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 V.17 No.50 | December 11 - 17, 2008 

Odds & Ends

Dateline: EnglandSanta and three of his elves were attacked by disgruntled customers at a holiday theme park. Lapland New Forest, located on the Dorset Hampshire border, promises a magical festive experience. According to the Daily Telegraph, however, the park has received more than 1,300 complaints for its Nativity scene crudely painted on a billboard, its broken ice skating rink and its collection of bored Huskies chained up in a muddy field. Adrian Wood, 49, a worker who resigned from the park, told the newspaper, “Santa was punched by a furious father who had been waiting in line for four hours. He had got to the front only to be told he couldn’t take a picture of his children and that they weren’t allowed to sit on Santa’s lap.” Henry Mears, from Lapland New Forest Limited, admitted his staff has been attacked. “So far about six of our staffthree elves and three securityhave been assaulted and all have been verbally abused.” Ivan Hancock, from Dorset County Council’s trading standards department, said, “I’ve never known anything to spark so many complaints in my 20 years of working with three different authorities.” Despite customers attacking Santa and dubbing his theme park “Crapland,” Mr. Mears insisted, “I would like to point out that 95 percent of the people who come to Lapland New Forest are extremely happy with it.”

Dateline: EnglandAuthorities at Cambridge University went into full panic mode after a Santa hat was placed atop a school spire as a prank. Students apparently fastened the fuzzy red hat to the spire of the famous Gate of Humility at Gonville and Caius College as an end-of-term joke, reports London’s Daily Mail. College authorities phoned the local fire brigade to come remove the hat from the top of the 60-foot building in case it fell on someone’s head. A team of more than 10 firemen and three fire engines cordoned off the road surrounding the gate and spent more than an hour using a hydraulic platform to get the hat down. According to Cambridge University’s Varsity newspaper, the senior tutor for Gonville and Caius College said the prank was “disturbing” because of the danger it posed to passersby and said anyone found taking part in it would face “serious” disciplinary measures.

Dateline: New JerseyA police SWAT team stormed a bank to end a 90-minute standoff only to discover the armed bank robber they were trying to negotiate with was just a cardboard cutout. Police had responded to an alarm going off at a branch of the PNC bank in Montgomery Township and spotted a menacing-looking figure inside. At the time, the bank was closed for the Thanksgiving holiday and the blinds were drawn. Police sealed off the area and evacuated residents in three nearby apartment buildings. According to the Newark Star-Ledger, authorities tried to make contact with whomever might be lurking behind the bank’s blinds. Officers used bullhorns and then tried to call inside the building. After more than an hour with no response, the SWAT team entered the building. Inside, they discovered the menacing figure was a life-sized cardboard advertising cutout.

Dateline: FloridaAuthorities say a west Florida man who lives with his parents was arrested on a felony assault charge after he attacked his father with a Christmas tree. According to the Manatee County sheriff’s report, a 37-year-old man was arrested last week after he threw a 3-foot Christmas tree at his father. When the tree missed, the son picked up the steel base from the tree and tried to strike his father with it. The parents were able to grab their angry offspring and prevent the attack. Deputies said the tree could have caused serious injuries because the metal tree holder weighed about five pounds. The man denied trying to hit his father.

Dateline: CaliforniaA man using a candy cane lawn ornament fended off a knife-wielding neighbor who attacked holiday guests at a Sacramento home. Police spokesperson Sgt. Norm Leong told the Sacramento Bee the man snatched up the 2-foot-tall plastic ornament and used it to subdue the attacker until officers arrived. According to the police report, the 49-year-old suspect became intoxicated, went over to a neighbor’s home on Thanksgiving and began waving a kitchen knife at people gathered on the lawn. He cut several people’s clothing before one of them decided to fight back. Police said the man with the knife was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. The guest who delivered the candy cane beat-down was not arrested because police determined he acted in self-defense.

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

 
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