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News » News of the Weird


A weekly roundup of international news oddities.



Police officers in Indialantic, Fla., responded to at least seven calls about a man disturbing the peace on April 7. Patrons of Starbucks and Sassy Granny's Smoothies, among others, were startled when 61-year-old Thomas Devaney Lane started yelling, calling himself "the saint" and threatening to unleash his army of turtles on the community. According to WKMG, Lane went along with an officer to the police station, where he screamed at the dispatcher and pounded on the walls, but then left the building. He was located later at a 7-Eleven, verbally assaulting customers. As officers stood by, Lane called 911 and told the dispatcher, "I need to leave now or you will all be sorry you (expletive) with the saint." Lane was charged with disturbing the peace, resisting arrest without violence and misusing 911.

The Way the World Works
In Nashville, Tenn., as the NFL Draft was taking over the town, brides and bridesmaids celebrating bachelorette parties were confounded by the crowds. WZTV reported on April 25 that the influx of crazed football fans was cramping the style of several groups: "We come here to listen to country music, not hang out with football boys," pouted a bride named Cara. "I'll tell you who's going to pay for this. My husband. No football next season," threatened a bridesmaid named Cyndi. But a bride named Savannah was more Zen about the situation: "We're gonna make the best of it. It is what it is."

Running Out of Time
Lukas Bates, 30, of southeastern England, dreamed big while running the London Marathon on April 28, according to Fox News. In addition to finishing, Bates hoped to secure a Guinness world record as the fastest runner dressed as an iconic building. His costume, the tower known as Big Ben in London, rose several feet above his head—and that, it turns out, is what tripped him up. As Bates approached the finish line, his costume got caught on the scoreboard structure overhead. Finally a sympathetic race steward helped Bates free himself and make it over the finish line in three hours, 54 minutes and 21 seconds—missing by only 20 seconds the record held by Richard Mietz, who ran last year's Berlin Marathon dressed as Germany's Holstentor gate.

Least Competent Criminal
One way to assure a negative response to a job application is to lift a few items from your prospective employer on the way out. So it went for an unnamed 36-year-old man in Gillette, Wyo., who visited a Sportsman's Warehouse on April 24, where he paid for some items with a rewards card but also left the store with some bullets and a pair of sunglasses. Two days later, the Gillette News Record reported, the man returned and asked to fill out a job application, then walked out with two more pairs of sunglasses worth $85. This time, workers called police, who arrested the man and recovered all the stolen items.

The Lankenau Medical Center in suburban Philadelphia was the site of a break-in on the morning of April 20, but it was the stolen loot that leaves us scratching our heads. Two men and a woman stuffed several colonoscopes worth $450,000 into three backpacks. The scopes are used to examine colons during colonoscopies. "This is not something that a typical pawn shop might accept," said Lower Merion Police Det. Sgt. Michael Vice. "My feeling would be that it was some type of black market sales." He also told WCAU that it's not yet clear whether it was an inside job.

Why spend all that money on a real vacation when you can just fake a trip to an iconic destination? That's the service offered by Fake a Vacation, a Nebraska company that offers to superimpose you in a photo from a popular vacation spot, such as Las Vegas or the Grand Canyon, for posting on your social media pages. According to United Press International, they'll even offer you some fun facts about the place you choose to help you make your trip stories more legit. Packages start at $19.99; no word on what it costs to get your dignity back.

You Know You've Thought of It
United Press International reported on April 25 that the Arizona Department of Public Safety arrested yet another driver using a dummy in the passenger seat to cruise in the HOV lane along State Route 202. "Don't let this be you," the department's Twitter feed warned. The mannequin in this case was dressed as a woman.

Idahoans embraced the Big Idaho Potato, a 28-foot-long steel-and-plaster potato constructed in 2012 to mark the Idaho Potato Commission's 75th anniversary. It's been traveling the country ever since, promoting Idaho's biggest crop, and the plan was for it to be retired this year, when Big Idaho Potato 2.0 arrives. But Kristie Wolfe had a better idea. The tiny house builder has converted the sculpture into a single-room hotel (aptly called the Big Idaho Potato Hotel), reported USA Today. It features a queen bed, two chairs and a bathroom with a whirlpool and skylight for stargazing; Wolfe lists it on Airbnb for $200 per night. "It's a way of inviting people to experience Idaho in a unique way," remarked Frank Muir, CEO of the Idaho Potato Commission.

The High Price of Vanity
A "vampire facial" is a procedure during which blood is drawn with a needle and then "spun" to separate the plasma, which is then injected into the face. For customers of a spa in Albuquerque, N.M., though, the most lasting effects might come after a blood test. The state's Department of Health is urging customers of VIP Spa, which closed in September 2018, to undergo HIV testing after two people were infected following treatment there. Dr. Dean Bair of the Bair Medical Spa said people should always make sure they're going to a licensed facility for such procedures. "This is just the worst example of what can go wrong," he told KOAT. The spa closed after inspectors found the spa's practices could potentially spread bloodborne infections, including hepatitis B and C as well as HIV.

Smooth Reactions
An unnamed Ogden, Utah, woman who accused her boyfriend of cheating added emphasis to the charge in a most unusual manner on April 27, according to a Salt Lake County Jail report. The 23-year-old was with her boyfriend in the parking lot of a strip mall in Sandy when she "took her clothing off as she accused the boyfriend of cheating. ... The incident took place in a busy public area with constant vehicle and pedestrian traffic." KSL Channel 5 reported the woman told police she stripped because "her boyfriend doesn't want her anymore." She was arrested for disorderly conduct and lewdness involving a child.

Family Values
A 33-year-old man from Pittsburgh, Pa., was arraigned April 29 on two counts of abuse of a corpse and one count of criminal mischief after he flushed his grandparents' ashes down the toilet. The Tribune-Review reported that Thomas Porter Wells was living at his mother's house when she became fed up with his drinking and marijuana use and asked him to leave last September. Denise Porter told police she learned from a relative in February that Wells had disposed of her parents' remains, which had been stored in a box as part of a memorial in her bedroom, before leaving. Wells denied flushing the ashes, but he later texted his mother that he would flush her remains, too, after she died.

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