Weird wrap: noisy rocking-chair fine, a kidnapping ‘experiment,’ and a $50,000 coffee

A child walks away with a stranger. - YouTube/Joey Salads

An elderly Quebec woman’s unusual noise complaint and a big-money coffee lawsuit are among the offbeat crime and law stories in the news this week.

Keep on rockin’

A Quebec senior caught a break after Saguenay city officials cancelled her $148 noise fine for rocking too hard — in a rocking chair.

Last month, a neighbor complained that 91-year-old, 90-pound Yvette Vachon created excessive noise when using her recliner.

Vachon’s lawyer Charles Cantin went to the media, and the city cancelled the ticket the next day. Cantin accused police of acting too rashly in issuing the ticket, going entirely on the neighbor’s complaint.

"I think it sends a message to all peace officers that they make certain verifications before issuing a ticket — whether it's a municipal bylaw or highway safety or all other laws," he told the Canadian Press.

Cop sues Starbucks for hot coffee

Starbucks is a mega-successful coffee chain, so it can probably afford to give away a few free cups of joe, right?

Here’s a case where giving away a free cup could cost the chain more than $50,000.

A North Carolina cop is suing the coffee chain for burns sustained after spilling coffee on himself in January 2012. Matthew Kohr said the injuries aggravated his Crohn’s disease, necessitating surgery to remove part of his intestines.

Kohr claims his cup cup was defective, so he’s suing Starbucks and the cup manufacturer for damages, medical costs and legal fees.

Starbucks defended itself on several fronts, most interestingly that Kohr isn’t covered by any warranty because he didn’t purchase the cup, but got it for free.

Kohr’s lawsuit is relatively modest considering the rich, flavourful history of U.S. coffee suits. A New York family recently won $500,000 from Denny’s and of course there’s the famous Stella Liebeck who won $2.6 million from McDonald’s in 1994 (although it was later reduced to a paltry $500,000).

‘Social experiment’ yields creepy results

There’s no crime here, but it’s a real wake-up call for complacent parents.

YouTube prankster Joey Salads — probably not his real name — posted a video this week showing how shockingly easy it can be to hoodwink unsuspecting kids into walking off with a charismatic stranger.

Armed with a puppy, Mr. Salads approaches mothers at a playground and asks how they think their child will act around strangers. Every mom believes their kid is savvy enough to run away, but the video shows different results.

On the encouraging side, the Toronto Sun’s copycat experiment turned out differently as all four kids declined to walk off with a stranger and their dog.

So whether Salads’s video is real or not — it’s just a YouTube video and we can’t vouch for authenticity — it still provides some food for thought.

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