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 V.17 No.10 | March 6 - 12, 2008 

Odds & Ends

Eric J. Garcia

Dateline: Romania--Cops have closed their investigation of a vandalism case that left local houses in ruins by concluding ghosts were to blame. Families living in the town of Lilieci reported broken windows, bicycles flying through the air, objects moving on tables and candles blown out when there was no wind. At first, police scoffed at a supernatural source for the damage, but a police spokesperson concluded, “There were bottles and things flying around. I did not know what to dodge first. We can find nothing to suggest it was anything other than what the people claim.” A priest has been called in to exorcise the homes in question.

Dateline: Alaska--Assault with a deadly spork? Anchorage police have arrested a suspect in an armed robbery who may have attacked his victim with a plastic spork. The Anchorage Daily News reported a suspect tried to grab a man’s watch last Monday night. The victim told police the assailant swung a pocketknife at him, but officers found four parallel scratches on the victim’s side, leading them to believe the robber employed a combination between a spoon and a fork known as a spork. Peter Albert, 52, was arrested a few blocks from the scene and charged with robbery. Police said Albert was intoxicated and carrying a small pocket knife as well as a backpack containing a fast-food bag and sporks. Albert is being held at the Anchorage jail with bail set at $5,000.

Dateline: New Jersey--If you’re going to build homemade bombs, don’t store them in your oven. A Pitman man was charged with making and storing homemade explosives in his family’s kitchen stove after one of the devices blew up, critically injuring his wife. Stephen Shimkus, 44, was charged with possessing a destructive device and creating a risk of widespread injury after his 42-year-old wife, Tracy, allegedly attempted to turn on the oven and one of the makeshift bombs exploded last Monday afternoon. The father of three was also charged with endangering the welfare of a child and unlawful possession of a weapon. The bomb was one of several cardboard tubes stuffed with explosive powder and BB pellets found in the kitchen. Mrs. Shimkus suffered injuries to her face, hand and stomach. According to the Asbury Park Press, she was listed in critical but stable condition after the incident. Police believe Shimkus’ bomb-making was a hobby and not intended to injure his wife.

Dateline: Connecticut--Police in Danbury believe two factors may have contributed to 24-year-old Jeffrey Ho hitting a stop sign and crashing into a snowbank early last Sunday. One was Ho’s state of intoxication, and the other was the fact that his car was missing one of its wheels. At around 3 a.m. Sunday, police started looking for Ho’s car after receiving a call from the Food Bag convenience store about a vehicle leaving the parking lot minus a wheel. Officers located the car a short distance away, with Ho behind the wheel. Ho admitted to being intoxicated but said it was all right because “he wasn’t driving.” Ho, who hails from Katonah, N.Y., was apparently unaware that his car was a wheel short. Officers retraced Ho’s path by following scrape marks on the pavement but were unable to locate the missing wheel. According to Danbury’s News-Times, Ho was charged with drunk driving and reckless driving.

Dateline: Iowa--A casino worker says he was unfairly fired for demanding that his coworkers provide him with prostitutes. Neil Jorgensen, 62, of Kalona worked at the Riverside Casino and Golf Resort south of Iowa City until last November. He was fired after he was given a $100 Riverside gift certificate and a free night’s stay at the casino hotel in recognition of a year’s employment with the company. He used the gift certificate and the free night’s stay on Nov. 28. “I went to Ruthie’s, the nice steakhouse within the casino, and I had a Cosmopolitan or two and a bottle of wine and a really good dinner,” Jorgensen testified at a recent state hearing dealing with his request for unemployment benefits. He said he went to his hotel room at about midnight and called hotel managers for help in figuring out how to order an adult movie. An hour later, he said, he called the managers again “and asked for a hooker.” After the managers refused to help procure a prostitute for him, Jorgensen called someone at the adjacent casino resort and made the same request. “The advertisement is that it’s just like Las Vegas, so I thought I was in Las Vegas,” Jorgensen testified. The casino’s human resources director, Tim Donovan, testified that hotel workers were sent to Jorgensen’s room to insist he stop calling for prostitutes. “When the hotel supervisor knocked on the door, Mr. Jorgensen answered the door in the nude,” Donovan said. Jorgensen was fired the next day. Jorgensen told the Des Moines Register last week that his requests for a hooker were actually part of “an off-the-wall surveillance” test of some kind. Administrative Law Judge Terence Nice rejected Jorgensen’s claim for benefits.

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

 
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