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 V.13 No.33 | August 12 - 18, 2004 

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Poland—Police in the Baltic port city of Gdansk are searching for the thief, or more likely thieves, responsible for stealing a 400-ton bridge. A Gdansk construction company had stored and forgotten the disassembled bridge in a local warehouse. According to Poland's Gazeta Wyborcza the bridge was discovered missing during a recent inventory of the storage unit. Police believe a gang of scrap metal thieves made off with the bridge in bits and pieces over the course of several months. An insurance claim made by the construction company estimates the bridge is worth nearly two million zloty ($500,000).

Scott Rickson

Dateline: Germany—Germans are now officially allowed to stick their tongues out on passport photos. The ruling came after 30-year-old Alexander Mechthold appealed against his local passport office's decision to reject a passport photo showing him sticking his tongue out. “It's a tribute to my hero Albert Einstein,” Mechthold explained, alluding to a famous photograph of Einstein in a similarly irreverent pose. The official in Arnsberg refused to accept the picture for Mechthold's new passport, but Mechthold took the case to court. It found there was no rule in Germany which stated passport photos couldn't show people with their tongues hanging out. Mechthold was issued a new passport—with his new photo. He did, however, have to sign a statement revoking his right to sue German officials, should he ever encounter problems with border patrol officers in other countries because of his photo.

Dateline: Romania—Older and/or unattractive women please take note: Police in Romania would really rather not see you naked. Police in Constanta County, home to one of the Black Sea's best stretches of beach, are apparently seeking a ban on women over 60 going topless. “Going topless has its age limit and old women going topless should understand this,” Police chief Victor Popescu said. According to the Ananova news site, policemen patrolling the beach have admitted they are often sickened by the sight of elderly women stripping. Officer Ionut Popescu, who patrols the beach in Eforie Nord resort in Costanta said, “It's always a pleasure to see a young woman, who also has to be beautiful of course, topless on the beach. But the irony is that there are more old women going topless. I find it sometimes quite repulsive. I can understand the idea of wanting to get a uniform tan, but old women should simply give up on it.”

Dateline: West Virginia—Variety is the the spice of life, but try telling that to two thieves in Kingwood. The two 18-year-old men are accused of breaking into the Manown Mini Mart not once but twice in the same night, and then being caught standing across the street later the next morning. “When the alarm went on the second time and we came out here, we were just thinking, certainly, it's something silly, surely someone just bumped the door or something, certainly they didn't come back,” Linda Huggins, who owns the store with her husband Randy, told the Macon Telegraph. Surveillance video, however, showed the two teenagers breaking into the store before midnight last Sunday and again early Monday morning. The duo allegedly helped themselves to wine coolers, fortified wine and cigarettes. As the Hugginses were cleaning up after the second break-in, Mr. Huggins said he heard an ATV start outside. Walking to a church parking lot across the street, he recognized the men from the surveillance video. Huggins grabbed Michael Christopher Lovy and deputies caught Zachary Scott Mori, who fled on foot. “I don't know if they were coming for a third time or just couldn't get the four-wheeler started to get out of there.” Randy Huggins said. “They didn't seem like they were real swift.” Lovy and Mori were charged with two counts each of breaking and entering and conspiracy.

Dateline: Romania—Health officials in Romania, called to investigate the source of a mysterious neighborhood stench, found themselves confronted by an angry 74-year-old pensioner who refused to give up the decomposing cow he was storing in his house. Many Romanians keep animals in their homes, including cows and horses, but police in the small town of Aita Media were surprised to find a dead, half-eaten one in Gyenge Lajos' living room. Lajos refused to believe that his rotting cow was the source of the smell. The pensioner claimed he had been given the cow by a friend and had started eating it after waking up one day and finding it dead. “The animal was already in putrefaction and the old man was telling us he was still eating from it from time to time and so he wanted to keep it,” a police spokesman told the daily National. “He was real angry when it was taken away.”

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

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