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Newsquirks | What the World Needs Now



Curses, Foiled Again
An armed man wearing a fake beard and mustache and a wig walked into a bank in Fort Worth, Texas, and demanded cash. Police Lt. Paul Henderson said the robber, who apparently took a taxi to the bank, asked the teller for a ride, but the teller refused, instead handing the man keys and telling him they belonged to a car in the parking lot. They didn’t. The frustrated robber tried to steal a car from a woman at a drive-through ATM who said she needed space to pull up; when the robber let her, she drove off. The robber tried to steal another woman’s car, but four bystanders grabbed him and called police, who arrested Larry Don Enos, 57.

What the World Needs Now
Two weeks after a smoking ban took effect in the Netherlands, Rain Showtechniek unveiled a machine that reproduces the traditional odors of bars and cafes, including cigarette and cigar smoke. “There is a need for a scent to mask the sweat and other unpleasant smells like stale beer,” company official Erwin van den Bergh told Britain’s Daily Telegraph. He said the “Geurmachines” come in various sizes and prices, (from $900 for café-sized to $7,000 for exhibition halls) and offer 50 different scents, from tobacco to leather, freshly baked bread and new cars.

Mission Accomplished
President Bush’s economic stimulus plan stimulated the online porn industry, according to the Adult Internet Market Research Company (AIMRCo), which identified an “uncharacteristic” increase in spending. Noting summer is typically a “slow period for this market,” Kirk Mishkin, AIMRCo’s head research consultant, said, “Many of the sites we surveyed have reported 20 to 30 percent growth in membership rates since mid-May when the checks were sent out.” Jillian Fox of, one of the sites reporting to AIMRCo, said a June survey of members found “32 percent referenced the recent stimulus package as part of their decision to either become a new member or renew an existing membership.”

When Guns Are Outlawed
Police in Lincoln, Neb., said that after Carlos Lupercio, 49, argued with a 25-year-old neighbor about the breed of the younger man’s dog, Lupercio went inside and returned with a crossbow. He fired at the younger man, who was only two or three feet away and had his back turned, but missed, hitting a tree instead.

• When Frederick McKaney, 40, encountered two women talking on a sidewalk in Jackson, Mich., he said something offensive to them. When they responded in kind, chief assistant prosecutor Mark Blumer said, McKaney “hit one woman over the head with 10 pounds of (frozen) chicken.”

Gelando Olivieri tried to rob a store in DeLand, Fla., by threatening the clerk with a large palm frond. Noting the weapon was a spiked Spanish bayonet, whose leaves have sharp points, the DeLand-Deltona Beacon reported that a customer thwarted the robbery by chasing Olivieri from the store with a bar stool.

Also in DeLand, two weeks later, police said Gregory Allan Praeger, 46, admitted hitting his mother in the head with a 3-pound pack of Polish sausage.

A Russian woman killed her husband with a sofa bed. St. Petersburg’s Channel Five reported the woman was upset because the husband wouldn’t get up, so she kicked a handle that folds the bed into a couch. The man fell between the mattress and the back of the couch, where, emergency workers said, he died instantly.

James Plante Jr., 39, tried using a cheese grater to rob a bar in Crown Point, Ind. According to Lake Criminal Court records, Plante threatened to shoot the bartender and a patron with a gun underneath his shirt. The patron realized it wasn’t a gun, however, and grabbed a bar stool to chase Plante, who dropped the grater while fleeing.

Guilty Vision
School officials in Simcoe County, Ontario, filed a sexual-abuse report against the mother of an autistic girl because of an educational assistant’s visit to a psychic. The National Post reported that Colleen Leduc, 38, was summoned to the school where her 11-year-old daughter, Victoria, is enrolled in a special education class. Leduc said Victoria’s teacher and the school’s principal and vice principal told her the psychic asked the assistant if she works with a little girl with the initial V. When she answered yes, the psychic said, “This girl is being sexually abused by a man between the ages of 23 and 26.”

The aide alerted school officials, who notified the Children’s Aid Society and gave Leduc a list of her daughter’s telltale behaviors. “I challenged them and asked if the other children in the class with autism exhibited these behaviors,” Leduc told the paper. “They said, ‘Oh, yes, all the time.’ But they were not reported to the CAS because they didn’t have the psychic’s tip.”

Leduc said that the CAS caseworker immediately closed the file, calling it “ridiculous.” The Simcoe County District School Board insisted the officials were only doing their duty by reporting suspected sexual abuse “if they believe there [are] reasonable grounds.”

Gladiator Follies
Australian police arrested a 35-year-old man who brandished an ax outside a cabin in North Rockhampton while challenging a 40-year-old man to step out and fight him. The Brisbane Times reported that when the older man refused, the ax-wielder smashed a sliding glass door. He reached through to unlock it but cut his arm on the broken glass. Then he put his head through the door, this time cutting his neck.

Compiled from the nation’s press by Roland Sweet. Submit items, citing date and source, to P.O. Box 8130, Alexandria VA 22306.