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September 2012

5 September 2012

According to Sergeant Ronald McInnis of the Quebec provincial police, a woman decided to get photos taken after her wedding, standing in her wedding dress in front of one of Montreal's waterfalls. Not long after she decided to pose with her feet in the water beside Dorwin Falls, her dress became soaked and, affected by currents, she found herself unable to stay above the surface of the water. The photographer and someone else tried to rescue her, but the weight of the dress proved too much for them too. A diver recovered her body about four hours later.

Rajesh Shah says: 'We had put up a cloth banner for over a month saying "Hitler opening shortly". No-one objected to the name then.' Now that his men's clothing store in Gujarat is open, with its name in large letters and a swastika dotting the 'i', some are upset. Shah explains that his business partner's grandfather had simply been given the nickname 'Hitler' because he was strict. Says Shah: 'It was only recently that we read about Hitler on the Internet [...]. It was only when the store opened I learned Hitler had killed six million people.' He says that he cannot afford to change the name now unless given compensation.

Firefighters in Cumbria were called out to rescue a cow from a tree. A farmer had noticed one of his animals missing, and it was found where it had toppled down a 30-metre river embankment. After being sedated by fire crews wearing body armour 'in case a stray hoof lashed out at them', the animal was winched out of the tree, according to a Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service spokesman.

US Navy submarine commander Michael Ward II, 43, told a woman that he'd met on a dating Web site that he was a separated man who worked with special operations. In reality, he was married, with children. When he recognised that his lies could catch up with him, he decided to break things off. Allegedly, he faked e-mail to her from co-worker 'Bob' stating that Ward had died. The message went on to say 'He loved you very much' and that Ward wanted her to have something.
When the 23-year-old pregnant woman drove to Ward's Virginia home to pay her respects, the new owner told her that Ward hadn't died but merely relocated to command the USS Pittsburgh. She contacted the Naval Criminal Investigation Service, and Ward has been assigned to administrative duties.

Police report that Randy Lee Tenley, out with some friends, decided to fake a Bigfoot sighting by donning a foliage-camouflage suit and stepping out onto a Montana highway. Drivers were indeed scared, but there was a result that Tenley had probably not foreseen: a 15-year-old girl and then a 17-year-old ran into him. He died. Tenley, 44, failed in another respect also: According to state trooper Jim Schneider, no-one reported a Sasquatch on Highway 93.

In Shropshire, Ian Poulton, 33, had something tucked into the waistband of his trousers. Some of his neighbours in Telford rang emergency services in a panic, claiming that it was a pistol and that he had been waving the firearm around. He was soon accosted in the street by 15 armed officers in bulletproof vests, plus a dog unit. Upon his arrest, it became clear what the item was; as one resident put it, 'he was screaming to his girlfriend to hand over the dildo'. In court, Poulton has admitted that he had intended to cause fear of violence by means of the silver sex toy.
His neighbours later complained about the rather more real display of weapons they had witnessed as armed 'Robocops' ran down the street.

Another newsworthy dildo is that belonging to gay couple Christopher Bridgeman and Martin Borger. After a holiday in Costa Rica, they allege, a surprise awaited them at the luggage carousel at their destination airport in Virginia: a sex toy had been removed from their bags, covered in a 'greasy foul-smelling substance', and taped to the top of the bag. The two men said that others in the area started to laugh when seeing the bag and that this caused great emotional trauma.
They are suing United Continental, who claim in response that they do not tolerate discrimination of any kind. Airline spokeswoman Christen David also said that they offered the men a gesture of goodwill but it was declined.

Daniel Castillo was jet-skiing when he became separated from his jet ski in Jamaica Bay, New York. Swimming to shore, he found himself at JFK airport, where he climbed a 2.5-metre perimeter fence, walking past motion sensors and CCTV cameras. Having thus cunningly evaded the $100 million Perimeter Intrusion Detection System, he crossed two runways and entered a terminal building. When he asked a worker for assistance, she contacted authorities. Castillo has been charged with criminal trespass.
The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said of the incident that contractor 'Raytheon is trying to determine what went wrong, what didn't work, but it appears that nothing worked'.

France's Patrice Christine Ahmed flew from Pakistan to Paris. She was asleep when the Pakistan International Airlines flight arrived at Charles de Gaulle Airport, and no-one noticed her there. After two hours, the plane took off for the return journey, with her still aboard. The incident came to light only when she reached the immigration desk back in Lahore.
She was returned to Paris on the next flight. PIA are conducting an investigation, with the guilty party - either the woman herself or the French passenger-handling firm - to pay the cost of that flight.

A flight from Bulgaria to Germany was diverted for an early landing in Austria after smoke and fumes spread throughout the aircraft. Some passengers were sickened by the odour. It turned out that a particularly smelly cooking oil used for heating the in-flight meals was to blame, according to Lufthansa spokesman Boris Ogorski.

The BBC tell us of a 36-year-old Norwegian tourist in Italy. He was intoxicated when he climbed over a check-in desk at Rome's Fiumicino airport and fell asleep. Reportedly, he was still asleep when his bed started moving and staff spotted him on the luggage x-ray machine. They stopped the luggage belt and contacted the police. The man will face unspecified charges.

Iceland Review reports that a tour-bus driver waited about half an hour for a missing foreign tourist to return after a stop in the volcanic canyon Eldgjä, then contacted the police. Around 50 people took part in the ensuing search, including some of the tour-bus passengers. The search was called off once it became clear that there had been a miscount on the bus and that also the woman had changed clothes at the stop, with no-one recognising her when the tour continued.
According to Hvolsvöllur police chief Sveinn K. Rúnarsson, the woman had taken part in the search herself. She didn't recognise herself from the description and 'had no idea that she was missing'.

A dead body was found in a hearse in Beverly Hills. The unusual part is that this corpse was in the driver's seat; according to police lieutenant Lincoln Hoshino, the driver, 59-year-old Garlandine Garvin, seems to have died of natural causes while transporting a body to a funeral.

Carlos Garcia wanted to leave New Mexico's Lea County Correctional Facility. For almost half a year, he used a razor blade on the end of an ice-lolly stick to deal with a stubborn metal bar. He broke a window in his cell and put up plastic to hide the latter damage. Squeezing through the opening he'd created, he lowered himself via a bed-sheet ladder. Garcia, who is serving two consecutive life sentences for murder, then decided the whole thing was a bad idea and climbed back inside.

Thanks to having worn braces, Devin Bost has straight teeth. Regrettably, those are largely rotten teeth. The 22-year-old Oregon man is suing orthodontist Brad Chvatal for leaving his dental braces on for 11 years. Some of the teeth can be replaced. Bost's lawyer said: 'We aren't really sure what happened.'

The casino Golden Nugget Atlantic City worked out that something was up after 14 gamblers managed to win more than $1.5 million in total from 41 consecutive winning hands of baccarat. The casino sent in security teams to discover how the guests were cheating. It turned out that eight decks of cards hadn't been pre-shuffled, and the same sequence of cards kept repeating.
The casino is suing the gamblers, claiming that the games weren't valid: state relations require all casino games to offer fair odds.

New York bar-owner David Kelleran, 51, was warned that his cheque for renewal of the state liquor licence for his restaurant, called 68, had bounced and that he had 10 days to make acceptable payment. He claims in a lawsuit that, before that time was up, police arrested him at his flat for selling alcoholic drinks without a licence. While he was in jail for the night, he alleges, officers visited Coco66, the properly licenced pub he owns next door to the restaurant, and proceeded to pour all of the premises' wine, beer, and spirits down a drain. Both the bar and the restaurant have been closed since the incident.

According to the Dayton Daily News, a man reported an assault to police in which two men approached him at a Dayton bus stop and demanded the content of his pockets. With a .22-calibre handgun against his forehead, he relinquished $40 and his mobile phone. Then, one of the pair asked the victim whether he had enough money for the bus. When he replied 'No', he was given $2 before his assailants made good their escape.

A 19-year-old man tried to jump across a canal in Dudley but failed, falling short of the towpath and hitting his chin on the concrete wall. Rather than explain this to his family, he told the police that a group of people had stabbed him in the chin with a 25-centimetre knife and thrown him into the canal.
In the ensuing investigation, says Detective Sergeant Jim Munro, video footage of the incident was found on his 25-year-old step-father's mobile phone and '[b]oth were arrested for perverting the course of justice and immediately admitted that it was all fabrication'. Each man was fined 80 pounds.

In southern China's Chongqing, Hu Seng used a courier company to send a package to girlfriend Li Wang's office. The idea was for a friend to video Li opening the sealed box, which contained Hu. That part wasn't the problem. The courier company sent the box to the wrong address. In total, Hu was in the box for three hours. He later said: 'I tried to make a hole in the cardboard, but it was too thick and I didn't want to spoil the surprise by shouting.'
Hu had passed out by the time the box was opened, and paramedics were called in.

Karl Weiss is a 67-year-old German man who felt bad when he ran into a deer on the road. Rather than leave the body where it lay, he decided to be conscientious, taking it to a police station and reporting the accident. The deer wasn't dead and became agitated while riding in the back seat of Weiss's car. He said: 'I was shocked when it started jumping around and almost crashed the car. The deer was uninjured but my car was left in a real mess.'

In Eastlake, Ohio, police were called to the Chagrin River Yacht Club in response to what they termed a 'knock-down brawl'. It emerged that seven intoxicated people, of both genders, had engaged in the fisticuffs over a portable toilet. One man was treated in hospital for his injuries. Each of the people involved, in their 40s and 50s, allegedly gave police a different account of the incident.

Hunter Spanjet is a three-year-old deaf boy in Nebraska. His parents allege that the boy's pre-school, Grand Island's Early Learning Center, wants him to change the way he makes the sign for his name, since the gesture resembles use of a gun. A spokesman for the school has said that, although privacy rules prevent him from addressing the complaint directly, he can say that no deaf students have been asked to change their name per se.

John Buna is a 31-year-old man who is now one foot shorter. According to California's Contra Costa Times, a woman reported that he took her for a ride in his BMW, during which his reckless driving in the car park prompted her to exit the vehicle. He then pretended to be getting out of the car himself, opening his door and extending his leg out the door. He then accelerated, hitting a trailer, a pole, and doors. Finally, he drove too close to a cinder block, and his foot became separated from his ankle. He returned to his parking spot while the woman summoned help.

When Larry Jones tried to buy chips with a counterfeit $50 note at a New York amusement park, staff noticed. As security guards approached, the 35-year-old Jones crammed five pseudo-banknotes into his mouth and tried to eat them. When he failed, he explained to investigators that someone had paid him with the pieces of paper and he had no idea they were a problem.

Russia's Alexei Bykov decided to propose marriage to his girlfriend in an unforgettable manner. And so it was. Irina Kolokov later said: 'We'd arranged to meet at a certain place, but when I arrived there were mangled cars everywhere, ambulances, smoke, and carnage. Then when I saw Alexei covered in blood lying in the road, a paramedic told me he was dead and I just broke down in tears.'
Bykov, 30, wasn't dead. He had hired stunt men, make-up artists, and others to stage a crash scene. When Kolokov began crying, the fake-blood-covered Bykov jumped to his feet and proposed to her. He explained: 'I wanted her to realise how empty her life would be without me.' Though 'so cross I almost killed him [...] for real', she eventually accepted.

20 September 2012

In Miami, police know that it was David Weber, a 53-year-old homeless man, who broke into a car, stealing a credit card he found within. Weber then entered a nearby bar and ordered a beer, producing the card for payment. The bartender swiftly contacted the police; the credit card was his own. Weber, who was taken to jail, reportedly told officers that he'd found the card on the ground.

Stockholm firefighter Björn Hörnsten said that several residents of a block of flats consulted each other about a worrisome smell and concluded that there was a gas leak. Soon two fire engines, two police cruisers, and a gas-leak team converged on the location in Södermalm. The culprit was, one might argue, fairly innocuous: a bucket of surströmming (particularly odiferous fermented herring). Sweden's The Local quotes the Stockholm fire department as saying this isn't the first time they've 'rushed out to respond to an emergency call and ended up at a surströmming party'.

Dave Gunning is a folk musician whose tribute to the now out-of-production Canadian penny backfired. The front of his album No More Pennies shows someone trying to scrape together enough coins for a cup of coffee, and on the back a cent sets below the horizon. The album was brought to the Royal Canadian Mint's attention by a fan who works there. Gunning explains that the man had thought: 'Maybe we could actually sell the CD in our gift shop.' The mint instead notified Gunning that for every 2,000 albums sold, he must complete an application to use images of the coin and pay over $1000 in fees. They did waive the fee for the first 2,000 copies.
After the matter gained attention in the national press, the mint backed down, and Gunning has shelved his appeal for fans to bring pennies to concerts in order to help him pay for the album sales.

Warwick, Rhode Island, has a city ordinance against noise made by animals. While it may be vaguely worded, Kathleen Melker believes that her boyfriend's ex-wife, Lynne Taylor, has crossed the line. Or perhaps Taylor's cockatoo, which is alleged to have repeatedly called Melker a whore, is at fault. Taylor fought the $15 noise fine in court, and lost, in what Melker called 'a deplorable waste of taxpayer money'.
Melker and Taylor are next-door neighbours, so this may not be the end of their disagreements, which have continued for a year so far.

South Carolina's Charlotte Observer reports on Tracy, a woman who dumped her boyfriend 12 years ago after he'd robbed a flower shop to feed his drug habit. A year ago, he was released from prison and helped her install new doors for her house after a fire. He stole her truck shortly thereafter and was sent back to jail, from which he sent love letters. Recently released, he has cropped up in her life again.
She asked two of her sons to investigate why insulation was falling from her ceiling. They found nothing, but her nephew later discovered the ex-con asleep in a heating unit in the attic. He had been there for two weeks, spying on her via a vent and catching his bodily waste in cups.

Another truck thief is Delaware's Donald Smith II. However, he stole his own pickup truck.
He had failed to pay New Castle's Stop-N-Go repair shop, so they kept the vehicle. His response to this involved a front-end loader with fork lifts. The owner of the repair shop reported the theft first to the police and then to Smith, who rang back to explain that he had liberated the 1999 Chevrolet Silverado himself. Troopers soon spotted the front-end loader, and a 35-minute chase ended in the 30-year-old Smith's arrest.

In Oregon, five-year-old Teylor Kobernik had been looking forward to his first day as a kindergartner, but it didn't end as planned. Morningside Elementary School officials placed him in a car with a stranger, an employee of an area day-care centre. The boy insisted that he was supposed to ride the bus home, and the day-care centre insisted that the boy wasn't in their records, but the school insisted more loudly. After a tear-filled journey to the day-care centre, the child asked to speak to his mother, who was busy asking the school where he was. Reunited with her son, she is now considering sending him to a different school.

California's Tracey Gipaya, a 51-year-old physically disabled woman, died in hospital after being severely beaten with an extension cord and power strip. The person responsible for the beating, and earlier ones, was arrested at his primary school - the woman's 11-year-old son, who was her primary caregiver. Unlike child labour laws, the charges against him are unclear.
According to the boy's older sister, who sought guardianship over him, the child's father was aware of the woman's condition and of who was handling the cooking, laundry, and other chores. However, a court has awarded him temporary custody anyway.

Our final item idea is a reader submission from Aimee. John Cunningham, 43, and his 44-year-old uncle, Lessie E. Lowe, got into an argument over the pork they were cooking: One of the Jennings, Missouri, men described the cut of meat as pork chops, the other as pork steaks. A friend separated them when things became physical, but that only gave Cunningham the space he needed to collect a shotgun and settle the disagreement with it. His uncle died.
Missouri newspapers report that Cunningham was right and they were pork steaks. Whether they were worth charges of first-degree murder is another matter.

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© 2012 Anna Shefl