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 V.13 No.19 | May 6 - 12, 2004 

Odds & Ends

Dateline: ChinaPolice in China's southwestern Sichuan province have arrested a 51-year-old man on suspicion of stealing some 30 corpses from local graveyards, cooking soup with their flesh and crushing their bones in an attempt to heal his sick wife. The West China Daily reported that corpses have been disappearing in the area since 1988. According to preliminary investigations, the man, known as Huang, dug up the bodies after a fortune teller told him fresh body parts were the only remedy for his wife's unidentified illness. The 16-year corpse-stealing epidemic had caused wild rumors to circulate, and grieving relatives had kept a vigil at their loved ones' graves for up to six months at a time in an effort to protect their bodies.

Dateline: EnglandVeterinarians in Manchester discovered the source of a German Shepherd's lack of appetite when they cut her open and found no less than 28 golf balls in her stomach. Eighteen-month-old Libby was taken in by her owner Mike Wardrop after she began coughing up blood. Wardrop, a bar manager at the Didsbury Golf Club, frequently took his dog for walks on the golf course. “When I take her for a walk every day she is prone to finding golf balls,” Wardrop told Reuters News Service. “She can fit five in her mouth.” Wardrop had no idea she was eating the balls as well. Since the operation, the relieved owner has bought his dog two footballs. “She can't swallow them,” he said.

Scott Rickson

Dateline: PhillipinesA lawyer tried a rather novel defense for his client in a recent drug case. Manuel Urbina argued in court that since the 67kg of cocaine and the loaded gun were found hidden in a rooster's cage, they actually belonged to the bird and not to his client, Francisco Armando Rivera. “The drugs were in the possession of a rooster and two hens and the law is very clear that whoever is in possession of the drugs is the one who should be accused,” said Urbina. Attorney General Julio Centeno called the defense case “an absurd joke.”

Dateline: OregonThe city of Portland has agreed to shell out $145,000 to an elderly blind woman who was beaten, pepper-sprayed and shocked with a stun gun by local police. Last year, city workers showed up at the home of 71-year-old Eunice Crowder with an administrative search warrant to remove an accumulation of trash and debris on Ms. Crowder's lawn. According to Crowder and her lawyer, the woman told a city employee that she was blind and hard of hearing and asked him to read the entire warrant to her. The employee apparently refused and placed it in her hands. Workers were then ordered to begin removing items from the yard. Crowder grew concerned that the city employees would remove a family heirloom, a 90-year-old red toy wagon with rhododendrons in it. She asked to enter a trailer where items from her yard were being placed to feel around. Police officers Robert Miller and Eric Zajac arrived just as Crowder was stepping into the trailer. Moments later, the elderly women felt someone strike her in the head, which caused her prosthetic eye to pop from her right socket. Officers acknowledged that Crowder was “pushed into the dirt next to the sidewalk” and that her glass eye did become dislodged “at some point.” While on the ground, the blind woman was doused in pepper spray and shot three times with a Taser. Crowder's 94-year-old mother tried to assist her, but was pushed up against a nearby fence by officers. Although the police department did cite Crowder for harassment and disobeying an order, all charges were dropped. “To kick the crap out of old folks seems a little bit much to me in the name of law enforcement,” said Crowder's lawyer, Ernie Warren Jr.

Scott Rickson

Dateline: CaliforniaApparently unclear on the concept of a getaway, bank robber Ronald Langsdale, 58, robbed the Bank of America in Huntington Beach, then walked across the parking lot to Mario's restaurant and ordered a beer. Several minutes later, police entered the restaurant and found Langsdale sitting at the bar, counting “a wad of money.” All of the stolen cashminus the cost of a beerwas recovered. Langsdale is currently being held without bond.

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

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