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 V.18 No.2 | January 8 - 14, 2009 

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Sweden—A 33-year-old man’s attempt to impress his girlfriend backfired when he wound up in the hospital with serious burns. The woman told police in Västervik, in southeastern Sweden, that her boyfriend had poured gasoline over his arm and set it on fire. “It obviously didn’t go well. He burned his arm and other parts of his body and was in a state of shock,” Kalmar police spokesperson Reine Johansson told the TT news agency. “Don’t ask me what the point of the trick was supposed to be.” Following the failed stunt, the unnamed man was taken to a nearby hospital. Police are considering charging the man with negligence that endangers the public.

Dateline: New York—Estelle Stamm, 65, is suing the New York City Transit Authority for $10 million, claiming her 120-pound “service dog” is protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. “These sons of bitches don’t like to be told what to do,” Stamm told the Daily News as she waited for a federal judge to decide whether her lawsuit should be tossed. The woman claims that Wargas, her massive livestock guardian dog, is protection from childhood memories of sex abuse. Transit lawyers take the position that the dog is too dangerous for public transportation and that Stamm is not really disabled. Legal papers filed by the city draw on some 8,000 pages of Stamm's Internet postings in which she says livestock dogs are genetically wired with “tremendous killing power” and admits her previous service dog was aggressive toward elderly cancer patients because “she can smell death.”

Dateline: Florida—Thousands of shoes appeared mysteriously on a stretch of the Palmetto Expressway early last Friday morning, snarling traffic and confusing authorities. According to the Miami Herald, work boots, bath slippers, sneakers, beach sandals and even roller blades were found heaped in the expressway’s southbound lane shortly after 7:30 a.m. It took more than two hours to clean up the errant footwear. Employees of the Florida Department of Transportation’s Road Rangers service swept the shoes into heaps while a private contractor used a front-end loader and a large dump truck to haul them off. Florida Highway Patrol officials say if no one claims the shoes, they will be distributed to local and national nonprofits that promise to give them to the poor.

“She can smell death.”

Dateline: Ohio—An 88-year-old woman who was arrested for refusing to give a 13-year-old neighborhood boy his football back after it landed in her yard is now suing the boy’s parents for emotional distress. In a suit filed in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court, an attorney for Edna Jester, of Blue Ash, contends that her health has suffered measurably because of aggravation caused by footballs, Frisbees and other recreation-related objects that have repeatedly landed on her lawn. The suit seeks unspecified monetary damages and contends that members of the neighboring Tanis household “have thrown objects against the side of Ms. Jester’s house, into her gardens and onto her porch.” The suit also states that the Tanises and their minor children “regularly and without permission” enter Jester’s yard to retrieve footballs and other play items that have been “carelessly tossed” onto her property. “It is a very silly suit,” mother Kelly Tanis told the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Dateline: Oregon—According to The Oregonian, an elderly homeowner chased off a nude burglar by grabbing his dangling bits. The 88-year-old victim told police that a naked man entered her home in Troutdale through an unlocked sliding door early last Tuesday morning. She said the man backed her into the living room and pushed her face-down on a chair. She responded by grabbing the man’s crotch and squeezing. This caused him to run away. Multnomah County Sheriff’s officers arrested 46-year-old Michael G. Dick (honestly) a short time after the attack. Dick (no, really) faces accusations of burglary, harassment and private indecency.

Dateline: Utah—Police are probably not searching for a shoplifter who hit the Smith’s Food & Drug in the town of Murray last week. It’s not because the value of the item stolen was low. It’s because the thief was of the non-human variety. An unidentified dog entered the supermarket and headed straight for the pet food aisle where he snagged a rawhide bone worth $2.79. “I’ve never seen him shop in here before,” said store manager Roger Adamson. “Brand-new customer. Didn’t even have his Fresh Value card.” The manager tried to confront the brazen shoplifter, but the canine crook made a clean getaway. “I looked at him. I said, ‘Drop it!’ ” Adamson told reporters. “He looked at me, and I looked at him, and he ran for the door and away he went, right out the front door.” The entire crime was captured on the store’s surveillance cameras. If caught, the animal could face a single charge of petty theft.

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

 
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