Odds & Ends

Devin D. O'Leary
5 min read
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Dateline: Germany— Police in Berlin last week arrested two World Cup pranksters on suspicion of placing cement-filled soccer balls around the city and urging people to kick them. At least two people injured themselves kicking the rock-hard balls which were chained to lampposts and trees alongside spray-painted messages reading, “Can you kick it?” Police said they had identified a 26-year-old and a 29-year-old and had found a workshop in their apartment where the soccer balls were slashed open and filled with concrete. The two are charged with causing serious physical injury, dangerous obstruction of traffic and causing injury through negligence.

Dateline: Australia— An apparent decade-long football feud between two factory workers ended in a bloody forklift duel in the southern Australian town of Kilburn. Greek-born Adelaide Crows fan Simeon Christopoulos, 63, engaged in a history of workplace pranks, jibes and racial insults with Italian-born Port Adelaide Power fan Frank Cappelluti, 58. The forklift showdown–revealed in court documents earlier this month–was the culmination of ongoing bickering between the pair. Testimony in court noted the “tensions” between Christopoulos and Cappelluti resulted from their racial heritage and “their different allegiances to their two AFL [Australian Football League] teams in SA [South Australia].” “I love me Power,” Cappelluti told the Sunday Mail , “But, Sim, one minute he was a Carlton supporter, the next he was a Crows supporter. He had two scarfs–one for the Crows and one for Carlton. If the Crows were losing, he’d wear the Carlton scarf and if Carlton was losing, he’d wear the Crows scarf.” In testimony, Mr. Christopoulos said he was driving his forklift on March 31 last year at the Korvest steel factory when Mr. Cappelluti crashed his forklift into him and laughed. The duo’s verbal sparring continued throughout the day, eventually escalating to the point at which Mr. Christopoulos climbed down off his forklift and punched Cappelluti in the mouth. Cappelluti suffered a split lip and Christopoulos was sacked. Earlier this month, the SA Industrial Relations Commission threw out an unfair dismissal appeal by Mr. Christopoulos, saying the firing was not “harsh or unreasonable” given that the punch was “deliberate.” Christopoulos told the Mail that he never punched Cappelluti, and that there was a “conspiracy” in the workplace to get rid of him. “I’m sorry if he thinks I hit him but if he hadn’t hit me with a forklift, there wouldn’t have been any trouble.”

Dateline: Croatia— Two policemen on the Croatian Island of Korcula are in serious trouble for taking a coffee break. Unfortunately, the coffee break was with a criminal suspect, who ended up fleeing as the cops sipped their lattés. The incident began last week when the 31-year-old suspect, wanted on over 95 different offenses, was picked up on a warrant for grievous bodily harm. The two arresting officers were persuaded by the suspect, identified as Muzevic, to join him for a last coffee. Muzevic generously paid the bill and then fled out the back of the café, escaping into nearby woods. The two officers have been suspended and face further disciplinary action while their superiors investigate how they could have let such a dangerous suspect buy them a drink.

Dateline: Utah— The commander of the Utah Highway Patrol’s drunken driving unit resigned last Friday, a week after being cited for–what else?–driving under the influence. Lt. Fred Swain crashed his police cruiser into a concrete barrier after veering off the shoulder of the highway on June 21. Police said his blood alcohol level was 0.12 percent. Utah’s legal limit is 0.08 percent. “We understand that people in this state, in this country, should be shocked over something like this,” patrol Col. Scott Duncan said at a news conference. “They should be angry. This is a violation of public trust. They should feel betrayed. And I don’t know if they’ll feel embarrassed, but we certainly do.”

Dateline: Illinois— The Chicago Bulls mascot, Benny the Bull, was arrested last Sunday after taking a poke at an off-duty police officer. Barry Anderson, who is employed by the Chicago Bulls as a costumed mascot, was riding a motorcycle down South Columbus through the middle of the annual Taste of Chicago fair when an off-duty Cook County Sheriff’s officer working security told him to stop. Anderson, dressed in his red, furry Benny costume, allegedly ditched the bike and ran away. According to the Chicago Sun-Times , the officer chased him, identifying himself as an officer and urging the big red bull to stop. Anderson refused, and when the officer caught him, Anderson allegedly took a swing at the officer, knocking his glasses off and breaking his watch. Anderson, 26, later told officers he had not actually intended to punch the pursuing sheriff’s officer, but was simply acting as his “character” of Benny. Anderson’s bull costume was returned to the United Center after he was arrested and charged with battery and driving within the parkway.

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

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