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March 2020


11 March 2020

We begin this batch of Anna's News Clippings with a topic that is on [Weibo photo of a bank teller inspecting the nuked money] many people's minds (and hands and noses): the novel coronavirus. While all of China's banks are reportedly using ultraviolet light and high temperatures to disinfect the cash they handle, one Jiangsu Province woman, surnamed Li, chose a do-it-yourself approach: she microwaved 3,125 yuan, worth about 400 euros. Within less than a minute, a telltale burning aroma alerted her that she might need to pay a visit to a bank. After an afternoon of identifying the remains, a teller gave her fresh banknotes worth the full amount she had destroyed.

An enraged woman stormed into the banqueting hall at Asif Rafiq Siddiqi's wedding festivities in Karachi, Pakistan. One of the bride's relatives asked 'what's the matter?' and received the answer from the woman, Madiha Siddiqi, that 'he is my husband, and he is the father of this child'. Under Pakistani law, a man may wed as many as four women but only if all his current spouses have consented. They had not. Madiha Siddiqi revealed that she'd learnt of wife 2, Zehra Ashraf, on account of a text message from her, and it was Ashraf who'd alerted her to the plans for the latest marriage, his third.
At this news, wife 3's relatives responded by inflicting bruises on Mr Siddiqi until he retreated to a nearby police station. When he emerged, they resumed the attack, tearing his clothes and slapping him until he managed to crawl under a bus.
The head of the Taimuriha police station, Rao Nazim, reported that no formal complaint has yet been registered.

At a town meeting, the leaders of Croydon, New Hampshire, decided to disband the police department. Croydon, with a population of 764 as of the last census, had for 20 years had a police force and prosecutor team consisting solely of Richard Lee, who was present at the meeting. Told to immediately surrender his badges, uniform, and cruiser keys, Lee began stripping off his uniform, explaining to a befuddled selectman that 'you said immediately; this is immediately'. Clad in only his boots, his underwear, and a hat, he headed out into the snow for a long walk home. Someone did ring Lee's wife, who collected him by car along the way.

A man in Canada didn't have a wife present to help him escape the cold. People he'd met at a Saskatoon bar regretted inviting him home, and they asked him to leave. After kicking him out, they warned the police that he had become belligerent and needed to be forced outside while clad only in his underwear.
Cold, the man smashed a nearby building's basement window and crawled inside. The resident later reported that the man was 'falling all over the place' as he donned her bright orange drapes in the style of a robe and stumbled back outside. Police officers found the 22-year-old man nearby, and he was treated for cuts before being charged with 'break and enter, as well as mischief'.

The school nurse at Texas's Post Elementary School rang mother Kiana Randolph to report that her 11-year-old son, Kamauri Williamson, had been injured in an altercation at lunch. Rushing to the school, Randolph found a helicopter whisking the boy away for medical care. She soon heard the reason for his injury: a teacher was convinced that the boy had stolen a box of juice.
In footage from surveillance cameras, the teacher accosts the boy, grabbing his hooded sweatshirt such that 'he's basically being choked', in the words of Randolph. She expressed shock at the man banging her son's head on a desk strongly enough that he would need emergency care. The school has placed the teacher on administrative leave and initiated an investigation.

Another person setting a sterling example is Pennsylvania mother Rachel Martin, who at least dropped off her nine-year-old daughter at a child-minder's home before completing her heroin overdose. Noticing that the autistic girl was wearing no socks, shoes, or outerwear, despite single-digit temperatures, the child-minder rang the police, who found Martin still at the home, slumped over in her idling car. She too had an unusual choice of attire: a Cookie Monster costume.
Emergency crews treated Martin, who will face endangerment charges, while the girl was placed in a grandmother's custody.

Our next story is about another chemically enhanced driver: intoxicated Austin, Texas, man Paul Garcia, who struck a man who was crossing the street with a shopping trolley. The vehicle's speed was such that the shopping trolley bent the 5 cm steel post that it hit, while the pedestrian crashed through Garcia's windscreen pretty much head-first and died. Unfazed, the 24-year-old Garcia drove on, leaving pieces of car and human behind him.
A little under a kilometre down the road, Garcia parked at the South Austin Beer Garden, leaving the corpse waiting in the passenger's seat. Bar staff didn't let the barefoot motorist enter, and the police soon arrived to collect him. He faces a selection of charges.

Florida's Sarah Boone says that the events in our next story were all part of a game of drunken hide-and-seek... Thinking it would be amusing - at least to her - she zipped boyfriend Jorge Torres, Jr, inside a piece of luggage, and then she headed upstairs and fell asleep. Awakened by her phone ringing in the morning, she headed downstairs, then rang the emergency services, who confirmed that Torres had expired in the suitcase.
Orange County Sheriff's Office staff stated that the 42-year-old Boone's statements have been 'inconsistent', and they report that mobile-phone footage reveals that Torres screamed for help from within the suitcase while she laughs. In one exchange recorded, Torres shouts 'I can't fucking breathe, seriously'. Boone's response that 'yeah, that's what you do when you choke me' received the reply 'oh, that's what I feel like when you cheat on me'.

John Matthew Chapman, 40, drove a woman he mainly knew online from her home in Pennsylvania to Nevada for what he described as a holiday and potential home purchase in Las Vegas. He also took her for a bondage-themed photo shoot in the Nevada desert. This is where someone stopping to urinate found her corpse tied to a sign post the next month.
The victim, 33-year-old Jaime Feden, was considered a Jane Doe until one of her friends requested a check on her welfare. Chapman was easy to find: he had been living in Feden's home, from which he'd been posting Facebook messages from her account. He has admitted to using his 'kill kit' to suffocate her, and a court case is under way.

N[Aleksandra posing with her new look]ext, we have the vanity-induced travails of Poland's Aleksandra Sadowska, a 22-year-old model from Wroclaw who sought to replicate rap artist Popek's white eyeballs in her own head. The procedure was performed by a Warsaw tattooist named by Polish media as Piotr A., whose speciality is ear piercings. Afterward, he told her that the 'normal' pain she was experiencing would subside after a while. Instead, she went blind in one eye, and military-hospital medics who worked to stabilise her eye pressure and reduce the pain informed her that the mascara used had permanently damaged the remaining eye also.
The dye used was intended only for tattooing the skin, and Piotr A. now faces up to three years in prison for unintentionally exposing someone to severe disability. He maintains that he is innocent, and he continues his work at the salon he co-owns. Court proceedings continue.

The person poked in the next story was a somewhat less willing participant. At a supermarket in Anne Arundel, Maryland, a man jostled hapless shopper Katie Peters and applied a syringe to one of her buttocks. Her startled reaction to the cigarette-burn-like sensation prompted the man to state 'I know it feels like a bee sting, doesn't it?'. After leaving, she discovered the inflamed puncture to her skin and started feeling 'really bad' pain. Investigating, the county police department identified the substance in the syringe as semen.
Thanks to security footage, a suspect has been identified too: Thomas Byron Stemen, who was found in possession of several syringes of this nature. Although two people at the supermarket narrowly escaped his 'very aggressive and very deliberate' stabbing attempts, detectives believe there are other victims and have asked them to step forward.

This year's Mardi Gras festivities have produced at least 43 injuries. That's the count from the day's event on the outskirts of San Juan de la Vega, Mexico, where participants attach a mix of sulphur and potassium chlorate to the end of a sledgehammer, which they then strike against rail beams. Some people were hurt upon being sent flying backward, and at least one person was stretchered away with a damaged leg.
There were more than 100 police officers in attendance at the six-hour Exploding Hammers Festival, along with ambulance crews. This event pays homage to hammer bombs whose origins are now lost to history and allegedly to John the Baptist. However, one man in attendance opined that participants today 'don't have an idea who the saint is' and that 'it's been going wrong for more than a decade now'. Another said: 'If in the beginning we had small, thumb-sized packs that only caused a bang and a bit of smoke, today it's all about who has the bigger bomb attached to their sledgehammer.'

Through a loudspeaker, Florida's Willard Harlow Moore ordered another motorist to pull over, but the red and blue lights didn't fool Moore's target. Said target did step out of his car but proceeded to ask Moore whether he required police assistance. Moore tried to uphold the ruse that 'I am the police', to no avail. The other man summoned police assistance.
By the time officers arrived, the 45-year-old Moore was passed out drunk in the driver's seat of his vehicle. He has been arrested.

Also in Florida, a woman called in contractors to renovate the Gainesville home that had been left to her after a divorce in 1992. As soon as workers entered the building's crawlspace, they rang 911. They had been spooked by something else left behind by her ex-husband, oral pathologist Ronald A. Baughman: six 4.5-litre plastic jars containing several human tongues each.
Planning to return to his research on thyroid and neck conditions, Baughman had stored the jars in a safe, (thermally) cool location. The medical examiner's office will now figure out what to do with the tongues.

Florida is home to the next story too, in which the police were alerted about a motorist driving recklessly while distracted... by the needle in his arm. The relevant blue Jaguar was found at a petrol station, a drugs needle was found on the driver's seat, and the two people who had been in the vehicle were found in need of arrest when returning to the car. The owner and driver, 39-year-old Thomas Henry Shayhorn, was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia and violation of his probation terms, and Dennis Phillip Lermy, 28, was arrested for possession of fentanyl and drug paraphernalia.

Seloni Khetarpal rang the emergency services to report that her mother had terminated her mobile-phone service. The 36-year-old Khetarpal demanded that officers visit the Canton, Ohio, home and rectify this disruption of service. The operator admonished her to use the 911 line only for legitimate purposes, but estate agent Khetarpal rang again, two hours later, to insist that her problem was of legitimate concern to law-enforcement personnel.
She was placed in jail and posted bail. She is charged with disruption of service herself - disrupting smooth operation of the 911 service.

If you are going to urinate on the bumper of a marked police car, it might be best to make sure that no-one is looking in your direction at the time. Michigan's David Marcel-Lewis Johnson learned this the hard way in St. Petersburg, Florida. While still mid-stream, he was handcuffed and taken into custody in full view of the public along a busy row of bars and clubs. Partly because he was not the most forthcoming person during questioning, he has been charged with disorderly conduct.

Somewhat different urinary exploits were carried out by a member of the US Air Force stationed in Anchorage, Alaska. Task & Purpose reports that Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson suffered from urine in an undesirable location and determined who was responsible for 'failure to refrain from urinating in the office coffee maker'. The culprit's name was not listed, but we do know his or her new rank: Airman Basic, as low as they go. Said airman had racked up five letters of reprimand prior to this, including one for five days' absence without leave.

Finally, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Services report on an unusual call. They were summoned to a farm near Bramham, Leeds, where free-range pigs are raised. One of the two swine in a pen ate or at least chewed into the other's pedometer, which are used for proof of the animals' free-range status. The result appears to be proof that such a device's batteries can react with some of the other contents of a pig's pen (excrement and straw) to produce fire. The fire in question eliminated 75 square metres of hay.

12 March 2020

With the major media scrambling to keep readers and viewers updated on the pandemic's progress, I would be remiss were I not to do the same.

In response to social-media images showing a young boy apparently sporting serious chemical burns on his arms and legs, the River Vale, New Jersey, police paid a visit to the 7-Eleven store where the boy's family had purchased 'spray sanitiser'. To meet coronavirus-related demand for reasonably priced hand sanitiser amidst commercial products' scarcity, shop-owner Manisha Bharade had opted for a homebrew version, apparently made at the 7-Eleven.
Officers seized the remaining bottles of the concoction, but their Lieutenant John DeVoe reports that about a dozen had already been purchased. Bharade is being charged with endangering the welfare of a child and engaging in deceptive business practices. Meanwhile, hospital staff treated the 10-year-old boy's burns, and three other children are recovering from less severe burns.


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