Lead Stories

Males should not read this item: In June an 11-year-old boy in Grimsby, England, standing on a chair holding a snooker cue as if riding a pogo stick, with the tip at the juncture of his legs, slipped and fell to the floor; scrotal repair and abdominal surgery were necessary to fix the rupture caused by the tip of the stick.

In May a 19-year-old mentally ill patient walked away from the Montana State Hospital in Warm Springs, and authorities warned that he was potentially dangerous. Twelve hours later the patient, Terry Crazy, was picked up along a highway. According to hospital spokeswoman Connie Worl, “Mr. Crazy was brought back…without incident.”

Recent Overreaching Comparisons to Nazi Germany

In January in Bolton, Massachusetts, the lawyer of Teren Basel compared her client’s two-and-a-half-year divorce battle with wealthy husband Peter Basel to “a trip to a concentration camp that she survived by the skin of her teeth.” In Edinburgh in January, Cardinal Thomas Winning likened the “bombard[ment]” of Scotland by gay-rights advocates to “the dark days of World War II.” In January in San Carlos, California, tavern owner Al Tolbert, reluctantly enforcing a new state law banning smoking in bars, decorated his no-smoking signs with swastikas. Said Tolbert, “It appears a bunch of [Adolf Hitler’s] adherents are running [the California government].”

Compelling Explanations

In February voters in Holland, Michigan, rejected a ballot initiative to restrict Internet access on local public-library computers to keep pornography from minors. The initiative was led by Irvin Bos, 59, who told reporters that he became a pornography foe at age 12 after he found a sexually explicit book on the side of a road and sneaked looks at it in the family barn; within six months, lightning hit the barn, demolishing it. Said Bos, “I just knew [the pornography] had caused that barn to burn down.”

In Springfield, Massachusetts, disabled police officer Charles Peck, 55, asked the city council last year for higher benefits based on a 1982 squad car crash that ended his career. Initially declared dead at the scene, Peck was resuscitated at the hospital; his petition demands benefits equal to his full salary, which are only awarded to surviving spouses of deceased officers. Peck appears to be claiming that since he was declared dead, he actually is his own survivor. At press time the Springfield city council had not decided on the matter.

Dennis Ferrer, 56, was arrested in Chalmette, Louisiana, in March and charged with stealing from the donation box at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Catholic Church. Police searched him and found three thin rods with a sticky substance on one end and $381, but Ferrer said he was not stealing the money but rather freeing it because the church was run by communists.

Pedophile pediatricians: David Mark Stier, 42, pleaded guilty in Charlotte, North Carolina, in March to having sex with an underage teenager. His lawyer said Stier “had no idea of the age of this child.” In Alexandria, Virginia, in February, Jonathan L. Weinstein, 32, was sentenced to a year in prison for possession of child pornography. According to his lawyer, Weinstein got no personal pleasure from the pornography but was merely a pack rat. The lawyer said Weinstein still has “Froot Loops that date from 1995,” “chocolate pudding from 1983,” “guitar strings,” and “his teenaged T-shirts.”

In April Ontario justice Peter Harris dismissed charges against a woman accused of prostitution when she told him that she had only been hitchhiking. The woman had been asked “How much?” by an undercover police officer and had answered “Forty dollars,” but Judge Harris said she might have meant only how much she would pay for a ride.

Bright Ideas

In April alleged Mafia boss Vincenzo Curcio broke out of a high-security prison in Turin, Italy, by sawing through the bars with dental floss. (The prison, built in the 1970s, had installed bars of abnormally soft iron.) And the month before, inmate Antonio Lara used a makeshift dental-floss-like substance to saw his way out of his cell at a facility near Palestine, Texas, allegedly in order to kill inmate Roland Rios in another cell.

Prospective bride and groom Dorrell Mainer, 38, and Kevin Rainey, 41, were arrested in Brooklyn and charged with attempting to rob a bank on June 7. The couple had scheduled a huge wedding for June 10, intending to pay for it with a tax refund, but according to police, when the IRS denied the refund the couple turned to crime to pay the caterers and avoid disappointing their relatives.

People Who Are Not Like You and Me

According to a University of Cologne archaeologist addressing a meeting in Cairo in April, nearly all prehistoric sites along the Nile valley have been spoiled by development, and now tourists are destroying Egypt’s Western Desert sites. One of the most ruinous tourist tactics, he said, is pouring water over 9,000-year-old paintings to see the features more clearly.

Recurring Themes

In 1993 News of the Weird reported on a judge in Redmond, Washington, who, when a defendant broke free of bailiffs and fled, leaped off the bench himself and pursued the man out of the courthouse and down the street. In April of this year Philadelphia judge Peter Rogers dashed after escaping suspect John Jordan, who was making a run for it after having failed to appear for his previous 24 court hearings. Unlike the Redmond judge, Rogers came back empty-handed.

Least Competent Criminals

Dennis Sullivan, 23, was arrested in January for the robbery of what he thought was an armored car, according to police in Manassas, Virginia. In reality, it was a laundry truck delivering towels and mops to a bowling alley. According to a police officer, when Sullivan ran up to the driver holding a sawed-off shotgun and said, “Give it up,” the confused driver said, “What?” Sullivan grabbed a bag and ran but soon realized he had a bag of mop heads. Police caught him easily as he ran to his getaway car because his shotgun, which he had shoved into the sleeve of his shirt, had become tangled in the shirt.

In the Last Month

The government offered Harold Gaulding $525 for the 1.25 acres in Colbert, Georgia, that it confiscated for road widening, but a jury said it is worth $50,000. A police sergeant in Alvin, Texas, who is also a youth-league baseball coach was demoted to patrolman after giving a ticket to an umpire who had just ejected him for arguing a call at first base. In Los Angeles a 29-year-old murder suspect was arrested outside the house he had been sharing with an executive for the TV show Cops. In Pontevedra, Spain, a rapist was sentenced to only seven years for his crime because, noted the judge, when the victim started choking, he loosened her gag and gave her a glass of water. A 21-year-old woman in Buffalo dumped her infant off with friends on false pretenses so she could fulfill her dream of joining a traveling carnival.

Send your weird news to Chuck Shepherd, Chicago Reader, 11 E. Illinois, Chicago 60611 or to weird@compuserve.com.