Alibi V.26 No.51 • Dec 21-27, 2017 

Odds & Ends

Odds and Ends

Dateline: India

A woman was arrested after allegedly killing her husband and trying to replace him with an imposter. Police in the Indian state of Telangana say that Swati Reddy has confessed to killing her husband, Sudhakar Reddy, late November with the help of her lover, Rajesh Ajjakolu. According to reports, just days after the murder, acid was poured on Ajjakolu's face, and he was admitted to a hospital under Mr. Reddy's name. Their plot was reportedly to have Ajjakolu pose as the dead husband and pass off the change in his appearance as the result of plastic surgery. To that end, Mrs. Reddy told her husband's parents that he had been attacked and would need facial reconstructive surgery. The parents believed the attack story and agreed to pay for the procedure. The plot was discovered over a week later, when Mr. Reddy's brother visited Ajjakolu in the hospital and became suspicious of the man. The brother alerted police, who arrested Mrs. Reddy after she admitted to the crime. Police say they plan to arrest Ajjakolu once he has been treated for his facial burns and is released from the hospital. Mr. Reddy's parents believed that the man undergoing treatment was their son and they paid up to 500,000 rupees (£5,821; $7,758) in hospital bills.

Dateline: England

A doctor pled guilty to signing the livers of two patients during surgery with his initials. In a hearing at Birmingham crown court last week, Simon Bramhall—a renowned liver, spleen and pancreas surgeon—pled guilty to two counts of assault by beating. According to complaints filed against Bramhall, the doctor used an argon beam—a tool used to stop livers bleeding during operations—to sign his initials into the patients’ organs. Although marks left by argon supposedly caused no damage to either of the patients, prosecutor Tony Badenoch said the surgeon's actions constituted an “intentional application of unlawful force to a patient whilst anaesthetised.” Officials say Bramhall defaced patients' organs on two known occasions: in February and August of 2013. In that year, he was suspended from his post after a colleague spotted the initials “SB” drawn onto a patient's liver during a follow-up surgery. Bramhall tendered his resignation the following summer during an internal investigation into his conduct. The case is reportedly unprecedented. Bramhall previously received media attention in 2010 when he used a liver salvaged from a plane crash to perform transplant surgery.

Dateline: New York

A man was arrested for posing as a police officer allegedly to receive discounts on coffee. Police say Mark Stetter, of Buffalo, N.Y., showed a fake badge and gun to employees at a Starbucks before claiming to be a detective and asking for a discount. According to reports, Stetter then went to a Spot Coffee and displayed his badge in an attempt to gain access to the closed business. Once officers caught up with the man later in the evening and arrested him, they allegedly discovered a BB gun inside of a holster attached to his belt. Stetter was charged with criminal trespassing, criminal impersonation of a police officer and menacing.

Dateline: California

An animal shelter is being criticized for siccing robots on homeless people. The San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) reportedly began using a security robot to patrol the parking lot and sidewalks around its campus. The robot, developed by Knightscope, is over 5 feet tall, weighs nearly 400 pounds and has a top speed of 3 miles an hour. They are equipped with 4 cameras capable of reading up to 300 license plates per minute and are programmed to send alerts when trespassers or anyone on a “blacklist” are in an area. According to the San Francisco Business Times, S.F. SPCA president Jennifer Scarlett said the robot, dubbed “K9” by its owners, was deployed due to concerns over the alleged rise in discarded needles, bicycles and tents on the sidewalks surrounding the facility. The robots are said to be cheaper than human labor, since it only costs $6 an hour to rent them, while the minimum wage in the city is $14 an hour. Scarlett told reporters that there had been less car break-ins and less homeless encampments since the robot began patrolling. Earlier this month, the San Francisco Department of Public Works ordered the SPCA to keep its robot off public sidewalks. The organization was threatened with the possibility of facing penalties of up to $1,000 per day for “operating in the public right-of-way without a permit.”

Dateline: California

A man posing as television evangelist Joel Osteen was admitted to Joel Osteen's live “night of hope” worship event for free after being mistaken for the pastor. For almost an hour, Los Angeles comedian and impersonator Mike Klimkowski pretended to be the famous Houston pastor while walking around the venue and taking photos with fans. He was able to park and gain access to the event for free, and managed to trick dozens of people before security became alerted and escorted him out.

Compiled by Joshua Lee. Email your weird news to josh@alibi.com.