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News of the Weird

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Lead Story

Jesus Lopez, 18, was killed near Los Angeles last month when two cars accidentally struck him on the Pacific Coast Highway early one Saturday morning. He was standing in a southbound lane with his trousers down, mooning passing vehicles.

People in the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time

Thomas Nick Floratos, a county prosecutor and candidate for district attorney in Sacramento County, California, was arrested in a June street sweep of prostitutes' customers. He said he was just "working on a case," but his supervisor said Floratos was on a two-day holiday.

A 13-year-old rape victim, leading sheriff's officers around Ruskin, Florida, in July, looking for her abductors' car, identified a car parked in front of a house. She was mistaken, but the car turned out to belong to a 16-year-old boy who had also participated in the rape.

A 54-year-old Baltimore man was found by police sitting pantsless on a sidewalk with burns on his thigh. He had picked up a wad of money dropped by a fleeing bank robber just in time for the chemical dye pack to explode.

The Litigious Society

Dianne Fossati filed a lawsuit in June against a theater in Broward County, Florida, for a 1988 incident during Three Men and a Baby in which a rat in the theater scampered up her arm and became trapped in her hair for 30 seconds before he clawed his way free. She said she might never go to a movie again.

Ron, Kravitz, 22, filed suit in June against Mickey Mantle Sports Productions Inc. for injuries he suffered last September while watching a company video in his den to improve his base-stealing technique. While attempting to "beat" Tom Seaver's pickoff throw to first base, he crashed into a table, resulting in torn ligaments and a severed tendon.

Oops!

The city of London, Ohio, sold its municipal garage in July when officials accidentally included it in the deed for an adjacent building. City officials debated whether to buy the garage back or rent it from the new owner.

Patricia Spahic, 63, sitting in the third row during a Pittsburgh production of Hamlet in July, was cut on the head when Hamlet's dagger slipped out of his hand and sailed into the audience.

Robert Cerney and Debbie Burmeister had to be rescued by police from their folded sofa bed in February in Winona, Minnesota, after performing a "stupid human trick" they had conceived for Late Night With David Letterman. On the show that night, a college student had extricated himself from a folded sofa bed. When the police arrived, Burmeister was half-naked and trapped inside at the waist, while Cerney was completely enveloped and having trouble breathing. Least Competent People

Anthony Colella, 49, stole $2,100 from a Brooklyn savings bank in July, then made his getaway on foot for a block and a half before a mugger leaped from a station wagon and stole the money. Colella reported the mugging to the police and told them where he had gotten the money, whereupon he was arrested.

The police department in Montgomery County, Maryland, recently appointed a special officer in charge of the "foreign-born" community after an incident in the home of a Hispanic family, none of whose members spoke English. Officers, responding to a 911 burglary call and trying to understand screaming family members, ejected a son from the house, forced the suspect back inside (over the family's protests), and drove away.

Three Oregon men were arrested earlier this year and charged with two attempted robberies. One of the three fired two shots at a store clerk. One shot missed and the other bruised the clerk, who then threw the robber out of the store and summoned friends. The three then drove to rob a gas station, there firing a shot that disabled the only telephone within 60 miles. Fleeing, the three passed by the first store, whereupon the clerk's friends began firing at them. When one robber tried to fire back, his shot disabled the transmission in the getaway truck.

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

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