James Bruce of Tampa was arrested last Thursday. He admitted robbing the banks but said he planned to pay back the money, Tampa police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said.
“He called it a repayable loan,” she added.
Bruce was unarmed in each of the three robberies. At all three banks, he handed a note to a teller which said he was carrying out a robbery and demanded six $100 bills.
Police said they believed the tellers gave up the money because it was bank policy not to have staff resist robbers in case they were armed. The robberies took place on January 15, February 1 and February 10 in Tampa.
Bruce owns a garden store in Tampa, where he sells pots. –– Reuters.
COIN TYPO: Chile’s mint has sacked its managing director after he sent into circulation thousands of coins bearing an incorrect spelling of the country’s name.
The 50-peso coins, worth around 10 US cents each, were issued in 2008 with Chile spelt “Chiie” –– an error that was only noticed late last year.
“Director Gregorio Iniguez has been fired over a series of issues, including the misspelt coins, which have brought the institution into disrepute,” a mint official said last Friday, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“Some of the coins are still in circulation. They still carry their value. Some collectors are buying them up because they feel they are rare,” the official said. –– Reuters.
X-RATED BILLBOARD: Russian police said on Tuesday they had arrested a prankster who hacked into a computer system to show a pornographic movie on a giant advertising screen, causing havoc on a busy Moscow thoroughfare.
The two-minute clip, displayed on a video screen above a main road south of the Kremlin, caused midnight traffic jams and a frenzy of excitement across the Russian blogosphere.
Police said the hacker gained control of the screen by breaking into an online company’s server in the volatile southern region of Chechnya as “he didn’t think the police would go looking for him there”.
“(The hacker) is a highly-educated, temporarily unemployed and extremely advanced Internet user,” police said. “The scandalous film was the talk of the town.”
The 40-year-old man said he wanted to “give people a laugh”, the popular daily Kommersant reported.
Rossiya-24 television said an elderly motorist suffered a heart attack at the wheel after seeing the scenes. –– Reuters.
WRONG WINNER: A deaf South African cleaner besieged by begging relatives after a newspaper reported he had scooped a 91 million rand (US$12 million) lottery jackpot was not the winner, the draw’s organisers said on Tuesday.
National Lottery spokeswoman Thembi Tulwana said the real winner of Friday’s PowerBall draw was an unnamed 43-year-old woman, and not 52-year-old Stanley Philander, a Cape Town hardware store cleaner reported to have carried off the record rollover prize.
The Star newspaper said Philander, his wife of 12 years, Diana, who is also deaf, and their two children had been moved from their home in a poor Cape Town neighbourhood to an undisclosed location after talk of their purported win spread.
Philander’s sister-in-law said the family was besieged by relatives asking for a share of the winnings. South Africa’s lottery launched in October last year, and produced four multi-millionaires in its first month. –– Reuters.