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 V.14 No.23 | June 9 - 15, 2005 

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Germany—A 27-year-old man was mugged three times in one night--two of those while waiting for police to arrive. Reiner Hamer, from Oberhausen, lost his wallet containing $200 and his cell phone when three men attacked him in the bathroom of a local nightclub. Hamer called police from outside the club using a friend's mobile phone. While he waited for officers to arrive, he was approached by three other men who stole his watch and cigarettes. As he leaned back against a wall to recover, another five men came up to him and threatened him, eventually making off with his jacket and the last of his spare change.

Dateline: Malaysia—Maybe the Force made him do it. Police are hunting for a man in a Darth Vader costume who seems to have a bad habit of showing off his dark side. The Sith lord has exposed himself to female factory workers in two industrial areas of Bandar Baru Nilai. Priscilla, 33, a factory supervisor, said the man got out of his car, strutted about menacingly in his Darth Vader outfit and then whipped open his cape, flashing 15 women standing at a bus stop after work. “At first, I thought he was a die-hard Star Wars fan trying to impress us with his costume. But we were shocked when he showed us his private parts,” she told Malaysia's Star newspaper. The man, who jumped in his car and drove off after some of the women screamed, is believed to have displayed himself to another group of workers at a second factory nearby.

Dateline: Pakistan—According to a new book, a former Indian army brigadier sold his country's battle plans before the 1965 war with Pakistan to fund his wife's hobby of canning fruits and vegetables. Gohar Ayub Khan, son of former Pakistan President Ayub Khan, laid out the claims in an interview with the newspaper, The News, last Monday. Khan, who once served as a foreign minister, is detailing the incident in his forthcoming autobiography. According to Khan, Pakistani agents bought the Indian military plans for 20,000 rupees ($458) from the officer, who needed money to buy equipment for his wife's pickling hobby. Indian Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee said that he doubted Gohar's claims, but that his ministry would investigate. The 1965 war between India and Pakistan, the second major conflict between the border rivals, lasted for nearly a month with neither side able to claim a clear-cut victory once a U.N.-sponsored cease-fire came into effect after three weeks of fighting.

Dateline: California—Why did the chicken cross the road? In Ridgecrest, all that matters is that he was well within his rights to do so. A chicken fined $54 for crossing a road has had the charges thrown out in court. The ticket was dismissed after a lawyer for the bird's owner argued that it was domesticated and not livestock. Under California state law, it's illegal for livestock to be on highways, but domestic animals are exempt. The bird's owners, Linc and Helena Moore, were fined on March 26 after the wayward chicken crossed a road in the rural mining town. The couple says their pet chicken was targeted after they repeatedly complained that deputies weren't effectively policing the drivers of off-road vehicles. The sheriff's office denies the accusations of chicken profiling.

Dateline: New York—A man under house arrest suffered burns on 60 percent of his body last Thursday after he allegedly tried to burn a police tracking device off his ankle. Witnesses told WNBC-TV that 25-year-old Jason McClaskey was engulfed in flames on his front porch just before 6 p.m. Firefighters found him in his bedroom with most of his clothes burned off. McClaskey had poured lighter fluid on the tracking device attached to his leg, but told authorities it was an accident that occurred while trying to light his outdoor grill. Police Chief Richard Carey said that scenario did not seem likely since there was no charcoal in the grill. McClaskey was listed in stable condition at Westchester Burn Center in Valhalla, shortly after the accident. McClaskey was under house arrest for breaking into a Hebron storage building in November and stealing 10 pounds of marijuana.

Dateline: Minnesota—Convenience store clerk Bryan W. Lietz of Perham was charged in Otter Tail County court with state lottery fraud after admitting to scratching off hundreds of lottery tickets during his graveyard shift. Lietz, who worked at the Perham Conoco, began his scratching spree on May 11 around 11 p.m. By morning, he had won $700. Unfortunately, he had used up $1,400 in tickets. “I scratched without paying,” Lietz confessed in a letter to his boss. “I know better. But I did it anyway. I had to know it was insanely stupid. How could I not?” Once his shift ended, Lietz took the $700 in winnings and bought more lottery tickets at five or six other businesses in town, hoping to win back the money he lost. All of those tickets were losers. Lietz is in the process of repaying his former employer.

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

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