Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends

Joshua Lee
5 min read
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Dateline: Arizona

elony charges have been brought against a man who allegedly pretended he had Down syndrome to trick his nurses into bathing him and changing his diapers. According to AZ Family, police arrested Paul Anthony Menchaca at his parents’ home earlier this month after receiving complaints leveled against him of fraud and sexual abuse. According to the complaints, Menchaca posted an ad on the website CareLinx.com—a “caregiver marketplace” that allows patients to hire caregivers directly. Investigators say a woman responded to the ad in May and was contacted by a woman named “Amy,” supposedly the mother of a man with Down syndrome in need of personal care. The woman says she met Menchaca on 30 separate occasions at places that were not his home. Each time, she had to change his diapers and help him bathe. A second victim was referred to the case by the first in July, and a third was referred by the second in August. All three agreed to the same care regimen and were paid by “Amy,” who only communicated with them through text messaging. Police say the first victim became suspicious of Menchaca and followed him home, where she spoke to his actual mother and father, who confirmed that he did not have Down syndrome or need diaper changes. Police say “Amy’s” phone number belonged to Menchaca, who reportedly admitted to lying when confronted by the three victims. During an initial court hearing, he told a judge, “I just want to let you know I am special needs. I do have a low IQ level.”

Dateline: France

A French art college apologized last week after a photo was digitally manipulated to make white students appear black, allegedly to attract more Americans.
CNN reports the Émile Cohl art school in Lyon received criticism last week when former students discovered a digitally altered photo in which a number of white students’ faces had been darkened and two black people had been added. The altered photos had been published on an English version of the school’s website in preparation of a branch opening in Los Angeles. School officials have apologized for the photo, but claimed the communications company in charge of the site was to blame. Émile Cohl Assistant Director Emmanuel Perrier told reporters the company decided on its own to make the changes to “add diversity.” The school board immediately removed the photos once it was alerted by students. Perrier refused to name the company involved in the debacle, stating that the contract was over, but said that the school plans to file a complaint against them.

Dateline: New York

Authorities have removed three mysterious vending machines in Long Island labeled “PENS,” but reportedly selling crack pipes. According to
NBC4 in New York, the first vending machine was illegally installed in the grass near a shopping center’s parking lot. Authorities say the device was installed by drilling an eight-inch hole in the ground and filling it with concrete before inserting a metal pole. The machine itself was converted from a former tampon dispensing machine and affixed with padlocks. For $2 in quarters, it would dispense a ceramic crack pipe disguised as a ballpoint pen. It is believed that all three machines were installed by the same person or people. Last week, Brookhaven Supervisor Edward Romaine and Councilman Michael Loguercio held a press conference confirming that two more machines had been discovered in the area and had been removed. They said the machines went unnoticed until a firefighter tried the machine out and alerted them. While it is not illegal to sell pipes in the city, it is illegal to sell drug paraphernalia without supervision. The district attorney is reportedly investigating the incidents, but no suspects or motives have been announced.

Dateline: Netherlands

Police were called to a man’s backyard when he discovered an elephant eating from his pear tree.
NL Times reports an Ommen resident had to convince officials that he wasn’t joking when he reported the appearance of the elephant in his backyard garden. Officers on the scene found a large pile of what was believed to be elephant dung in the complainant’s driveway, but were told the elephant had already been taken away by its owner. They followed a forest path indicated by witnesses as the elephant’s last known whereabouts and found both the animal and its owner. The owner turned out to be an employee at a circus who was taking the elephant for a walk in the forest. The creature allegedly escaped during an inattentive moment. Police brought the circus employee back to the resident’s home where he compensated the man for damages caused by the elephant and cleaned up the dung pile. Police also insisted the owner and his elephant pose for a photo with them.

Dateline: Bavaria

A triathlete has been banned from an “all-you-can-eat” restaurant for eating too much. According to
The Local, Ironman competitor Jaroslav Bobrowski visited Running Sushi in Landshut, Bavaria, last week and reportedly ate almost 100 plates of sushi. The meal only cost 15.90 euros ($18.49). Bobrowski told reporters that when he went to pay for his meal, he was told by the restaurant’s owner and chef that he was banned for life for eating too much. Bobrowski reportedly utilizes a unique diet in which he fasts for 20 hours before eating very large portions.

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

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