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 V.19 No.52 | December 30 - January 5, 2011 

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Belgium—An accountant in Brussels purchased a long-shuttered Dexia Bank branch to house his business and ended up making a profit on the deal after finding more than 300,000 euros ($393,000) in an old bank vault. According to England’s Telegraph newspaper, Ferhat Kaya, 33, purchased the property at a cost of about $235,000 but turned down the real estate agent’s quote of $5,000 to remove an old safe. Instead, Kaya called a friend to help take out the building’s metal vault. “When the vault was open, it revealed bags of 20 and 50 euro bills,” said Murat Tufan, who helped with the demolition. “The receipts were still there dated Dec. 31, 2001. We started counting.” After speaking with his Turkish father, Kaya decided to call police and report the cash, which had been abandoned in the building for almost a decade. “My friend and I thought we would really make a statement with it: that even immigrants are people that say honesty is the best policy,” he told reporters. Dexia Bank spokesperson Ulrike Pommée said an investigation has been opened but suggested no trace of the money would ever be found. “We want to determine what happened. It was probably a human error. But the investigation will not be easy, because the money is from 2001.” Pommée said the company was looking into offering Kaya a reward.

Dateline: Tennessee—Detectives in Louisville say 35-year-old Billy Burnham stole hundreds of dollars’ worth of jewelry and other valuables from a neighbor’s apartment, but helped police out immensely by leaving his driver’s license behind at the scene of the crime. After locating the license in the apartment’s kitchen, police merely had to walk across the street to find the burglar. Police told WATE-6 News in Knoxville that Burnham tried to deny the crime at first, but when officers showed him his missing ID, he confessed. Burnham was charged with aggravated burglary. “Y’all need to put him in the thing about funniest criminals because he is about as dumb as they come,” said neighbor Denise Lunsford, who called 911.

Dateline: Oregon—Police in West Linn arrested a woman for burglary after she called officers looking for a getaway car. Zannish Frazier, 28, faces burglary and theft charges after allegedly breaking into a car and home in the Sunset neighborhood, West Linn police spokesperson Sgt. Neil Hennelly told The Oregonian. Frazier called police around 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 21, and said she was stranded in Sunset Park and needed a ride to the transit center after being kicked out of her boyfriend’s home. When officers arrived, they found the woman lugging six duffel bags’ worth of loot, four of which were filled with personal items and two of which were loaded down with laptop computers, women’s clothing and jewelry. “It was almost like she went Christmas shopping,” said Hennelly. Frazier was arrested and taken to Clackamas County jail after officers discovered she had an outstanding warrant for a parole violation. Later that night, police received a call from some residents on Charman Street who reported a burglar had broken through their back window and taken some items, including jewelry and laptop computers, while they were out. A nearby car was also found to have been broken into. Both burglaries took place less than an hour before Frazier called police for a ride.

Dateline: Pennsylvania—A Monroe County parolee ordered by the court to undergo regular drug testing told a judge he wasn’t using a fake penis and bladder to cheat the tests: He was only wearing them because a probation officer kept making fun of his real penis. Raymond Hartley Jr., 28, told a county judge that he only strapped on the Whizzinator device to look more manly in front of a probation officer who commented on the size of his penis during drug tests. “It’s very emasculating to hear comments like that,” argued defense attorney Anthony Rybak. Judge Michael Koury Jr. didn’t buy it, though, and sentenced Hartley to one to two years in state prison for violating probation. Hartley admitted to using the Whizzinator, which can be bought over the Internet with kits that include synthetic urine and heater packs, at a hearing earlier this month. At his most recent court appearance, Hartley insisted the urine he used was his own and that the rubber penis was only employed to impress his probation officer in Monroe County. “Had I known doing something like this would have brought new charges, I would never have done something like this,” Hartley told the judge. Hartley said he pleaded guilty to using the Whizzinator earlier this month because he was embarrassed to admit the real reason in court. “The courtroom was unbelievably full,” said Hartley. “My mother was there.” Judge Koury gave Hartley a fine and sent him back to state prison anyway.

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