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 Dec 15 - 21, 2011 
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Odds & Ends

By Devin D. O’Leary

Dateline: England—Police in the West Yorkshire town of Leeds have released a letter of apology that a teenage burglar was ordered by the court to write. In the letter to his victims, the 16-year-old criminal actually blamed them for the crime. “I dont [sic] no [sic] why I am writing a letter to you!” said the teen. “I have been forced to write this letter by ISSP [a program that administers noncustodial punishment to young offenders]. To be honest I’m not bothered or sorry about the fact that I burgled your house. Basicly [sic] it was your own fault anyways [sic].” The underage felon then offered to “run you through the dumb mistakes you made.” The teenager noted that his victims failed to close their curtains after they went to sleep and says they were “thick enough” to leave a downstairs window unlocked. “But anyways [sic] I don’t feel sorry for you and Im [sic] not going to show any sympath [sic] or remors [sic],” the letter concluded. During the burglary, the teen made off with a video game console, camera, camcorder, two TVs and two speakers. According to London’s Daily Mail, Yorkshire police made the letter available to the public in order to raise awareness of what goes on in the minds of thieves. “The contents of the letter are disgusting,” West Yorkshire police Chief Inspector Melanie Jones told the Mail. “But it does highlight the cold and dispassionate way burglars select a property to target.”

Dateline: England—’Tis the season. Northumbria police arrested a 39-year-old man on suspicion of assault after he allegedly bit the finger off another parent at an elementary school’s Nativity play. A brawl broke out among parents at Harton Primary School in the northeastern English town of South Shields. The parents were gathered for the school’s annual Christmas play. It’s unclear what sparked the brawl, but one 32-year-old father was taken to a hospital near Newcastle for treatment after another father bit his finger off. Police did not disclose whether doctors were able to reattach the digit. Teachers said children did not witness the attack as they were getting into costume for the Nativity.

Dateline: Sweden—For the 45th year in a row, officials in the centra city of Gävle constructed their traditional “Christmas goat.” Since 1966, a gigantic goat made of straw has been erected in the town square for the holiday season. Also in keeping with tradition, the goat was burned to the ground by vandals for the 28th time. Local police told the Swedish news agency TT they received a call in the early morning hours of Friday, Dec. 2, that this year’s goat was on fire. The straw effigy was destroyed in minutes, leaving only a skeletal frame behind. Police have yet to determine what started the fire. In 2001, a 51-year-old U.S. man spent 18 days in jail and was fined $15,000 for torching the goat. Authorities said he returned to the United States without paying the fine. Since 2006, the nearly 40-foot-high goat has been covered in a flame-resistant coating to prevent arson. It hasn’t helped.

Dateline: New Hampshire—A Rochester woman planned to bring her mother’s ashes with her to a bingo game “for luck.” That didn’t work out so well. According to police, the urn containing the ashes of 64-year-old Diane Bozzi’s mother was stolen from her van at the West Wind Mobile Home Park. The urn, which was less than 5 inches tall, had been left on the passenger side of the vehicle inside a bingo bag, which was filled with various good luck charms. Bozzi told the Foster’s Daily Democrat that her mother, who died in 2002 at the age of 75, loved to play bingo. Before her mother died, Bozzi promised she would continue to bring her to play bingo—in the form of her cremated ashes. Bozzi was getting ready to go play bingo at the Rochester Senior Center when her bingo bag went missing from the van. “I just want my mother back,” said Bozzi, who is hoping the remains will be returned before Christmas.

Dateline: Pennsylvania—Police in Pittsburgh are looking for the man who got into the holiday spirit, so to speak, by breaking into a Pittsburgh liquor store and stealing two bottles of egg nog. WTAE-TV reports that the burglar was caught on surveillance video around 1:20 a.m. smashing the glass door of the state-run Wine and Spirits store and making off with just two bottles of alcoholic egg nog. The city’s burglary unit is investigating.

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