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 V.18 No.38 | September 17 - 23, 2009 

Odds & Ends

Dateline: China—Whatever you do, don’t shoplift from a Chinese Wal-Mart. A customer at a new Wal-Mart superstore in Jingdezhen apparently died at the hand of Wal-Mart employees who suspected her of stealing. According to the China Daily, employees surveilled suspected shoplifter Yu Xiaochun for several minutes before approaching her. As Yu exited the store, one Wal-Mart employee stopped her and requested a receipt for some merchandise. Yu handed over the receipt, then snatched it back, saying no one was wearing a Wal-Mart uniform and she didn’t believe they worked there. In response, four more Wal-Mart employees allegedly gathered around the woman and began beating her. Yu somehow managed to send an alert to her family through her cellphone. When Yu’s mother and sister showed up at the store, the staff members were allegedly still pummeling her. Police eventually arrived and put a stop to the incident. Yu, 37, was rushed to a nearby hospital but died of her wounds three days later. Police say two of the security guards involved in the incident have been detained.

Dateline: South Africa—A South African company, upset at the slow speed of the country’s high-tech data transfer, set up a race between Internet service provider Telkom and a homing pigeon. Earlier this month, the Durban-based Unlimited Group sent 4 GB of data 50 miles via bird and Internet. The pigeon won, arriving in two hours, six minutes and 57 seconds. In that time, the company, which regularly transfers data between its 11 call centers, only managed to transfer 4 percent of the data using Telkom’s broadband service. In an ironic addendum, Winston, the 11-month-old pigeon who performed the miraculously quick (by South African standards) data transfer, now has his own Facebook page with more than 3,500 fans.

Dateline: Scotland—A homeowner who happened to be dressed as the Norse god-cum-Marvel superhero Thor arrived home from a costume party just in time to scare off a burglar. Torvald Alexander, 38, a construction firm manager who stands 6 feet tall, was returning home from a costume party dressed in a red cape and silver-winged helmet. Giant hammer in hand, Alexander opened his door and came face-to-face with a burglar. “As soon as he saw me, his eyes went wide with terror,” Alexander told The Daily Telegraph. “He looked like he had had a few drinks and decided to do a late-night break-in. But he hadn’t counted on the God of Thunder living here.” Alexander said the burglar did not have time to steal anything from the house and fled through a ground-floor window without his shoes. The homeowner turned the shoes over to police to help them identify the suspect.

Dateline: Ohio—Police say a suspect in a robbery was arrested after he returned to the scene of the crime some two hours later to ask the victim out on a date. Columbus police say 20-year-old Stephfon Bennett was among three men who robbed Daniel Martinez Batista and his girlfriend Diana Martinez late last Sunday at gunpoint in a parking lot outside their apartment. Batista’s wallet was stolen and Martinez’ purse was taken. Ms. Martinez later recognized Bennett as one of the robbers when he returned to ask her out. “We are not exactly sure what he was thinking at the time,” Columbus police Sgt. Shaun Laird told WBNS-TV News. Martinez had a cousin call 911 and Bennett was arrested in front of the home minutes later. He was arraigned the following Tuesday on a charge of aggravated robbery and is being held in the Franklin County Jail on $100,000 bail.

Dateline: Minnesota—Police in St. Paul say a 30-year-old man attacked his 4-year-old son, enraged that the toddler was wearing rival gang colors. Kenny T. Jackson is charged with a gross misdemeanor, accused of malicious punishment of a child after allegedly ripping a shirt off his 4-year-old son. St. Paul police arrested Jackson last Tuesday afternoon after they responded to a 911 call from a home on Sherburne Avenue. The unnamed caller, who said he was Jackson’s stepfather, reported that Jackson was on drugs and “destroying the house.” The caller said Jackson was angry because he is reportedly a member of a Bloods gang, and his son was wearing a blue shirt—the color of the rival Crips gang. Jackson was breaking things in the house when police arrived. He tried to run away and hide in the trunk of a car but was apprehended. Police found Jackson’s young son shirtless, scratched and crying. According to the criminal complaint, Jackson denied the allegations when questioned and asked for an attorney.

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

 
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