At his 80th birthday celebration North Korean dictator Kim Il-sung received gifts of a container of blood from 800 snapping turtles (considered an aphrodisiac) from his son, and a quilt and sleeping mat made of down from the necks of 700,000 sparrows. A 100-room museum houses the more than 87,000 presents he has received during his 44-year reign. (A BBC sweatshirt from a correspondent was politely refused by North Korean officials: Not only was it just a sweatshirt, it hadn't even been gift-wrapped.)
From the police column of Minnesota's Brooklyn Park Sun-Post, February 19: "Police department, 5400 85th Ave. N., Feb. 11: An officer found a quarter in the seat of a squad car. The coin was inventoried and tagged, as required."
Kevin E. Tibbs, 21, was arrested in Brunswick, Maryland, in February for attempting to steal a parking meter. When police stopped Tibbs he was trying to conceal it in his trousers.
Randall Eugene Davis, who has only one leg, was arrested in Clarinda, Iowa, in March; he was suspected of stealing a truck that contained animals, among them a three-legged Labrador retriever.
In February the Daily Times of Kerrville, Texas, reported that a 23-year-old Kerrville man was arrested for assault when he allegedly tried to gore an off-duty police officer with deer antlers strapped to his bicycle handlebars. The man had become angry after the officer had tried to stop him from running into the street.
Police arrested Sallie Jo Walker, 34, for beating up her husband Dennis in the West Plains, Missouri, police station in November. She had just posted $200 to free Dennis, who had been arrested for peeping into the windows of the girls' locker room at West Plains High School.
In September Michigan state trooper Fred Sweeney pursued a speeder doing 101 mph. The speeder had a head start, but Sweeney came upon his car abandoned in a private driveway. He then noticed that all the cows in a nearby field were clustered together and seemed to be staring at one particular spot on the ground. When Sweeney approached the cows, he found the driver of the car hiding in the tall grass and arrested him.
Mary Ann Linder of Nashville was arrested for shoplifting at a Victoria's Secret store in October. When asked by the store's clerks to hand over the stolen items, Linder stripped off $1,400 worth of lingerie and was released to police. She left two more pairs of underpants and several hangers in the backseat of the squad car. Guards then recovered $300 more in stolen clothing at the jail. Final tally: 30 panties, 20 bras, 4 robes, and one pair of men's silk pajamas.
From the police-beat column of Ohio's Upper Arlington News, December 4: "A woman who lives in the 1900 block of Tremont Road reported to police that while she was watching cable television at 11:15 p.m., Saturday, the channel changed to a pay-per-view adult movie. [When it happened again, she] told police she . . . spotted two teenage boys outside her living room window holding a remote control. She said the boys fled on foot."
Gilbert DaSilva, 46, was arrested in Peabody, Massachusetts, in January a week after he assaulted another man in a bar during a heated argument over who had the larger penis. When the man exposed himself to prove his claim, DaSilva slashed the man's organ, but the man was able to get to a hospital in time to save it.
Anthony Harrison, 25, was released from Folsom Prison on the morning of December 5, but was back behind bars in Sacramento before midnight after being chased down by police on stolen-car charges.
Creme de la Weird
In December a 51-year-old man with no criminal record was referred to psychiatrists after police picked him up in Parma, Ohio. He had just purchased 19 guns from a K Mart and told the clerk "not to come out tonight"; he also spent $7,000 on fabric at another store, telling the clerk that it was for "covering up the bodies." Parma police recognized the man as the one they'd picked up a week earlier for placing doughnuts on headstones at a local cemetery. (The man explained, "People get hungry.") Said a police officer, "We could have had a disaster."
Least Competent Person
Peter Robert Arnoldi was apprehended shortly after burglarizing the Co-Op Oil Association office in March in Nicollet, Minnesota. His arrest was facilitated by his checkbook (with driver's license inside), which had slipped out of his pocket during his getaway. Arresting officer Don Wersal, who found Arnoldi hiding in a truck near his home, said he told Arnoldi, "I've got your checkbook." Arnoldi had replied, "Yeah, I know. I'm fucked."
The Diminishing Value of Life
In March one man was shot in the head and another was critically injured in gunfire in a subway car in Queens, New York. According to witnesses, the melee was precipitated when one of the men accidentally stepped on the other's foot.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Shawn Belschwender.