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News » News of the Weird

People With Issues

A weekly roundup of international news oddities.



People With Issues
There's so much to unpack about Sexy Vegan, a 37-year-old from West Hollywood, Calif., that we scarcely know where to begin. His real name is Hansel DeBartolo III. After changing his name in 2016, he had the new handle tattooed on his forehead and chest. He's an "Instagram sensation" and a 2020 presidential candidate, according to his IMDb profile. But most recently, Vegan's been a resident of the Twin Towers Correctional Facility, reported the Los Angeles Times, following his arrest Sept. 26 on charges of sexual abuse of his dog, which authorities say he captured on video and posted on social media. "I do get judged a lot for being different," Vegan told Dr. Phil in 2017.

The Continuing Crisis
At New Lynn's Peaches and Cream, a sex toy shop in suburban Auckland, New Zealand, staffer Kat Maher immediately noticed a strange customer on Sept. 23. "He was very energetic and erratic, going around the shop, talking a lot," she told Stuff. Strangely, he also closely resembled Elvis Presley, with slicked-back black hair and sunglasses, although he was wearing a high-visibility orange vest. "He brought a sex toy called 'Like a Virgin' up to the counter, but his card declined," Maher said. When the purchase didn't go through, the man grabbed the "fake vagina" toy, worth about $60, and ran out of the store. Maher reported the theft to police, but fake Elvis has not been apprehended. She also noted that the shop gets robbed about once a week: "It's really frustrating when this sort of thing happens. So rude and it ruins your day."

Recurring Themes
Sunday morning shoppers in central Auckland, New Zealand, got more than an eyeful on Sept. 29 when for several hours, pornography was broadcast on a large outdoor video screen at the Asics sportswear store. The "totally inappropriate and offensive" scenes apparently continued for about nine hours—until staff arrived at the store around 10 a.m. and turned the screen off, the New Zealand Herald reported. "Some people were shocked, but others just stopped and watched," said security guard Dwayne Hinango. The store manager, who gave only "John" as his name, said the incident stemmed from a cybersecurity breach, and Asics apologized on its website and through email to its customers.

• And in Auburn Hills, Mich., a suburb of Detroit, motorists along an interstate got a free show late on Sept. 28 after two people broke into a small building connected to an electronic billboard and uploaded pornography to the sign. Auburn Hills police told WDIV that two hooded young men were captured on surveillance video entering the structure at 10:49 p.m. and staying about 15 minutes. Police started getting reports of the images around 11 p.m. "I was just looking up at it and I was like, 'Huh, oh, wow. That's porn,'" said driver Chuck McMahon. Police are still looking for the hackers.

Unclear on the Concept
Lee Dong-jin, the mayor of Jindo county in South Korea, wanted to make International Coastal Cleanup Day special for his community. So on Sept. 20, the day before the global event, he instructed crews to transport more than a ton of trash that had already been collected from coastlines and deposit it on a pristine beach in Jindo, according to Agence-France Press. "We brought in waste Styrofoam and other coastal trash gathered from nearby areas so the 600 participants could carry out clean-up activities," Lee said. He apologized for deceiving the volunteers and assured residents that there was no "secondary pollution."

News that Sounds Like a Joke
The Hudson Regional Health Commission in New Jersey is investigating a mystery odor, according to WABC. People in Jersey City and Bayonne complained about the smell on Sept. 24, and officials, following the wind, searched in Newark but couldn't identify the source of the odor, which some described as similar to rotting fish. "Being a peninsula, we have water on three sides and sometimes at low tide you can smell the bay," explained Edoardo Ferrante, coordinator at the Office of Emergency Management. "It was really nothing like that. It was a very nasty, almost like a foul meat type of smell." The HRHC is continuing to investigate the odor.

Family Values
Bozhena Synychka, 20, and Volodymyr Zaitsev, 25, just got "tired of looking after" their toddler boys, Andrey, 3, and Maksim, 2. So in mid-August, they dropped the boys off at a homeless encampment in Zaporizhia, Ukraine—and didn't come back. The naked toddlers were watched over by men at the camp for a week as they drank from a river and foraged through trash for food, until passerby Olena Tashevska spotted them on Aug. 26 and called police, reported the Daily Mail. A pediatrician who examined them at the hospital said they suffered from viral infections and malnutrition. "They are weak now and barely can walk," Dr. Taisa Klimenko told local media. Police are pursuing criminal charges against the parents, and the boys are living in an orphanage in the meantime.

Michael and Georgina Parsons' 54 neighbors in Little Bay Islands, Newfoundland, are resettling on the mainland this fall as part of a program to centralize populations in growth areas. But not the Parsons. In spite of the fact that the government will cease all services to the island on Dec. 31—electricity, mail delivery, ferry and snowplow—the Parsonses have decided to stay. "We're not nervous," Michael told CTV. "I don't know if that's because we're just plain crazy or whatnot." They are busy preparing for life off the grid, purchasing a snowmobile and wood stove and installing a solar panel system. "We're also learning to do without some fresh fruits and vegetables and go to more dry goods, bottled goods, powdered milk—that sort of stuff," Georgina said.

Police were called to an IHOP restaurant in Asheville, N.C., on Sept. 26, after a group of patrons lost their composure when told their orange juice refills weren't free. Authorities told WLOS the customers damaged the restaurant and assaulted its manager and another employee. Police are examining surveillance video in an effort to identify the suspects. "We never want to see anyone injured, especially over a bill at a restaurant," said Asheville police spokesperson Christina Hallingse.

Creme de la Weird
Indian farmer Shyam Lal Yadav, 74, bumped the top of his head about five years ago, and shortly afterward, the bump started growing, becoming what doctors call a sebaceous horn. On Sept. 18, Metro News reported that Yadav underwent surgery to remove the "devil horn" at Bhagyoday Tirth Hospital in Sagar, India. The 4-inch horn was made of keratin, the substance found in fingernails and hair, and neurosurgeons were able to remove it with a razor. "However, the underlying condition will still need to be treated," explained Dr. Vishal Gajbhiye. A biopsy of the horn showed that it was benign, and a skin graft covers the spot where it grew.

Spoiler Alert: Man Bites Dog
In Rio Rancho, N.M., officers were called to the Rio West mobile home park Sept. 26 following reports of a violent altercation, the Albuquerque Journal reported. Chris Galvadon, authorities told the paper, had used an ax to assault a woman, causing "significant injury" to her hand. But as officers assisted the woman, Galvadon barricaded himself inside the home, and the SWAT team and New Mexico State Police were called in to help. Negotiations continued unsuccessfully for hours until K-9 officer Diesel was sent in. Diesel ended the standoff by biting and apprehending Galvadon, but not before Galvadon bit him back. Rio Rancho Police Capt. Andrew Rodriguez said the bite didn't break the skin, but Diesel will "be on antibiotics for a bit."