Dateline: New York—A New York City man is being sued after losing track of a $1.35 million painting during a drunken night on the town. According to court papers, James Haggerty says he lost the Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot masterpiece “Portrait of a Girl” after a night drinking at The Mark hotel in Manhattan. Kristyn Trudgeon and Tom Doyle, who co-own the painting, had hired Mr. Haggerty to assist with its possible sale to London gallery owner Offer Waterman. Mr. Haggerty was ordered to take the painting to The Mark, where Mr. Waterman was staying, so he could see it in person. Ms. Trudgeon’s lawsuit, filed in New York Supreme Court, says hotel security footage shows Haggerty leaving the painting at the front desk and entering the hotel’s bar with Waterman at 11 p.m. At 11:30 p.m., the two men return to the lobby, retrieve the painting and have a discussion. “Something just didn’t feel right and I didn’t want to be involved,” Waterman told the New York Daily News. “So I said no, and I said goodbye.” The lawsuit alleges Haggerty redeposited the painting at the front desk and returned to the hotel bar, where he stayed for 90 minutes. At that point, he returned to the lobby and stumbled out of the hotel with the painting, declining a doorman’s offer to call him a taxi. Haggerty finally returned home at 2:30 a.m.—without the painting. The next morning, he phoned Mr. Doyle to inform the owner he could no longer account for the million-dollar-plus painting’s whereabouts. “I think he’s a complete fumbling idiot,” Ms. Trudgeon was quoted as saying in the New York Daily News. “He’s just a complete asshole.”
Dateline: Pennsylvania—A man by the name of Kermit Butts was arrested in connection with the murder of a Mr. Samuel Boob, inspiring snickery headlines across the country. Butts, 26, of Madisonburg, is accused of driving suspected killer Ronald Heichel to and from the crime scene in Potter Township on Aug. 23, 2009. Police believe Heichel shot 26-year-old Boob twice with a shotgun, killing him in the driveway of his home. Heichel has been charged with first-degree murder. The victim’s wife, Mirinda Boob, is accused of having an affair with Heichel, a co-worker of Mr. Boob’s, and plotting with him to have her husband killed. She’s been charged with first-degree murder and solicitation. Investigators say Heichel offered Butts $5,000 in exchange for his help disposing of Boob’s body. Butts has been charged with aggravated assault and hindering apprehension or prosecution. He is currently housed in Centre County Correctional Facility awaiting trial.
Dateline: Ohio—A police officer in Elmwood Place, a small village in central Hamilton County, was shocked when he pulled over a motorist for illegally tinted windows only to discover the driver watching a porn movie and masturbating with a sex toy. Officer Ross Gilbert said the driver, 36-year-old Colondra Hamilton, was sitting with her pants unzipped and had a sex toy in her lap. He said Hamilton told him she was using the toy while simultaneously driving and watching a sex video on a laptop computer—which a passenger in the front was holding up so she could see. Gilbert was charged with “driving with inappropriate alertness”—an understatement if there ever was one. Also, she was ticketed for the tinted windows—which, under the circumstances, were something of a blessing. Hamilton was released on her own recognizance following the incident, which occurred around 7 p.m. on Aug. 17. “It’s very unusual,” Officer Gilbert later told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “This is a first for me.”
Dateline: North Carolina—A group of amateur ghost hunters searching for a legendary ghost train came face-to-face with reality when one of them was struck and killed by an actual train. The group of 12 was gathered on the Bostian Bridge Near Buffalo Shoals Road in Iredell County around 2:45 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 27. The ghost hunters were hoping to see the “ghost” of a train that crashed on there on Aug. 27, 1891. According to local legend, the train returns to the site every year on the anniversary of the crash, which killed 30 people. Unfortunately, the train the ghost hunters spotted turned out to be very material. A Norfolk Southern train rounded the bend and trapped several of the ghost hunters on the arched brick trestle. Most of them managed to get out of the way, but 29-year-old Christopher Kaiser was struck and killed. WSOC-TV in Charlotte reported that another woman was airlifted to a hospital, but her name and condition were not released. Deputies who investigated the accident said the train’s driver made every attempt to stop and to warn the people standing on the trestle.