Alibi V.13 No.30 • July 22-28, 2004 

Odds & Ends

Odds and Ends

Dateline: England—In what sounds like a textbook example of “adding insult to injury,” a 28-year-old man, who shot himself in the groin after drinking 15 pints of beer and stuffing a sawed-off shotgun down his pants, was sentenced to five years in jail recently. David Walker underwent emergency surgery after the March 26 incident in Dinnington. Prosecuting lawyer Andrew Hatton told the court that Walker had gone home to get the shotgun after arguing in the pub with lifelong friend Stuart Simpson about whose turn it was to buy a beer. Walker retrieved the illegal shotgun and returned to the pub, only to find it closed. At that point, Walker apparently discharged the weapon on accident. “He had it shoved down his trousers,” Hatton said. “After the shotgun had discharged, he placed it in a rubbish bin and crawled home.” Walker told officers he was so drunk he had no idea how he managed to shoot himself or why he had gone home for the gun. Walker was sentenced to a mandatory five years thanks to recent legislation regarding banned weapons. Tests are continuing to determine if Walker would be left infertile.

Dateline: New Zealand—An attempt to break the world record for fire walking may have been successful, but it did lead to 28 people being injured, 11 of which were taken to the hospital. A total of 341 people who fulfilled criteria set by the Guinness Book of World Records, plus an estimated 150 others, crossed a 3.5-meter-long pit of burning coals in Dunedin. Ironically, the event was meant to be a fundraiser for the Dunedin Hospital. The event, run by the New Zealand International Science Festival to raise money for defibrillators, raised about $1,000. Unfortunately, the hospital spent more than $1,000 on extra saline and special burn dressing treating the injured fire walkers.

Scott Rickson

Dateline: Michigan—According to Michigan State University's State News, a would-be cat burglar successfully broke into a local art gallery by removing a skylight and lowering himself down on a rope. Unfortunately, the man was unable to climb back up the rope and ended up calling police for assistance. According to the newspaper, the man was picked up by the security system at Saper Galleries in East Lansing the moment he started lowering himself down the rope. The gallery's cameras then recorded him trying unsuccessfully to climb out again, realizing he was locked in and finally using the gallery's own phone to call the police. Gallery owner Roy Saper said, “There are professional thieves, but this guy was not only not a professional, he wasn't even an apprentice—he was a total loser.”

Dateline: Wisconsin—In other dumb criminal news, an 18-year-old Green Bay man was arrested for making a habit of robbing his local gas station. The teen was apprehended as he tried to rob the East Mason Shell station for the third time in a week. The first robbery occurred Tuesday night, the next one on Friday night. Both were perpetrated by a young man on a bicycle. After those two robberies, Officer Dave Steffans staked out the station area. Sure enough, on Saturday night, Christopher R. Harris, who matched the description of the robber in the previous two cases, rode his bicycle to the gas station. He was taken into custody without incident. Harris is now charged with three counts of armed robbery.

Dateline: Ohio--A Cincinnati man, facing incarceration for selling drugs, tried to tell the judge he's suffered enough thanks to his state's cicada infestation. According to the Cincinnati Post, Joe Armstrong had been convicted of selling $20 worth of cocaine and was facing sentencing before Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Steve Martin on June 30. Before deciding whether to give Armstrong the maximum of one year in prison, Judge Martin asked him if there was anything he wanted to say. Armstrong asked for probation instead of jail time, because this spring's invasion of Brood X cicadas had been enough punishment. “What do the cicadas have to do with it?” asked Martin. “They caused my wife, she was terrified, so she rode me as long as they was here,” Armstrong replied. “I suffered so much mental anguish, it's just by the grace of God that I still have my sanity at this point.” Despite Armstrong's plea, Martin decided that probation would not be appropriate, noting that the convicted drug dealer had been placed on probation 10 times since 1985, had not completed any of the terms of probation and was a wanted felon in Alabama on a 1996 violation. Armstrong was sentenced to six months in the Hamilton County Justice Center.

Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. E-mail your weird news to