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Beware of Waking the Neighbors –Cagle

April 2011

How often have you heard or read a story and certain elements of it seem a bit odd, maybe even nonsensical? You'll begin to question things, those incongruous elements that cause you to cast doubt on its authenticity. But, sometimes, the story is funny enough to allow you to suspend those suspicions, if only momentarily.

We've journeyed to the southern European country of Malta to bring you this little nugget, courtesy of It seems a 61-year-old man, Andrew Spiteri, became so incensed by the constant rattling of a printing press at a neighboring company that he proceeded to damage three cars in the parking lot of said company (Miller Distributors) to the equivalent of about $4,400 worth of damage.

Here's the thing. The press was "practically" located on the other side of Spiteri's bedroom wall. C'mon Andy, you didn't know you were living next to a manufacturing company that operates, among other things, a printing press?

Well, according to Wikipedia, Malta is one of the world's smallest and most densely populated countries (not to mention an island), so perhaps it doesn't have zoning laws that segregate residential and commercial dwellings. Or maybe there isn't an abundance of available apartments for rent, so Mr. Spiteri grabbed the best he could find.

Further, who knows which came first, the press or the pissed off person? But you'd think that a meeting between tenant and the business would lead to some sort of less destructive solution. Oddly enough, Spiteri himself filed the police report, even though he was the offending party. Must have had something to do with Spiteri seeing the close-circuit TV cameras outside the building.

At any rate, Spiteri was given an 18-month suspended jail term and was ordered to pay for damages to the car owners within three months. Hopefully, he will have found another place to live by then. In the future, perhaps Spiteri should think twice about using the Charlie Sheen method for dispute settlement. TV stars get dubbed wildly eccentric for such bizarre behavior, but the average Joe's can't pull it off.

CRUEL LESSON: The brutal winter many of us experienced earlier this year wasn't relegated to the United States, obviously, but one sad tale of trying to keep warm from India has an unfortunate printing slant. Seven people—six of them children 11 years of age and younger—were burning waste material in a drum this past January. Tragically, the drum they chose was located outside of a printing plant in New Delhi and contained some pressroom chemicals.



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