Jan 31 - Feb 6, 2008 
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Odds & Ends

By Devin D. O’Leary
Eric J. Garcia

Dateline: Australia--On Jan. 22, a man in his late 20s was attacked by an alligator near a popular tourist spot on the Mary River in Northern Australia. To add insult to injury, unlucky Jason Grant also ended up getting shot by a rescuer who was trying to free him from the reptile’s jaws. Grant was collecting crocodile eggs at a remote reptile farm when he found his arm locked between the teeth of an angry alligator. For a few terrifying moments, the animal “splashed about,” shaking its victim before the intervention of fellow worker Zac Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald fired two shots at the saltwater croc. One hit the target, but the other struck Grant in the arm. Grant was flown by helicopter from Marraki Station, 75 miles east of Darwin, to the Royal Darwin Hospital for emergency surgery on both the bite and bullet wounds. He was reported to be in stable condition following his treatment. “They think he’s probably got a broken arm and soft tissue damage from the bites and he’s got a bullet wound on the upper part of the arm,” Mick Burns, owner of the Darwin Crocodile Farm, told news.com.au. “His first words to me were: ‘I don't think I’ll be at work for a couple of days.’ ”

Dateline: Australia--Two inept robbers have been jailed for a heist that left one of them holding a bag of bread and the other with a bullet in her butt. Benjamin Jorgensen, 38, and Donna Hayes, 36, were sentenced to seven and eight years, respectively, for the robbery at a Melbourne restaurant. During the armed robbery last April 1, Jorgensen snatched what he thought was the Cuckoo Restaurant’s daily take of about $26,000. Instead, he got away with a bag full of dinner rolls. To make matters worse, Jorgensen accidentally fired his gun during the robbery, striking Hayes in the buttocks. Victorian County Court Judge Roland Williams described the two as “a pair of fools”--fitting since their bungled robbery took place on April Fool’s Day. Early last week, defense lawyer Greg Thomas said Jorgensen had been under the influence of drugs at the time.

Dateline: Sweden--London’s The Sun reports that dwarf crime is a “growing problem” across Europe. Thieves are allegedly robbing buses by sneaking dwarves into the luggage holds in sports bags. Once inside, they slip out from their hiding places to rifle through the belongings of unsuspecting passengers. They then transport the loot back to their hiding place and wait to be collected by another gang member when the coach reaches its destination. The newspaper claims thousands of dollars’ worth of cash, gems and other valuable have gone missing in recent months. Swebus, which ferries thousands of Brits across Sweden, has been among the long-distance bus companies targeted. A spokesperson told the paper, “We have had reports about several thefts by dwarves on the stretch between Vasteras and Stockholm.” A Stockholm Police spokesperson said, “We are looking at our records to identify criminals of limited stature.”

Dateline: Maryland--An old rocket, which had been on display at a veterans’ museum for more than two years, was discovered to be a piece of live ammunition last Wednesday. The Allegheny County’s Combined County Criminal Investigations unit and the State Fire Marshal’s Office said the ordnance was on display at the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 172 in Cumberland. The ordnance in question was a 48-inch by 2.75-inch Mark 1 Rocket similar to those used on helicopter gunships during the Vietnam conflict. The rocket was donated to the museum at the chapter building by a local Vietnam veteran two years ago. Allegheny County law enforcement officers were notified that the rocket might be live last week. Bomb squad officers from the Fire Marshal’s Office and the FBI went to the museum, examined the device and found it to be active. Technicians removed the rocket and rendered it safe. Authorities are investigating the incident.

Dateline: Missouri-- KCTV-5 in Kansas City reports that a man involved in an alleged murder-for-hire plot tried to engage an undercover police officer to kill a love rival in exchange for $5 and some OxyContin tablets. According to court documents, Robert S. Macklin, 35, of Independence, approached his female roommate several times asking her to kill a woman identified as the girlfriend of a man with whom Macklin had a relationship. The roommate eventually contacted police, who arranged for a meeting between Macklin and an undercover officer, prosecutors said. During the conversation between Macklin and the officer, Macklin offered $5 in cash and 90 OxyContin pills in exchange for the intended victim’s death. After giving the officer the $5 as a down payment, Macklin was taken into custody. Prosecutors are requesting a $500,000 bond.

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

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