young Kerry Edwards doesn't see politics in her future. The third-grader says she wants to be a marine biologist when she grows up.

'Miracle' Babies May Be Stolen

NAIROBI, Kenya - A Britain-based preacher who claims to perform miracles on barren women is being investigated in connection with an alleged child-trafficking ring that spans five countries, police said Tuesday.

On Monday, the wife of self-proclaimed archbishop Gilbert Deya and four others were charged in Nairobi with stealing two babies - infants Deya claims are the result of miracles he performed on barren or post-menopausal women.

Prosecutor Moses Odoyo told the court the investigation into alleged child-trafficking involves suspects in Britain, Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda, as well as Kenya.

Police now are investigating allegations that Deya's claims are a cover child-trafficking, spokesman Jaspher Ombati said Tuesday.

"The wife is in custody and we believe they might be working together and the miracle babies are said to be connected to his ministry," Ombati told The Associated Press. "So investigations are on and once they are complete and, (if) it is felt that he is connected, he will be required to come here for necessary action."

Ombati said Kenyan police will follow "normal extradition procedures" to get Deya to Kenya.

"We are not limiting ourselves. We are just casting our net wide ... we want to come to the bottom of this issue of miracle babies," Ombati said.

Deya's Kenyan wife, Mary Juma Deya; another Kenyan woman, Rose Kiserem; and a Uganda-born woman who holds a British passport, Miriam Nyeko, were charged with stealing a baby girl Feb. 5 from Nairobi's Pumwani Maternity Hospital.

A Kenyan couple, Michael and Eddha Odera, were charged with stealing a boy under the age of 14 on Jan. 21, 2000, from Njokerio Farm in Njoro, 87 miles northwest of the capital, Nairobi.

All pleaded innocent to the charges.

Nairobi Chief Magistrate Aggrey Muchelule said he will decide Wednesday whether to grant the suspects bail.