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 V.13 No.10 | March 4 - 10, 2004 

Odds & Ends

Scott Rickson

Dateline: New York—Last Tuesday afternoon, Tabitha Bracken, 27, of Toronto arrived at the Delta Airlines ticket counter at the Buffalo airport looking for a package from Accel Graphics. She was mistakenly given two packages shipped from Cryolife, an Atlanta medical agency. One of the packages contained a pulmonary valve being shipped to a young person in a Hamilton, Ontario, hospital. The other contained a vein intended for a coronary bypass surgery at a Buffalo hospital. When the mistake was discovered a short time later, investigators hit a dead end trying to locate the woman who had been given the items. It was soon determined that she had presented fake identification at the airport. The correct packages from Accel Graphics were located and opened and discovered to contain 119 pounds of marijuana wrapped in plastic and newspapers and smeared with mustard. When Delta received several telephone calls from a man interested in picking up the Accel packages, DEA agents staked out the airport. Shortly before midnight, Dalvan Robinson, 43, arrived pushing the two transplant boxes on a luggage cart. Both Robinson and Bracken were arrested and charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana. The wayward body parts were quickly turned over to the awaiting hospitals for transplant.

Scott Rickson

Dateline: New York—A 64-year-old priest, arrested after allegedly harassing a Brooklyn bishop, has confessed to stealing $50,000 in cash from the St. Martin of Tours church on Long Island where he served for the last 25 years. According to the New York Post, detectives discovered the money, along with another $38,000 in cash, in John Johnston's apartment in Queens. The search also turned up a large assortment of World War II Nazi memorabilia, a collection of gay porn and an illegal handgun. As part of a deal with prosecutors, Johnston is expected to plead guilty to criminal possession of stolen property and will be sentenced to five years' probation.

Dateline: California—The lunatics have taken over the asylum: part one. Pasadena police are searching for a man dressed in black clothing and wearing a ski mask who has been knocking on area doors and brandishing a Barbie Doll. Around 9 a.m. last Sunday, the man knocked on a woman's door in the 6700 block of Tamar. He didn't say anything, but continued knocking and waving the Barbie Doll. Eventually, he left. A neighbor told investigating officers that a man wearing a black mask waved a Barbie Doll in front of her peephole early Friday. He fled over a backyard fence when she answered the door.

Dateline: New Jersey—The lunatics have taken over the asylum: part two. A 53-year-old man who recently finished a jail term for molesting a young girl was arrested after visiting three daycare centers in Morris and Sussex counties, dressed in a diaper. According to the Star-Ledger, William Rhode dropped in on a daycare center in Hardyston late Thursday morning. He moved on to the Learning Christian Childcare Center around 1 p.m. and stopped off at the Holy Spirit School in Pequannock sometime before 3 p.m. Rhode, who was dressed in a pair of pink tights and a diaper, told workers at each location that he was looking for a job. Witnesses say that Rhode also took the opportunity to defecate and urinate in his diaper in front of children and staff in Pequannock. Rhode was arrested a short time later and has been charged with endangering the welfare of children. According to Passaic County Prosecutor Joseph DelRusso, Rhode's previous run-ins with the law have prompted psychological reviews. He has never been committed to a psychiatric facility because he was not found to be a danger to himself or others, DelRusso said.

Dateline: Nebraska—The lunatics have taken over the asylum: part three. José Sandoval, 24, offered a novel defense in the murder trial of his half-brother, Gabriel Rodriguez. Rodriguez, 27, faces five counts of first-degree murder following a bank robbery that left three people dead. Sandoval has already been convicted in the September 2002 killings. Rodriguez is considered equally culpable in the murders by prosecutors, even though he did not fire the shots. During a two-hour deposition last Monday, Sandoval said that he jumped on the counter at the U.S. Bank in Norfolk and started shooting because a Smurf was insulting him. “Is it really your testimony that a blue Smurf was in the bank,” Madison County Attorney Joe Smith asked Sandoval. “That's what I said,” responded Sandoval. Smith tried to clarify the baffling statement, asking, “Did you jump on the counter because you wanted to make sure everybody was dead?” “No,” replied Sandoval. “I jumped on the counter because the Smurf was talking shit.” Later in his testimony, Sandoval admitted that he had taken two hits of LSD before the robbery.

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

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