Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends

Joshua Lee
5 min read
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Dateline: Texas

25-year-old man posed as a high school student allegedly to play basketball. According to CBS-DFW, Sidney Gilstrap-Portly pretended he was a displaced 17-year-old Hurricane Harvey evacuee to take advantage of Hillcrest High’s policies which allow hurricane victims to enroll without the documentation required of other students. The man reportedly joined the Dallas high school’s basketball team, where the coach called him “unstoppable,” and even dated a 14-year-old girl. Gilstrap-Portly’s deception was discovered when his former basketball coach from North Mesquite High—only 15 miles from Hillcrest—recognized him during a tournament as one of his former players and informed the Hillcrest coach. Gilstrap-Portley was arrested last week and faces a felony charge of tampering with government records. Dallas Independent School District has said it will revisit its policies regarding applications from hurricane victims.

Dateline: Sweden

When a tattoo artist misspelled her son’s name, a woman decided to forego laser removal surgery to fix the typo and had the boy’s name legally changed to match it instead. The
BBC reports that a woman who wishes to be known as “Johanna” recently paid to have a tattoo placed on her arm with the names of her two children, Kevin and Nova. Johanna says at the time, the tattoo looked right to her. “For me, the text is upside-down,” she told reporters. On her way home from the parlor, however, she realized that the artist had misspelled her son’s name as “Kelvin.” She returned to the establishment and was told that the typo could be fixed with laser surgery. After discovering that the process could take up to a year, however, she decided it would be easier to rename her five-year-old son Kelvin. Johanna told reporters at Blekinge Läns Tidning that she plans to get a new tattoo of her newborn daughter Freya’s name. She says she will print it on a piece of paper this time.

Dateline: Connecticut

A young man who was kidnapped and held for ransom was allegedly threatened with a three-foot alligator during the abduction. According to the
Connecticut Post, the victim’s aunt and father approached police last month to report the kidnapping. The victim had contacted his family members from a cellphone believed to belong to his suspected kidnapper with a demand of $800 for his safe return. With officers listening in, the victim’s aunt once again received a call from the cellphone. She asked for a photo of her nephew and was sent an image of the young man lying face-down in a bathtub, with a three-foot alligator on his back. The animal’s mouth was open and facing the camera. Along with the FBI, police reportedly tracked the suspected kidnapper’s cellphone to a Residence Inn in Shelton, Conn. It was determined that the phone had also made a call to a local restaurant. The restaurant confirmed that a delivery had been made and led authorities to the kidnapper’s room. But when police arrived on the scene, the suspect and victim were gone. A woman—who would later be identified as the suspected captor’s girlfriend—and the alligator from the photo were found. Police waited until the suspect returned with the victim and successfully arrested the man. The victim reportedly suffering from two burn marks allegedly made by a barbecue lighter. The suspect subsequently pleaded not guilty to first-degree kidnapping, attempted first-degree larceny by extortion, unlawful restraint, third-degree assault and threatening. He has asked for a jury trial.

Dateline: Japan

A Buddhist monk is suing his temple, alleging that he suffers from depression caused by an excessive workload. The
Washington Post reports a monk serving at a temple on Mount Koya in Japan is claiming that during a busy tourist season in 2015, he was forced to work 64 straight days between March and May. In September and October of that year, he says he was made to work 32 consecutive days. According to the monk’s lawyer, Noritake Shirakura, the heavy workload caused his client to become depressed. According to the suit, the monk has been unable to work for the past two years and is seeking $78,000 in damages. It is common for Buddhist temples to consider physical labor as spiritual training. Shirakura has confirmed that as a result, there are no records detailing how much time the monk spent working at the monastery. However, a labor standards supervision office confirmed that he worked for at least a month without a day off, according to Japan Today. The Japanese government has recognized a growing problem with the negative health effects of working long hours. Cases of karoshi—“death by overwork”—are reportedly on the rise, even afflicting young people. Last year it was reported that Japanese workers only took 48.7 percent of their entitled vacation time in 2016, prompting the government to offer incentives to companies whose employees take more time off.

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

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