Odds & Ends: Expired Meat Smugglers, Death Valley Eggs, Marriage-Ending Hit Man, Serial Embezzler, Gas Station Heist

Odds & Ends: Expired Meat Smugglers, Death Valley Eggs, Marriage-Ending Hit Man, Serial Embezzler, Gas Station Heist

Devin D. O'Leary
5 min read
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Dateline: China

Chinese police say they arrested a Vietnamese smuggling group and seized a load of substandard meat, included chicken feet that were 46 years past their sell-by date. Police in Guangxi province say some 22 tons of expired meat were taken from the smuggling network in May. The unappetizing haul included chicken feet, tripe and throat—all of which were headed for Chinese food markets. Investigators told China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency the expired Vietnamese products included chicken feet dating back to 1967—when the United States was still at war with that southeast Asian nation. Li Jianmin, a security chief, told the news agency the nearly half-century old chicken feet had been treated with hydrogen peroxide “to kill bacteria, prolong the expiration date” and make the products “look white and big.”

Dateline: California

Park rangers in Death Valley are asking tourists to please stop frying eggs on the sidewalks and roads of the notoriously hot park. Death Valley National Park has been topping out at 120 degrees this summer, and visitors have obviously been using the heat to test out a well-known urban myth. Park officials went so far as to post about it on their Facebook page earlier this month. “The Death Valley NP maintenance crew has been busy cleaning up eggs cracked directly on the sidewalk, including egg cartons and shells strewn across the parking lot,” the post reads. “This is your national park, please put trash in the garbage or recycle bins provided and don’t crack eggs on the sidewalks, or the Salt Playa at Badwater.” On June 29, a park employee posted a video on YouTube of her frying eggs in Death Valley—but she used a pan and urged others to do the same.

Dateline: Michigan

A 21-year-old Muskegon County woman has been convicted on charges that she hired a hit man to kill her 27-year-old husband because it was “easier than divorcing him,” and she wouldn’t have to worry about “breaking his heart.” Julia Charlene Merfeld pled guilty in June to solicitation of murder and is scheduled for sentencing on July 30. Acting on a tip from a coworker, the Muskegon County Sheriff’s Office set up a sting involving an undercover officer posing as a hit man. During the trial prosecutors submitted a videotape in which Merfeld offers $50,000 of her husband’s $400,000 life insurance policy to have her spouse killed. In an unexpected twist, Merfeld’s husband begged the judge at her trial not to give her any jail time.

Dateline: California

A bookkeeper for a California-based pizza chain has been found guilty of embezzling more than $545,000 from her employer—in order to pay off the last employer she embezzled money from. Susan Dawn Seibert of Vista, Calif., pleaded guilty to writing dozens of forged checks to herself over a four-year period while working for Leucadia Pizzeria. In a plea deal, the 49-year-old accountant admitted to taking the money because she owed $450,0000 plus 5 percent interest to a previous San Diego County employer, Breach Security, which sued her for embezzling from them in 2008. Detectives gathered evidence proving that Seibert wrote 172 unauthorized checks to herself from the Leucadia Pizza account using a forged signature of the company’s owner. She then wrote 13 checks to Breach Security, thereby making partial payments on a civil judgment from that embezzlement case. Earlier this month, Seibert confessed to two felony counts of fraud and forgery and is expected to get four years in state prison. No word yet on when she’ll get a new accounting job and be able to pay off Leucadia Pizzeria.

Dateline: Florida

On the morning of July 9, 33-year-old Anthony D. Thomas managed to cross at least two jobs off his “possible careers”: gas station attendant and robber. Thomas, described as a “frequent visitor” at a gas station convenience store in Ocala, showed up at the business and filled out a job application. Apparently unwilling to wait for an answer, Thomas allegedly followed up on the application by robbing the store. Police say store surveillance camera footage shows Thomas reaching into the store’s cash register and pulling out $130 while a store employee’s back is turned. Police, responding to the robbery call at 9:48 a.m., got both a description of the robber and his complete personal information from the job application. Officers quickly apprehended Thomas, who still had the missing money on him. “I didn’t rob no store,” Thomas later told the
Ocala Star-Banner. Thomas faces charges of burglary, petit theft and resisting arrest with violence. We can assume he won’t be getting that job at the gas station either.

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

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