Odds & Ends

Devin D. O'Leary
5 min read
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Dateline: Wisconsin– A 20-year-old man has been charged with armed robbery in a hold up that took place in his parents’ Campbellsport tavern last Thursday night. A bartender told investigators that she was closing up CC Cody’s Tavern late Thursday when a man in a gray hooded sweatshirt and ski mask entered and pointed a gun at her. The man told her to get down and then shoved her to the floor. The bartender said when she turned, the cash drawer and her purse were gone. The bartender easily identified the robber, however. She told police she recognized his voice as belonging to Chad Rinas, who had just finished his shift working at the bar, which his parents own. Law enforcement officers arrested Rinas several hours later at a Campbellsport mobile home park. Rinas was charged with armed robbery with use of force, obstructing an officer and two counts of misdemeanor bail jumping.

Dateline: Delaware– A federal judge has thrown out a case involving a grandmother, a fruitcake and the U.S. Post Office. The case began on Dec. 12, 2002, when 88-year-old Lucille Greene showed up at the Magnolia post office with a box of fruitcake. Every year, Greene bakes up to 30 fruitcakes and sends them to friends and relatives. But, in 2002, Greene claimed she ran into a postal clerk completely devoid of holiday cheer. “He shook my fruitcakes and asked, ‘What kind of explosives do you have in here?’” Greene told The News Journal . Others in line at the post office laughed at the joke, but Greene says she was so traumatized that she ran from the building in tears. Outside in the parking lot, she tripped over a concrete parking barrier, seriously injuring her knee and breaking her glasses as well as a tooth. She subsequently filed a lawsuit seeking $250,000 in damages for intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress–charging that the postal clerk’s rude interrogation led directly to her injuries. “I am sorry that the plaintiff injured herself, but I don’t believe it is appropriate to spend taxpayer money, let alone $250,000, to pay for an accident the government didn’t cause,” Chief District Judge Sue L. Robinson said in her ruling.

Dateline: New York– A former teacher accused of possessing child pornography and running a website devoted to the topic of torturing and cannibalizing children was actually a devoted teacher who wouldn’t harm anyone, at least according to parents at the Long Island school where Michael Kelly Reiner worked. Reiner, 46, pleaded not guilty earlier this month to federal child pornography charges in connection with images investigators say they found on his computers. Reiner, who worked at the Long Island School for the Gifted in Huntington Station for the last 18 years, was fired last week after his arrest. Despite the fact that Reiner admitted to Canadian authorities that he has a fetish for “young boys, slavery and cannibalism,” several parents testified on his behalf in front of a federal judge last week. “The man they’re calling a cannibal is a vegetarian,” said Nina Schaffer, who says her seventh-grade son bonded with Reiner. Federal Prosecutor Allen Bode argued that Reiner was a flight risk and should remain in custody until his trial. According to New York Newsday , federal investigators found 569 still images of child pornography, 68 videos and 2,000 stories relating to sexually abusing, torturing and eating young children on three computers belonging to the former educator. Investigators also located lists of real children, complete with names, addresses, dates of birth and weights. Reiner was arrested in August after Canadian custom officials searched his laptop at a border crossing.

Dateline: Michigan– Correcting an unfortunate typographical error on Ottawa County’s Nov. 7 election ballot is going to end up costing the county $40,000. The error–a missing “L” in the word “public”–was identified on Oct. 3, Ottawa County Clerk Daniel Krueger told the Grand Haven Tribune . The error cropped up in the text of Proposal 06-02 regarding a proposed state constitutional amendment to ban affirmative action programs. The typo was not noticed until all 180,000 ballots were already printed. “My first thought was, ‘Oh, crap,’” Krueger told reporters. The $40,000 cost to reprint all the “pubic” ballots will come from the county general fund. “We had about five or six people proofread it,” Krueger said. “It’s just one of those words. Even after we told people it was in there, they still read over it.”

Dateline: Ohio– A Butler County prosecutor is charged with indecency after surveillance cameras recorded him walking naked around the Government Services Building twice last week after hours. Following a pre-disciplinary hearing last Wednesday, Scott Blauvelt’s attorney, Michael Gmoser, told reporters he is not at all happy with the media’s portrayal of his client. He says Blauvelt’s behavior can be traced to medication, a car crash and long-standing psychiatric problems. A former sheriff told Local 12 News in Cincinnati that Blauvelt was found nude following a car crash last year. Since there was no mention of Blauvelt being nude in the accident report, it was not pursued. Following the two most recent incidents of public nudity, however, the prosecutor is facing possible suspension or termination. A psychiatrist who testified at last week’s hearing said Blauvelt’s conduct was totally out of character and caused by a reaction to medication–the same medication he had taken before 2005’s unclothed crash.

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

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