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News/Opinion
‹‹ V.20 No.1 | January 6 - 12, 2011

Odds & Ends

By Devin D. O’Leary
Odds and Ends

Dateline: Connecticut—A would-be robber has been accused of taking a cell phone to a knife fight. Police in New London say Jerome Taylor, 20, wore a mask as he entered the Northern Indian Restaurant on State Street, pulled out what looked like a gun and demanded money. Several of the restaurant’s cooks snatched up knives and meat cleavers and refused to comply. At that point, the masked man told the cooks he was only kidding and fled the scene. Taylor was gone by the time police arrived, but they caught up with him a short time later. Officers said Taylor confessed to the crime, but told them he didn’t have a gun—only an iPhone.

Dateline: Maryland—A 22-year-old woman was arrested after police say she took off her clothes and sexually harassed customers and employees at a convenience store. According to WBOC-16 in Delmarva, Jennifer Marie Riegler of Accomac, Va., was charged with disorderly conduct, indecent exposure, disturbance of the peace, theft less than $100, fourth-degree sex offense, malicious destruction of property valued less than $500 and six counts of second-degree assault. The Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office told the TV station that Riegler’s arrest stemmed from an incident alleged to have occurred on Saturday, Dec. 18, at a Royal Farms convenience store in Hebron. According to police interviews with store employees, Riegler walked into the store shortly before 9 a.m. and removed all her clothing. She began walking around the store naked and allegedly made sexually suggestive comments to both customers and employees. She is also said to have engaged in “sexually suggestive behavior” prior to lying on the floor in front of a rack of doughnuts. When police arrived, they discovered Riegler eating fruit for which she had not paid. After placing her under arrest, police say Riegler kicked one of the deputies in the groin. She was subdued and placed in additional restraints. Riegler was transported to Peninsula Regional Hospital in Salisbury before being taken into custody at the Wicomico County Detention Center.

Dateline: Pennsylvania—Police say 38-year-old Jody Lynn Bennett stole a video game from the coffin of 17-year-old Bradley McCombs during an open-casket viewing at the Rairigh Funeral Home in Hillsdale. Acting on an anonymous tip, police caught Bennett and arrested him two days after the viewing. Bail was set at $15,000. Bennett was unable to post the money and was jailed. He has been charged with theft, harassment, institutional vandalism, disorderly conduct, abuse of a corpse and intentional desecration of a venerated object. The object in question? McCombs’ beloved Game Boy and three video game cartridges, which had been placed in the boy’s casket by his family. McCombs was killed in a rollover SUV accident on Christmas Day. Bennett’s mother Diana Bennett said her son is addicted to both drugs and alcohol and apologized for his actions.

Dateline: South Carolina—In other video-game-based news, a 23-year-old Pickens County man has been hospitalized after getting run over by an SUV while playing what was described as a real-life game of Frogger. Authorities told The Easley Progress newspaper that the man had been discussing the merits of the classic video game, in which players pilot a frog across a busy freeway, with his friends just prior to the accident. According to Clemson Police Chief Jimmy Dixon, the man yelled “Go!” and darted into oncoming traffic at the four-lane intersection of Highway 123 and Highway 133 around 9 p.m. on the evening of Dec. 27. His friends, apparently, did not. The man was taken via ambulance to AnMed Health hospital after being hit by a four-wheel drive Lexus. The driver of the vehicle was not charged, and the man he hit was listed in stable condition.

Dateline: Illinois—A man who passed out in a Chicago cab was taken to a neighborhood police station where it was discovered he had nearly half a million dollars’ worth of drugs on him. The cab driver, who asked not to be identified, told police he picked up the fare in the Lincoln Park neighborhood on the afternoon of Saturday, Dec. 25, and drove the man to an address in Rogers Park. The passenger, later identified as Joseph Andrew Hoffman, 25, chatted on his cell phone for about half the trip but was unconscious by the time they arrived at the destination. The cab driver spent 10 minutes trying to revive the man. Frustrated, he took the passed-out passenger to the Rogers Park District police station. When police searched the man’s bag, they found bottles of a “clear, crystalline substance” connected via wires to a “power source”—a device identified as a miniature methamphetamine lab. The street value of the drugs was nearly $450,000, the police report stated. After being taken to St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, Hoffman consented to a search of his residence. There, officers turned up a gallon jug of the “date-rape drug” GHB, several small bags of marijuana and $1,401 in cash. “They said they found a lot of bad stuff,” the anonymous cab driver told the Chicago Tribune. “My only concern was to collect my fare. It was going on and on, and I didn’t even get my full fare.”

Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. E-mail your weird news to devin@alibi.com.