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They get their man, er, men

The Mounties got their men. What they had trouble getting was a sandwich.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Constable Ed Boettcher and his partner decided to take a sandwich break Monday while on surveillance duty in an unmarked car.

At the restaurant, they checked the license plate on a car parked at a nearby pawn shop, found the car had been reported stolen, followed it and helped arrest the driver and passenger.

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Back they went to the sandwich joint, only to find a well-known car thief getting out of a pickup truck. Sure enough, a check of the license showed the truck had been stolen and they arrested the driver.

On his third try, Boettcher finally got inside the sandwich shop, but his partner noticed two men carrying golf bags into the pawn shop. It turned out their car was also stolen and they were eventually arrested as well.

Everything but the sink

Thieves in Wellington, New Zealand, took almost everything but the kitchen sink when they raided a house to furnish their own home last week, police said Tuesday.

The burglars took a dining room table and chairs and kitchen appliances, including a fridge. They also stole, among other things, a bed, two televisions, a video player, pots and pans and food from the cupboards in the nighttime raid, said Constable Jo Paea of Hamilton North police.

Neighbors "reported to us that they saw them walking back and forth from the house they broke into to their house with the goods," Paea said.

"They made several trips," she added.

The owners of the house that was raided were not home at the time of the burglary.

Police recovered all the stolen goods from a nearby house, where some already were in use.

Anti-spam suit

A computer consultant in Durham, N.C., has sued the Senate campaign of Elizabeth Dole for eight unsolicited e-mails he received.

His price to settle? $80.

Ken Pugh, of Durham, filed the lawsuit in Salisbury – where Dole's campaign committee is located – based on a relatively new North Carolina law that allows people to collect $10 for each unsolicited commercial item they receive by e-mail, or spam. A court date has been set for Nov. 18.

"It wouldn't have mattered if the spam mail came from the Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or Green Party," he said. "This is basically an anti-spam initiative on my part.

"To me, spam is an aggravation and a waste of my time. I am getting more spam mail than regular mail by a far percentage. I am testing the viability of the law to see if it really works and if I can get my money back."

It is unclear whether Pugh's lawsuit is the first test of North Carolina's anti-spam statute. Pugh said such lawsuits are difficult to file because many senders of unsolicited e-mail are out of state and cannot be found.

In an Aug. 26 letter to Pugh, the Dole campaign said that its e-mails are not commercial and thus do not fall under the anti-spam law. But the letter said Dole's campaign respected Pugh's desire to receive no more unsolicited e-mails, he said.

No candidates, no vote

In the small town of Guys, Tenn., it certainly wasn't politics as usual.

In Saturday's alderman election, voters were faced with blank ballots because no candidate filed the paperwork in time. Two at-large alderman seats were filled with write-in candidates.

L.B. "Pete" Rinehart, one of the incumbent aldermen elected, said the July 18 qualifying deadline "passed without me even knowing it."

Rinehart got 50 votes, not a bad showing from the 140 voters who turned out in the town of about 500 people.

The blank ballots in the small town 85 miles east of Memphis caught comedian Jay Leno's attention for his "Tonight Show" monologue.

"Finally," he cracked, "an election even the people of Florida couldn't screw up."

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