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MAY I TAKE YOUR ORDER?

The couple who showed up at the door just before a Starbucks outlet in the Seattle suburb of Monroe, Wash., was due to open looked as though they only wanted some hot latte. But appearances were deceiving. What they really were after was the cash, which they soon made clear by pulling out guns. Alas, there wasn't enough on the premises to satisfy them. What to do? Solution: put the staff to work brewing up the dark beverage while they served it to customers at the drive-up window. When, after a half-hour, they'd collected what they thought was enough money, they fled. A $1,000 reward has been offered for information leading to their arrest.

I THOUGHT YOU LEFT IT AT HOME

Are you annoyed every time you're in a movie theater and someone's cellphone rings? Then you probably wouldn't be interested in attending the première of noted British composer Simon Turner's new symphony scheduled for July 20 at the Cheltenham (England) Music Festival. The work still hasn't been written. But it will consist of the sounds emitted by 30 mobile phones. Not surprisingly, the group performing it will be known as the Sim-phone-ya."

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Border and port cities are favorites for car thieves

International crime rings, not stereotypical teenage joyriders, are a major force behind auto thefts, according to results of an annual study by the National Insurance Crime Bureau. That's why the industry group says border and port cities dominate its list of metropolitan areas with the highest car-theft rates last year. The top 10 (with their 2000 ranking in parentheses):

1. Phoenix/Mesa, Ariz. (3)

2. Miami (1)

3. Fresno, Calif. (5)

4. Detroit (2)

5. Sacramento, Calif. (13)

6. Tucson, Ariz. (19)

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7. Tacoma, Wash. (7)

8. Stockton-Lodi, Calif. (24)

9. Seattle/Bellevue/Everett, Wash. (9)

10. Jersey City, N.J. (8)

– Associated Press


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