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  • This article by Betsy Marston originally appeared in the May 28, 2010 issue of High Country News.
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Topic: Culture & Communities     Department: Heard Around the West     Comments: 0

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Crime doesn't pay

News: May 28, 2010
by Betsy Marston

UTAH
Some Salt Lake City crooks easily get away with audacious heists, while others are, well, inept. The first caper involved the theft of Mayor Ralph Becker’s bike, locked in front of the main library while folks inside took part in an all-day Utah Bike Summit. The thief used bolt cutters to break the bike lock and presumably cycled away undetected. It was in the middle of the night that a less-successful crew targeted an ATM machine, stealing a pickup truck and using it as a battering ram to dislodge the cash machine from the sidewalk, reports the Salt Lake Tribune. Though the noisy technique worked, the ATM unfortunately toppled through the window of a neighboring hair salon. Then the two men realized that the cash machine was stuck to the bottom of the truck, which ruined the whole robbery. Fleeing the scene on foot, the pair ran right into police, who’d been alerted by a witness.

WESTERN POTPOURRI
The Vail Mountaineer in Colorado reports that adolescents aren’t the only ones who try to cheat by using someone else’s pricey ski pass. A city judge said he found that the 50-to-60 year-old crowd was surprisingly well represented among the freeloaders. In Arizona, the lodging industry decided to fight back after protests against the state’s punitive anti-immigration law went viral on the Web, and conventions started canceling en masse. The Arizona Hotel and Lodging Association retaliated by creating its own Facebook page, reports the Arizona Republic, urging tourists not to stay home and “punish 200,000 tourism employees.” In Idaho, Rex Rammell, a candidate for governor in the Republican primary against incumbent Gov. Butch Otter, has begun dragging a giant blowup of a Tyrannosaurus rex on a trailer to spice up his campaign rallies. The beast symbolizes his intention to “stand up to the feds,” he told the Spokesman-Review. In Helena, Mont., a team of scientists from Montana State University found that wolves were no match for people when it comes to scaring elk. This is not news to hunters, reports The Associated Press, since many report that “as soon as the first shot goes off, those animals are off to some protected area.” The elk made only “modest adjustments to their behavior when wolves were close by.” And from Dublin, Ireland, dispiriting projections for polar bears. Paddy Power, the country’s largest bookmaker, has been taking bets on how quickly the polar bear population will decline. “With global warming now generally agreed to be the most significant threat to the polar bear, we predict that their population will move in only one direction” — down — dipping between 15,000 to 20,000 during the next two years. The bookmaker adds that not a single bet has been placed on the polar bear population going up.

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