Odds & Ends

Devin D. O'Leary
5 min read
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Dateline: Germany– A 61-year-old man, on trial for theft, didn’t do his case much good by stealing the judge’s keys during a court hearing. Police in the central town of Coburg said that while facing the bench, the man pocketed a bunch of keys belonging to the judge, who did not notice until he had left the room. When confronted by court officials in the bathroom, the man told them he had been shocked to discover the keys in his pocket. “He told them he realized how suspicious his story would sound and that he had therefore hidden the keys under a toilet brush,” said police spokesman Bernhard Schmitt. “He’d been stealing all his life so it was probably just an intuitive act.” The man wrote out a confession, but the initial trial had to be temporarily suspended on legal grounds in case the judge–who had just been robbed by the defendent–showed bias in the case.

Dateline: The Netherlands– A Dutch McDonald’s has been forced to remove a pair of expensive mouth-shaped urinals from its restrooms after complaints from an American tourist. The restaurant in the southeast of the country said it was removing the bright red, mouth-shaped urinals after a disgusted U.S. customer complained to McDonald’s head office in America. Manager of the fast-food outlet Giel Pijper said the urinals, named Kisses, were works of art which he was now going to have to sell off. The big-lipped urinals, designed by Utrecht-based firm Bathroom Mania!, have already caused a controversy. British-based Virgin Airway was forced to scrap plans in 2004 to install two of the Kisses at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport after receiving complaints.

Dateline: Florida— Police in Fort Pierce say a convenience store clerk is being held without bail on suspicion of stabbing a young boy for not buying a yo-yo. Amar Shreiteh is charged with attempted murder and false imprisonment. According to police, Shreiteh was working at the obviously misnamed Friendly’s Meat and Grocery Store last Monday morning when 14-year-old Jeremius Howard came in with his sister. As the girl browsed for snacks, Howard allegedly picked up and played with a yo-yo. Police said that after the girl paid for the items, Howard put down the toy and tried to leave the store. Shreiteh demanded the boy pay for the yo-yo, but Howard told the clerk he did not want it. Investigators allege Shreiteh then punched the boy and dragged him behind the counter. He then stabbed the boy in the back of the arm with a butcher knife. Another clerk tried to stop Shreiteh and suffered a serious wound on his right forearm. The teen was treated by emergency workers and released.

Dateline: Utah– Bad cop! Bad, bad cop! A police dog that was left in a pickup truck with the engine running is now accused of knocking the vehicle into gear and running over a woman who was walking to her mailbox. Ranger, a German shepherd, was left in the truck while his handler responded to a domestic disturbance call last Tuesday in Ogden. The truck’s engine was left on so Ranger could have air conditioning. According to police Lt. Loring Draper, Ranger must have hit the shift on the steering column, putting the automatic transmission into gear. As the truck rolled forward, police officers yelled to 41-year-old Mary F. Stone, but she was unable to get out of the way in time. The front and rear tire of the vehicle ran over her. “She had tire marks on her clothes,” her husband told reporters. The truck then drove through the Stones’ yard and struck a vehicle in the driveway. Stone was hospitalized with a fractured pelvis and tailbone.

Dateline: Kentucky– Three customers became ill last weekend when they went to a downtown Columbia restaurant and drank martinis laced with a caustic cleaning substance. Last Saturday night, Rita Hammond, 42, her sister, Sandy Couillard, 43, and their friend, 51-year-old Freddie Kelly, ordered peach martinis at Doc’s Jumbo Grille. Instead of the martini glasses being rimmed in sugar, however, they came dipped in a caustic substance used to clean the restaurant’s deep fat fryer. Columbia police Sgt. Florence McCants told The State newspaper that the incident appeared to be a “horrific accident” caused by a “breakdown of communication.” All three drinkers suffered burned and blistered lips, tongues and palates, and ended up at nearby hospitals. Restaurant owner Doug Goolsby said the incident occurred when a bartender, who has worked at the restaurant about four months, ran out of sugar. Not knowing where to find any, she asked a dishwasher. The dishwasher, unfortunately, did not speak English and handed her a box containing a white substance that looked like sugar. Despite the fact that the box was labeled “Clean Force Fryer Cleaner,” the bartender used a scoop to transfer the white substance into another container and used it to coat the rims of that evening’s drink special. The state health department is investigating. So far no charges have been filed. “Mistakes happen,” said Goolsby.

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

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