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 V.20 No.20 | May 19 - 25, 2011 

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Iran—The U.K.’s Guardian newspaper reports that a political tiff in Iran has led to allies of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad being accused of witchcraft. Several people said to be close to the president and his chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, have been arrested in the last month and charged with being “magicians.” The accused have allegedly summoned mystical spirits known as “djinn” in order to further the political policies of Ahmadinejad, who is locked in a fierce power struggle with the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Ayendeh, an Iranian news website, described one of the arrested men, Abbas Ghaffari, as “a man with special skills in metaphysics and connections with the unknown worlds.” Earlier this month, Ahmadinejad staged an 11-day walkout to protest Khamenei’s reinstatement of the country’s intelligence minister, who was recently fired by the president. Since then, at least 25 of Ahmadinejad’s close political followers have been arrested.

Dateline: Connecticut—A 65-year-old Bridgeport man faces criminal charges after police say he called 911 because he ran out of beer. Raymond Roberge phoned emergency services three times on Sunday, May 8. Authorities say when emergency personnel and firefighters finally arrived at this home, Roberge asked them to go to the store and buy him some beer. He did offer to compensate them for their time. Roberge was charged with misuse of the 911 system and was freed on $500 bond. Bridgeport police told the Connecticut Post this was not the first time Roberge has abused the system. Since the beginning of this year, Roberge has called 911 a total of 79 times. None of those times, it was determined, was an emergency. One time, for example, he offered emergency responders $20 and some loose change to come into his home and sit with him.

Dateline: Florida—Poor planning on the part of a bank robber resulted in the criminal leaving empty-handed. According to the TC Palm website, a would-be bank robber walked into a bank in Okeechobee County and handed the cashier a note. The note instructed the cashier to “fill a bag with money.” The cashier calmly told the robber she didn’t have a bag. The man pointed to the note again, but the cashier insisted that she had no bag. Lacking a loot container, the robber left the building. He tried to make a getaway on a bicycle he had hidden in some nearby trees, but was arrested just seven minutes later. The unnamed 61-year-old was charged with attempted bank robbery and is being held at the Okeechobee County Jail without bail.

Dateline: Colorado—A seasoned bank robber’s attempt to reconcile with his ex-girlfriend resulted in both a rejection and an arrest. According to the Denver Post, 34-year-old Adam Lynch tried to patch things up with his former live-in girlfriend Julia Lundstrom in April. The pair met up at Fado Irish Pub in Downtown Denver to discuss their rocky relationship. Lynch begged to get back together, and to prove he wanted a clean slate, he confessed to Lundstrom that he was the notorious Ho-Hum Bandit. “He showed her the FBI website on his mobile phone and she saw his picture and that he was wanted for bank robbery,” Jefferson County sheriff’s investigator Tom Acierno told the Post. After listening to the confession, Lundstrom went outside the bar and called Denver police. “She told them, ‘I am sitting here with a bank robber and he told me he’s done all these bank robberies in California and Denver,’ ” Acierno said. Lynch—who is suspected of robbing 10 banks in Colorado, 12 in California, one in Wyoming and one in Washington—was arrested several hours later. He has pled not guilty. A trial date is set for June 27.

Dateline: Oregon—Jack the German shepherd had no interest in staying at the vet’s office. Despite exhibiting symptoms of pneumonia, Jack tried three times to escape from Best Friends Animal Hospital in Medford. On Thursday, May 5, he succeeded—unlocking his kennel, nosing aside the dead bolt on the clinic’s back door and pulling down the lever handle to gain his freedom. “He was so sick he could barely walk,” Dr. Shannon Sierra, a vet at the clinic, told the Mail Tribune. “Then, 72 hours later, he’s on the lam.” Jack trekked more than 7 miles back to his home in nearby Talent. He couldn’t quite find his owner’s house, though, ending up at a stranger’s front door. When he refused to leave, the homeowners called animal control. Luckily, Jack’s owner had been notified by the clinic by that time and had contacted the shelter. Jack was quickly reunited with owner Marsha Billeci and was allowed to carry out the remainder of his recuperation at home.

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