Security worker Steven Radford, 49, of Long Beach, California, told Geraldo Rivera in August that he's spent around $20,000 on plastic surgery to make himself look like Tom Arnold. He said he figures another $10,000 might complete the job.
A woman in Pearl River, Louisiana, reported to police in October that someone who'd broken into her house left without taking anything but had put her garbage on the porch and cleaned all of her ashtrays. And in Woodbridge, New Jersey, in July, a resident also reported that someone who'd broken into her house left without taking anything but had moved a TV set into the den and a camera from one table to another.
In an October interview with the Raleigh News and Observer, U.S. representative Frederick K. Heineman said his combined congressional salary and pension income of $183,000 a year makes him merely lower-middle class. Said Heineman, "When I see someone who is making anywhere from $300,000 to $750,000 a year, that's middle class."
In April Reginald Currie, 36, and Dwight Lewter, 37, were convicted of robbing the Hudson City Savings Bank in Newark, New Jersey. According to federal prosecutors, Currie, who'd pulled off the robbery by himself, was captured within 24 hours because he'd accidentally left a picture ID in a bag at the bank. Prosecutors later discovered that Currie had promised Lewter a cut of the proceeds if he would compose a holdup note for Currie to use.
In September Carlos Trujillo was discovered at Kennedy Airport in New York with 189 $100 bills rolled up in condoms inside his stomach. However, officials weren't certain why Trujillo had gone to the trouble, since he was also carrying about $60,000 in his pockets and carry-on items.
In August Sophie Rodier, her husband, Real Plouffe, and their two-year-old daughter were accosted by a woman on the street in Montreal. Said Plouffe, "She asked my wife how much she wanted for our baby. Then the woman handed her a blank check and told her to write in whatever amount of money she wanted." Plouffe said the family fled.
At a September hearing for Charles Hocq, accused of battery in Springfield, Illinois, Judge Roger Holmes asked Hocq standard questions to determine how much his bail should be. When Hocq said he didn't understand one of the questions, Holmes then asked, "If I made the bail amount lower, would you flee the area and not come back for trial?" According to the Springfield Journal, Hocq replied, "I would." (Holmes then doubled the proposed bail to $250,000.)
In December a jury in Washington, D.C., awarded $175,000 to Mary Jo Smith, who said she fell off a parking-garage ramp at a hotel while rushing to a luncheon featuring Hillary Rodham Clinton. Only $7,500 was for medical expenses. Smith is the wife of Senator Robert Smith of New Hampshire, a Republican who recently voted for legislation that would reduce such large payouts that go beyond actual expenses.
From an October letter to the editor from convicted murderer Bruce C. Brenizer to the Wisconsin State Journal, the daily newspaper in Madison, which had published a story on him: "I am frankly disgusted with the sloppy and sensationalistic reporting that appears in your paper....You are correct in suggesting that I...was responsible for the death of my father, his live-in girlfriend and her three children. But I was never charged with the murder of my half-brother as you reported. That is the trouble with you tabloid journalists, the facts are just not important to you." (The Journal replied: "Mr. Brenizer is correct. The five people he murdered included his half-sister, not his half-brother.")
According to a story in Oregon's Eugene Register-Guard in July, convicted con man Anthony Fiederer started the local Alzheimer's Foundation in 1993, raising $36,000, of which Fiederer allegedly embezzled $14,000. The newspaper also reported that Fiederer initially used his involvement with his foundation to satisfy a community-service sentence on a previous swindling conviction and that he used foundation funds to make court-ordered restitution to victims in that case.
Least Justifiable Homicides
Constance Agnes Miller, 60, was charged with beating her mother to death in Erie, Pennsylvania, in September, allegedly because her mother wouldn't stop calling her Agnes.
In September Mark E. Mire was convicted in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for shooting to death a man in a bar in 1994 because the man had said Mire's dog was ugly.
Send your weird news to Chuck Shepherd, Chicago Reader, 11 E. Illinois, Chicago 60611.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Shawn Belschwender.