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News » News of the Weird

From Bad to Worse

A weekly roundup of international news oddities.

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From Bad to Worse
A well-meaning neighbor's attempt to save his friend from a dog attack went south on Feb. 5 in Adams, Mass. Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington told the Associated Press the neighbor heard yelling shortly after noon and discovered his friend being attacked by his own dog and his girlfriend's dog. The good Samaritan returned to his apartment, got the crossbow he used for hunting and fired it up a stairwell at one of the dogs. But the bolt glanced off the dog and went through the door into the apartment where it struck and killed the victim. Harrington said the dogs had a history of aggression and were usually kept in separate kennels. She described the man as "very distraught" and did not expect criminal charges to be filed. Officers responding to the scene shot both dogs.

Prespective
Juan Zamora, 63, of Kissimmee, Fla., needed directions on Feb. 8 and flashed his headlights at a Marion County Sheriff's squad car to ask for help, the Ocala Star-Banner reported. Deputy Calvin Batts obliged, but during the conversation, he noticed Zamora smelled like alcohol and was unsteady on his feet, according to the arrest report. Zamora then resisted Batts' request to take a breath test, saying, "You didn't pull me over. I pulled you over," and told the officer he is "legally disabled," which would account for his instability. However, it wouldn't explain the bag of white powder found in Zamora's shirt pocket, which field-tested positive for cocaine, according to the report. Batts also reported finding a two-thirds-full bottle of Canadian whiskey and a 15-year-old passenger in the vehicle. Zamora was arrested and charged with DUI and possession of cocaine.

Police Report
Shareeka Strawn, 28, must have panicked when the car she was riding in was pulled over by police in Wichita Falls, Texas, on Jan. 15 for a minor traffic violation. According to the probable cause affidavit, Strawn, who had several outstanding warrants, identified herself as Porshala Strawn, but was apparently unaware that a records check revealed Porshala also had an outstanding warrant. The Times Record News reported Shareeka was arrested and is facing a number of charges, including allegedly giving a false name.

What's in a Name?
A former employee of a finance firm is behind bars in Macon County, Tenn., after allegedly stealing $51,000 in customer loan payments, WATE reported. Serena Swindle, 41, was arrested on Feb. 5 after a yearlong investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. She was held on $3,500 bond at the Macon County Jail.

Bright Idea
Ryan Sentelle State, 37, has been arrested in Salt Lake City after police said he admitted using mice and hamsters to get free hotel rooms. KUTV Channel 2 reported on Jan. 30 that authorities allege State would release the rodents in a hotel room, then complain about them, prompting hotel workers to offer the room for free. State faces charges of theft by deception and criminal mischief.

Chutzpah!
On Dec. 19, five prisoners in Belgium's Turnhout Prison escaped by climbing over a wall and jumping into a getaway car waiting nearby, Newsweek reported. Four of the men were captured within a few weeks, but officials failed to track down Oualid Sekkaki, 26, who was serving time for drug possession. Sekkaki added insult to injury when a letter arrived at the prison on Jan. 20. Inside was Sekkaki's prison badge and a card saying "Greetings from Thailand." Sekkaki, who hails from an infamous Moroccan prison-escaping family, is still at large.

Awesome!
Residents of an apartment building in Kerala, India, were surprised on Feb. 3 when a pungent mixture of beer, brandy and rum began flowing from their faucets instead of water. Officials told the BBC that about 6,000 liters of alcohol confiscated on court orders had been buried in a pit nearby, but it seeped through the soil into the well used as a water source for the building. "The children couldn't go to school, and even their parents couldn't go to work," Joshy Malyiekkal, the building owner, said.

Sweet Revenge
Housepainter Dean Reeves of Bolsover, England, came to a slow realization that his client, Terry Taylor, was never going to pay him the rest of what he says he is owed for painting Taylor's building. So in January, Reeves took his complaint public and painted a graffiti message on the building's exterior: "Want your house painting? Don't be like Terry. Pay the bill! Now you will!" According to Oddity Central, Reeves said Taylor "changed the job, kept asking me to do extra work. ... He kept saying, 'I'll pay you tomorrow,' but tomorrow never came." For his part, Taylor denies Reeves' accusations and is threatening to press criminal charges.

Government in Action
The Washington, D.C., Metro has spent five years and $3.8 million building two still-unfinished bike racks at two of its stations, WJLA reported on Feb. 12. The original budget for the two covered racks, which each will house 92 bikes, was $600,000 apiece. "Quality control issues with contractors can take time to sort out," the Metro said in a statement, "but Metro determined it was important to get the project done right rather than get it done quickly." It hopes the projects, first set to be completed in December of 2015, will be finished in the next few months.

• Giovanni Palmiero, 101, has been living in the United Kingdom since 1966, so logically, he applied to remain there after Brexit. Alarmingly, the Home Office demanded that Palmiero's parents confirm his identity and accompany him to an office in north London to make his application. Dimitri Scarlato, a volunteer helping Palmiero, immediately realized the computer had read his birth year as 2019 instead of 1919. "I phoned the Home Office and it took two calls and a half an hour for them to understand," Scarlato told The Guardian. Palmiero has been married to his 92-year-old wife, Lucia, for 75 years. They will be able to remain in the U.K.

Clever
An unnamed 47-year-old Italian woman convicted of fraud in 2017 in Sicily has been on the run since then, The Guardian reported, eluding authorities by hiding in convents. The woman moved to the northern regions of Italy and phoned convents pretending to be a sister "looking for help and claiming she was severely ill," investigators said. As she moved from convent to convent, she changed her identity, duping nuns who trusted her and thought her to be kind. Finally, a Benedictine nun grew suspicious and phoned police, telling them her stories were "full of contradictions." Authorities verified her identity and arrested her. She now faces further charges of claiming false identity.

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