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News of the Weird

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Lead Story

Jeremy Lynch, a photography student at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute in Toronto, claimed in November that Lake Ontario is so polluted with mercury and iron that he has been able to develop photographs using lake water captured around factories without adding any chemicals. A Toronto pollution control official said he did not dispute Lynch's claim.

Police Blotter

In March a convenience store in Tempe, Arizona, was robbed by a barefoot man armed only with a fork. Asked to comment on the use of a fork in a robbery, police sergeant Al Taylor said it was "not normal."

Mark T. Sikes, 27, was arrested in Brandon, Florida, in April and charged with performing a "lewd and lascivious" act in front of children. Allegedly he was sitting in a parking lot, nude, smoking a cigar, and two children had stopped to watch him.

Benjamin Carnesoltas, 36, was convicted in April in Lees Summit, Missouri, of slashing a jail guard with a razor blade, despite the fact that no weapon was ever found. The prosecutor convinced the jury that Carnesoltas, a circus performer who can swallow and regurgitate objects at will, had gulped down the blade.

35-year-old Stephen Douglas of the Bronx was charged last summer in Milford, Connecticut, with what police say is the largest shoplifting attempt in the city's history. Police say he had more than 2,300 dollars' worth of over-the-counter medicines (including 100 boxes of Bufferin) in a shopping cart that he was calmly wheeling out of the store, hoping no one would notice.

Curtis L. Gross, 30, was arrested in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in August. After allegedly beating his wife, he apparently attempted to commit suicide by locking himself inside the trunk of his car as it was inching forward into a lake, but the car came to rest in shallow water.

Michael Russ, 33, was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, on assault and stolen truck charges on Labor Day after he attempted to elude police by dashing through backyards. When captured, Russ had his shirt off and was sitting on a porch trying to look like a guest at a cookout.

Rhode Island state senator Dominick J. Ruggerio was arrested and charged in September with shoplifiting condoms.

Michelle Hendrix, 42, who was named Mother of the Year in Oroville, California, in May, pleaded guilty to methamphetamine possession charges in September.

The $1,200 Electro-Ejaculator (used to extract semen for artificial insemination) was stolen in April from the Large Animal Clinic in East Lansing, Michigan.

Not Supposed to Happen

During a week-long sting operation in Saint Paul, Minnesota, in July in which female decoys arrested men for soliciting prostitutes, police reported two unusual incidents. A 16-year-old boy and a 35-year-old man together solicited one decoy and were arrested, after which police discovered they were father and son. Also, a 13-year-old boy on his bicycle approached a decoy and asked if she wanted "to party." She told the boy to scram, but when he said, "Honey, I've got $35, and it's burning a hole in my pocket," she decided to arrest him.

Businessman Andy Barrett of Pembroke, New Hampshire, reported a building missing from his property in August. It was an unassembled prefabricated structure weighing 15 tons, with steel girders and beams 35 feet long and 3 feet thick and that had taken him four hours to unload.

A woman in Charlottesville, Virginia, reported to police in September that someone had stolen $200 from inside her wooden leg while she napped in her home.

Only a few hours after their wedding in September, John and Jill Mitchell were arrested for disorderly conduct at the Delavan House Hotel in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. Police arrived to find them slugging and biting each other and pulling each other's hair in a dispute over where to spend the night.

A 64-year-old overweight woman in Hartsville, Tennessee, entered a hospital several months ago for surgery on what doctors said was a tumor on her buttocks. Instead they found a four-inch pork chop bone, which they removed. They estimated it had been in place for five to ten years, but the woman had no recollection of having sat on it.

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

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