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Folklaw: 26 January 2007

Folklaw: 26 January 2007

Bulky burglar dies inside cooling ductA US man died after becoming wedged inside the ventilation system of a store he was trying to break into.Kenneth Ellingson, 37, of Missoula, weighing in at…

Bulky burglar dies inside cooling duct

A US man died after becoming wedged inside the ventilation system of a store he was trying to break into.

Kenneth Ellingson, 37, of Missoula, weighing in at a substantial 127kgs, was trying to rob a craft and hobby store when he became stuck. According to the county coroner, the cause of death was attributed to positional asphyxiation.

The store’s owner rang the police after arriving in the morning and finding the power and phone lines had been cut.

“In the course of looking into what happened, officers found the phone lines had been cut and the power to the building had been tampered with,” police spokesman Lt Mike Brady said.

“They also found a ladder leaning against the back of the business and used it to get access to the roof.”

On the roof they found Ellingson’s legs hanging out of the cooling duct. The would-be-thief had become caught in an L-shaped section of the duct, before succumbing to asphyxiation.

Man leaves money to strangers

Sometimes a helping hand comes from the most unexpected sources.

Several Portuguese residents were delighted to find themselves unwittingly added to the last will and testament of Luis da Camara, a man they had never met in their lives.

Da Damara, who passed away at the age of 42, had plucked 70 random names out of the phone book and elected them his only beneficiaries. Between them, the strangers shared two houses, a car and 25,824 euros ($42,675), which left each person with approximately $15,058. The deceased man reportedly had no family.

“At first I thought it was a hoax, but I need the money and I am very grateful to him,” said one of the lucky 70, Helena Suares.

Quotes of the Week

“He’s being used as a monkey in a cage for people to come to stare at.”

Major Michael Mori on David Hicks, Sydney Morning Herald

“They haven’t rung us to experience our iconic ride, unfortunately. Their loss.”

Jo Craven, from Red Sun Camels’ in Broome, speaking of John and Jeanette Howard’s lack of interest in his camel ride business, The Australian


Win one of the many hilarious legally-themed prizes Lawyers Weekly will be giving out from by sending us your funny or amazing tales of life inside a law firm. Send your email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., anonymous or otherwise, including your postal address. The best tale will be published in Folklaw and prizes will be awarded on a monthly basis.

One-armed bandit gambles freedom

Some people just don’t learn. A one-armed Bulgarian man has been sent to jail for the 17th time for attempting to break into a car.

Rumen Dimitrov, 50, had 16 other convictions behind him when he tried to force the door on a Mercedes in the capital of Sofia.

His life of crime dates back to 1973, and it seems he has grown no wiser for his many years of experience. Phone calls from witnesses who had seen an armless man bust his way into a parked car were immediately recognised by police as the work of Dimitrov.

“We knew it was him the moment we got descriptions from people who said they had seen a one-armed man trying to get into the car,” said a police spokesperson.

“He’s probably Bulgaria’s worst criminal.”

Dr Dolittle or Do Time?

A man with a zoo in his suitcase was fined after trying to smuggle 54 threatened animals through Hong Kong airport. Inside his luggage were 6 snakes, 11 flying squirrels, 46 turtles and tortoises and a crocodile.

The individual was allegedly trying to smuggle the creatures from Thailand into China, according to Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department. He was fined HK$16,000 ($2,620.50), charged with the illegal importation of animals and given a six-month suspended sentence.

Folklaw is relieved to note that none of the animals were harmed in the incident.

UK man takes a leak

It is not uncommon for a man, after more than a few ales, to turn his mind to the ancient art of souveniring. I have to admit that on occasion, in my early drinking days, I myself “borrowed” mementos from bars, whether they were empty schooner glasses or ash trays. A few months working behind the bar showed many more examples of the wondrous pastime of drunken thievery.

But I was never so clear-thinking as to think of stealing a urinal, as a man in Hampshire, UK, did recently.

The publican of the Royal Oak in Southampton, Alan Dreja, was said to have been amazed to find one of the urinals missing from the men’s room. But a quick look at CCTV footage soon revealed a 42-year-old, unnamed individual carrying it out the front door.

The thief apparently had a change of heart though, and later returned the toilet to its rightful home.

But the real crime came in the form of the publican’s response, as quoted by the BBC: “The publicity which surrounded the theft seems to have flushed him out”.

Like this story? Read more:

Book commemorates diamond milestone for WA law society

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

Folklaw: 26 January 2007
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