Odds & Ends

Devin D. O'Leary
5 min read
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Dateline: Germany— Social workers refused to help a worried mother after she called the youth department of social services in Hildesheim, Lower Saxony, to complain about her daughter’s “uncontrollable, immoral and loose behavior with men.” The problem? Mrs. Schmidt was 92 years old and her daughter Tina was 68. Social workers told the woman they could not help her as her “child” was 50 years past the age limit where social services can get involved. Mrs. Schmidt apparently called the youth department after learning Tina had a boyfriend.

Dateline: Arizona— Officials at Basha High School in Chandler are doing their best to crack down on the newest scourge among students: bottles of ketchup. One student at Basha was disciplined after being caught red-handed with a ketchup bottle two days in a row. According to the school’s principal, the school has called the parents of several other students found to be in possession of the contraband condiment. The smuggling of “red squeezy” (as the kids may or may not be calling it) began after the school cafeteria limited students to three packets of ketchup per hamburger. Student can get extra packets but must pay 25 cents apiece for them. The school has banned students from bringing their own bottled ketchup, because it is a “health code violation.” The policy was adopted earlier this year because administrators were fed up with students stomping on ketchup packets and splashing the school’s sidewalks in tomato goo.

Dateline: Massachusetts— A defendant charged with murder did his case no favors when he attacked his lawyer in court and tried to strangle the man while the shocked judge looked on. “I think he just didn’t like the way some of the rulings the judge was making were going yesterday morning,” attorney Bruce Carroll told WBZ Radio last Wednesday. “He eventually stood up, started saying something and reached over and grabbed me by the throat.” Several officers at Boston’s Suffolk Superior Court intervened, and Carroll’s 6-foot-tall, 250-pound client, John Gomes, was removed from the courtroom.

Dateline: Indiana— Fake cop James Merket picked the wrong person to “arrest” when he used his car covered in police gear and emergency lights to pull over off-duty Marion County sheriff’s deputy Cpl. Clayton Willis. According to TheIndyChannel.com, Merket–who was not wearing a police uniform–identified himself as a state trooper and asked Willis where he was going in such a hurry. After following Merket back to his “patrol vehicle,” Willis determined the man was not a real police officer. Merket then admitted his charade. “He stated, ‘Hey, I lied to you. I’m not a police officer,’” Willis told Indianapolis’ Channel 6 News. “So, I grabbed his wrist, escorted him out of the vehicle and put his hands on his roof. I then took his weapon from him and proceeded to handcuff him with his cuffs, ironically enough.” Merket, 65, faces several charges including impersonating a public official.

Dateline: Maryland— According to TheWBALChannel.com, Baltimore City police arrested a Virginia couple last weekend after they asked an officer for directions. Joshua Kelly and Llara Brook of Chantilly, Va., got lost leaving an Orioles game at Camden Yards on Saturday. The couple missed an on-ramp for Interstate 95 South and ended up in the Cherry Hill section of south Baltimore. The couple thought they found relief when they spotted a police vehicle. “I said, ‘Thank goodness, could you please get us to 95?’” Kelly told WBAL-TV 11. “The first thing that she said to us was, ‘No. You just ran that stop sign. Pull over,’” Brook said. “It wasn’t a big deal. We’ll pay the stop sign violation, but can we have directions?” According to Kelly, the officer responded with, “You found your own way in here, you can find your own way out.” The couple then spotted another police vehicle and flagged that officer down for directions. When the second officer pulled up, Officer Natalie Preston stepped between the cars and informed the couple, “My partner is not going to step in front of me and tell you directions if I’m not.” Unsure of what to do, the couple got back in their car, drove down the block and used a cell phone to call Brook’s father, hoping he could give them directions. Both of Brook’s parents are police officers in the Harrisburg, Pa., area. Mr. Brook was in the middle of giving directions to his daughter when Officer Preston “screeched up behind us and got out of the car and asked me to step out of the car,” said Kelly, who was then handcuffed and arrested for trespassing. “At this point, I was completely in tears,” Brook said. “I said, ‘Ma’am, you know, we just need your help. We are not trying to cause any trouble. I’m not leaving him here.’ What she did was walk over to my side of the car and said, ‘OK, we are taking you downtown, too.’” Kelly and Brook stayed overnight in jail and were released eight hours later with no charges. Baltimore city police said they were looking into the incident.

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

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