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News of the Weird

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Lead Story

A company in California has started to market camouflage toilet paper for use in the woods and plans to run testimonials from hunters who claim they have been shot at while using ordinary toilet paper, by hunters who mistook them for white-tailed deer.

Police Blotter

According to a December story in the Wichita Eagle, a 20-year-old woman was kidnapped outside her workplace, taken to a local mall, and "forced to shop" for five hours before being robbed of her purse. The Stockton (California) Record reported in November that a California woman was kidnapped by two armed men, who took her to an isolated spot, "forced her to disrobe, laughed at her, then drove off."

A 27-year-old man was put in jail in San Mateo County, California, for theft in November after police spotted him leaving a store with a bag full of stolen goods. Also in the bag was a plastic inflatable doll that police said the man must have brought from home.

Three people were indicted in Nashville in September for a scheme in which they painted a postal collection box to make it a "temporary night deposit box" for a bank, then placed the box in front of the bank's regular night- deposit slot and left an "out of order--please use temporary box" sign beside the slot.

Rodney Earl Colbert had his 50-year sentence--for running down and killing Jane Fladeland in October 1988 with his pickup truck--upheld by a Texas court in November. Colbert had intended to run over a friend's wife, who had just left her husband, because he wanted to "sort of teach her a lesson," but later found he had run over the wrong woman.

In November John Lowdermilk, 37, pleaded guilty to being an accessory to the death of Esther Williams, 18, in 1988. She had overdosed during a methamphetamine enema.

Oops!

While Jeff Davis, 26, was trying to make a deposit at an automatic night-deposit machine at a bank in Lawrenceville, Georgia, last year, the machine clamped down on his arm and he had to be rescued by police.

In November, Continental Airlines had to cancel a print ad lauding its wide-ranging cities of destination. Tongue in cheek, the ad admitted the airline doesn't fly everywhere, "but how often do you really need to go to Boise, Idaho?" Two years ago, a Continental plane bound for Boise crashed, killing 28.

The fire chief of Simsboro, Louisiana, nearly drowned in December when the town's only fire truck overturned, spilling 1,200 gallons of water on top of him on the way to a fire that turned out to be only a smoldering motor.

Seven people were killed when two small buses collided in eastern Nigeria in December. The accident occurred when the bus drivers leaned out their windows to slap each other's hand in greeting and both lost control of their vehicles.

Creme de la Weird

David Lusco, 42, was ordered to jail after his arrest in December for kidnapping. Allegedly, he had imprisoned his wife outside Moscow, Idaho, in their pickup truck, forced her to join him in disrobing, and driven off on a reckless rampage. When she escaped and donned a passerby's coat, he chased her while wearing only a hat. When a judge ordered him held for 30 days, he replied, "I'm in jail for 30 days? If I ain't crazy, I will be."

Louis Laslo, 37, was charged with kidnapping for an incident last year in Hellertown, Pennsylvania: when George Reid, 38, pulled into Laslo's driveway to turn his car around, Laslo, arriving home, drove in behind him and blocked his exit back to the road. He advanced on Reid's car, removed the keys forcibly, and allegedly told Reid to hold his nose and hum "Yankee Doodle Dandy" while tapping out the beat on his steering wheel. Then Laslo went inside to call police to arrest the "trespasser," but when police arrived, they arrested Laslo instead.

In October, after two hired killers failed to murder the wife of Konstantinos Fotopoulos, a pool hall owner in Daytona Beach, Florida, a "tryout" was allegedly given to two others: Diedre Hunt, 20, and Mark Ramsey, 19. Fotopoulos, skeptical that either had the guts for the job, persuaded Ramsey to let himself be tied to a tree so Fotopoulos could fire live rounds at his feet to test his courage. However, before he could fire the shots, Hunt, angry at Fotopoulos's claim that she was too weak to kill anyone, allegedly shot and killed Ramsey. Fotopoulos and Hunt were charged with murder, and Fotopoulos's videotape of the entire incident was confiscated by police.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Shawn Belschwender.

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