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News » News of the Weird


A weekly roundup of international news oddities.



An upscale neighborhood near the Ibis Golf and Country Club in West Palm Beach, Fla., is all a-flutter over some unwelcome guests: dozens of black vultures. The Palm Beach Post reports that a New York family can no longer visit the $700,000 vacation home they bought earlier this year because the birds have defecated and vomited all around it, leaving a smell "like a thousand rotting corpses," claimed homeowner Siobhan Casimano. Homeowner Cheryl Katz put out fake owls with moving heads and blinking red lights for eyes to scare off the birds, but she said the vultures "ripped the heads off." Katz had to summon police when the vultures became trapped in her pool enclosure and attacked each other: "Blood was everywhere," she told the Post. Katz and other homeowners blame the invasion on a neighbor who feeds wildlife, supplying bags of dog food, roasted chicken and trays of sandwiches for their enjoyment. Neighborhood association president Gordon Holness told the Post the neighbor has been issued a warning, but the migratory birds are protected by federal law.

A young man identified only as Akash, in Yamunanagar, Haryana state in northern India, received a brand-new BMW from his parents for his birthday, reported Fox News on Aug. 12. But Akash, who had nagged his parents for a Jaguar instead, told police the BMW was "a little small for him and his friends inside." So he pushed the new vehicle into a river, where it sank into deep water and had to be pulled out with a crane. "The youth was arrogant and kept insisting that he be given a Jaguar," police said. "We could only afford to give him a BMW," said his father. "We never imagined he would do anything like this."

Second Thoughts
Maybe his conscience got the better of him. On Aug. 13, according to WTAE, a man in a wheelchair approached a teller at a First National Bank on Pittsburgh's South Side. The man, thought to be in his 60s, handed the teller a note demanding cash, but then "suddenly abandoned his robbery attempt and exited the bank," a police statement read. Police and FBI agents were on the lookout for the reluctant robber, but there were no photographs or video of him to aid them.

Strange Obsession
Washington State Highway Patrol Sgt. Kyle Smith stopped along Highway 518 near Seattle on Aug. 13 to see if a car parked on the shoulder needed assistance. Instead, according to the Associated Press, he observed the driver inside with eight mobile phones, neatly arranged in a blue foam square, all playing Pokemon Go. Smith did not issue a ticket to the driver, but he did warn him to put the phones away and move along, as the shoulder is meant only for emergency stops.

What's in a Name?
Late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel brought the town of Dildo, Newfoundland and Labrador, continent-wide attention in mid-August when he gifted the community a Hollywood-style sign installed on a hill above the town. Soon, Canadian adult toy company Our Pleasure posted a video to Facebook featuring some of its products in front of the sign and at other locations around the town, reported The Telegram, inciting anger among some residents. "They went too far with this," said Andrew Pretty, a member of the town's local service district committee. "They had one picture right next to the playground ... it's not right." Our Pleasure owner Cathy Daniels described the video as "more of a fun video," but townspeople don't see the humor. They are circulating a petition asking Our Pleasure not to use photos of Dildo for its advertising and social media campaigns.

The Devil Made Him Do It
Jeremiah Ehindero, 41, pastor of Jesus Miracle Church in Sango-Ota, Nigeria, blamed the devil for his trouble with the law after stealing an SUV from a local Toyota dealership. Ehindero negotiated a price for the Highlander, which he said would be used for "evangelism," then asked for a test drive—and never came back, the Daily Post reported on Aug. 19. He later sold the vehicle to a spare parts dealer for about $1,650. According to police, Ehindero confessed he stole the car to repay a loan from a microfinance bank in Lagos after tithes and offerings from his congregation were insufficient. "When the pressure from the microfinance bank became unbearable for me, the devil told me to steal a vehicle from the car dealer to sell and use the proceeds to repay the loan. I regret my action." Ehindero and his accomplices were arrested in Ondo State.

Creme de la Weird
In Stockholm, Sweden, an unnamed man attending a traditional crayfish party on Aug. 20 at the Skansen Aquarium was delivering a speech while standing on a rock in a restricted area. As he spoke, he rested his arm on a glass barrier—until the crocodile who lives in the tank "jumped up and grabbed his lower arm," Jonas Wahlstrom, owner of the aquarium, told CNN. But that isn't the weird part of the story. The dastardly crocodile in this story was formerly owned by ... Fidel Castro. The croc was one of two given to a Russian cosmonaut in 1970, who took the animals to Moscow. Wahlstrom eventually brought them to Stockholm. The croc "lost its grip after 10 seconds," Wahlstrom said, leaving the victim with injuries to his lower arm and hand.

Bright Idea
Dave Schmida, 21, of Sturbridge, Mass., set out on Aug. 12, determined to get rid of a hornet's nest three stories high under a corner of his family's roof. He first tried spraying the nest with Raid, but when that didn't work, he got creative. As his brother Matthew recorded video of the extermination, Dave lit up a Roman candle and pointed the fiery balls at the nest, reported the Worcester Telegram. The first two or three missed their mark, but when his ammunition connected with the nest, it burst into flames, killing the wasps but setting the eaves on fire as well. Schmida rushed up to a nearby window and used a fire extinguisher to put the flames out. "I would say mission accomplished," he said, even though there is now a small hole in the house.

Crime Report
An attempted burglary in Oronoco Township, Minn., unfolded in an unusual manner on Aug. 15. Police responded to a burglary in progress call to find that alledged thief Kirsten Hart, 29, had scuffled with a 64-year-old woman before making off with pill bottles, debit and credit cards, $150 cash and a fake $1 million bill. Hart had run out of the house with part of her shirt ripped off, which led a passing motorist to ask if she was hurt and needed a ride. Hart accepted, climbing into the trunk of the car, according to KIMT. The driver later told police he realized something wasn't right but panicked and drove off. Police also said they found iPads stolen from a local STEM school in Hart's car. She and an accomplice face multiple charges.

Snowflakes Falling Everywhere
Ex-cons, juvenile delinquents and drug addicts are getting new monikers in San Francisco, thanks to the Board of Supervisors' new "person-first" language guidelines. For example, the San Francisco Chronicle reported, someone just released from prison will be a "justice-involved person"; a repeat offender will be a "returning resident." People on probation will be "persons under supervision." The under-18 criminal crowd will be known as "young people impacted by the juvenile justice system." Those suffering from addiction will be "people with a history of substance use." Words such as "convict" and "inmate" "only serve to obstruct and separate people from society and make the institutionalization of racism and supremacy appear normal," the board's resolution reads. "Referring to them as felons is like a scarlet letter," Matt Haney, board supervisor, said.

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