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News of the Weird

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Lead Story

Mark J. Davis, 28, was charged with trying to break into a dentist's office in August in Aurora, Ohio. In his van police found dental tools and orthodontic devices, and in his home in nearby Willoughby they found photo enlargements of women's mouths as they were undergoing dental work. In Davis's pockets were 20 driver's licenses that had been reported missing--19 belonging to women who wear, or did wear, braces. Said Aurora police chief Steve Poling, there is "something weird going on here."

Reached the Boiling Point

In July Lawrence Werner was charged with disorderly conduct at the Oxford Valley golf course in Levittown, Pennsylvania. Werner and his group had tried to move past a slower-moving group to get to a tee, provoking a man in the slower group to threaten Werner with a club. Werner then pulled a .38-caliber pistol out of his golf bag, and his group was allowed to pass.

Dong Huibo, 24, died in August of injuries inflicted by one of Shanghai's notoriously aggressive female bus drivers. The incident began when Dong took issue with the woman's description of his buttocks. She swore at him, slapped his face, and grabbed and then kicked his testicles. As he scrambled to get out through the window, the driver hit the accelerator, hurling Dong to the street, where he died.

In June Robert A. Chase, 45, was charged with threatening an 11-year-old boy with a knife in Madison, Wisconsin. The boy was watching Chase play basketball with another adult when the opponent accused Chase of traveling. Seeking an impartial opinion, Chase asked the boy, and he agreed that Chase had traveled. Chase then allegedly grabbed the boy, held a knife to his throat, and asked, "Now. Did I travel?"

Motorist Albert Simon, 28, whose car broke down on the Manhattan Bridge in New York City at 12:50 one morning in September, looked under the hood and then pulled out a pistol and fired four shots through the windshield.

Elizabeth Teague, 30, jailed in Burlington, Vermont, pending trial for killing her boss in 1991, was charged recently with attacking her cell mate, Karen Jarvis, who had objected to Teague's reading the Bible out loud. According to Jarvis, Teague "pounced on me like a wild animal. She was banging my head against the concrete wall, and she was banging my face against the metal on the top of the bunk bed."

Robert Davis, 28, was charged with assaulting a secretary at the Advanced Power Products factory where they both worked, in Hillside, New Jersey. According to the local prosecutor, Davis reacted badly when the secretary gave him some personal mail that was addressed to him at work.

Government in Action

The Oklahoma City Oklahoman reported in June that a state-run juvenile counseling center in Tecumseh had 172 full-time employees and 18 other professionals on contract for its 13 clients.

County administrator Melvin S. Bridgett of Charles County, Maryland, was charged in August with theft from the county-owned White Plains golf course. Bridgett, the highest-ranking and highest-paid employee of the county, worked weekends as a clerk at the golf shop. On at least three occasions, police said, his thefts were videotaped by a hidden camera, and marked bills were found on him.

The Dallas Morning News reported that the city's school superintendent would authorize periodic records checks of public-school employees. The superintendent's announcement came in response to the paper's May investigation that revealed that the city's public schools employ at least 185 people who have been convicted of felonies, including two convicted murderers.

The borough council in Millbourne, Pennsylvania, voted in June to make it illegal to grow corn or other vegetables to a height of six feet or taller. Asked the purpose of the law, a police officer said, "If you have eight-foot cornstalks, it's easy for people to hide behind them."

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power was ordered in April to pay $333,000 in penalties because its property-tax payment arrived late--after it had been sent back for $3.40 in additional postage.

Inexplicable

The Ontario Press Council recently dismissed a complaint filed by Allan Sorensen against the Toronto Sun, which had reported that Sorensen had choked his ex-girlfriend. Sorensen's complaint was that his reputation was damaged because the paper engaged in "speculation" that he had used only one hand to choke her while the other was forced into her mouth. In fact, he said, he had used both hands to choke her.

The Diminishing Value of Life

Police in Georgetown, Texas, arrested George Vasquez, 17, in February and charged him with shooting a 12-year-old girl and her 8-year-old brother to death in the children's home. Police said Vasquez chose where to commit murder by means of eeny-meeny-miney-mo.

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

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