Odds & Ends
Dateline: New Zealand
Car thieves in the Wellington suburb of Roseneath no doubt got a smelly surprise when they broke into a sport utility vehicle and made off with 16 small vials of an experimental oil extracted from the anal glands of stoats. The pungent stoat oil was the property of natural pest control company Goodnature, which has been researching high-powered attractants for its self-resetting traps. “We know a range of lures will be part of removing stoats from the whole of New Zealand,” company director Robbie van Dam told the New Zealand Herald. “Scent glands are just one of the experiments our sophisticated R&D team is working on.” Since the box containing the stoat scent vials was marked “chemicals,” van Dam speculated the burglars thought they were stealing materials for drug-making. Instead, he warns, they ended up with a dangerously concentrated stench. “We popped a gland in our lab a couple of years ago during research,” van Dam told the Herald. “We had fans running and windows open in the middle of a Wellington winter, and it still took weeks to go. Some staff chose to work from home for a couple of days.” The ass oil is so potent, in fact, that it was in the process of being transported off-site for storage when it went missing.
A British rail worker is in financial trouble after being sent a tax bill for $14 trillion pounds. That amounts to about 18 trillion dollars and is more than the net worth of the entire UK economy. Giles Hembrough of Bristol got a letter from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs telling him this year’s estimated tax bill was £14,301,369,864,489.03. The letter was just to announce a change in the tax code and the 14-figure sum was just an estimate on income. “We will let you know if this amount is right when we look at your tax return for the year.” Hembrough is hoping the amount is not right, as it would take him 369 million years to pay it off at his current tax rate. “I gave HMRC a ring and said to the woman that I thought my tax code was wrong,” Hembrough told the UK’s Metro newspaper. “When she opened my film she said, ‘Oh, that is a big amount. It look like someone has fallen asleep on the keyboard.’” Hembrough expects the tax estimate to be fixed, but said, “I will be checking my pay check closely though next month.” A spokesperson for HMRC said, “When we let a customer down, we always apologize and put matters right.”
Pot in a Porta-Potty: Crime or clever visual joke? On Wednesday, Aug. 10, police in the southern Oregon community of Rogue River posted a photo on Facebook featuring a blue portable lavatory packed nearly to the ceiling with leafy, green marijuana plants. According to the Rogue River PD, “a man walking his dog through Anna Classick Park this morning just before 9am, stopped to use the Porta-Potty next to the tennis courts ... and found this.” Rogue River Police Chief Ken Lewis told the Mail Tribune, “It’s the biggest seizure ever in our department.” The department did not say how much the plants weighed, but Lewis did say the stalks were as wide as four inches and loaded with marijuana buds. “The biggest stalks were in the hole in the Porta-Potty,” he added. “Maybe they were trying to fertilize it. I don’t know.” Police have yet to determine what the plants were doing there. As for the toilet weed: “It’s too much to put in our evidence room, and it’s really stinking up the place,” Lewis said. “But that’s tomorrow’s problem.”
What looked like an attempted burglary in Denver’s Washington Park neighborhood ended with the remorseful thief leaving an apology and some cash. Unfortunately the homeowner will get none of it. Last year Dave Keating got a call from a neighbor saying someone had thrown a propane tank through his back door. “Nothing was really stolen from the house, I think the alarm kind of scared them off,” Keating told reporters at KUSA 9News. A day later the homeowner found an envelope stuffed with three $100 bills and a letter from the burglar. “I’m so sorry,” read the letter. “Was driving near your home when I felt a heart attack coming on. Didn’t have any medication and thought if I could find some aspirin quickly, I would survive. The alarm freaked me out and I left but thankfully made it back to my car and was able to get care. Again I am so sorry (and embarrassed). Please find $300 enclosed for the damage and I hope you will forgive me.” Police were able to lift a fingerprint off the money, but have not been able to match it to any criminal databases. Unfortunately, the money is considered evidence in the case and cannot be returned to Keating. According to city policy, the evidence will eventually be folded into the city’s funds once the case is closed.
Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. Email your weird news to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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