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 V.17 No.4 | January 24 - 30, 2008 

Odds & Ends

Eric J. Garcia

Dateline Bulgaria--Two brothers have divided their family home with barbed wire after suing each other more than 200 times. Taso Hadjiev, 74, and his brother Asen, 75, from the town of Malka Arda first sued each other in 1968 in a dispute over land left to them by their dead parents. Since then, the brothers have had regular fall outs ending in litigation. Neither has been able to move out of the home as all their income has gone toward paying lawyers. Neighbor Sabka Shehova said, “They’ve been at it for years. They go to court for any old reason they can dream up--and none of it is ever true. They just want to sue each other. They’ve been at it so long, they can barely remember what they first went to court over.”

Dateline: England--A married British couple learned they were twins who had been split up at birth and adopted by separate families, according to a member of Britain’s House of Lords. David Alton recounted the story to parliament last month to support his argument that artificially conceived children should be told who their biological parents are. Mr. Alton said he heard the story of the separated twins from a High Court judge who had dealt with the case. “This did not involve in-vitro fertilization. It involved the normal birth of twins who were separated at birth and adopted by separate parents,” said Mr. Alton, an independent member of the Lords. “They met later in life and felt an inevitable attraction, and the judge had to deal with the consequences of the marriage that they entered in and all the issues of separation,” he said. “I think it’s a very tragic story for the people involved,” Pam Hodgkins, head of a group that helps adults affected by adoption, told Sky News. “It is a lesson that we need to apply to the situation of donor-conceived children.”

Dateline: Pennsylvania--As far as disguises go, a coat of drywall compound isn’t the most efficient. Robert Coulson Lavery, 56, was convicted last Wednesday in the Nov. 24, 2006, robbery of the New Cumberland Federal Credit Union. Authorities in Fairview Township say Lavery, slathered in spackle, robbed the bank of $7,910. It wasn’t the poor disguise that got him caught, however. It was the distinctive NASCAR license plate of his getaway driver, 53-year-old Robert Steven Miller. Witnesses noticed the car used in the bank robbery had a Rusty Wallace NASCAR plate on the front. A tip from someone familiar with the car led police to Miller, who confessed to helping Lavery in the robbery. When Lavery was arrested at Miller’s home in neighboring Harrisburg, police found $3,775 in cash, clothing with smears of drywall compound and more drywall compound in the passenger side of Miller’s car. Miller pleaded guilty to robbery and theft in October.

Dateline: Wisconsin--Upset that his 7-year-old son wouldn’t wear a Green Bay Packers jersey during the team’s playoff victory earlier this month, a man duct-taped the shirt to the boy and restrained him with the tape for at least an hour. Mathew Kowald was cited for disorderly conduct in connection with the incident in Pardeeville, Lt. Wayne Smith of the Columbia County Sheriff’s Department said. The boy apparently refused to display his team spirit on Saturday as the Packers beat the Seahawks in a playoff game. The 36-year-old Kowald was arrested Monday after his wife told authorities about the incident. Smith said the incident sounded strange, but the mother took pictures with her cell phone and the evidence was difficult to dismiss. Kowald was taken to the county jail and held until Wednesday, when he pleaded no contest and was given a $186 fine. Columbia County District Attorney Jane Kohlway told WMTV in Madison she believes what Kowald did was horrible, but the law says a parent can restrain a child, so authorities were unable to prosecute the father on charges of false imprisonment. Kowald’s wife, Rebecca, filed a restraining order Wednesday, and Kowald is currently unable to have contact with his family.

Dateline: Colorado--Inmate Scott Anthony Gomez, Jr. is suing the Pueblo County Jail for injuries he sustained while trying to escape from the facility. Gomez says jail authorities are responsible because they made it too easy to break out. In his first attempt to escape form the Pueblo County Jail, Gomez removed a ceiling tile, hoisted himself into the ventilation system and climbed to the roof. He used a bedsheet to lower himself to the ground. He was apprehended two days later. The second time, Gomez used another ceiling tile, but fell while using his bedsheets to rappel down the side of the 85-foot building. “Defendants ... did next to nothing to ensure that the jail was secure and the plaintiff could not escape,” claims Gomez’ lawsuit, which seeks an unspecified amount of money in damages. Serving a sentence on his conviction for escape, Gomez is now housed at the Colorado State Penitentiary, considered the most secure in the state’s prison system.

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

 
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