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News » News of the Weird

Curious Crimes

Stolen toes, lactose-intolerance woes and quirky characters from around the globe.



Digital Cocktail
If you visit Dawson City in Canada's Yukon Territory, you can't skip one of its famous traditions: sipping on a Sourtoe Cocktail at the Sourdough Saloon. The drink, conceived in 1973, comprises the cocktail of your choice garnished with a pickled amputated human toe. "You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow, but your lips have gotta touch the toe," says "toe master" Terry Lee. On June 18, one of the saloon's toes went missing when a patron, who identified himself as a "drunken fool," took the digit (specifically, a second toe). Although the thief mailed the toe back with an apology, Travel Yukon has launched a campaign for an "insurance toe," saying, "Our toe was returned, but we can always use backups!"

The Continuing Crisis
Demit Strato of New York took to Facebook on June 26 from his throne room to excoriate his local Starbucks for making his venti iced coffee with regular milk instead of soy milk, as he ordered it. "I've pooped 11 times since the a.m. My bottom hurts from all the wiping. Do you think I enjoy soy milk? ... I don't order soy milk because I'm bored and want my drink order to sound fancy. I order soy milk so that my bottom doesn't blast fire for four hours." For its part, Starbucks sent Strato a $50 gift card, and he told BuzzFeed that "many women are trying to go out on a date after this, too."

People Different From Us
A China Southern Airlines flight between Shanghai and Guangzhou was delayed for five hours on June 27 after an 80-year-old passenger, identified only as Qiu, was spotted tossing coins into the engine as she boarded "to pray for a safe flight." Passengers already onboard were asked to deplane while crews searched inside the engine and around the area, ultimately finding nine coins totaling the equivalent of about 25 cents. Local news outlets estimated the cost of the delay and the search at $140,000.

Could it have been overconsumption of caffeine that provoked Londoner Kit Lovelace to scan all 236 episodes of Friends to chronicle how much coffee each character drank? Lovelace told the Huffington Post in June he was disappointed that no one had ever collected data about the characters' coffee habits, so he meticulously studied how much they drank, how their consumption changed over the years and how much they spent on coffee. (Spoiler alert: Phoebe drank the most coffee, and collectively the group spent more than $2,000 on joe over the course of the 10-season series.)

• A California man's 2,000th visit to Disneyland in Anaheim on June 22 made him a celebrity in the park. Jeff Reitz began visiting Disneyland every day after receiving an annual pass as a gift in 2012. At the time, he was unemployed, but he continued his habit even after finding a job, using the $1,049 Disney Signature Plus Passport. "Until today, cast members would think I looked familiar, but now they know who I am," Reitz said. "It's been positive, it's been a motivator, it's been my workout gym. This past year I've lost about 40 pounds."

• A serial underwear thief in Tokyo was finally snagged July 4 when he was caught on surveillance video stealing nine women's undergarments that had been hung out to dry. Yasushi Kobayashi, 61, told police that he'd been lifting lingerie for 20 years because he enjoys wearing them. Police found more than 1,000 pieces during a search of his home.

Great Art!
Police in St. Petersburg, Fla., were hunting in late June for the artist tagging buildings with butt cheeks. At least 20 downtown fanny paintings, sporting from two to seven buttocks, have been reported. "It's not very creative," sniffed one office worker. "The bottom line is, whoever is doing this is destroying property," Assistant Police Chief Jim Previtera said. Property owners are wiping the butts away as fast as they appear, but police say the vandal, when caught, will have to pay for cleanup.

Police Reports
A SWAT team from the Sumter County, Fla., Sheriff's department raided The Villages retirement community on June 21, uncovering what they believe is a golf cart chop-shop operation, along with illegal drugs, in the sprawling complex near Ocala. Souped-up golf carts are a popular way to get around in the community, which is home to more than 150,000 people. Windshields, seat cushions, wheels and tires were found in the garage, along with drugs "in plain sight" in the home, Deputy Gary Brannen said. Five people, ranging in age from 38 to 63, were arrested.

• A determined pregnant woman in Asheville, N.C., was charged June 28 with misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon after she ran over the man who had been caught rifling through her SUV. Christine Braswell, 26, confronted Robert Raines, 34, in a Walmart parking lot, but when he ran, she couldn't run after him. "Me being five months pregnant, I chased a little ways, then come back, jumped in the car, threw it in gear and come across the curb and ran him over. I was not going to let him get away with it," Braswell said. Raines sustained minor injuries.

• A hopeful driver, pulled over by Dakota County, Minn., Deputy Mike Vai in June, produced a "get out of jail free" card from a Monopoly game in an effort to escape charges on a controlled substance warrant. The amused officer shared the incident on his department's Facebook page, but took the unidentified man into custody nonetheless.

Odd Hobbies
The Wall Street Journal reported in June on a small group of enthusiasts who participate in the esoteric sport of container spotting—discovering and documenting unusual shipping containers. Spotting a distinctive box is "analogous to the satisfaction that bird-watchers get from spotting a very rare breed of bird," noted Matt Hannes, who maintains The Intermodal Container web page. Unusual boxes, known as unicorns, include those with outdated names or logos, or sporting discontinued colors, and those from very small shipping companies. Charles Fox of Indianapolis might be an extreme hobbyist: On his honeymoon, he spent two 12-hour days taking photos of a variety of boxes in Belgium. Mrs. Fox was not amused.

What We'll Do for Love
Brandon Thompson, 35, had just one request before Muskogee, Okla., police officers took him into custody on July 4: "I asked the officer if I could propose." Officers Bob Lynch and Lincoln Anderson agreed and moved Thompson's handcuffs from his back to his front so he could put the ring on Leandria Keith's finger. Thompson had six felony bench warrants out for his arrest, but he told CNN he has been "doing a lot to turn his life around." Keith apparently agrees, as she said yes.

Government in Action
Rabbit Hash, Ky., elected a 2-year-old mayor in November—a dog named Brynneth Pawltro, who won the race by a landslide 1,000 votes. She's the small town's fourth canine mayor, having beaten her chicken, donkey and cat opponents, along with other dogs. Running on a platform of peace, love and understanding, Brynn is very outgoing, according to Bobbi Kayser of the Rabbit Hash Historical Society: "There's always inappropriate licking going on."

• Natwaina Clark, 33, of Gainesville, Fla., was fired and charged March 28 with larceny and scheming to defraud after it was discovered that she had used city credit cards to steal more than $93,000 from the parks, recreation and cultural affairs department between November 2015 and March 2017. Most notably, Clark spent $8,500 of her take on a Brazilian butt lift procedure.

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