Odds & Ends
The FBI is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the capture of the “Spelling Bee Bandit.” The suspect, believed to have been involved in four bank robberies in the Greater Boston area, is so named because of his inability to spell the world “robbery.” Investigators think the suspect, a 6’2” male in his late 30s or early 40s, robbed four different banks in Massachusetts over a two-week period. The last robbery occurred at a TD bank in Peabody on Nov. 13. In every case the suspect was wearing sunglasses and handed a demand note to the teller with the word “robery” [sic] written on it.
A Chicago politician who criticized the city’s squirrel population ended up in the hospital following an encounter with a kamikaze squirrel. In October Howard Brookins Jr., an alderman from the city’s 21st ward, went on a public tirade about “aggressive squirrels.” Brookins told a City Council budget meeting that, “We are spending too much money on replacing garbage carts because the squirrels continue to eat through ’em.” Several of the City Council members reportedly giggled at the alderman’s rodent-based rant, and when the executive director of the City Commission on Animal Care asked what the city should do about these violent squirrels, Brookins was at a loss. “Well, the squirrels—uh—may I get back to you on that, alderman? We’d be happy to ... talk about strategies to assist residents with wildlife. [But] I’m not sure at this time what CACC might be able to do with aggressive squirrels,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported him as saying at the time. Less than a month later on Nov. 13, the squirrels struck back. Brookins was riding his bicycle through the city when a squirrel leapt onto the path in front of him, wrapping its body around the spokes of the alderman’s bike and causing it to crash. Brookins ended up in the hospital with a fractured skull, broken nose and several missing teeth. “I can think of no other reason for this squirrel’s actions than that it was like a suicide bomber, getting revenge,” he told The Chicago Tribune. Most local papers chalked the incident up to a “freak accident.” Brookins posted about the incident on social media, saying he would be unable to attend events in the near future as he was still recovering from his serious injuries.
A hawk that swooped down on a home in Peoria, Ariz. and killed the family’s pet parakeet was immediately captured—having trapped itself in the pet’s cage. Homeowner Becky Griefer told azfamily.com she usually keeps her son’s pet parakeets—named PD and Snowy—inside but decided to leave their cage on a backyard patio table because the weather was nice. Griefer was alerted to a loud banging noise in the backyard and rushed outside to find a full-sized hawk had flown into the cage through the bars. “I’m telling you, how can a bird like that squeeze in there without popping the door open is utterly amazing. The bird was flapping around upside down with its foot stuck probably wondering what he got himself into,” Griefer said. The homeowner saw PD’s body at the bottom of the cage, but was able to pull Snowy to safety. “She got a little beat up,” said Griefer. The mother set the hawk free, but the predator returned nearly 15 minutes later, “obviously looking for his easy meal.” Griefer’s 9-year-old son was reportedly taking his pet’s death hard, but Snowy—who the family says has outlived three mates now—is described as having “a pretty strong personality.” A memorial service for PD was held on Nov. 21.
A Pennsylvania truck driver was arrested after allegedly dumping nearly 1,000 bushels of corn on a Nebraska road after he was fired via text message. Authorities say 36-year-old Darren C. Walp was arrested earlier this month in connection with the Aug. 4 incident on Highway 8 in rural Gage County. According to WMTV-3 Walp was driving a load of corn from Reynolds, Neb., to Hanover, Kan., when he received a text from B & T Livingston Trucking LLC telling him he was fired. “Pack your stuff ASAP and you can leave,” the police report quoted the text as saying. Walp allegedly responded by pulling over and dumping his entire truckload of corn alongside the highway. The lost corn was valued at $3,094. Local authorities estimated the cleanup cost about $500. Walp was charged with felony criminal mischief and depositing materials on a roadway or ditch.