Odds & Ends
A trio of car thieves got more than they bargained for when a van they stole turned out to have 12 dead bodies inside. During a court trial in Poznan, Poland, it was revealed that the men boosted the Mercedes Sprinter van from a parking lot in Hoppegarten, Germany, last October. The driver of the vehicle had apparently stopped to wash his hands while delivering the load of corpses to a crematorium in Meissen, Germany. The bodies were found about a week later, dumped in a forest near Poznan. Police said they don’t believe the men knew what was inside the van when they took it. As a result, the judge only sentenced the men for the crime of car theft. The trio, whose names weren’t released, got two to four years in prison each and were ordered to pay a $5,148 fine.
Bids for a 31-year-old Trenton man’s guaranteed spot in heaven reached upwards of $100,000 before internet auction site eBay pulled the listing. Ari Mandel, who grew up in an Orthodox Jewish community and now identifies as atheist, said eBay removed the offering for his “portion in Olam Habaah [the Jewish afterlife]” after it received a high bid of $100,000. An eBay representative called Mandel to inform him the company does not allow the sale of intangible items. “It was nice to fantasize,” Mandel told The Jewish Forward. “But I didn’t think it was going to happen.” Mandel’s auction listing assured bidders the seller had steered clear of sin by performing good deeds, refusing to worship false gods and being “98 percent vegan.” Mandel also promised he would continue to live a good life after the auction, ensuring that his place in heaven remained open. Mandel apparently thought up the listing as a prank. “To those of you who took this seriously, chill out. It was just a joke,” he was quoted as saying.
Police in New York City believe they may have caught a serial rug snatcher. William Footman, 55, is accused of stealing six rugs from Chase Bank ATM vestibules in lower Manhattan and the Upper East Side. The New York Post reports police are now combing through security camera footage to determine if Footman is behind 32 similar, rug-based crimes. “There’s no one there to stop the criminals, and pedestrians think they’re just doing maintenance for the ATM,” a police spokesperson told the New York Observer. Investigators say the missing, industrial-quality ATM rugs are worth $400 each and that Footman has been fencing them for $30 apiece at a warehouse in the Harlem neighborhood.
Police in West Haven say they caught a woman in the act of prostitution after she called to report being harassed by her pimp. According to police reports quoted in the Hartford Courant, 35-year-old Jennifer Lowery phoned 911 on Sunday, May 26, to say that her pimp was verbally harassing her. Officers responded to a Super 8 motel room and found Lowery about to get busy with 60-year-old Richard Buford, who allegedly paid $200 to have sex with her. “I thought it would take the police a while to show up,” police quoted Lowery as saying. “So I figured I would turn a trick.” Unfortunately the timely arrival of the police put the kibosh on Lowery and Buford’s sex session. Lowery was arrested and charged with prostitution. Buford was charged with patronizing a prostitute.
A 10-year-old boy’s curiosity led to a $10,000 payday. Cody Schaefer of South Dakota had set up a meeting with his ex-wife to pick up the couple’s three children in Kansas City—the halfway point between her home and his. The family checked into the Hilton Kansas City Airport hotel on Saturday, March 25. Schaefer told the Kansas City Star, his 10-year-old son Tyler began opening drawers in the room looking for “something cool.” He found it in a stack of bills totaling $10,000. “He looks for stuff at random,” Schaefer told the newspaper. “He’s very observant.” The Schaefers turned the money over to local police. So far no one has claimed it. “I think I would know I was missing $10,000 pretty quick,” Sgt. Randy Francis, a property and evidence supervisor for the Kansas City Police, was quoted as saying. If no one claims the money in seven months, it will revert to the finder—10-year-old Tyler Schaefer.