Odds & Ends

Devin D. O'Leary
5 min read
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Dateline: Austria– A misguided bank robber was arrested after he tried to hold up his local town hall, thinking the historic building was a bank. Wearing a mask and waving a toy pistol, the unemployed man burst into the town hall in the village of Poggersdorf and shouted, “Hold up! Hold up!” The robber realized his mistake when an employee explained to him where he was, police said in a statement. The robber fled into some nearby woods but was arrested when he came back later to pick up his motorbike, which he had left parked outside the town hall.

Dateline: China– Funerals in China are no longer clothing optional. State media reported last Wednesday that five people were arrested for organizing striptease send-offs in eastern China. According to the Xinhua news agency, two groups of strippers were nabbed for giving “obscene performances” at a farmer’s funeral in Donghai County, Jiangsu province. “Striptease used to be a common practice at funerals in Donghai’s rural areas to allure viewers,” the agency noted. “Local villagers believe that the more people who attend the funeral, the more the dead person is honored.” Wealthy families often hire troupes of performers–including strippers–to attract a crowd. Last week’s funeral drew a crowd of 200. Five strippers were detained and local officials “issued notices concerning funeral management,” Xinhua said. Now village officials must submit plans for funerals within 12 hours of a villager’s death. Residents can also report “funeral misdeeds” on a hotline, the report said.

Dateline: Indonesia– Eighteen prisoners broke out of a jail in Sumatra using a most unusual weapon: red-hot chile peppers. The prisoners at Pematang Siantar jail mixed hot chiles with water in plastic bottles to spray at guards. The fiery liquid temporarily blinded the guards, allowing prisoners to grab their keys and make the break for freedom. Sixteen of the inmates have been recaptured, a police official said, but two were still on the run. The men were on their way to breakfast but instead stormed the prison gate, Detective Den Martin told the Associated Press news agency. They were spraying the chile water and shouting, “attack, attack,” he said. A prison warder, Harianaja, told the Jakarta Post newspaper that the guards could not fight back because they were outnumbered. “This is the first time chile has been used to get out of this penitentiary,” the daily quoted him as saying.

Dateline: Arizona– A man angry at firefighters who refused to rescue his cat from a tree opened fire on the fire crew. Jeffrey Cullen, 58, was charged with four felony counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, Mohave Sheriff’s spokesperson Trish Carter said. A three-person fire crew responded to Cullen’s home in Kingman last Thursday after he reported a fire. According to Hualapai Valley Fire Department spokesperson Sandy Edwards, the crew found no blaze at the site. Instead, Cullen told firefighters he simply wanted his cat removed from a tree and knew they would only respond to a fire call. A battalion chief told Cullen to call animal control or wait for the cat to get hungry and come down. Cullen apparently didn’t like that response, Edwards said. “He went back into the house, got a small black revolver and came outside shooting,” she said. The firefighters and a 12-year-old boy who had come to see the fire truck ran for their lives. No one was injured. Deputies arrested Cullen after a brief standoff and struggle.

Dateline: Illinois– A 29-year-old man traveling with his mother to Turkey did not want to let her know he had packed a sexual aid in his carryon luggage. So, when it was discovered by airport security, he simply told them it was a bomb. Madin Azad Amin was stopped by airport officials on Aug. 16 after guards found an object in his baggage that resembled a grenade. When officers asked him to identify it, Amin said it was a bomb, Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Lorraine Scaduto told reporters. Amin later admitted to officials he had lied because his mother was nearby and he didn’t want her to hear that the item in question was part of a penis pump. Amin has been charged with felony disorderly conduct and faces up to three years in prison.

Dateline: Wisconsin– A 21-year-old man ended up in a hospital after spending two hours trapped in a vat of chocolate, police in Wisconsin said last Friday. Donovan Garcia, an employee of a company that supplies chocolate ingredients, said he was pushing the chocolate down into the vat at Debelis Corp. because it was stuck, but it became loose and he slid into the hopper. The chocolate was 110 degrees, hotter than a hot tub, said Capt. Greg Sinnen of the Kenosha Fire Department. Coworkers, police and firefighters tried to free the man from the sticky treat but couldn’t get him loose until the chocolate was thinned out with cocoa butter. Garcia was treated for minor injuries at a nearby medical center and released.

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

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