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 V.18 No.22 | May 28 - June 3, 2009 

Odds & Ends

Dateline: New Zealand—Police are searching for a couple who allegedly cleaned out their bank account and fled the country after receiving an accidental loan of nearly $8 million from their bank. Huan Di Zhang and Hui Gao were mistakenly given $NZ10 million ($7.8 million) after requesting a loan from Westpac Bank for a mere $NZ10,000 ($7,800). The couple had requested the loan to help save a small gas station convenience store they ran in Rotorua. The station was shut down earlier this month after its operator, Heights Service Ltd., went into receivership. Banking Ombudsman Liz Brown told Rotorua’s The Daily Post that technically it was a criminal offense for someone to spend money accidentally deposited into their bank account if they knew the money wasn’t theirs. “The individuals associated with this account are believed to have left New Zealand, and police [are] working through Interpol to locate those individuals,” said Detective Senior Sergeant David Harvey of New Zealand Police.

Dateline: Croatia—A thoroughly honest politician has been elected mayor of the small municipality of Proložac after promising voters he will rip them off at every opportunity. Josko Risa secured his landslide victory with the campaign slogan “All for me—nothing for you.” Speaking to the national press, Risa said, “I just told them the truth. This town will be like my family business. If I get a little something, so do they.” Locals who backed Risa said they were happy to have a corrupt but truthful man as their top politician. “We know what we’re letting ourselves in for,” said 57-year-old Ivan Vjisnic. “We’re going to get ripped off no matter who takes over. At least he’s being honest and up front about it.”

Dateline: Indiana—Police in Fort Wayne say a suspected drug dealer led police on a 90 mph car chase but was captured after making an impromptu run for the border—which is to say he pulled into a Taco Bell drive through. The chase began Tuesday, May 12, after officers spotted Jermaine Askia Cooper, 36, who was wanted on several drug-related charges. The chase ended one county over in Decatur after Cooper stopped suddenly in the parking lot of a Taco Bell restaurant. Fort Wayne police Sgt. Mark Walters says Cooper told officers he “knew he was going to jail for a while” and wanted to grab one last burrito. Cooper was arrested and held without bail on four counts of dealing cocaine, one count of resisting arrest by fleeing and several other minor charges. He did not get his burrito.

Dateline: Utah—The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Salt Lake City has dropped its prosecution of a New Mexico man accused of arranging over the Internet to meet an underaged girl for sex after the man’s attorney argued the trial would be too stressful on his client. At the request of prosecutors, U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups dismissed the case last week against Reinaldo Canton, a retired Air Force major. Canton’s defense attorney said his 45-year-old client suffered from an aortic dissection, a potentially life-threatening condition affecting the large blood vessel branching off the heart. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Canton had agreed to a plea bargain in the illegal sexual activity case but had to be rushed to a hospital as he was boarding a plane from New Mexico to Salt Lake City last summer for a court hearing. Canton’s attorney, Benjamin Hamilton, argued that the case could increase his client’s blood pressure and cause his death, which would violate his right to due process. Prosecutors said Canton had a series of Internet chats with and sent photographs of himself to what he thought was a 15-year-old girl in the spring of 2007. He suggested meeting at the Layton Hills Mall in Salt Lake City in April 2007, according to prosecutors, and returning to his Ogden hotel to have sex. The girl Canton thought he was chatting with was actually an undercover police officer. Before his sudden heart problems, Canton argued he only went to meet the girl to see how Internet safety programs worked and to inform her about the dangers of online chat rooms.

Dateline: Ohio—A father, upset at his disobedient son’s refusal to clean his room, called 911. To make matters worse, however, the son was 28-year-old Bedford School Board member Andrew Mizsak. “I know this looks bad,” Mizsak told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Mizsak’s father, also named Andrew, called 911 last Thursday after his son allegedly threw a plate of food across the kitchen table when told to clean up his room. The younger Mizsak lives in his parents’ basement. The elder Mizsak, 63, wouldn’t press charges and told police, “I don’t want to ruin his political career.” According to the police report, Mizsak’s parents “do everything for Andrew, and he doesn’t even pay rent.” Mizsak Sr. later told reporters that he “overreacted.” The police report went on to state that the dinner table confrontation eventually ended peacefully: “Andrew was sent to his room to clean it. He was crying uncontrollably and stated he would comply.”

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

 

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