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News » News of the Weird

Parent of the Year

A weekly roundup of international news oddities



Parent of the Year
Jose Manuel Navarrete, 25, is being held on $100,000 bond on suspicion of child endangerment in the San Diego Central jail after he carried his 2-year-oldA daughter into the elephant habitat at the San Diego Zoo on March 19, the Associated Press reported. Navarrete allegedly wanted to take a picture with the African bull elephant, police said, and evaded multiple barriers to enter the enclosure. Witness video shows one of the elephants charging the two trespassers and Navarrete briefly dropping the toddler before picking her up and getting her to safety. "He runs, throws his baby through the gate and it's seconds from hitting him," said witness Jake Ortale. "People were just mad at this guy."

The Continuing Crisis
• Larry Lee Harris, 66, of Willcox, Arizona, was arrested after chasing a caravan of three National Guard vans carrying COVID-19 vaccines out of a truck stop in Lubbock, Texas, on March 22 and trying repeatedly to run the vans off the road, police said. WAFB-TV reported Harris finally turned his vehicle into oncoming traffic and stopped the vans, then allegedly pointed a gun at a guardsman, identified himself as a detective and insisted on searching the vehicles. He told Idalou police, who found a .45-caliber pistol and loaded magazines in his possession, that he was looking for a kidnapped woman and child. "Mr. Harris appeared to be mentally disturbed," Idalou Police Chief Eric Williams said. All 11 unarmed uniformed guardsmen escaped unharmed.

• On March 17, police at the Charleston, South Carolina, airport rushed to meet United Airlines Flight 728 in response to a report that someone's ear had been bitten off on the plane, which had been diverted there from its flight from Newark, New Jersey, to Miami, The State reported. Passenger John Yurkovich Jr., 45, of New Jersey, had become "agitated" and "restless" after making a trip to the restroom, police said, then "began to scream and thrash around," punching his seatmate and apparently biting the man's ear, which later required seven stitches, an FBI report said. A doctor on board injected Benadryl into Yurkovich's buttocks to help subdue him, and others bound him with zip ties and a belt. Authorities said they found 1.5 grams of suspected meth in Yurkovich's pocket; he was arrested and faces state charges of possession as well as federal charges of assault.

Entrepreneurial Spirit
Good Fortune Burger in Toronto has renamed some if its menu items as office supplies as a not-so-underhanded way to help customers get reimbursed for lunch, the National Post reported, and perhaps boost sales. The restaurant's Fortune Burger is now the Basic Steel Stapler, and Parm Fries will appear on a receipt as CPU Wireless Mouse. Director of operations Jon Purdy said the restaurant "just wanted an opportunity to put a smile on some people's faces and have them have a little bit of a giggle."

Wait, What?
As Jensen Karp, 41, of Los Angeles, was pouring a second bowl of his favorite breakfast cereal, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, on March 22, "something plopped out of the box. I picked it up, and I was like, 'This is clearly a shrimp tail,'" he told The New York Times. Karp looked into the box and saw another tail, both encrusted in sugar. Karp took a picture, sent it to his wife, then contacted General Mills. Then a friend suggested he take another look into the bag, where he reported finding "shrimp skins-looking things, a small string, something that resembled a pistachio, and finally, "small black pieces" at the bottom that he fears are rat feces. Karp is having the samples tested at a lab. "I'm a comedy writer, but like, there's no joke here," he said. "I love Cinnamon Toast Crunch." General Mills says it's looking into the matter, but "we can say with confidence that this did not occur at our facility."

A motorist in Delray Beach, Florida, stopped to investigate the screaming she heard on March 23 and found a naked woman trapped in a storm drain 8 feet below street level. The Washington Post reported first responders pulled the unnamed 43-year-old woman to safety and took her to a hospital as investigators discovered she had been reported missing by her boyfriend three weeks earlier, Palm Beach County sheriff's officials said. The woman told officers she had been swimming in a canal when she noticed a door leading to a tunnel, which she entered, and then became lost, wandering for weeks in the tunnel system and surviving on a bottle of ginger ale she found. Ted White, a spokesman for the Delray police, was skeptical: "Was she actually down there the whole time?" Health officials think she might have been in the tunnels just a few days, he said.

Compelling Explanation
Phedeline St. Felix told police in Pompano Beach, Florida, she had gone to a city park in mid-March to settle an argument with another woman when she allegedly drove her car over a gate and into a playground, accidentally hitting Chaunda McCleod and her 3-year-old grandson instead, injuring them both. "I was attempting to run (the other woman) over," St. Felix said, according to WPLG-TV. McCleod said she saw a fight brewing in the park and "started to get all the kids together to get them out of the park. ... As I'm picking (my grandson) up, she's just hitting us both and we just went flying over the car and finally we hit the ground." St. Felix was arrested and ordered not to have any contact with the victims.

Seems Like a Lot of Trouble
Authorities in Houston charged former Bank of America employee Juan Esteban Ramirez on March 24 with a second felony in connection with tricking young female customers into unlocking their phones so he could steal nude photos of them. In both cases, Ramirez allegedly took the phones to show the women how to look up information on their bank accounts, but with the phones unlocked, he found and sent himself intimate photos. In the second case, Ramirez also texted the woman, who felt threatened, Harris County Assistant District Attorney Keaton Forcht told KPRC-TV. "It's highly unlikely that these are the only two victims," he said.

Devil in the Details
An unnamed teenager in Thailand was excited by the surprisingly low price he found online for an Apple iPhone, and even though the shipping seemed a little high, he went ahead and ordered it, Oddity Central reported. The surprise came when he received a box nearly as tall as he was and found inside a coffee table shaped like an iPhone. The teen posted photos of his acquisition on social media and admitted he had been so anxious to snag the bargain that he didn't read the listing carefully.

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