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It's a Dead Language

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

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It's a Dead Language
In Charleston, S.C., Cara Koscinski and her whole family were looking forward to her son Jacob's May 19 graduation party. The Post and Courier reported he had excelled in his Christian-based homeschool program, earning a 4.79 GPA and the summa cum laude distinction, an honor Koscinski included in the wording on the cake she ordered online from her local Publix store. When the software informed her "profane/special characters (are) not allowed," Koscinski made clear that phrase was Latin, meaning "with the highest distinction," and even included a link to a website explaining it. Still, when the cake arrived, it read: "Congratulations Jacob! Summa --- laude Class of 2018." Jacob was embarrassed, and Koscinski had to tell her 70-year-old mother why the store had censored the word. Publix offered to remake the cake, but as Koscinski noted, "You only graduate once."

Ironies
Police officers in North Ridgeville, Ohio, were sure the man who called them at 5:26 a.m. on May 19 to report being followed by a pig was impaired and hallucinating. But sure enough, the Associated Press reported, officers on the scene found a completely sober man, walking home from the Elyria Amtrak station with a pig trailing behind him. The department's Facebook page reported that Patrolman Kuduzovic wrangled the oinker into the back seat of his cruiser and later secured it in the station's dog kennels, where the owner later retrieved it. "Also," the post noted, "we will mention the irony of the pig in a police car now so that anyone that thinks they're funny is actually unoriginal and trying too hard." Touché.

Oops!
Lyons, N.Y., resident Jesse Graham, 53, must have been surprised when deputies of the Wayne County Sheriff's Department appeared at his door on May 11. WHEC TV reported that Graham, a fugitive wanted by the Mooresville (North Carolina) Police Department, had apparently accidentally dialed 911, summoning the deputies himself. Graham was charged with being a fugitive from justice and possession of marijuana, and he awaits extradition to North Carolina.

• In Lawrence, Kan., architecture students designed a new bike rack for the Prairie Acre Ribbon Classroom, the first outdoor classroom at the University of Kansas. The metal rack features the letters P-A-R-C, but viewed from another vantage point, they spell C-R-A-P. Social media lit up after a photo was posted May 13, including, "It'll make a fine bike rack. Crap a diem!" Project PARC KU responded: "The photograph shown is not the intended vantage point, nor is it the message of our project," but at press time, the university had not announced any action, according to The Wichita Eagle.

Anger Management
Frustration with the cable company boiled over in Ridgewood, N.J., on May 7, when a dispute between an Optimum employee and a woman left the cable worker stranded on high. While the employee was in an elevated bucket working on lines, northjersey.com reported, a 59-year-old woman turned off the truck and "took utility property" before walking away, making it impossible for the worker to lower the bucket. Ridgeview police charged the woman with harassment, false imprisonment, disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing.

• Dymund Ellis, 19, was charged with stabbing and killing her roommate, Jace Trevon Ernst, 25, in North Las Vegas, Nev., after a May 4 argument. According to North Las Vegas Police, Ellis became upset after Ernst repeatedly talked while she tried to watch a TV show, telling him to "shut up." When he responded with an expletive, she went to the kitchen for a knife, reported Fox News. Police said Ellis had threatened Ernst with a knife about 10 times in the last couple of months, but he had been able to get the knife away from her. Ellis told an officer that "she has anger problems and she just got extremely upset tonight."

Least Competent Criminals
Comrades in arms Mike Mulligan, Michael Martin and Emma St. Claire made the mistake of leaving their burglary booty visible in their car in Nevada City, Calif. So on May 16, when they were stopped by a Grass Valley Police officer, the prosthetic arm officers spotted pointed the finger at them as the perpetrators of a Nevada County home burglary the previous week. On its Facebook page, the Nevada County Sheriff's office described the limb as "the exact arm that was stolen in the burglary." All three were booked into the Wayne Brown Correctional Facility in Nevada City, Fox News reported, and the arm has been returned to a "very appreciative owner."

• Deputy Henry Guzman with the Broward County Sheriff's Office in Florida made his first mistake when he shoplifted—three days in a row—from a Lauderdale Lakes Walmart. His second, and perhaps more devastating, mistake was wearing his uniform while doing so. Guzman, a 13-year veteran of the department, stole DVDs and "Star Wars" action figures valued at about $200, WSVN reported. He was arrested on May 21 and charged with three misdemeanor counts of petty theft.

What a Crock!
As it negotiated a roundabout in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland, a dump truck filled with manure lost its balance on May 21 and tipped over, spilling its load onto a Peugot 208 with the driver inside. A witness said he "couldn't believe anyone got out alive," but the male driver was able to crawl through the pile of excrement and was unhurt, if stinky, Metro News reported. The car, however, "was crushed," according to a Police Scotland spokesman.

Government in Action
Lake Worth, Fla., residents were startled to receive a power outage alert on May 20 that also warned of a "zombie alert for residents of Lake Worth and Terminus," a possible reference to a city in the TV show "The Walking Dead," reported by the Palm Beach Post. "There are now far less than 7,380 customers involved due to extreme zombie activity," the message continued. "We are looking into reports that the system mentioned zombies," city communications specialist Ben Kerr said. "I want to reiterate that Lake Worth does not have any zombie activity currently and apologize for the system message."

The Naked Truth
In Huntsville, Ark., police responded to a call at 4 a.m. on May 21 from a homeowner who said a tattooed man was ringing his doorbell. The man left, but police identified him from the security video as Robert Conn, 31, and soon caught up with him after a motorist on nearby Huntsville Bridge reported seeing a naked man lying face down in the road. When police arrived, they told KFSM TV, Conn was talking to himself and acting as if being naked in public was normal. He was charged with disorderly conduct.

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