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News of the Weird

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Lead Story

Tara Georgianna Gephart Judkins, 37, was accused in February of performing oral sex on a Viacom Cablevision employee in Nashville in exchange for a cable TV hookup. A Nashville Banner reporter failed to ascertain whether she received premium channels or just basic cable.

Least Competent People

Fleeing from the robbery of a children's clothing store in Los Angeles in October, Douglas Eric Girard, 32, and his colleague Frank M. Teresi got in line at a nearby McDonald's, hoping to be inconspicuous as police flooded the area. However, both were heavily tattooed; Girard had a gun in his waistband; and both men had wads of money bulging out of their socks. After a standoff, they were captured.

Ronald S. Terry, 25, was arrested near Morristown, New Jersey, for robbery of a gas station in January because he forgot to check the cars in the driveway, one of which was a police car with an officer inside. When Terry emerged from the station clutching cash and saw the officer, he ran back inside and flung the cash at the attendant, but was arrested anyway.

In November two men were arrested in Clayton, Missouri, for stealing copper gutters and drain spouts from several homes and selling them as scrap. Police believe that it took the men "several hours" to dismantle the parts (and would cost the home owners several thousand dollars to repair), but that the subsequent sales netted the thieves only "$8 to $10" on the scrap market.

In March, Daniel Smith and Louis Reed were arrested for car theft in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. They came to the attention of police as they slowly backed a huge green car past a police station to get to a gas station. They had stolen a car that had no forward gear.

Police in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, arrested Alfons Kessler, 47, in March for attempting to murder his girlfriend's husband. It was Kessler's fifth attempt at the man. He had been unsuccessful using a gun, a truck, a Molotov cocktail, and a crossbow, and this time a pipe bomb.

Fifteen gang members were arrested in Nashville last June after terrorizing the clerk at a formal wear shop. They had gone to be outfitted for a friend's funeral and then had begun trashing the place. Fortunately for police, they had first filled out applications for the tuxedos, and police were able to call their homes and entice them back to the shop to arrest them.

In October Los Angeles police arrested James Richardson, 32, and Jeffrey Defalco, 18, for stealing a three-ton safe that had been left on a sidewalk pending arrival of a forklift to move it. The safe was empty, but the men thought it contained $6,000. As they dragged the safe behind their car, it created a deafening noise, and the metal on the pavement created such a spectacular shower of sparks that police were alerted. Officers followed the gouges in the pavement and arrested the men.

Police Blotter

Jesus Lezcano, 20, was arrested in Westminster, California, last July on suspicion of drunk driving. Police say he had driven over 15 miles with an emergency telephone call box stuck in his windshield after he had smashed into it on the San Diego Freeway. A police officer said Lezcano was so drunk that he did not appear to realize the call box was in his windshield.

Convicted killer Daniel Faries was indicted in August on charges that he earned $2 million in a direct-mail credit-card-fraud scam operated out of his jail cell in Dade County, Florida. Jail records indicate Faries had placed more than 1,000 phone calls from his cell, and when the cell was searched in 1989 guards found 2,000 credit cards.

In October a 24-year-old man told police that a woman had forced her way into his car at knife point one afternoon in Ocala, Florida, kidnapped him, made him submit to oral sex, and then made him sign a paper stating that he owed her some money.

Ramon Leon, 28, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, was sentenced to 13 years in prison in January for selling cocaine to undercover police officers. He would have received a mandatory 20-year sentence if he had sold police the legal threshold amount of 8 ounces (which undercover officers had requested), but he had cheated them out of 0.2 ounces and thus received a lesser sentence.

In September police in Ames, Iowa, sought a magazine salesman accused of entering an Iowa State University woman's dorm room and kissing, punching, and kicking her until she finally agreed to purchase a subscription.

From the police column of the Boothbay (Maine) Register: "On Thursday, Sept. 27, at 4:53 p.m., on the Gardiner Road, complainant reported that a known subject drove toward the complainant and crossed the center line in front of him. The offending subject, who was warned not to do it again, stated he was just fooling around."

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

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