Police Race To Scene Of Car Alarm

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Issue 3416

Life Much Better Thanks To Recent Elections

WASHINGTON, DC–Life in the U.S. has significantly improved as a result of the Sept. 3 elections, according to a Georgetown University report released Tuesday. "The elections have brought about a great deal of positive change," the report read. "Healthcare is universal, the environment is cleaner and streets are safer. These new politicians are the ones we needed."

15,000 Brown People Dead Somewhere

OOGA-BOOGA LAND OR WHEREVER–Relief efforts are pouring into some country someplace, where 15,000 brown people have died over the past few weeks from flooding or a hurricane or something like that. "Never have our people endured such a terrible catastrophe," said this one dark-skinned guy who lost his entire family in the disaster of some sort. "Our God has forsaken us." The affected nation may possibly be the same one where about 90,000 brown people died two or three years ago in that one earthquake.

Blotting Of Ken Olin From Human Memory Delayed Several Years

LOS ANGELES–The complete erasure of actor Ken Olin from human memory has been forestalled at least a year due to his role on CBS's L.A. Doctors, it was reported Tuesday. Olin, who, prior to L.A. Doctors, had not appeared in anything notable since 1991's cancellation of thirtysomething, was reportedly less than 50 days from disappearing from the world's collective consciousness when he landed a role on the medical drama.

NYC Conservationists Decry Destruction Of Rat Habitats

NEW YORK–Calling recent urban renewal efforts "a grave threat to the city's fragile rat population," a group of New York City conservationists called for an end to the destruction of rat habitats Monday. "The redevelopment of run-down, abandoned buildings in Times Square drove more than 240,000 rats from their natural habitats in 1997," Rat Foundation director Mary Brinn said. In an effort to save the species, the Rat Foundation is demanding that eight city sewer lines be set aside as federally protected rat preserves.

Child Baffled By Stationary, Non-Violent Images

NEWTON, MA–Local first-grader Jamie Linnell is in stable condition following exposure to a static, non-confrontational image Tuesday. The image, a 1947 Life magazine photo of a woman tending to a rose garden, left Linnell in a state of panic and disorientation. "Jamie was turning the picture in all directions, desperately shaking it in an attempt to make it move," the boy's mother, Rita Linnell, told reporters. "He was frightened and trembling, and he kept asking me, 'Mommy, why isn't this exploding?' Then he collapsed to the floor." Linnell regained consciousness after receiving emergency doses of Tekken 3.
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Just Like Everything Else!: Fox 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. ABC Pete's wife is still on him about building that darn shed, these kids are going to be the death of Sheila and Dave, and the hot next-door neighbor is up in EVERYBODY'S business! Sunday nights on ABC couldn't be any more familiar!

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Police Race To Scene Of Car Alarm

BROOKLYN, NY–Municipal law-enforcement officials leapt into action with swift and immediate dispatch Tuesday, when a car alarm went off in the parking lot of a Park Slope condominium complex, alerting citizenry and police alike that a Saab Turbo convertible was in peril.

A police officer radios for backup at the site of the car-alarm sounding.

"As soon as the car alarm went off, I knew something had to be done–and fast," police officer Tony Muldoon, the first of 12 officers to arrive on the scene, told reporters. "In a scenario like this, your training takes over. You don't think about yourself or your loved ones, or the danger you may be facing by entering such a volatile situation. The only thought going through my head was: My God, a car is being threatened. I knew I couldn't allow something like that to happen. Justice had to be served."

The car alarm, which sounded at approximately 10:35 a.m., quickly caught the attention of concerned citizens, who called 911 to alert authorities. Police officials were already on the way, however, as the borough's special Car Alarm Alert Squad had been mobilized within seconds of the alarm's sounding.

"The moment the alarm went off, our emergency car-alarm crisis-response protocol system kicked into high gear," Brooklyn 23rd Precinct Special Response Unit captain Luis Ruiz said. "Our rapid-deployment intervention team was suited up and on the way within minutes, ready to take on whatever caused the disturbance with their lightning-quick intervention tactics. When a car alarm sounds, there's no room for error."

Upon arriving at the scene, Muldoon took up a strategic position at the north end of the parking lot. After securing the area, he radioed to headquarters for back-up, following standard safety procedure requiring police to wait until at least three other officers arrive before venturing into a car-alarm situation.

Once back-up arrived, Muldoon closed in on the crisis zone. Fortunately, neither Muldoon nor any of the other 14 officers who responded were able to detect anything wrong with the Saab. It is theorized that the car alarm may have been accidentally set off by another resident of the condominium complex, who may have nudged slightly against the car's bumper when pulling out of the lot in his or her own vehicle.

"We may never know what happened here today," Muldoon said. "The most important thing is that the car is safe. In the end, that's the only thing that really matters."

Though no evidence of an intruder was found, police stress that criminal activity cannot be ruled out.

"It's quite possible that wrongdoers were menacing the vehicle but were scared off by the alarm's sudden, loud shrieking sound before they had the chance to do any damage," said Ruiz, who is urging anyone with information about the car-alarm sounding to contact one of the seven full-time detectives working on the case. "After all, how could a criminal not be frightened to his very bones by the piercing tones of this cunning anti-theft device? It's quite terrifying, I assure you. Any man who could face a car alarm without fear would have to have ice water running through his veins."

Contributing greatly to the Saab's security, police authorities said, was the fact that its owner chose to install an intimidating "five different rotating sound effects"-style alarm.

"This car alarm, by emitting an alternating set of ear-splitting tones rather than just one ear-splitting tone, was all the more difficult to ignore," Ruiz said. "That shows smart thinking on the owner's part."

Tuesday's incident is the latest in a series of car-alarm crises to plague New York in recent weeks. On Oct. 26, a 1993 Saturn's car alarm went off for over three minutes in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn before police, hampered in traffic by an overturned truck, could arrive on the scene. On Nov. 5, a 1996 Mazda Miata's alarm went off in midtown Manhattan, causing panic for several minutes until order could be restored. And last Thursday, a car alarm went off in Kew Gardens, Queens, when a man who had left his keys inside his 1994 Geo Metro attempted to open the door with a bent coathanger.

According to U.S. Justice Department records, between April 1996 and October 1998, a staggering 15 car alarms went off in the borough of Brooklyn alone. Police estimate, however, that as many as two-thirds of these incidents may have been so-called "false" alarms, caused by children bouncing up and down on the tires, subways shaking cars slightly when passing underneath, or kittens rubbing their furry bodies against the vehicles in a stroking motion. Nevertheless, in the other one-third of cases, police said the car alarms' harsh, loud warnings played a crucial role in the swift apprehension of those responsible.

Brooklyn District Attorney Benjamin Cordoba said the importance of defending one's vehicle with the loudest, most shrill car alarm possible cannot be overstated.

"These car alarms are sending a strong message about crime in our streets," Cordoba said. "It is a message that is harder than ever to ignore."