Alibi V.16 No.37 • Sept 13-19, 2007 

Odds & Ends

DATELINE: NEPAL—Nepal’s state-run airline helped get one of its malfunctioning planes back in the air by sacrificing two goats on the runway to appease a Hindu god. Nepal Airlines said the animals were slaughtered in front of the plane, a Boeing 757, at Katmandu airport. The offering was made to Akash Bhairab, the Hindu god of sky protection. The airline said that after the ceremony the plane successfully completed a flight to Hong Kong. “The snag in the plane has now been fixed and the aircraft has resumed its flights,” senior airline official Raju KC told BBC News. Nepal Airlines has two Boeing aircraft in its fleet, but persistent mechanical difficulties with one of them has led to the postponement of a number of flights in recent weeks.

DATELINE: POLAND—A crime writer was sentenced to 25 years in jail last Wednesday for his role in a grisly case of abduction, torture and murder--a crime he later used as the plot of a bestselling thriller. Krystian Bala was found guilty of orchestrating the murder of Wroclaw businessman Dariusz Janiszewski. Janiszewski, said to be having an affair with Bala’s ex-wife, was pulled out of the river Oder in southwest Poland by fishermen in December 2000. Initially, police had no leads and the case remained closed for years. Bala was eventually arrested in 2005 after Commissar Jacek Wroblewski received a tip about the “perfect crime” and was advised to read Bala’s book. Details of the gory crime in the book match those of Janiszewski’s murder almost exactly. Sentencing Bala to jail, Judge Lidia Hojenska admitted that he could not be found directly guilty of murder. But the evidence was enough to find him guilty of planning and orchestrating the crime. Bala and his lawyers plan to appeal.

DATELINE: IOWA—The Des Moines Register reports that a 22-year-old man has been arrested for assaulting his father with a bag of Cheetos. Patrick Hamman started arguing with his father Michael last Sunday night. According to the police report, Patrick picked up a bag of Cheetos and threw it at him, hitting him in the face. The snack food hit Michael in the glasses, causing a small cut to form on the bridge of his nose. The police report listed the bag of Cheetos as an assault weapon and remarked that, “Michael’s T-shirt was also covered in Cheetos dust.”

DATELINE: NEW YORK—In an ironic reversal of fate, a lifeguard has rescued a shark from a pack of panicked swimmers. New York Daily News reports that lifeguard Marius Mironescu spotted the troubled 2-foot sand shark while patrolling the beach at Coney Island. “There must have been 75 to 100 people circled around the shark in the water and they were bugging out,” Mironescu told the paper. “They were holding on to it and some people were actually hitting him, smacking his face. Well, I wasn’t going to let them hurt the poor thing.” The 39-year-old lifeguard carried the baby shark, harmless to humans thanks to its size, out so sea by doing a backstroke and dragging the animal with one hand. Once in deeper water, the shark swam off to less populated areas.

DATELINE: MASSACHUSETTS—Advertising doesn’t always pay, apparently. A pair of freshman at Northeastern University were arrested after one of them allegedly leaned out the window of his dormitory and yelled, “If you’re looking for some weed, my roommate Ferrante has some for sale.” The announcement came before the semester had even started at Northeastern and was heard by two plainclothes police officers who were standing nearby. According to a press release issued by the Suffolk District Attorney’s Office, police went to the second floor of the Hemenway Street residence hall after hearing the sales pitch and found the door open. In plain view was a bottle of Grey Goose vodka, a shot glass and a plastic baggie of marijuana. The officers knocked and identified themselves to Michael R. Emery, 18, and his roommate Matthew J. Ferrante, also 18. As the officers spoke to the teens, they spotted another bag of marijuana and a glass pipe. The officers read the students their rights and received permission to search the room. The search turned up eight more small bags of marijuana, a larger bag containing three to four ounces of marijuana, hundreds of clear plastic baggies, a bong and a Triton T2 digital scale. Also pulled out of the dorm room: bottles of Malibu rum, Smirnoff Twist raspberry vodka and Southern Comfort and $1,045 in cash. Emry and Ferrante were arraigned in Roxbury District Court and charged with possession of a class D substance with intent to distribute in a school zone, possession of alcohol by a minor and conspiracy to violate the state’s drug laws. “I can tell you that they are no longer students at Northeastern,” Laura Shea, a school spokesperson, told the Boston Globe.

Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. E-mail your weird news to