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 V.14 No.14 | April 7 - 13, 2005 

Odds & Ends

Scott Rickson

Dateline: China—An online computer gamer in Shanghai stabbed to death a competitor who stole his cybersword, the China Daily recently reported. Qiu Chengwei, 41, stabbed competitor Zhu Caoyuan repeatedly in the chest after he was told that Zhu had sold his character's “dragon saber” from the popular computer game Legend of Mir 3. The game is a massive multiplayer online role-playing game featuring fantasy characters, many of whom wield enormous swords. According to court testimony, Qui and a friend jointly won the weapon last February, and lent it to Zhu who then sold it for 7,200 yuan ($1,129). Qui went to the police to report the “theft” but was told the weapon was not real and was, therefore, not protected by the law. “Zhu promised to hand over the cash, but an angry Qui lost patience and attacked Zhu at his home, stabbing him in the left chest with great force and killing him,” the court was told. Qui had given himself up to police and has already pleaded guilty to intentional injury. The case follows a rash of recent lawsuits in which gamers have sought monetary recompense for lost or stolen virtual items like weapons, armor and gold.

Dateline: Czech Republic—A tractor driver died in a freak accident, buried under eight tons of manure. The 34-year-old man, identified only as Martin T., suffocated after the load fell on him while he was dumping it in a field near the western city of Karlovy Vary. “It absolutely beats me how this could happen,” Vladimir Erps, chief of the company that employed the victim, told news website www.nivinsky.cz. The manure-truck driver was apparently outside of his vehicle at the time of the accident. “The truck is operated from the tractor cabin using hydraulics,” Erps explained. “There was nothing for him to do under the truck, but it's tough to blame him now that he is dead.” Police are investigating the death as a work-related accident.

Dateline: Canada—An accused drunk driver tried but failed to foil a police breathalyzer by stuffing his mouth full of feces. Arrested Sunday after his Ford pickup was pulled over on a highway just outside of Barrie, in Ontario, the 59-year-old driver was loaded into a cruiser and taken to a police station for testing. While en route, Sgt. James Buchanan told the Ottawa Sun, the prisoner vomited, urinated and defecated in the rear of the car. After arriving at the station, he said the man grabbed a handful of his own waste and “placed it in his mouth, attempting to trick the breathalyzer machine.” It didn't work, Buchanan said. The motorist was charged with impaired driving. “This fellow was in dire need of help,” South Simcoe Police Insp. Tom McDonald told the Sun. “It's bizarre, but the effects of alcohol can make people do strange things,”

Dateline: Louisiana—A suburban New Orleans family brought their car in for repairs and discovered a little surprise--$40,000 worth of cocaine in the gas tank. The normally reliable 1996 Toyota Camry had been purchased from a used car lot in 1997. Recently, however, the vehicle developed a tendency to decelerate. It was taken to a mechanic, who discovered two bricks of cocaine wrapped around the vehicle's fuel line. The wrapping had apparently come loose and caused the mechanical problems. Sheriff's spokesman James Hartman stressed that the car's owners were not involved in drug trafficking. Their names were withheld in case the owners of the stash come looking for them. “Our investigators will now attempt to work backwards and see where that vehicle had originated,” Hartman told reporters.

Dateline: California—According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the luck of a would-be armed robber, in a word, stinks. A 32-year-old woman was walking her dog last Monday night on Monroe Avenue in the Kensington area when she was accosted by a man demanding money. At first, she thought it was a friend playing a joke. When she turned around and saw the man's .22 semiautomatic handgun, however, she realized it was no prank. The robber snatched the bag that the woman was carrying. Unfortunately, it was filled with fresh dog poop that the woman had just scooped up. Disgusted, the robber tossed the bag to the ground and demanded money. The woman told him she didn't have any money on her. After the third demand, the robber turned the gun toward the woman's small dog, Misty. “He pulled the trigger on the gun twice, but it did not fire,” said San Diego Police Detective Gary Hassen. Frustrated, the robber hopped into the passenger side of a small silver car and sped away. Police failed to recover the discarded baggie of poo.

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


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