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News of the Weird



Lead Stories

In a procedure denounced by the Association of Professional Piercers, piercing apprentice Joe Aylward of Phoenix recently had a plate implanted just under the skin of his skull to allow him to screw decorative spikes into his head. Another man reportedly plans to have devil-type horns made of coral similarly implanted.

Incriminating fingers: In Amsterdam in August and in Miami in June, men were arrested based on fingerprints taken from their own severed fingers (bitten off and shot off, respectively) that they abandoned at crime scenes. And Victor Arreola, 23, was arrested in November at the Scripps Hospital in Chula Vista, California, where he had gone after he allegedly tried to hijack a car and lost his finger in a slammed door. (According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the police asked Arreola if the finger they found was his. When he said yes, they arrested him. Arreola then asked to take another look at the finger and decided it wasn't his--thus allowing the time to expire when the finger could have been grafted back onto his hand.)

Los Angeles County authorities decided not to charge Texan Robert Salazar in the death of his employee Sandra Orellana, who fell from the eighth-floor balcony at the Industry Hills Sheraton, where the two were staying during a business conference. Salazar said Orellana fell accidentally after she changed positions while the two were having sex braced on a handrail.

Police Blotter

In August police detective Earl Feugill foiled a robbery at a fast-food restaurant in Pembroke Pines, Florida, by disguising himself and his shotgun as a tree alongside the drive-through window. Feugill, whose disguise consisted of a camouflage outfit, strips of burlap, and black face paint, had staked out the restaurant because of a string of similar robberies.

In August three teenage boys were arrested for allegedly writing vulgar graffiti on several buildings in Hallsville, Missouri. Police chief Pete Herring said the crimes were particularly serious because they frightened the elderly. City attorney John Whiteside agreed, saying that the slurs were "mean-spirited" because one of the targets, Casey's convenience store, was the "psychic center" of the town.

If only they put their minds to it: In the ten-week period before the summer Olympics in Atlanta, federal, state, and local police arrested 765 career criminals (including 14 wanted for murder and 57 for bail violations in violent felonies) in that city and the Olympic venues of Macon, Georgia, and Birmingham, Alabama, creating one of the biggest short-term reductions in crime ever reported for major cities.

In July police in Dayton, Ohio, said Janet Denise Hailey, 40, climbed into a Wells Fargo Armored Services truck and had such excellent sex with driver Aaron McKie that he didn't immediately notice she left clutching a bag containing $80,000.

Police in Sanger, Texas, said four teenagers, including the police chief's son, broke into a funeral home in September intending to steal embalming fluid so they could smoke cigarettes dipped in it. When they couldn't find any, they cut off the finger of a corpse and took turns trying to smoke it to draw out the absorbed fluid.

Can't Stop Myself

In September, Paul Carthy, 25, arrested for shoplifting from a liquor store in Exeter, England, pleaded guilty to a second theft: he had stolen the magnetic letters off the name board that was held up to his face when his mug shot was taken.

In October police in Tokyo arrested Teruko Hamakawa, 52, for illegal interference with a man's business, charging her with calling him on the phone at work and then hanging up--16,000 times in a one-year period. She was angry that, after they had exchanged photos seeking a romantic introduction, he failed to call, which she thought was "impolite."

In September, according to police in Junction City, Kansas, David Bell, 30, just released from prison for car theft, walked out the door and stole another car to get home. And in October in Belton, Missouri, William B. Singleton, 24, just released from jail on a larceny charge, allegedly broke into a vending machine in the lobby of the police station and stole a 60-cent Strawberry Twisteroo while he waited for his ride.

Undignified Deaths

In October a 49-year-old San Francisco stockbroker, who his wife said "totally zoned when he ran," accidentally jogged off a 200-foot-high cliff on his daily run. In September in Detroit, a 41-year-old man drowned in two feet of water after he got stuck when he squeezed through an 18-inch-wide sewer grate to retrieve his car keys. And in September a seven-year-old boy fell off a 100-foot-high bluff near Ozark, Arkansas, after he lost his grip swinging on a cross that marked the spot where another person had fallen to his death in 1990.


News of the Weird reported in March 1994 and July 1995 on men who were ordered to continue child-support payments despite DNA tests that revealed the kids weren't theirs. In the latest case, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled in July that because Darryl Littles failed to get a court-ordered blood test in 1982 (he said he was indigent and not represented by a lawyer), he would be permanently regarded as the father of 15-year-old Brandi even though a 1994 test showed he could not be.

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.

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