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News of the Weird



Lead Story

In November officials of the Commonwealth Games, featuring athletes from 66 nations competing in Olympic-style events, announced that Ortho McNeil Company condoms will be the official condoms of the 1994 games in Victoria, British Columbia.

Police Blotter

New York City police arrested a 16-year-old boy named Eddie in July and charged him with sexual assault and the attempted murder of his stepmother, but released him two days later when an investigation revealed that it was his twin brother, Jesus, who should have been charged. The stepmother said she couldn't tell the boys apart and wasn't sure which one had assaulted her. DNA testing was pointless since Eddie and Jesus have the same DNA.

In response to a citizen complaint last March, a San Diego Police vice-squad officer persuaded the owner of DeRay's, a sexy-costume shop that had male mannequins in swimsuits in its window, to remove some of the stuffing in the mannequins' crotches.

The first armed robbery ever in the Cook Islands, which gained independence from New Zealand in 1965 and are home to 18,000 people, was reported in July. A local man took about $24,000 from a hotel, but was quickly captured.

In separate incidents in March, Police in Washington, D.C., and South San Francisco, California, arrested men they saw running down the street who aroused suspicion because they happened to be carrying cash registers. One was charged with robbing a convenience store, the other with burglarizing a bakery.

In November a white woman in Shawnee, Kansas, told police she was robbed at gunpoint in her home by a black man in his 20s. After rifling her purse and finding only about $20, he gave back the money, apologized, offered to shake her hand, and said, "I don't want you to think all black people are bad."

In July thieves with a blowtorch broke into an unmarked tractor trailer parked at an Orlando motel and stole bags containing 400,000 quarters while a guard slept in the truck's cab. Authorities said the loot was so heavy that it would have been difficult for even two full-size cars to have carried it off.

Damon Washington, 25, was arrested in November in San Francisco and charged with shoplifting cassette tapes at a record store. After an investigation police said that Washington had just escaped from a prison medical facility and wanted some tapes to play in the car while riding to his home near Los Angeles.

In August Darby Johnson, 24, was arrested in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, while sitting nude in a laundromat with a newspaper over his lap. He told police he owned only two sets of clothes and washing them separately would require two trips to the laundromat.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported in December that police officer N.S. Hall had arrested two men for engaging in sex in a car in Ogden, Utah, and then taken them to the police station. Due to a miscommunication, the men were locked up in the same cell--where they began having sex again.

In July a 17-year-old boy sitting alone on some steps in Manchester, New Hampshire, was approached by a police officer on patrol who just wanted to chat. According to the officer, the boy evaded several questions and then began coughing violently. As the officer rubbed his back to ease the coughing, the boy spit out about $200 worth of cocaine he'd swallowed when he saw the officer heading toward him.

The Weirdo-American Community

In October a Los Angeles jury convicted James Ambrose McGrath of 18 armed-robbery and weapons violations in nine area bank robberies, which had netted him almost $1 million. McGrath said his primary motive was "to warn the United States that Japan is planning a sneak thermonuclear attack against us." In January McGrath was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Least Justifiable Homicide

In November Carmen Friedewald-Hill, 26, was sentenced to 20 years in prison in Frederick, Maryland, for shooting her boyfriend, Ryan Gesner, to death. She shot him in the stomach during an argument over who loved the other more.

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

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