Odds & Ends
Dateline: Finland—An island-hopping ferry ran aground near the capital of Helsinki after its captain got stuck in the bathroom. The Finnish coast guard said the ship slammed into a rock near the shore of Helsinki earlier this month when its captain became trapped in the bathroom because of a jammed lock. The captain yelled for help and a fellow crew member tried to slow the boat down, but efforts to prevent the ship from crashing failed. “He was stuck in the toilet. As soon as the staff member got he door open, it was too late,” Jan Sundell, head of the investigation, told reporters. Some of the 54 tourists on board were slightly injured, and some tableware was broken.
Dateline: The Netherlands—A 42-year-old woman has been charged with stalking after allegedly calling her ex-boyfriend 65,000 times in the last year. The 62-year-old victim, who lives in The Hague, filed a complaint with police in August. Police arrested the suspected speed-dailer on Monday, Sept. 5, seizing several cell phones and computers at her home in Rotterdam. A spokesperson for the Dutch prosecutors said the woman told judges at a preliminary hearing she had a relationship with the man. The woman also argued the number of phone calls she made was not excessive—
Dateline: California—A man dressed in a full-body Gumby costume failed miserably to knock over a San Diego convenience store on the morning of Wednesday, Sept. 7. The green-suited suspect entered the 7-Eleven and demanded money. The clerk, thinking it was a joke, told Gumby, “I don’t have time for this.” Gumby responded by saying, “You don’t think this is a robbery? I have a gun.” According to a San Diego Police spokesperson, the suspect then tried to reach into his pocket but experienced a costume malfunction. Instead of a gun, the suspect managed to dig out 26 cents, which he dropped to the floor—leaving him even poorer than when he walked in. After being ignored by the clerk some more, Gumby fled the store, where he was driven away by an accomplice in a van—possibly Pokey. The clerk didn’t even bother to report the crime, although he did tell the store manager, who arrived later that morning. Police were eventually summoned and are treating the incident as a robbery and not a prank. The clerk, not old enough to remember Art Clokey’s famous Claymation character from the ’50s, described the robber as dressed like a “green SpongeBob.” The entire incident was caught on store cameras and will live forever on the Internet.
Dateline: Florida—Police in Clearwater arrested a woman for taking off her clothes at a strip club and demanding money—which doesn’t sound all that illegal, until you realize the woman was not actually employed by the club. Natalie Behnke, 25, solicited customers for money while dancing nude on the night of Tuesday, Sept. 6, at the Baby Dolls club. The St. Petersburg Times reported Behnke allegedly tried to fight the club’s regular exotic dancers when they asked her to leave. Behnke was removed from the club around 11:50 p.m. and charged with disorderly intoxication. She pleaded no contest to the charge the next day and was ordered to pay a fine of $450. No word on whether or not she paid it all in one dollar bills.
Dateline: Maryland—Officials at the Federal Reserve in Baltimore say they are running out of room to store all the money no one wants. According to a report in the Baltimore Sun, the cash in question comes in the form of $1 coins. A 2005 law requires the reserve bank to continue ordering the coins despite a near-total lack of public demand. “This is just a small portion of what there is nationwide,” explained Dave Beck, senior vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Va., and regional executive for the Baltimore branch. “At certain times, that vault will be full and we have to look for other Fed facilities ... that have more space.” Officials from the reserve refused to say how many coins were sitting idle at the Baltimore branch, but a report to Congress by the Fed’s Board of Governors in June estimated more than $1.2 billion in dollar coins are being held at 28 reserve system facilities across the nation.