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News » News of the Weird

Redneck Chronicles

A weekly roundup of international news oddities.



Redneck Chronicles
Melinda Frye Toney, 44, of Oak Hill, W.V., was charged with wanton endangerment on Aug. 22 for brandishing a pistol in the parking lot of the New Life Apostolic Church on May 11. It seems Melinda, wife of Pastor Earl Toney, and Lori Haywood, 29, wife of Youth Pastor David Haywood, had an ongoing conflict, according to a police spokesman. Fayette County Sheriff's Detective Kevin Willis told the Register-Herald of Beckley, W.V., that the "straw that broke the camel's back" was an argument over a T-shirt Lori Haywood wore to a church event. The two couples met at the church that day to try to hash out the wives' differences, but, said Willis, "[I]t just made it worse, I think." Melinda Toney left the meeting and went to her car, where she retrieved her firearm. When Pastor Earl moved to stop his wife, the gun discharged. Det. Willis confirmed that Melinda Toney had a concealed weapon permit.

Serving the Public
The Sharonville, Ohio, police department found a way to turn a resident's misconceptions about marijuana laws in Hamilton County into a teaching moment on Sept. 3. The department posted on its Facebook page a recording of a call received on Aug. 25 from "Mr. Marilyn Manson," who complained that "two Sharonville cops ... stole my fucking weed last night." The angry man insisted that anything "under 100 grams is cool, right?" but was, in fact, wrong. (It's legal to possess up to 100 grams of marijuana in the city of Cincinnati, but that law does not cover the entire county—including Sharonville.) The officers who confiscated the weed were arresting the man's wife, whom he identified as Marilyn Manson during the call, when they found the contraband in her purse. In a second call to police, the caller also complained that the officers had taken his carryout order from Red Lobster. "It was a fresh meal of Cajun fucking pasta!" he ranted. Fox19 reported that a police supervisor later met with the man to clarify the laws about marijuana and explain what had happened to his dinner.

Repeat Offender
Police in Wilton, Conn., told WVIT they scored a two-fer on Sept. 7, thanks to 64-year-old Ellen Needleman-O'Neill. The woman was arrested that afternoon after a caller alerted police of a driver who hit a parked car in a parking lot. Officers conducted field sobriety tests, which they said Needleman-O'Neill failed, and she was charged with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, along with possession of a controlled substance (for the Tylenol 3 found in her bag). Police released her, but hours later she was seen driving away from a liquor store in her car. Officers stopped her again and found her to still be under the influence, they said. Police also said they learned Needleman-O'Neill didn't have a valid driver's license, hadn't registered her vehicle and had lost her right to drive after the first offense earlier in the day. She was charged with additional crimes and was scheduled for two court appearances.

Police Report
A Texas motorcyclist with the memorable nickname "Baby Jesus" taunted Blue Mound police on Aug. 10 as they tried to pull him over. Police posted dashcam video of Jesus Sebastian Gomez doing wheelies and standing on his motorcycle while weaving in and out of traffic, eventually getting away from officers. Fox News reported that witnesses viewing the video helped identify the rider, and police issued a statement urging Gomez to turn himself in. "[Y]ou need to come speak with us regarding this incident or we can come to you. [We could have a come to 'Baby Jesus' meeting]," they offered. Gomez surrendered to the Tarrant County Sheriff's Office on Sept. 4 and was charged with evading arrest.

What's in a Name?
Rep. Raul Ruiz, 47, a California Democrat representing the 36th Congressional District, might face an unusual opponent in the November 2020 election: GOP candidate Raul Ruiz, 57, a construction contractor. "I want to give the citizens another option," challenger Ruiz told Politico. "I'll say this. I had the name first."

Least Competent Criminal
Gary Lambe, 54, made the job of the Toronto (Canada) Police Service easier on Aug. 23 when he allegedly made a photocopy of his face during a break-in at a commercial property there. Police said the suspect "ate some food items" and created the picture of his face—which he left behind. Fox News reported that police eventually arrested Lambe, who was already in custody for an unrelated incident, and charged him with breaking and entering and failing to comply with probation.

Most Competent Criminal
Yusuke Taniguchi, 34, a shopping mall clerk in Koto City, Japan, was arrested earlier this year for using his superpower—a photographic memory—for apparent evil. According to police, Taniguchi was able to memorize more than 1,300 numbers from credit cards as people used them at his shop register, SoraNews reported. He admitted to investigators that he would remember the name, card number, expiration date and security code, then write the information down as the customer walked away, later using the accounts to make online purchases of items he would then sell. Police, who tracked him to his address by using orders for two expensive handbags, found a notebook with hundreds of accounts listed.

Weird Science
In the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, 74-year-old Mangayamma Yaramati gave birth to twin girls on Sept. 5. Yaramati and her 82-year-old husband had wanted children for years, but they had been unable to conceive. "We tried many times and saw numerous doctors," Yaramati said. "So this is the happiest time of my life." The Washington Post reported that Yaramati had already gone through menopause, so a donor's egg was fertilized with her husband's sperm, then implanted in her uterus. Her doctors, who claimed she is the oldest person in the world to give birth, delivered the twins via cesarean section.

 Residents of Kaysville, Utah, have reported two incidents when a drone has approached them, identified itself as belonging to the Kaysville Police Department and issued directions to them. On Sept. 8, a drone told people walking on the campus of Davis Technical College to evacuate, though it didn't specify why. Earlier, a couple walking their dog were followed by a drone that told them to take their dog inside, Kaysville police officer Alexis Benson told Fox 13. Benson said even if the department owned a drone (which it doesn't), it wouldn't use it to issue evacuations or make commands. She also warned that impersonating the police is a crime.

Wait, What?
New for 2019, Mattel is releasing a Dia de los Muertos Barbie. That's right, Day of the Dead Barbie, celebrating the traditional Mexican holiday honoring ancestors. She arrives wearing a full-length embroidered dress and traditional skull-like face-painting representing the dead. Dia de los Muertos is celebrated from Oct. 31 through Nov. 2, and the doll's designer told ABC7 he wants to expand awareness about the holiday.

The Continuing Crisis
The SC-Club, a nightclub in Nantes, France, is celebrating its fifth anniversary with a new attraction—robot pole dancers. The bots will wear high heels and sport a CCTV camera for a head, along with mannequin parts overlaid on their robot bodies, reported Sky News on Sept. 1. The camera/head is designed to "play with the notion of voyeurism," designer Giles Walker explained. Club owner Laurent Roue assured patrons the robots won't replace his 10 human dancers.

Bright Idea
The town of Porthcawl, Wales, is fighting back against the misuse of its public toilets by installing high-tech loos with water jets that will spray users who are smoking or taking drugs—or having sex. Sky News reported on Aug. 17 that the new stalls will have weight-sensitive floors to make sure only one person is using the facilities at a time, and the walls will be graffiti-resistant. There will also be a time limit to discourage overnight campers.

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