San Antonio Couple's 911 Fantasy
Brings the Police Out in Force
From the fact-is-stranger-than-fiction file: A San Antonio couple allegedly called 911 last week and simulated a sexual assault on an open telephone line to "gratify their fantasy."
The result: Forty police department employees -- including 30 officers and the helicopter squad -- spent 90 minutes one morning searching for a rape-in-progress. The 911 call, said San Antonio Police Department spokesman Sgt. Gabe Trevino, was very graphic. "Somebody was saying 'do you want me to rape you?' over and over. It was very aggressive and demeaning toward the female," he said.
Police fanned out based on the signal transmitted from a cell phone tower. They then pinpointed an address for the owner of the cell phone number. All the while, one 911 dispatcher was monitoring the call, and another dispatcher was sending patrol cars to various locations. Officers found a woman, who told them the phone belonged to her daughter, who was probably at the home of her boyfriend. They found the man's house shortly after the 42-minute call ended, Trevino said.
The couple initially denied they had called 911, but the number was logged in the cell phone. "They admitted they did it for a sexual fantasy," Trevino said. "They didn't realize we would react the way we did."
Belinda Moreno Elizondo, 27, and Fernando Hernandez Jr., 33, were arrested and charged with making a false report, a misdemeanor.
The incident cost the police department a sizable sum. "Officers are paid on the range of $25 to $35 an hour, times 30, and the fuel for the helicopter and the patrol cars and the clerks and dispatchers. . . . Just figure it out," Trevino said.
-- Sylvia Moreno
To Terminate Plastic Likeness
A little doll keeps tormenting California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The bobblehead toy depicts him in a business suit, armed with an assault weapon and a belt of bullets. It became a hot seller when an Ohio company introduced it after his election last year. But Schwarzenegger objected.
Attorneys for his entertainment company said the doll, which was priced at about $20, was an unfair use of his image. They sued to stop production of the toy last spring.
A few weeks ago, the two sides compromised: The toy company agreed to stop making the old doll and to create a new one featuring a likeness of the former action-film star without weapons or ammunition. The company also agreed to donate proceeds from sales of the new doll to a national after-school program Schwarzenegger founded. But that was not the end.
Now, the old bobblehead doll keeps popping up on eBay, the online auction site and retailer. Schwarzenegger apparently is not happy.
Officials at eBay say the governor's representatives have asked that sales listings of the doll be removed from the Internet marketplace. The company says it is examining the issue.
Even if he wins that round, Schwarzenegger may face another bobblehead battle, this time with entrepreneurs trying to cash in on the crack the governor made recently about state lawmakers. He called them "girlie men.'' A Schwarzenegger doll in a dress soon may be on the market.
-- Rene Sanchez
Baseball Team Benches
Workers Over Gay Joke
Announcer Greg Maiuro of the Atlantic City Surf, a minor league baseball team, just couldn't help himself. He heard the familiar beat of "YMCA," the unofficial gay anthem, flooding the stadium and he wanted to make a dedication.
This one, he said, goes out to New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey (D), who had just days before had revealed that he is gay. Big mistake.
The next day Atlantic City Surf officials fired Maiuro. But that wasn't the end of it. The following night the same song -- "YMCA" -- played, and scoreboard operator Marco Cerino posted this message on the big board: "Sponsored by Gov. Jim McGreevey." Cerino resigned the next day.
Fortunately for both men, however, the New Jersey governor has a sense of humor. He phoned the league's director and asked him to give the men back their jobs. Owner Frank Bolton agreed, saying, "I'm a firm believer in second chances."
-- Michelle Garcia
Rewards for Students
Is One for the Books
Pavlov himself might have trouble untangling the stimulus-response conundrum being unleashed on elementary school students in Broward and Palm Beach counties, two of the most populous areas in Florida.
At times, the tykes are getting advice from a national foundation touting wholesome foods -- all those vegetables and nuts -- as a way to be healthy and strong. Then, the kids are hearing another message: Get an A, get a doughnut -- a Krispy Kreme doughnut, to be exact.
The Krispy Kreme promotion, which awards as many as six doughnuts per student in grades kindergarten through sixth, rankled a school board member whose own battle with calories has been a lifetime struggle. Palm Beach School Board member Debra L. Robinson, who has described herself as a "victim of food as reward," is criticizing the giveaway, saying it sends the wrong message to impressionable youngsters.
She came up with a novel alternative, even though she's almost certain that she does not have the stroke to stop the doughnuts-for-grades offer.
"I would rather have them giving away books than doughnuts," she said.
While Robinson was grousing about Krispy Kreme, an even more powerful force was passing judgment on the hot doughnut phenomenon: The company's sales have been stung by low-carb diets that frown on fried dough, and its stock, once a Wall Street darling, was plummeting.
-- Manuel Roig-Franzia