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News » News of the Weird

Recent Alarming Headline

A weekly roundup of international news oddities



Recent Alarming Headline
A July 29 headline in the Ken-Ton Bee in Kenmore, New York, caught the attention of The Buffalo News: "Leprechaun spotted looting cars on Hamilton Boulevard." Kenmore Police Capt. A.J. Kiefer told The News a white male with orange hair and wearing a green shirt (and "possibly plaid pants") was reported to be looting vehicles on the street July 23. Police arrested the 36-year-old, who measured 5 feet 11 inches and had someone else's debit card, but no pot of gold, according to Kiefer. He was charged with petit larceny.

Government in Action
About 176 Rhode Island taxpayers waiting for their refund checks got a surprise when the checks they received in late July arrived bearing the signatures of "Mickey Mouse" and "Walt Disney" instead of state officials. State Department of Revenue chief of staff Jade Borgeson told WPRI that the division of taxation uses the signatures on dummy checks for internal testing, and the test image files were mistakenly added to real checks. "Corrected checks will be reissued to impacted taxpayers within one week," Borgeson said.

Karen Not Karen
Domino's pizza restaurants in New Zealand were forced to end a promotion to give free pizza to women named Karen "that aren't, well, Karens," the promotion announcement read. United Press International reported that customers named Karen were invited to fill out an application for one of 100 free pizzas, but people objected online, suggesting the chain offer food to minorities or people who have been impacted by COVID-19. "We wanted to bring a smile to customers who are doing the right thing—Karen the nurse, Karen the teacher," the company posted on Facebook, but "people interpreted this in a different way."

Least Competent Criminals
Edward Thomas Schinzing, 32, was charged July 28 with arson for allegedly setting fires inside the Justice Center in Portland, Oregon, on May 29, beginning two months of protest in that city. The Oregonian reported the shirtless Schinzing stood out among about 30 people who broke into the building around 10:59 p.m., vandalizing offices and setting fires, because of the large tattoo of his last name clearly visible across his shoulders on surveillance images, according to court documents. Schinzing, who was on probation at the time for domestic violence assault, is being held at the Justice Center.

Pueblo, Colorado, police were intrigued to find a young man sleeping in a car parked behind a motel on Aug. 2, "since motels have rooms, with beds, that you can sleep in," said Capt. Tom Rummel in a tweet. Upon running the car's license plate, he continued, the officers found it had been stolen in an armed carjacking, and "there on the front seat was a sawed-off shotgun, just like the victim said was used yesterday!" KKTV reported the sleepy thief, a juvenile, was taken into custody and the car was returned to its owner.

Police Report
A 26-year-old man in Plymouth, England, was detained on July 9 after officers working nearby heard a commotion and looked up to see the man struggling with a seagull and biting it. "He sunk his teeth into it before throwing it to the floor," a police spokesperson told Plymouth Live. The man told police the seagull had attacked him, trying to get his McDonald's meal, and also "volunteered ... that he was under the influence of drugs ... The seagull was clearly injured by the incident but flew off before we were able to check on its welfare," police said. The man was taken to a hospital for treatment.

Can't Take a Joke
After pub owner Steve Cotten jokingly announced in July that the beer garden at the Poltimore Arms in Devon, England, would become the Yarde Down International Airport for the summer, offering sightseeing flights, he was surprised to receive an official letter from Exmoor National Park Authority's planning officer expressing concern about the change: "We have a duty to look into such matters to understand if there is a breach, and if so, whether any action is necessary." Devon Live reported Cotten responded promptly in a social media post, saying, "All long haul flights have been suspended forthwith ... We apologise for any delays, and remind you that the departure lounge facilities are still open." The park authority replied with good humor, and the taps remain open.

For her birthday, 5-year-old Macey Clemens of Parker, Colorado, went on her first horseback ride and was hooked, so she wrote her wish for a pet horse on a balloon, signed her name and let it soar. On Aug. 2, Jennifer Houghton, who owns seven horses and lives about an hour away, found the balloon stuck in a fence, and it wasn't long before the two found each other through social media. "I feel like every little girl should get to enjoy the horse world," Houghton told KOAA. "I couldn't get her a pet horse, but at least try and help her ride and make somewhat of a dream come true." She's working with Macey's family to find a horse close to home that the family can lease. "Hopefully, one day we'll be able to meet up and go for a ride together."

Father's Day in Taiwan is celebrated on Aug. 8, and EVA Air wanted to make it special, so working around global travel restrictions, it announced a Hello Kitty flight to nowhere, Travel & Leisure reported. The anime character-decorated airplane is scheduled to take off from Taipei Taoyuan Airport and fly over the coasts of Taiwan for three hours at 25,000 feet, then land again at the same airport. Guests will receive a special goody bag, enjoy a seafood feast created by a Michelin three-star chef and be given the opportunity to purchase Hello Kitty duty-free products at a big discount. Tickets cost $180 for economy seats and $215 for business class.

An unnamed man in Cairns, North Queensland, Australia, posted notices offering a $100 prize to the person able to best impersonate Chewbacca from Star Wars, but the contest turned out to be a hoax designed to harass the woman who dumped him. The posters listed the woman's phone number and invited contestants to call and deliver their best Chewbacca roar. The woman, identified only as Jessica, told 9News: "I'm getting phone calls at really strange hours of the night. ... I thought it was quite funny, actually, a good joke." However, she drew the line when the ex abandoned his car, without tires, in the driveway of her home, blocking her in. "The police ... are going to do something about it," she said.

Nature Calls
An Amazon delivery driver in Nuthall, Nottingham, England, is out of a job after Sharon Smith, 53, discovered him defecating in her back garden in late July. Smith said she saw the man run toward her garden and went to investigate. "I asked what the heck he was doing," Smith told Metro News, "and he just remained pooing whilst asking me what my problem was the cheek of it." The driver told police he wasn't feeling well and was desperate, and he didn't realize he was in a private garden. Smith agreed to not press charges as long as he cleaned up the mess and his employer was informed; Amazon promised a gift voucher as a goodwill gesture.

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