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DUPED BY "THE AFRICANS": Who hasn't received those annoying e-mails, purportedly from high officials from nations such as Congo or Nigeria, seeking money? Syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts Jr., whose commentary runs in the Observer, wrote a funny piece on the scam called "I am sick and tired of the Africans." Surely, no one could actually fall for this scam. Wrong! A local 34-year-old man received and cashed nine money orders totaling $950 from an unknown Nigerian, then wired $4,900 to Nigeria. The money orders, of course, were counterfeit and the man's bank is holding him responsible for the cash. The man is angry his bank won't cover the scam. Perhaps he should also hold the mint responsible for printing the money he squandered.

GREASE LIGHTNING: On Tuesday at 7:53pm, a man attempted to throw hot grease on a family member. There were no visible signs of injury to the victim, if you don't count emotional distress.

MR. ED: A University area woman reported an unknown person repeatedly called her cell phone. The first time, the caller asked, "Do you have a horse?" The woman does not have a horse, so she said "no" and hung up. The second time, the caller asked to speak to some unknown person. The third time, the caller asked for someone named Eric. The woman told the caller there was no one there by that name. Perhaps Eric was out at the stables riding the woman's mare.

DON'T FIRE ME: At a car dealership, a paranoid employee said to another: "I cannot afford to lose my job because it would be too hard to find another job." Then he added, "If I lose my job I'm going to come back up here to the job and shoot anybody that's in the building." Going on a killing spree might make a person even less employable.

MEAN STREETS OF CHARLOTTE: Downtown on a Thursday night, a bar-hopper got separated from his friends. He was intoxicated and isolated in the mean streets of uptown. A stranger approached him and offered to walk with him. The drunk dude followed blindly. The stranger reached into drunk dude's pockets and stole his wallet. Bummer.

Blotter items are chosen from the files of the Charlotte Police Department.

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