Alibi V.16 No.36 • Sept 6-12, 2007 

Odds & Ends

Eric J. Garcia

Dateline: England—It seems a 3-year-old Essex boy needs some remedial potty training lessons. Firefighters in the southeastern English town of Laindon were called in after the confused tyke got his head stuck in his toilet training seat. Firefighters used a hacksaw to remove the plastic toilet seat. “We were glad to be of service,” an Essex Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson told BBC News. “Youngsters do this sort of thing from time to time.” The mother was reportedly very worried, but the child was unhurt by the incident.

Dateline: Missouri—Three men, apparently desperate for beer, showed up at Fish’s Quick Stop in De Soto with a bizarre plan in mind. In the early hours of Aug. 18, store clerk Vicky Gaines says a naked masked man walked in and started performing a hula dance. Police say the plan was for the naked dancer to create a distraction while another man stole a case of beer from the back of the store. The plan didn’t work out quite as well as the men expected. Gaines immediately called police. As the naked man and his accomplice joined a third fellow waiting outside in a getaway car, a customer got their license plate number. All three were caught a few days later by police. The men, aged 19 to 23, now face charges of shoplifting and indecent exposure.

Dateline: Wisconsin—Two Dorchester men were arrested for drunken driving at the same time in the same vehicle. Harvey J. Miller, 43, who has no legs, was steering the 1985 Chevrolet truck while his pal Edwin H. Marzinske, 55, operated the brake and gas pedals, according to a report from the Colby/Abbotsford police. Miller, who was sitting in the driver’s seat, admitted he’d had too much to drink but argued he wasn’t really operating the truck since he had no legs to push the pedals, the report detailed. He received a citation for his third drunken driving offense. Marzinske was cited for his second drunken driving offense. Both men had revoked driver’s licenses.

Dateline: Washington—It’s a “bong” threat, not a “bomb” threat. The FBI has confirmed a suspicious package that caused an hour delay on one of the largest ferries in the Washington state fleet was actually a water-pipe typically used for smoking marijuana. “Someone found a bong,” David Gomez, FBI assistant special agent in charge, told reporters. The device in question was found in a men’s restroom of the 460-foot ferry Puyallup at the height of last Wednesday’s morning commute. The ferry had to be emptied of passengers and cars after arriving at Colman Dock from Bainbridge Island about 8 a.m. State Patrol Sgt. Craig H. Johnson categorized the device as a “nonhazardous, nonexplosive item,” adding investigators carried it off the ferry for “further examination.” No arrests were made and no perpetrators were identified, although “we’d like to find the person who left it there,” Johnson admitted.

Dateline: Ohio—Hilliard Davidson High School senior Kyle Garchar is serving three days of in-school suspension and is banned from participating in any school activities for a semester after pranking fans of crosstown rival Hilliard Darby High School at a football game. Following instructions given by Garchar, hundreds of Darby High students in the bleachers held up squares of construction paper they thought would spell out the words “Go Darby.” Instead, fans across the field in the Davidson bleachers could read the actual message: “We suck.” “That was the ultimate in-your-face,” Jordan Moore, a Davidson junior, told the Columbus Dispatch. “I think it was ingenious.” Davidson Principal John Bandow wasn’t quite as amused. He called Garchar into his office on Monday morning and handed out the punishment. Garchar, who spent some 20 hours dreaming up the scheme with the help of a couple friends, didn’t seem too concerned with his punishment. The 17-year-old is graduating a semester early and moving to California to attend engineering school.

Dateline: New York—An armed robber demanded exactly $4 and not a penny more from a teenager in the Westchester County town of Greenburgh last weekend. The bizarre robbery began at about 5:15 p.m., when the 18-year-old victim left a store in a Tarrytown Road strip mall carrying a plastic rose for his mother. James Mitchell, 48, allegedly accosted the man and demanded the flower. The teenager told him he could get one at the store. In response, the man pulled a knife, said he needed the rose immediately and also demanded money, police said. When the teenager showed him a $10 bill, Mitchell told him he only needed $4. The robber took his victim to a nearby pizza parlor and ordered him to get change for the $10 bill. He then took $4 and told the victim to keep the rest. Police Capt. Joseph DeCarlo told the Journal News that Mitchell matched the description given by the victim and was arrested a few blocks away. Police recovered the knife. DeCarlo has a lengthy arrest record and has served four stints in state prison for burglary, assault and theft convictions.

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