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 Nov 25 - Dec 1, 2004 
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Odds & Ends

By Devin D. O'Leary

Dateline: EnglandIf ever there was an endorsement for Head & Shoulders, this is it. Veteran criminal Andrew Pearson was recently convicted of armed robbery thanks to 25 flakes of dandruff he left behind at the scene of the crime some 11 years ago. Andrew Pearson, now 40, and two other men escaped with $70,630 in cash after raiding a caravan company in the northeastern city of Hull in June 1993. Using a new DNA profiling method, investigators matched a swab of Pearson's saliva with the flakes of dandruff, which were found inside a stocking that he had worn as a mask during the robbery. Using that evidence, a jury needed only 75 minutes last Monday to convict Pearson of robbery and possession of a firearm. Pearson--who has been convicted 76 previous times for burglary, assault, robbery and other crimes--was sentenced to 12 years for the robbery and an additional three years for possessing a firearm.

Dateline: AustraliaA gang of hapless thieves tried to rob a seafood restaurant south of Sydney, but were thoroughly confounded by the restaurant's sliding door. Diners at the restaurant in the coastal village of Gerringong watched as three men dressed in ski masks, one of whom was carrying a knife, tried to enter the establishment. The men tried to push on the door, but somehow couldn't get it to open. “The door's open, the sign says ’Slide,' but obviously ... they couldn't read too well,” restaurant owner Greg Moore said. The inept thieves resorted to kicking the industrial-strength glass door in what the Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio said could have been mistaken as “a rehearsal for a slapstick comedy.” Moore said diners remained calm as they watched events unfold while enjoying dessert and coffee. After leaving their boot prints all over the glass, the thieves had exhausted their door-opening ideas and left empty-handed. Police later located a stolen car believed to have been used in the robbery attempt and are continuing their investigation. Diners were given free bottles of wine.

Dateline: IndiaFollowers of a mystic Hindu seer rioted in eastern India after the self-described holy man failed to die at the appointed time. More than 15,000 people showed up at the Sriguru Ashram at Kharagaon in India's eastern Orissa state to see the priest “ascend to heaven” between 6 a.m. and noon. According to Asian Age, the unnamed holy man had declared a few days previous that he would attain “ichha mrityu” or “death by his own will.” A huge police contingent was deployed in the area by district authorities to control the crowds. According to witnesses, the holy man performed some religious rituals at the break of dawn before sitting down to meditate. When the meditation and prayer session continued beyond the scheduled time, and the mystic showed no signs of ascending to heaven, onlookers began to hurl abuse at the man and later turned violent. Police officers had to resort to a baton charge to disperse the angry followers. The holy man later issued an “excuse me for living” apology to his followers, saying, “Perhaps the will of God was somewhat different. I am very shocked to have given you so much pain. I wanted to leave my mortal body, but I could not. Please forgive me.”

Dateline: RomaniaCristian Anghel, the mayor of Baia Mare, set up a direct hotline for people to call him with civic problems. Now, the mayor is begging bored housewives to please stop calling him asking for sex. Anghel claims he had more than 100 calls in the last week from women declaring their love for him. According to the local daily Libertatea, many of the women have come straight out and invited him over for sex. “The number was meant for complaints, but some women took it as a sex hotline,” said the bothered mayor. “I hear declarations of love and some have even made erotic proposals to me. I can understand these ladies have desires, but their kind of problems need to be solved somewhere else, not at the Town Hall.”

Dateline: LouisianaMoney stolen from a Greensburg casino was found last week after a family of beavers found one of the money bags tossed in a creek, tore it open and started building their dam with the contents. Authorities had conducted interviews, made one arrest and searched unsuccessfully for the money for several days before an attorney called with information. The attorney represented a frightened client who apparently tried to get rid of the evidence by throwing it into a creek near highway 38. Maj. Michael Martin of the East Feliciana Parish Sheriff's office told The Advocate that deputies recovered three bags from the creek, one of which had been torn open by beavers. The beavers wove many of the bills into the sticks and brush of their dam. So far, authorities have recovered about $40,000 of the $75,000 taken from the Lucky Dollar Casino two weeks ago. Although the bills were wet, the beavers had left the money intact. “They hadn't torn the bills up,” said Martin. “They were still whole.”

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

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