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 V.15 No.1 | January 5 - 11, 2006 

Odds & Ends

Scott Rickson

Dateline: Germany—Two armed robbers made off with considerably less than expected when they held up a money courier and made off with his first aid kit. The two unidentified bandits pursued the courier at high speed before shooting at his vehicle and forcing him to stop on a road in Gronau. After forcing the vehicle's trunk open, one of the crooks snatched a case and fled. Instead of taking the suitcase full of money, however, the confused bandit grabbed the car's roadside first aid kit. “If there was an award for the dumbest crooks, they would certainly be in the running,” police spokesperson Johann Steinlitz told reporters. The courier was not harmed in the incident and police are taking the investigation seriously, even though the crime failed miserably.

Dateline: The Netherlands—Dutch police are trying to figure out how a thief, or more likely thieves, stole 24 boa constrictors from a suburban zoo near the administrative capital of The Hague. Agence France-Presse reports that the slippery group, including two adult snakes measuring just over seven feet each and 22 youngsters up to a foot in length, disappeared sometime on Christmas Eve. “Investigators don't understand how the thieves were able to grab all these reptiles,” said South Holland police spokesperson Wim Hoonhout. The owner of the Sauria Foundation terrarium in suburban Wateringen discovered the theft on Christmas Day. Police have launched a public appeal for tips. Anyone spotting 24 boa constrictors in the Dutch suburbs is advised to call police.

Dateline: Tennessee—An unknown thief has purloined the famous “nun bun” from the Bongo Java coffeehouse in Nashville. Owner Bob Bernstein arrived at his coffeehouse to assess the damage from an early Christmas morning break-in. The only thing missing was the coffeehouse's famed cinnamon bun, which bears a striking resemblance to the late Mother Teresa. “They went right for the bun,” Bernstein told The Tennessean. “Unfortunately, I think it's somebody who wanted to take it and destroy it.” A full tip jar next to the bun was untouched. The bun was first discovered in 1996 when a patron nearly bit into it, but stopped when he recognized the pastry's resemblance to the revered religious figure. The shop had the bun shellacked and placed on display. T-shirts, prayer cards and mugs featuring the holy bun's image were sold at Bongo Java until Mother Theresa wrote a personal letter to the coffeehouse asking that the sales be stopped. Bernstein, who was unable to find an insurance company willing to cover the sweet relic, estimated the item's value at $25.

Dateline: Missouri—Police have revised their initial report and now believe that a woman who allegedly tried to swallow a cell phone after an argument with her boyfriend may not have done so voluntarily. Early last Friday, police in Blue Springs responded to a call from 24-year-old Marlon Brando Gill who said his girlfriend, 24-year-old Melinda Abell, was having trouble breathing. Officers arrived to find the woman with a cell phone lodged in her throat. Police were initially told that the boyfriend wanted the phone and the woman tried to swallow it to keep it away from him. A police sergeant in Blue Springs now says the event was “not quite the way it was first portrayed.” After the phone was surgically removed from Abell's throat, she told a slightly different version of events. Police are now hoping to arrest Gill on assault charges. Gill has not been seen since the morning in question.

Dateline: Rhode Island—Christopher F. Young of Narragansett, R.I., isn't letting his previous political failures quench his desire for public office. In fact, Young, 37, is currently running for three separate political seats. Young, who has run unsuccessfully for office in previous elections, has declared his candidacy for the mayor of Providence, lieutenant governor of Rhode Island and U.S. senator. “I represent the power of the people to run for political office,” Young, who is running as a Democrat, told The Providence Journal. But Young's plans may be in conflict with a state law, adopted by the General Assembly in July, that forbids candidates from declaring for more than one local or state office. Robert Kando, executive director of the state Board of Elections, said he did not know if the law prohibited candidates from seeking a federal office--such has a U.S. Senate seat--while also running in a city or state election. Young, who does not accept campaign donations, ran for U.S. senator in 2000 and mayor in 2002. No word on what Young will do if he wins all three elections.

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

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