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News of the Weird


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Lead Story

Six U.S. soldiers who recently deserted sensitive intelligence positions in West Germany were found in Gulf Breeze, Florida, in July, and under questioning revealed that they had been spiritually chosen to greet spaceships and to work toward achieving world nirvana. (Gulf Breeze was the location of a large number of UFO sightings in 1987.) Earlier the six had predicted that Jesus' spaceship would land on August 6 and would be accompanied by war in Lebanon. (On August 2, Iraq invaded Kuwait.)

Police Blotter

In July police in Taipei arrested seven people, including three army officers, on suspicion of demanding kickbacks on the sale of socks to soldiers. The maximum penalty for the civilians is seven years in prison, but the officers face execution.

Seven Tokyo schoolteachers were reprimanded in July for punishing two boys, ages 13 and 14, for bullying their classmates by burying them up to their necks in sand and leaving them on the beach for 20 minutes while waves swept over them.

Dallas police identified a suspect in a shoe store burglary in May by fingerprint--directly from his finger, which had fallen on the floor after being severed by glass as he tried to climb through a window.

Noreen and Rodney LeBaron were arraigned in Salt Lake City in June on charges that they used $300,000 worth of forged checks to pay restitution after their previous conviction for passing forged checks.

Police in Texas City, Texas, arrested two 12-year-old boys in June for attempting to rob a credit union by pretending to have guns underneath their shirts. The manager's skepticism provoked them to run off, their nine-year-old lookout in tow, whereupon they were arrested.

Two students were arrested in Livingston, Louisiana, in May after they sailed paper airplanes at the teachers' section during high school graduation ceremonies.

Thomas J. Schooley, 20, was arrested in Evansville, Indiana, in May for robbing two men who were coming out of an alley late at night. The men emptied their pockets, yielding 11 cents.

Alvin Owens Bray, 45, was arrested in Keene, Texas, in March after he drove his pickup truck through the First State Bank's lobby. The bank president, who rushed to the truck after the incident, said Bray told him he had $7 million on him and asked, "(Is) this the drive-through?"

Police in El Paso, Texas, said in May they were looking for a young woman in her 20s who, wearing a wrestler's mask, had tied at least three boys, aged seven to nine, to a tree and given them hickeys on the neck.

Recently the Veterans Administration filed its largest-ever fraud case against Darrell Brown, 53, who it says has been feigning paralysis for years. He allegedly had reported to VA facilities for over 20 years in a wheelchair after tightly binding his arms and legs each time. Brown walked into court in March to defend himself against charges that he bilked the government out of more than $700,000.

A man whose name was not given in press accounts was arrested in Kansas City in March and charged with assault and shoplifting after grocery store security guards apprehended him. The Kansas City Star talked to several witnesses who reported that the man was wearing pants when first confronted, that he was not wearing pants when led away, and that no one saw how he had managed to lose his pants during the scuffle.

Two inmates at the Logan County jail in Utah were charged with various crimes in February after having made their third foray of the evening from the jail (the last time to set a fire in the sheriff's office evidence room). They first escaped through a crawl hole to get beer from the wife of one of the three, then returned to jail. A few minutes later, they left to steal weapons and get more beer, then returned. After their third adventure, an officer noticed empty beer cans outside the office door.

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

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