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News » News of the Weird

Crime Without Punishment

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



Crime Without Punishment
The historic Chattaway restaurant in St. Petersburg, Fla., is a welcoming place, but it was the scene of a lot of unexpected late-night activity in early November, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Surveillance video of a Nov. 6 break-in captured an intruder who "spent over an hour just milling around going room to room and eating and drinking," said manager Amanda Kitto. In the process, he stole chicken wings and beer, along with computer equipment and cash tips. In the midst of their investigation, police were surprised to find yet another nocturnal visitor on tape from the night before: A man riding a bicycle cruised up to the restaurant and slipped in a back gate. After emptying a storage shed of all its contents, he went into the restaurant bathroom and emerged completely naked. Next he can be seen at a restaurant picnic table, digging into the meal he brought with him: Maruchan Instant Lunch ramen noodles. But Kitto said he was so tidy staff wouldn't have even known he was there had police not been investigating the later incident. "We still don't know where his pants are," said server Chad Pearson. Officers identified the man, who is homeless, but the restaurant declined to press charges because he caused no real harm. Police are still looking for the other man.

Latest Religious Messages
Pastor John Lindell of the James River Church in Ozark, Mo., took the opportunity presented by Halloween to compose a paranormal-themed sermon that warned against fortune-telling, Wicca—and yoga. According to the Springfield News-Leader, Lindell told parishioners on Oct. 28 that yoga positions were "created with demonic intent to open you up to demonic power because Hinduism is demonic." He went on: "To say the positions of yoga are no more than exercise are (sic) tantamount to saying water baptism is just aqua aerobics." Local yoga instructors were not amused, especially when fewer people started showing up to their classes. Instructor Amanda Davis said the pastor doesn't have a thorough understanding of the practice. "Yoga doesn't prescribe (sic) to any religion, and I don't think people understand that, so they get false ideas about it," she said. "It's ignorant."

Girl Fight!
A lawsuit filed in federal court in Dallas on Nov. 9 seeks up to $1 million in damages and accuses American Airlines flight attendant Laura Powers, 56, of assault and battery on her co-worker Kathy Ida Wolfe during an in-flight brawl in June 2016. In her suit, Wolfe claims Powers "maliciously dug her fingernails into my arm, and slammed the door of a beverage cart on my arm," and also "grabbed my scarf, choking me, and dragged me in the aisle and in front of the passengers." The Dallas Morning News reported Wolfe also said she alerted the captain and other flight attendants about the behavior, but American took no action "to ensure my safety." In response to the suit, originally filed in Tarrant County, the airline and Powers both said they are "not liable because (Wolfe) caused or contributed to cause the harm for which recovery of damages is sought."

Compelling Explanation
Christopher Greyshock, 57, of West Milford, N.J., used the old disappointed football fan excuse to explain how things went wrong after he was involved in a traffic accident on Nov. 11 that injured two people: "I drank too much because the Jets suck." According to News12, as first responders were attending to the injured, Greyshock staggered toward them smelling of alcohol. A field sobriety test confirmed Greyshock was inebriated, and he was arrested. On the front seat of his car were a bottle of bourbon and marijuana. Buddy, there's always next year.

David Rush of Boise, Idaho, has found a unique way to score his 15 minutes of fame. On Nov. 13, while visiting the public library in Oak Brook, Ill., Rush set his mind to achieving a new Guinness record for eating sweet corn kernels within three minutes with a toothpick. Rush, who holds 40 Guinness records, succeeded on his third try, downing 241 kernels. "It's a ridiculous talent to have," Rush admitted to the Chicago Tribune. "I practiced skewering a lot to prepare along with the size of the plate, spreading out the corn and best toothpicks to use." Rush told the Tribune he got involved in breaking records to promote science, technology, engineering and math education (STEM), saying a lot of kids don't feel confident about STEM subjects. "If you believe you can get better at something and work hard at it, you can get better at anything," he explained.

My Generation
Hasbro has determined that the buying hotels and houses on the Monopoly board doesn't much appeal to millennials, who "can't afford it anyway." So just in time for Christmas, the company has released a new version of its classic game, Monopoly for Millennials, in which players, whose game pieces include an emoji and a vintage camera, gather experiences rather than property. On the box, Rich Uncle Pennybags holds a takeout coffee and wears ear buds and a "participation" medal that reads, "If you had fun, you won!" USA Today reported the game's experiences include "Thrift Shop" and "Farmers Market," along with dining at a vegan bistro and attending a music festival. But make sure you Uber home: There is still a "Go to Jail" space on the board.

Police in Youngstown, Ohio, received an unusual call late on the morning of Nov. 14, according to WFMJ TV. A resident of the city's South Side called 911 to report that four men appeared to be stealing the sidewalk along Ridge Avenue. Police arrived to find parts of the sidewalk were indeed missing, and following a tip from a neighbor, they soon caught up with four men driving a truck hauling six flagstone slabs. Thomas Clark, Andre Eggleston, Levar Riley and D'Vaille Williams were charged with theft.

Bright Ideas
The Zolotoy Bridge in Vladivostok, Russia, is more than a mile long and opened in 2012, but three years later, inspectors banned pedestrians from crossing it because the walkways were too narrow to be safe. United Press International reports the ban didn't stop four pedestrians on Nov. 8, who attempted to cross the vehicle-only bridge wearing a yellow cardboard bus costume to disguise themselves. Police weren't buying it, though, and pulled them over.

• Like many recently untethered people, Kimberly Santleben-Stiteler, 43, wanted to celebrate her divorce with a party, so on Nov. 10, she hosted about 40 people at her father's farm near Lacoste, Texas, about 25 miles west of San Antonio. The big bang of the party wasn't the music or the food, though, according to the San Antonio Star-Telegram. Santleben-Stiteler wanted to burn her wedding dress, which "represented a lie," she said, and not just burn it, blow it up. Her dad and brother-in-law attached exploding targets to the dress, and to really take things up a notch, also rigged it with 20 pounds of Tannerite, the same explosive used in the targets. "We have a friend who is a bomb tech, and he kept saying, 'That's really a lot,'" the un-bride's sister told the newspaper. Shooting from 200 yards away, Santleben-Stiteler hit her target on the first shot. "The explosion was huge," she said. Residents of Medina County heard and felt the explosion as far away as 15 miles. "It was liberating pulling that trigger," Santleben-Stiteler said. "It was closure for all of us."