Rescue workers raced to the scene after a passenger on a train in Dusseldorf spotted the “lifeless body” of a “bearded man in a blue hat and red trousers” lying next to the railroad tracks. The passenger reported the sighting to authorities, and a helicopter crew was dispatched to the location. Beside the tracks they found the victim, exactly as described—only he turned out to be a deflated Papa Smurf balloon. According to a press release from the District Police Rhein-Kreis Neuss, Papa Smurf had lost some of his helium but was otherwise fine. The release went on to say Papa Smurf was taken to the nearest police station, but all attempts to reach his relatives failed. Despite the overinflated nature of the story, police in Dusseldorf were happy the incident got reported. “Joking aside, each of the officers involved in the operation was ultimately glad that their initially dire fears proved to be wrong,” a police spokesperson told the TheLocal.de. “But the witness’ concern was entirely justified and could potentially save lives under different circumstances.”
A 25-year-old man who did not want to pay child support was called “thoroughly dishonest and highly manipulative” in court after he sent a look-alike to take his DNA paternity test. According to the Express newspaper, Thomas Kenny already had one child with his long-term partner, and she was pregnant with his second when he began an affair with another woman. It was revealed in Birmingham Crown Court that, after his new girlfriend became pregnant, Kenny pressured her to have an abortion. When she refused, he denied paternity and tried to dodge a DNA test ordered by the Child Support Agency by sending a coworker who looked like him. Kenny’s switcheroo was detected after he was arrested in June 2014 and underwent another DNA test. Kenny’s attorney, Heidi Kubic, attempted to defend her client, saying he was “under enormous pressure and stress.” But the judge was hearing none of that. “You were prepared to disown a child of your own for financial gain. Morally, you cannot sink lower than that,” Judge Philip Parker said in his ruling earlier this month. Kenny, who had previously admitted conspiracy to defraud, was sentenced to six months suspended for 12 months and ordered to pay £885 ($1,393) compensation and £500 ($787) in court costs.
A Pittsburgh man is facing nine felony counts after robbing a bank with a sex toy. Aaron Stein, 35, was arrested after a PNC Bank in the Pittsburgh suburb of Crafton was robbed of an undisclosed amount of money on June 15. Crafton Police Chief Mark Sumpter told NBC outlet WPXI that Stein “stated he had a bomb, showed the teller wires hanging out from his shirt and demanded cash.” The robber drove off in a white Toyota, which was pulled over on a ramp to northbound Interstate 79 shortly after leaving the bank. Robinson Township officers found money in a garbage bag and the “makeshift” device Stein is believed to have used in the bank robbery, consisting of “a box, black tape, vibrator and cellphone.” The bomb squad checked out the device and detonated it as a precaution. Stein is facing a number of felony counts including aggravated assault, robbery, threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction and the odd charge of “possessing a facsimile weapon of mass destruction”—namely, the vibrator in a box.
A former auxiliary firefighter is facing criminal charges after allegedly calling 911 to report a fake fire so he could earn a paycheck. Dean Evans of South Amherst has been charged with inducing panic and making false alarms after he admitted to Lorain County sheriff’s deputies that he called in the false alarm in hopes that he would be called to respond and earn a $500 paycheck. Unfortunately for 27-year-old Evans, South Amherst wasn’t one of the two departments dispatched to the area to check on the reported April 14 fire call. After finding nothing, Oberlin and Wellington firefighters who responded to the false alarm asked for an investigation. The 911 call was eventually traced back to Evans, who, according to a deputy’s report, “advised that his family is falling on hard times financially, and his auxiliary status at the South Amherst Fire Department has been pretty slow.” According to the Chronicle-Telegram, Evans is accused of faking several other 911 calls, including another suspicious fire and a “burglary in progress.” He pled not guilty to the charges in Oberlin Municipal Court in June.