Alibi V.26 No.17 • April 27-May 3, 2017 

Odds & Ends

Odds and Ends

Dateline: England

A military collector got the deal of a lifetime on eBay, purchasing a used tank for £30,000 ($38,427) and finding £2 million (more than $2,500,000) worth of gold hidden in the fuel tank. According to the Sun newspaper, Nick Mead of Helmdon, Northhamptonshire, owns a collection of 150 military vehicles. He traded a tank and a self-propelled gun worth £30,000 for a Chinese-built medium, Type-69 tank. Starting in the 1980s, China sold a number of the tanks to Iraq. They later saw service in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Mead—who owns Tanks a Lot Ltd,. a company that rents military vehicles for weddings, funerals, films and parties—began restoring the trade-in tank with the help of his mechanic friend Todd Chamberlain. While stripping down the vehicle, the two men found several stashes of machine gun ammunition. Fearing that the fuel compartment might have guns in it, they filmed themselves opening the diesel tank, in case they needed to show it to bomb disposal experts. Instead of guns, however, they found five solid gold bullion bars weighing 12 pounds each. It is believed that the gold was stolen by Iraqi soldiers and hidden during the invasion of Kuwait. Local police have taken custody of the gold while they decide what to do with it. Mead didn’t seem too worried about getting his windfall confiscated, telling the Sun, “Even if I don’t get any of the gold back, I will still have my beautiful tank.”

Dateline: Virginia

According to Chesterfield Police, a group of teenagers is facing a slew of criminal charges including grand larceny, assaulting a police officer and firearms violations after attempting to break into an unmarked police vehicle with a police officer inside. “Crazy. Kind of stupid on their part,” Torie Shirley, who lives in the neighborhood where the crime took place, told WWBT-12 in Richmond. Chesterfield Police say the group of teens was allegedly going through parked cars on Herald Green Drive and Dunroming Road around 1am on Friday, April 14. Cash, a gun and other items were taken from the vehicles. The officer who encountered the teens trying to break into his car called for backup, and the suspects ran from the scene. They were apprehended after a short foot chase. Alberto Moore, 18, was charged with grand larceny, conspiracy to commit grand larceny, tampering with an auto and fleeing from law enforcement. Jonathan Starks, also 18, is facing similar charges, in addition to assault on law enforcement after striking one of the arresting officers. Three 17-year-old males are charged with grand larceny, conspiracy to commit grand larceny, tampering with an auto, fleeing from law enforcement and breaking curfew. One of the unnamed juveniles has been charged with possession of a firearm by a minor, while another was charged with wearing a mask in public.

Dateline: Texas

An Austin police officer tasked with operating a Breathalyzer at the Travis County Jail has been fired after a self-administered breath test proved he showed up to work drunk. According to police accounts, Officer Michael Cuellar arrived at the Austin Police Department’s East Substation for a shift at 5:34am on Oct. 25 of last year. He then took a patrol vehicle to Travis Country Central Booking where he gave himself the Breathalyzer test, which is required to maintain his certification in its use. The results showed that his blood-alcohol content was at 0.064 to 0.065. Cuellar then drove the patrol vehicle back to the substation and presented the results of the test to Sgt. Steve Urias, who told him to stay out of service until he was sober. According to the Austin Statesman, Cuellar was fired this week and the supervising officer was given a 60-day suspension after a scientific director for the Texas Department of Public Safety concluded that—based on the timing of the test—Cuellar drove to work with a blood-alcohol level that would have been between 0.084 and 0.124. Interim Police Chief Brian Manley said that while criminal charges will not be pursued, police officials conducted an internal investigation and concluded that Cuellar violated Austin police’s DWI policy. Department paperwork shows Cuellar told authorities he’d consumed three glasses of vodka and two glasses of wine the night before reporting to work.

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