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News of the Weird



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In September Barry A. Briskman, 59, was sentenced to 20 years in prison in North Hollywood, California, for seducing two 13-year-old girls. According to the prosecutor, Briskman had convinced the girls that he was a space alien from the planet Cablell who was sent to earth to recruit a team of beautiful, superintelligent girls for a female-dominated utopia headed by Queen Hiternia, who was temporarily based atop the Tropicana hotel in Las Vegas. Briskman told the girls that for their trip through space he'd have to immunize them vaginally until their "IRF" counts reached 100. Following each sex session, he telephoned the "Andrak 4,000" computer to report the latest infusion and to get a readout on how many more IRFs each girl needed. Briskman is in prison in Nevada for a similar situation involving a 12-year-old girl.

Least Competent Criminals

A man not identified in newspaper accounts was arrested in Memphis after robbing a bank when he sought refuge in a building nearby that, unknown to him, housed the Memphis police department. Police had heard of the robbery on the radio and watched from an upper floor as the man fled the bank, ducked into an alley, hid the money, and innocently approached the front door of their building, where a phalanx of officers was waiting for him. When the man opened the door, he froze and asked, "This isn't the police department, is it?"

In May, two boys, ages 15 and 16, were arrested outside a bank in Santa Clarita, California, and booked on suspicion of attempted robbery. The boys had stood at the bank's front door five minutes before it opened, putting on ski masks and trying, unsuccessfully, to open the door. They then walked back to their getaway car to decide what to do next, and bank employees called police.

Oliver McCall, who lost his heavyweight boxing championship in England on September 2, arrived home in Saint Louis three weeks later with a payoff check for $1.4 million, which he was carrying in his sock. He was robbed by three men, whom he ran into again on the street a few minutes later. The men began to chase McCall, demanding to know why he was carrying so large a check. The chase drew the attention of police, who caught the men.

In August police in Lexington, North Carolina, arrested three men in their 20s and charged them with robbing a pedestrian and a clerk at a gas station. The men were caught after their getaway car swerved off the road and flipped over because the driver, while speeding, was counting the stolen money.

Jerry Wilson, 19, was arrested in Charleston, West Virginia, in August and charged with burglary after police found him lying on the floor of the apartment he'd broken into, bleeding badly. Wilson had called 911 because he'd cut himself breaking the window to get in.

In Des Moines, Iowa, in May Ruth Bradshaw, 93, awoke to find her house being burglarized and decided to pretend that she thought the perpetrator was a friend of her grandson. She welcomed him "back" into the home, served him breakfast, and insisted that he lie down and relax, at which point she called police. Bradshaw attributes her smarts to her career as a bootlegger and pastor.

Latest Religious Messages

In May some teenagers discovered the body of traveling salesman DeWitt Finley, 56, in a truck on a back road in Oregon's Klamath Mountains. He'd starved to death over a nine-week period in which he was stranded in heavy snow, even though the road was clear several hundred yards away. Diary entries indicated that Finley hadn't ventured out of his truck because he was certain God would rescue him.

In July the pig wrestling event at the annual Saint Patrick Catholic Church roundup in Stephensville, Wisconsin, was canceled because of complaints that the pigs squealed too much. Said a church spokesperson, "Some city folks come out here and don't understand."

An Associated Press story in September reported on the popularity of Jesus Malverde as the adopted patron saint of drug dealers in Culiacan, Mexico. Local farmers regularly worship icons of him in local buildings, crediting him for their success at growing and smuggling drugs.

Nathan Frederick Klimosko, 21, was sentenced to two years' probation in Kelowna, British Columbia, for hitting and choking his girlfriend until she was unconscious. The fight started in a car when the two disagreed over his interpretation of a certain passage from the Bible.

In March Michael Beaudin, 36, was sentenced to 18 months in prison in Montreal for negligently causing the death of his five-year-old son Jonathan. Beaudin, a member of the Rose and the Cross religious sect, thought his son needed to be "purified," and gave him enemas with over 400 times the recommended amount of water.

Stephen J. Miller, 16, was nabbed by a statue of the Virgin Mary after he trespassed at the Sacred Heart School in Groton, Connecticut, in May. According to police, Miller tried to scale the roof of the school building, lost his footing, and fell, knocking over the 400-pound statue on the way down. After he hit the ground it fell on his legs and pinned him. He was trapped for two hours before help arrived.

Thinning the Herd

In Dubach, Louisiana, David Hanna, 38, was accidentally killed when his friend Billy Barham missed while trying to shoot a can off Hanna's head.

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

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