Why Were Aurora Shooting Survivors Ordered to Pay $700,000 in Court Costs?

Don Emmert/Getty Images
Don Emmert/Getty Images

Last year, movie theater chain Cinemark drew a series of unfortunate headlines for attempting to hold victims of the July 20, 2012 shooting in Aurora, Colorado, liable for court costs. The 15 plaintiffs, who had pursued legal action against Cinemark for what they argued was insufficient security to stop shooter James Holmes—who killed 12 and wounded 70 during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises—lost and were subsequently responsible for $699,000 in attorney fees for the defendants in the state case.

So did Cinemark actually collect on what would have been a rather morbid debt?

They didn’t. Shortly after being vilified in the media, Cinemark agreed to drop its pursuit of court costs if the remaining plaintiffs dropped any future appeals. An unnamed source told the Los Angeles Times that the chain never intended to pursue collection, but it’s unknown what their motivation was in circulating a bill of costs in that amount.

Legally, it was a legitimate claim. After a Colorado state jury ruled on May 19, 2016 that Cinemark could not have foreseen the deadly intentions of Holmes, the company was entitled to seek remuneration for its legal fees under state law. (In a separate, federal case, a judge used the state decision as cause to rule in Cinemark’s favor.) The company announced on September 13, 2016 that it had come to an agreement with the opposing parties to drop the case, ending any potential of recovering those costs.

A memorial for those killed and injured in the attack is being planned for a space across the street from the theater. The project is still roughly $90,000 short of its $200,000 goal. Donations are being accepted at 7-20memorial.org.

Drunken Thieves Tried Stealing Stones From Notre-Dame

Athanasio Gioumpasis, Getty Images

With Paris, France, joining a long list of locales shutting down due to coronavirus, two thieves decided the time was right to attempt a clumsy heist—stealing stones from the Notre-Dame cathedral.

The crime occurred last Tuesday, March 17, and appeared from the start to be ill-conceived. The two intruders entered the cathedral and were immediately spotted by guards, who phoned police. When authorities found them, the trespassers were apparently drunk and attempting to hide under a tarpaulin with a collection of stones they had taken from the premises. Both men were arrested.

It’s believed the offenders intended to sell the material for a profit. Stones from the property sometimes come up for sale on the black market, though most are fake.

The crime comes as Paris is not only dealing with the coronavirus pandemic but a massive effort to restore Notre-Dame after the cathedral was ravaged by a fire in 2019. That work has come to a halt in the wake of the health crisis, though would-be looters should take note that guards still patrol the property.

[h/t The Art Newspaper]

Crepe and Punishment: Police in Surrey, England Are Using Pancakes to Share Wanted Posters

Svetlana Monyakova, iStock via Getty Images
Svetlana Monyakova, iStock via Getty Images

It can be hard to get people to care about local crime, so the police department of Surrey, England, recently took advantage of something everyone has an opinion on: breakfast. As Sky News reports, the Surrey Police have updated their social media with wanted posters of suspects superimposed onto pancakes.

The functional flapjacks were shared on Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday, February 25. They're in the style of the pancake art that's popular on social media, but instead of cute cartoon characters, they depict faces of people wanted by the authorities.

"We’ve asked Crepe Artiste Philippe de Pan to help us locate some of our most wanted through the medium of pancake art," the Surrey police tweeted on Pancake Day. In a later tweet, they confess that Philippe de Pan isn't a real person and the appetizing wanted posters were rendered digitally.

With one picture, the department tweeted, "If you can help us crepe up on him, give us a call." They also shared real photos of the suspects for clarity, saying: "If you are struggling a bit with the 'crepe' artwork, maybe this 'batter' image will help!"

The stunt was pulled as a joke, but it could be an effective way to get people's attention. Most Twitter users scroll through their feeds quickly, but if they see a fluffy stack of pancakes, they maple the break, fast.

[h/t Sky News]