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 V.19 No.10 | March 11 - 17, 2010 

Odds & Ends

Odds and Ends

Dateline: England—A sales assistant at a WH Smith store in Chichester, West Sussex, refused to sell a woman a pair of children’s safety scissors over fears that the mother might allow her daughter to use them unsupervised. Nadine Martin was at the store purchasing art supplies for her 3-year-old daughter. When the youngster placed the plastic scissors, which were marked “3+” on the checkout counter, a female sales assistant asked, “Will you be supervising her?” Mrs. Martin told the Telegraph newspaper, “She called another woman over and said it was company policy that because my daughter had put the scissors on the counter it called into question whether she would be supervised using them. I can’t believe a parent can’t buy plastic scissors. They were clearly labeled and had ‘3+’ on them. There was a queue of about four people and it was embarrassing.” In protest, Martin left the store without purchasing any of the items she and her daughter had picked up. “Customer safety is of paramount importance to us,” a WH Smith spokesperson told the Telegraph. “To that end, we insist our staff complete regular training updates to remind them of their obligations both legally and in accordance with our own policies.” The spokesperson went on to admit that, “On this occasion a staff member may have been a little overzealous in their interpretation of that training and we apologize for any inconvenience or embarrassment that may have been caused.”

Dateline: France—A self-described “plant exorcist” has been arrested for attacking trees near Paris’ Eiffel Tower. Local media reported that the unnamed 38-year-old was arrested last week after hammering nails into the branches and painting graffiti onto the trunks of more than 100 trees to ward off evil woodland spirits. Gardeners in the area called police after the man was spotted howling while perched at the top of a large chestnut tree on the Champs de Mars. The man told officers he was “trying to rid the trees of demon forces” before being taken into custody. He is being held for psychiatric observation.

Dateline: Massachusetts—A newlywed couple spent their honeymoon night in separate jail cells after a postnuptial incident involving liquor, an automobile and an ex-girlfriend. According to CapeCodOnline.com, the bride—22-year-old Marissa Putignano-Keene of Hyannis—was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon after she allegedly tried to run over another woman with a car. Putignano-Keene was also charged with disorderly conduct and injury to property (a fence) and taken into protective custody. The woman in Putignano-Keene’s crosshairs later told police she had a “previous relationship” with the groom. The groom—37-year-old Timothy Keene—was charged with disorderly conduct and taken into protective custody as well. He was sitting in the passenger seat when his new wife tried to run over his old girlfriend. According to a police report on the incident, Putignano-Keene and Keene said they were married in Barnstable Town Hall and had split a bottle of Champagne in celebration. Later, as the happy couple drove away from their own private parking-lot reception, the bride spotted a woman she recognized. The unnamed woman told police she had just left work and was cutting through the parking lot with her son when the newlyweds drove by. Putignano-Keene rolled down her window and began swearing at the woman. The woman said she and her son were walking away when they heard a car engine roar and saw Putignano-Keene’s car heading directly toward them. The woman and her son jumped out of the way. Putignano-Keene then allegedly backed the car up and turned the wheel, causing it to crash into a fence behind Alberto’s Ristorante, which borders the parking lot. The bride and groom were taken into protective custody by police. CapeCodOnline reported that the bride, who was wearing a tiara at the time of her arrest, was asked to remove it for the mug shot. The bride and groom spent the night in separate cells at the Barnstable police station and were released the next morning when they sobered up.

Dateline: Florida—Police in St. Petersburg evacuated all 10 floors of a downtown office building last Tuesday after a “suspicious package” was spotted. The brown paper bag was found on the third floor, propped against a door near the Florida Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims. Judge Donna S. Remsnyder found the package around lunchtime and reported it to a security guard. The guard refused to open it. “He wasn’t comfortable doing anything with it,” the judge told the St. Petersburg Times. Further heightening suspicion, building employees told police they did not recognize the package and that packages do not belong in the area where it was found. Police said they didn’t think the bag went through “normal security protocols” when it was brought into the building. The Tampa Bay Regional Bomb Squad eventually arrived, evacuated dozens of people, shut down nearby streets and, after more than two hours, opened the mysterious paper bag. Inside was a fresh croissant.

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

 

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