Odds & Ends
Dateline: Russia—In a scene that no doubt rivaled the storied days of the Algonquin Round Table in terms of witty, alcohol-fueled debate, a drunken dispute over the existence of God has left two Russians dead. The disagreement began in the western Siberian city of Tomsk when the female owner of a house, her son, a male roommate and an undisclosed male relative drank a liter of pure alcohol mixed “with snow.” A police investigator told the RIA Novosti news agency, “Soon after the drinking session, the suspect [the son] and the two other men got into a fight about the existence of God.” The son ended up attacking both men with a knife and killing them, thereby providing a clear-cut answer to their questions about God and the afterlife.
Dateline: Canada—The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are launching an investigation to find out how a man who had barricaded himself inside a home for eight days straight managed to slip past police unnoticed. Leo Crockwell, 55, has a history of mental problems and was wanted on criminal charges including assault with a weapon and uttering threats. Following a family dispute, Crockwell refused to leave his mother’s home in Bay Bulls, forcing police into a standoff. Officers tried to make life as uncomfortable as they could for Crockwell. Electricity was cut to the home. Temperatures were bitterly cold and long hoses were employed to pour water through broken windows. Police also continuously fired off loud noisemakers, all in an effort to force Crockwell to come out. On two separate nights, shots were fired at an RCMP robot sent into the residence to try and establish communication. Eventually, though, conditions became so uncomfortable that Crockwell up and left—much to the surprise of the officers surrounding the house. After eight days, police stormed the building only to find it empty. Acting on community tips, police arrested Crockwell several days later on the outskirts of St. John’s, about 12 miles northeast of the standoff. Police still have no idea how Crockwell escaped. “We will review the circumstances surrounding him fleeing the home and evading perimeter security,” the RCMP said in a statement.
Dateline: Wisconsin—A male postal worker was arrested for lewd and lascivious behavior after delivering mail naked along the 300 block of West Silver Spring in the town of Whitefish Bay. According to the police report, the 52-year-old man was arrested at the North Shore Post Office on Dec. 9 and admitted he had delivered the mail in the buff. He also told officers he was sorry and that it was a “stupid thing to do.” The man said he told a 21-year-old female employee in the North Shore office that he would retrieve the mail from the business’ post office box—something the woman usually does—and deliver it to her house naked because she seemed “stressed out” and he wanted to “cheer her up and make her laugh.” The woman denied daring or encouraging the man in any way. Chris Baltz, manager of the North Shore Post Office, told WhitefishBayNow.com that the matter is being handled internally and the department is working with law enforcement. For the time being, the pantsless postman has been taken off his public route.
Dateline: Illinois—A Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District bus driver has resigned after being involved in a hit-and-run with a snowman. Fellow employees discovered the snowmicide after viewing a YouTube video of the driver flattening a snowman that had been built in the middle of Springfield Avenue. The 47-second video, titled “Insane Bus Driver Brutally Murders Snowman,” shows the MTD bus moving over to strike the snowman head-on. Onlookers behind the camera can be heard cheering the hit. The video was posted on YouTube on Dec. 14 and has been viewed more than 325,000 times. MTD spokesperson Jan Kijowski told east central Illinois’ The News-Gazette that “the operator is no longer with the MTD.” She would not comment further on the driver’s resignation, nor would she identify the driver. Asked if the bus driver had offered a reason for his actions, Kijowski said “certainly not any good reasons.”
Dateline: Oklahoma—Christmas for at least one children’s charity stinks this year. McClain County Operation Christmas gathers presents for low-income families in the central part of the state. It’s not that donations are down in 2010. The all-volunteer group had planned to distribute a record 850 gifts this holiday season. The problem is that a skunk somehow got into the warehouse where the presents were being stored and added his own special scent. It’s unclear how many of the items can be salvaged. “The ones laying out, they have been sprayed with Febreze many, many times,” the group’s spokesperson Peggy Christian told KOCO-TV News. Volunteers have taken wrapped presents outside to air out, but it is unclear if enough will be stink-free by Christmas. Officials are hoping that additional donations will alleviate the problem.