2012-05-31 / News of the Weird

NEWS OF THE WEIRD

BY CHUCK SHEPHERD
DISTRIBUTED BY UNIVERSAL PRESS SYNDICATE

Least-competent criminals

¦ Eric King, 21, was leaving a store in Eagan, Minn., in February when a police officer in the parking lot noticed his pronounced waddle. Mr. King was arrested when the officer found a shoplifted 19-inch television set down his pants.

¦ In March, a 34-year-old Lithuanianborn man led police in Wiltshire, England, in a nighttime foot chase after he had aroused their suspicion. Thermal imaging equipment was used from a helicopter to spot the man in the darkness.

He was arrested “hiding” facedown in a manure pit.

¦ Kyle Voss, 24, was charged with four burglaries in Great Falls, Mont., in April after coming upon a private residence containing buckets of coins. According to police, Mr. Voss first took the quarters and half-dollars ($3,000), then days later he returned for $700 in dimes and nickels. By the third break-in, the resident had installed surveillance video, and Mr. Voss was caught as he came back for a bucket of pennies. ¦

Real life ‘Weekend at Bernie’s’

Thomas Parkin inherited real estate from his elderly mother before she died, but quickly lost it in a risky business venture. To get the deed back, according to New York City prosecutors, he concocted a scheme to pretend that Mom was still alive (it would actually be Thomas in a dress) and still owned the land (and thus that the current deed holder was a fraud). Lawyers arranged a meeting with “Mother” (conducted in a darkened room because of Mom’s “recent cataract surgery”), at which she mostly remained silent. Mr. Parkin improbably stayed in character, according to a trial dispatch on the Daily Beast, and jurors apparently kept straight faces as Mr. Parkin testified that recent “communications” between him and his mother were “mostly onesided.” In May, Mr. Parkin was convicted on 11 counts. ¦

In sickness and in health

All U.S. states have forms of no-fault divorce, but not England, which requires that couples prove adultery or abandonment or “unreasonable behavior,” which leads to sometimes-epic weirdness, according to an April New York Times dispatch from London. For instance, one woman’s petition blamed her husband’s insistence that she speak and dress only in Klingon. Other examples of “unreasonable behavior” (gathered by the Times of London): a husband objecting to the “malicious” preparation of his most hated dish (tuna casserole), a spouse’s non-communication for the last 15 years (except by leaving Post-it Notes), a spouse’s too-rapid TV channel changing, a husband’s distorting the fit of his wife’s best outfits by frequently wearing them, and one’s insistence that a pet tarantula reside in a glass case beside the marital bed. ¦

Compelling explanations

¦ Madison County, Ind., council member David McCartney admitted to the Herald Bulletin newspaper in March that he had exchanged “sexually explicit” e-mails with a female official in another county but would not resign. In fact, he said, he had engaged in the exchanges not for hanky-panky but in order to “expose corruption.” He has not elaborated.

¦ Chris Windham, 27, was charged with improperly photographing a 57-year-old man in a men’s room in Trinity, Texas, in March after Mr. Windham, using a stall, allegedly snapped a cellphone photo of the man standing at the adjacent urinal. Mr. Windham explained that typically he braces himself with one hand on the floor while he wipes himself, and this time the hand on the floor was holding his cellphone.

¦ Maureen Raymond, 49, said her roadside DUI test administered in January was unfair. According to records cited by Scripps Media, she told a deputy in Port St. Lucie, Fla., that she couldn’t walk a straight line “with her big boobies,” which she said makes “balancing” difficult. The deputy reported that Ms. Raymond helpfully offered to show him the evidence but that he stopped her. ¦

Things people believe

She is not the typical gullible victim. Ms. Priti Mahalanobis is a collegeeducated mother of two who ran a franchised restaurant in Avalon Park, Fla., near Orlando, but when her health, her brother’s marriage and her business experienced problems, she bought a $20 psychic reading from “Mrs. Starr” (also known as Peaches Stevens). The Orlando Sentinel reported in January that, over the next seven months, Ms. Mahalanobis lost about $135,000 in cash, jewelry and gift cards to Mrs. Starr. Astonishingly, neither Ms. Mahalanobis’ health nor her restaurant business noticeably improved. Among the remedies that Ms. Mahalanobis accepted: buying seven tabernacles ($19,000 each) to “vanquish (her family’s) negativity” and putting $100 bills and a piece of paper with her relatives’ names written on it under her mattress along with a grapefruit (which, as everyone knows, attracts and then isolates the evil). ¦

Recurring themes

In April, a woman in Switzerland identified as “Anna Gut,” in her early 50s, starved to death after trying to prove that she could survive by “consuming” only sunlight, just as had happened to several others before her. An earlier practitioner, Australian Ellen Greve, died in 1999 at age 54 following a short career promoting “breatharianism,” subtitled in her books and public lectures, “Liberation from the drudgery of food and drink.” ¦

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