Odds & Ends
The manufacturer of a 33-ton police anti-riot vehicle is stuck answering some tough questions after the $1.24 million machine was severely damaged by eggs and tennis balls. The WaWe 10 mobile water cannon was purchased by police in the state of Thuringia. During a public demonstration of the new crime-fighting tool, police threw tennis balls, eggs and plastic bottles at the vehicle to simulate the bricks, stones and Molotov cocktails of a real riot. Unfortunately the “harmless” missiles caused dents the size of fists in the armored glass of the vehicle. Germany’s Interior Ministry has reportedly asked the Austrian manufacturer, Rosenbauer, for an explanation. Germany had ordered 78 of the armored water cannons.
Dateline: Czech Republic
Natural scientists in Eastern Europe say the long-gone Iron Curtain is still preventing immigrants from crossing over into the West—assuming those immigrants are deer. The former Czechoslovakia border—part of the system that once separated communist Eastern Europe from democratic Western Europe—had three parallel electrified fences patrolled by heavily armed guards. Nearly 500 people were killed there while attempting to escape to the West. A seven-year study in the Czech Republic’s Sumava National Park shows that red deer populations are still averse to crossing that now-razed barrier. “It was fascinating to realize for the first time that anything like that is possible,” said Pavel Sustr, a biologist who led the Czech project. Scientists conducting research on German territory reached similar conclusions. Interestingly the average lifespan of a deer is 15 years, meaning none of the populations living in Eastern Europe today would have encountered the barricade, which was taken down some 25 years ago. “But the border still plays a role for them and separates the two populations,” Sustr said.
A Knoxville man is accused of staging his own failed kidnapping after his mother refused to pay the $200 ransom. Her reason: 25-year-old Zachary Logsdon had pulled this same scam before. According to Knoxville police, Logsdon texted his mother on April 18, saying he was being held against his will by his drug dealer and would be killed if he didn’t come up with $200. Instead of sending him the cash, she called 911. WBIR-TV reports investigators set up a meeting to drop off the money. When Logsdon showed up to collect the cash, he spotted police and ran. He was arrested and charged with filing a false report and resisting arrest. He is being held on $3,500 bond. No word if he’s asked his mom to come up with that cash.
A man charged with first-degree murder is worried that his tattoo—which spells out the word “MURDER” in giant, capital letters across his neck—might unduly influence the jury in his upcoming murder trial. Jeffrey Chapman is scheduled to go to trial this month for the November 2011 killing of Damon Galliart, whose body was found by hunters in a roadside ditch near Great Bend. Chapman’s attorney filed a pretrial motion requesting that the tattoo be removed or covered up. “The fact that he has ‘Murder’ tattooed across his neck is irrelevant to the State’s case and extremely prejudicial to Mr. Chapman if introduced at trial or observed by the jury.” Prosecutors have said they are not opposed to the idea—except that Kansas law bans tattoo artists from practicing at “a location other than a licensed facility,” meaning a tattoo artist can not come to the jail and fix the ink. According to the Great Bend Tribune, the Barton County sheriff has already said he is against springing Chapman from jail and driving him to a tattoo parlor to undergo the procedure.
Dateline: Rhode Island
Police in Providence say a man tried to rob at least two local businesses with a potato. WPRI-TV reports that a man entered a convenience story on Monday, April 21. He brandished a potato and shouted, “Give me the money!” According to a police report, the store manager chased the potato-wielding man off with a baseball bat. Officers were later called to a nearby laundromat where an employee told them a man fitting the description from earlier came in carrying a potato and yelled, “I need the money!” The employee apparently gave the man a $20 bill from a decoy cash register, and he left.
Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. Email your weird news to email@example.com.