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News » News of the Weird

Crème de la Weird

The latest on quirky criminals, strange trends and odd events.



Crème de la Weird
In St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada, Lucas Dawe, 20, appeared in court on April 11 to face charges of possessing stolen skeletal remains. According to court documents reported by The Chronicle Herald, Dawe is suspected of stealing a skeleton, estimated to be more than 100 years old, from the All Saints Parish cemetery. The skeleton was found along a walking trail on April 6, and police were led to Dawe after an anonymous witness reported seeing him licking the bones. He was also charged with interfering with human remains, after he was accused of boiling the bones and drinking the water.


What's in a Name?
Residents of a particular neighborhood in the Denver suburb of Cherry Hills Village might not have ever known the name of their subdivision: It didn't appear on signs, but could be found in the fine print of real estate documents. Nonetheless, the Cherry Hills Village City Council voted unanimously on April 16 to change the neighborhood's name from Swastika Acres to Old Cherry Hills. Councilman Dan Sheldon explained that the name came from the Denver Land Swastika Co., which divided the land into plots in the early 20th century, before the Nazis appropriated the symbol: "There was nothing wrong with (the name) at that time," Sheldon told KDVR-TV. Only one resident opposed the name change, Sheldon said. "She thought it was important to preserve that historical value of that symbol ... even though she herself lost family members in the Holocaust."

Some days everything goes right. So it was for the Polk County Sheriff's officers who responded to a call on March 24 from Marta Diaz in Winter Haven, Fla. Diaz' car, a tan Jeep Patriot, had been stolen earlier in the day. As the officers took Diaz' statement, that same tan Jeep pulled up in front of the house, and Ronnie Dillon Willis, 25, emerged, telling deputies he was "looking for his cellular phone, which was pinging back to the residence," the Miami Herald reported. Diaz told the officers she didn't know Willis but had seen him earlier on her street. Willis told the officers he woke up that morning at that location, inside a vehicle, but he wasn't sure if it was the Jeep or a minivan also parked there. He knocked on the door of the house, but when no one answered, he took the Jeep to look for his phone, which was missing. The deputies arrested Willis for grand theft of a motor vehicle; Willis also had a suspended license, for which he received a traffic citation.

Latest Religious Messages
Over Easter weekend, hundreds of people visited a gum tree in a suburb of Perth, Australia, after the tree appeared to start "weeping" on Good Friday, which the faithful took to be a divine sign. For three days, the tree continued to leak water from a branch stump, provoking people to drink the "holy" water and bathe in it. "What made it exciting yesterday, a man decided to take all his clothes off and have a shower," remarked neighbor Jacqui Bacich to 9News. The excitement died down after the Water Corporation discovered the tree's roots had wrapped around a cracked iron water pipe about a foot underground, and the leaking water had slowly filled up a hollow part of the trunk.

What Goes Up ...
Two years ago, 39-year-old Dion Callaway was attempting a high-speed landing after skydiving at the Cloverdale Municipal Airport in Sonoma County, Calif., when he shattered his left heel and eventually had to have his leg amputated below the knee. On April 21, the Santa Rosa resident was back at it, skydiving, when he lost his leg again—his $15,000 prosthetic leg "just flew off," Callaway told The Press Democrat. "I've jumped with the prosthetic before, but a rush of air got inside this time. I tried to watch where it was falling, but ... I could not keep track." Early the next morning, workers at Redwood Empire lumberyard spotted something they first thought was a soda can. Yard production manager Micah Smith said his first reaction was, "Oh, that's not a soda can, that's a leg ... where's the rest?" The story ended happily after Smith called the sheriff's office, where Callaway picked up his leg later that day. "Skydiving is my everything," Callaway said. "I always seem to come back to it."

... Must Come Down
Members of England's Colchester United Football Club were confused by the cheeseburger they found on the pitch at their training ground in March. "When we discovered the burger ... we weren't quite sure what to think," media manager Matt Hudson told Sky News. But Tom Stanniland, who was tracking the burger, knew exactly what had happened and called the club to explain. "I sent a burger into space using a weather balloon," Stanniland said. "It had gone about 24 miles up and the weather balloon popped. It's ... traveled over 100 miles and landed." The burger was attached with a zip tie to a styrofoam box fitted with a GoPro camera and a tracking device. Stanniland took a bite out of the burger after retrieving it, but wasn't impressed: "That's not nice," he said.

The news on Easter was full of videos of the man in a bunny costume involved in a brawl in Orlando, Fla., who claimed innocence by saying he was defending a woman who had been spit on. "I am the type of person who avoids fights by any means necessary, but in that situation, I would fight any day," 20-year-old Antoine McDonald told the media. But the Tampa Bay Times reports McDonald has a rap sheet that belies this chivalrous image. The Pasco County Sheriff's Office said McDonald is wanted in New Jersey in connection with a vehicle burglary and was a person of interest in a carjacking and two armed robberies in Florida. Police in Dover, Del., report arresting McDonald for two armed robberies there in 2017. No arrests were made in the Orlando incident.

News That Sounds Like a Joke
In College Station, Texas, the Peach Creek Vineyard is trying out a new concept for its wine-tasting events: wine with alpacas. Teaming up with the Bluebonnet Hills Alpaca Ranch, the vineyard offers customers the chance to pet and take selfies with alpacas while sipping wine and shopping for yarn, wool or clothing. "In 24 hours, we were sold out," vineyard owner Kenneth Stolpman told KTRK-TV. One event sold out so quickly Stolpman had to turn away more than 1,000 people.

Family Values
Police in Phoenix, responding to a suspected child abuse call on April 19, arrived in time to see 27-year-old Rebecca Gonzales slap and punch her 7-year-old son in the parking lot of a Walmart store, reported ABC15-TV. The boy, according to court documents, had been at Walmart with his grandmother and was supposed to be Grandma's lookout while she shoplifted, but Gonzales wasn't happy with his performance. The boy, whose mouth was bleeding, told police his mother hit him because "he didn't watch out for his grandma good enough." Gonzales was arrested for aggravated assault.

Police Report
At a Rotterdam, N.Y., Walmart, two men pulled off a well-choreographed scam on April 13 that cost the store $2,000. The men purchased three laptops, for which they paid cash, according to The Daily Gazette. But after the cashier counted the money, one man asked for it back, saying he wanted to make sure he hadn't paid too much. The other man then started dancing around the checkout area as a distraction. The thief with the money gave some of it back to the cashier, but pocketed the rest, and the clerk did not recount the cash. Police are still looking for the suspects, who were captured on surveillance video.

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