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News » News of the Weird

Dumb and Dumber

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



Dumb and Dumber
Rogers, Ark., neighbors Charles Eugene Ferris, 50, and Christopher Hicks, 36, were hanging out on Ferris' back porch on March 31, drinking and enjoying the spring air. Ferris was wearing his bulletproof vest—because why not?—and invited Hicks to shoot him with a .22-caliber semi-automatic rifle. KFSM reported the vest blocked the bullet from striking Ferris, but it still hurt and left a red mark on his upper chest. Next, Hicks donned the vest and Ferris "unloaded the clip into Christopher's back," according to the police report, also leaving bruises. That's where it all would have ended had Ferris not gone to the hospital, where staff alerted the Benton County Sheriff's Office. Ferris initially told officers an elaborate story about being shot while protecting "an asset" in a dramatic gunfight, but Ferris' wife spilled the beans about the back-porch challenge. Both men were arrested for suspicion of aggravated assault.

In downtown Borrego Springs, Calif., a curious sign tops a 5-foot-tall post in front of the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association gift shop: "This Post Not Currently In Use." Mike McElhatton, the association's education director, told The San Diego Union Tribune: "When I started working [here] I saw this post that ... had obviously been there for a long time. At first I just wondered what in the heck was the post for and then I got the idea to put a sign on it." McElhatton seemed disappointed with the response, though: "Amazingly, we don't get a whole lot of comment about it. I've seen people walk up and they just look at the sign and they just keep going."

Why Not?
Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis., tried a new venue for staging an opera on March 30 and 31: underwater. "Breathe: A Multidisciplinary Water Opera" featured dancers, percussionists, singers, a flute and other orchestra instruments—some above water, some below. Composer and musical director Loren Kiyoshi Dempster told WLUK TV he was skeptical at first. "It's been kind of one of the great surprises of my life that you could play cello underwater," he said. A device used by marine biologists to record underwater sounds delivered the music above the surface for audience members.

Police Report
On March 29, in a suburb of Stockholm, Sweden, an off-duty police officer was enjoying a nice sauna when he noticed that another man in the sauna was a fugitive wanted for aggravated assault, among other offenses. They recognized each other, police spokesperson Carina Skagerlind told the Associated Press, and "the naked police officer calmly told the man that he should consider himself arrested." The officer called for backup, and "the arrest was undramatic," she added.

Harris County (Texas) Civil Court Judge Bill McLeod, who was sworn in last November, accidentally resigned on April 1, but it wasn't an April Fools' joke. Reuters reported that McLeod shared his plan online to run for the state supreme court without realizing that such an announcement amounts to a resignation, according to the state's constitution. McLeod himself did not comment on the gaffe, but county commissioners might be able to keep him in office until a special election can be held.

• Detroit police say they can't confirm what made an unnamed 50-year-old man shoot himself in the foot on March 19, but rumor has it that he was aiming for something entirely different. WDIV TV reported that the man, who uses a wheelchair, was trying to kill a cockroach by throwing his shoe at it; the shoe contained his handgun, and it fell out of the shoe and discharged, striking his foot. Police said the man was in stable condition after the incident.

Least Competent Criminals
Who has time to bother with long lines and bureaucracy at the driver's license office? Not Mr. Tang of Liuzhou, China, who was pulled over for a routine check as he rode his silver motorcycle on March 31. Tang was happy to produce his license, carried in the customary cover, reported Oddity Central. But when officers examined it, they realized it was homemade. "He behaved very calmly as he took out the license," a traffic police officer said. "But I was shocked when I saw what was inside." Tang had simply written all the pertinent information found on a standard driver's license on a piece of lined notebook paper, then glued a photo of himself to the paper. When pressed for an explanation, Tang said he was too lazy to study for the license exam and didn't want to spend the money on driving classes. He thought a handwritten license would be better than nothing at all. "I didn't expect the traffic police to be so serious," Tang said.

• Where others see innocent little girls raising money for educational programs, some see an opportunity to pad their bank account. So it went for Brian Couture, 40, of Forest Grove, Ore., who is accused of going to elaborate lengths to skim more than $700 of Girl Scout cookie money from his daughter. Forest Grove police responded to a 911 call at Couture's home on March 6, where the man said an intruder had entered his home and struggled with him. When police arrived, according to KPTV, Couture was "unresponsive" and was taken to the hospital with undisclosed injuries, while K9 units set out to look for the thief around the neighborhood, alarming residents. Police said Couture later admitted to investigators that he had staged the whole thing, but at his hearing on March 29, he pleaded not guilty to initiating a false report. The money, according to a Girl Scouts spokeswoman, is still unaccounted for.

Weird Science
In Cachoeira Alta, Brazil, Judge Filipe Luis Peruca handed down an unusual judgment in a paternity case that involved identical twin potential fathers. The mother of a young girl filed a paternity suit against Twin A, who accused Twin B of being the actual father, reported the BBC. DNA tests showed an equal probability for the two men to be the father, so Judge Peruca ordered them both to pay maintenance for the daughter. As a result, she will receive twice as much as she would with only one father. "One of them is acting in bad faith in order to hide the fact that he is the father," the judge wrote. "Such vile behavior cannot be tolerated by the law."

The harsh winter left many city streets around the country riddled with potholes, but in Muskegon Heights, Mich., one 12-year-old boy is not waiting for the slow-moving government to fix them. Monte Scott started filling potholes around his neighborhood with dirt from his own yard in late March. "I didn't want people messing up their cars like my mom did," Scott told WZZM13. They "would have to pay like $600 to $700 to get their car fixed, they would be mad." His mom, Trinell Scott, said, "That's just the type of kid he is. He's a good kid and there are a lot like him in the community."

High School High Jinks
At Secaucus High School in New Jersey, two freshman boys received charges of computer criminal activity and conspiracy to commit computer criminal activity—instead of extra credit points—after they crashed the school's Wi-Fi network on several occasions to avoid having to take exams, authorities announced April 1. Investigators believe the boys took requests from other students to jam the signals during specific times, nj.com reported. "I was surprised on how a kid our age, or close to our age, was able to do something like this," commented one 10th grader. She said arresting them seemed a little heavy-handed: "They are messing with people's education, but they aren't harming anyone." Superintendent Jennifer Montesano said the "system has been restored and is now fully operational." Back to the books, kids.

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