Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends

Devin D. O'Leary
4 min read
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Dateline: Austria

A rural Austrian village is warning recent Middle Eastern refugees not to fear child-abducting “Christmas devils” during the holiday season. “In the first week of December, the good, gift-bringing St. Nicholas wanders through the streets with his evil, scary companions called Krampus,” Kurt Glaenzer, the head of the Virgen, Austria, Krampus club told NBC News. Some of the local residents dress up in animal skins and carved devil masks to depict the mythological creatures. “When the Krampus roams the town, he often wrestles people to the ground, symbolizing the abduction of bad children,” Glaenzer explained. Fearing the European Yuletide tradition might frighten the recent wave of refugees from Syria and Iraq, Virgen community representatives visited with 22 new residents—including 12 children—who have been housed in the Alpine village since October. The newcomers were shown the demonic Krampus masks and given a crash course in the event’s history with the help of an Arabic translator. Social worker Nicole Kranebitter said the migrants had fun with the lessons and will “now know what to expect when St. Nicholas and the Krampus creatures knock on their door.”

Dateline: Ireland

Irish clubs have started handing out free lollipops at the end of the night in a novel bid to prevent patrons from getting into fights. The lollipops, which feature a sticker reading “Get home safely,” will be distributed in Mayo County nightclubs and bars. The thinking behind the sweet campaign is that drunken Irish bar patrons tend to get into verbal altercations with one another as the alcohol-serving businesses shut down for the night. With their mouth filled with candy, patrons will be less likely to shout at one another. “Like giving candy to a grumpy baby, lollipops are said to have a similar effect on grown men and women. Moreover, arguments fueled by drunken bravado and macho attitudes often escalate following verbal exchanges,” Mayo County road safety officer Noel Gibbons told
Breaking News Ireland. The free lollipop campaign will take place throughout the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

Dateline: California

A 19-year-old man was arrested in Coachella after allegedly trying to carjack a Fed Ex truck—while naked. Deputies say a Fed Ex driver was parked in front of a residence to deliver a package on the afternoon of Dec. 5 when the suspect—described by KESQ News Channel 3 as “not wearing any clothes at the time”—jumped into the vehicle and demanded the keys. The driver turned over the keys and ran to a nearby residence where he called police. The naked suspect started the truck but did not drive away with it because, as authorities speculated, he did not know how to operate the vehicle. The suspect fled the scene, but was described by witnesses as a Hispanic male between the ages of 18 and 20, with a thin build and “not wearing any clothes.” Officers with the Coachella Police department followed up with an investigation the next day and arrested Albert Luna at a nearby residence. He was booked into the Riverside County Jail in Indio on suspicion of carjacking.

Dateline: New York

The Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office has accused a father-and-son duo of stealing more than $40,000 worth of chicken wings from a restaurant where they worked. Paul Rojek, 56, and Joshua Rojek, 33, were employed as cooks at the Twin Trees Too Restaurant in Syracuse. The pair is suspected of placing numerous chicken wing orders with the restaurant’s wholesaler, picking up the orders themselves and selling them at a reduced price to other restaurants and “on the street.” The Rojeks billed about $41,000 worth of wings to the restaurant’s account between February and November of this year. They are facing charges of grand larceny and falsifying business records.

Dateline: Florida

A clearly panicked pot grower, fearing authorities were closing in on him with a helicopter, called police to turn himself in. Unfortunately for 47-year-old Jasper Harrison, the police weren’t looking for him. Edgewater police say Harrison heard a helicopter hovering over the storage unit where had set up a pot-growing operation and assumed officers were there to arrest him. According to the
Orlando Sentinel, Harrison panicked and called 911, telling the dispatcher, “I’m the guy you’re looking for.” He said he wanted to surrender without being shot. Harrison was arrested and charged with cultivating cannabis within 1,000 feet of a school and possession of marijuana with intent to sell. Police later informed him the helicopter belonged to a local news station covering a suspicious death at a home next to the storage facility.

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

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