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News of the Weird

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In October police in Kewanee, Illinois, charged Roger Harlow with 81 counts of burglary. The insurance agent and part-time Sunday-school teacher was accused of entering the homes of friends and townspeople when he knew they'd be away and stealing about 1,000 valuables over a ten-year period. According to police, Harlow once was late for a golf date because he stopped off to burglarize the homes of his golf partners, and once he excused himself midway during a lunch date, allegedly dashing away to burglarize his companion's home and returning as the main course was being served. He also allegedly stole from the homes of friends who were hospitalized.

Creme de la Weird

Acting on parents' complaints, the Israeli army announced in July that a paratroop commander, Captain Shai Engler, would be court-martialed for repeatedly biting newly assigned men on the buttocks. Engler's subordinates would bring the men into Engler's tent and pull their pants down. Engler defended himself by saying, "The goal was, among other things, to test the sergeants' cheek muscles and to make sure they would get [moving]."

Couldn't Possibly Be True

At an October meeting of "alternative" physicians in Greensboro, North Carolina, Dr. Robert Willner, who believes AIDS is caused not by HIV but by the drug AZT, twice defiantly drew blood from an HIV-infected man and injected it into his own hand.

In August in Holland, Michigan, a ricocheting .38-caliber bullet from a gang fight hit a 16-year-old girl, who suffered only a bruise on her sternum because the bullet bounced off a metal clasp on the front of her brassiere.

In September, in response to the cease-fire in Northern Ireland, British prime minister John Major suspended an anti-IRA media policy that's been in effect since 1969, under which voices of IRA leaders weren't permitted on British radio or television, even on newscasts. The British Broadcasting Corporation used to show footage of IRA leaders but had to hire actors to supply the voices.

In September research supported by a British juice company found that 50,000 people in Great Britain seek hospital treatment every year for injuries received while struggling to open milk and juice cartons.

Brian Bucz, 29, told Chicago police in September that he'd already stolen $272,000 from his employer in 1994 and that he'd spent $261,000 of it on private "table dances" and other services at the Dollhouse strip club. He said he visited the club an average of three times a week, which meant he would have had to drop about $2,500 per visit.

Men-bite-dogs stories: In August an assault suspect in Simi Valley, California, was charged with biting a police dog. A month earlier in Auckland, New Zealand, another suspect was charged with biting off part of the ear of a police dog. In August in Kelowna, British Columbia, a man was convicted of biting his pet pit bull and sentenced to 40 hours of community service. But in July in Bytow, Poland, a dog stepped on his master's shotgun and sent about 60 pellets into the man's body.

Uh-oh

In August Margaret Jean Burke was cited by police in North Haven, New York, for driving while intoxicated after a crash involving a car driven by Bruce T. Davis. Said Davis, who operates the New York City-area personal-injury service advertised widely with the phone number 1-800-LAWYERS, "She certainly hit the wrong person."

The crematorium at the Meadow Lawn Memorial Park in San Antonio, Texas, was destroyed in June by a fire that broke out when workers began cremating a body that weighed more than 300 pounds. The facility's owner said the fat in the body raised the temperature inside the crematorium to an unusually high level, which caused the fire to rage out of control.

In October police in Rio de Janeiro broke up a fight between Jose Costa and the owner of a pit bull, Alexandre de Andrade. The incident began when Costa, who'd been drinking with friends, started to urinate against a tree and accidentally sprayed the dog, which was also urinating against the tree.

Another case of a rodent emerging from a toilet occurred in Ada, Oklahoma, in September, when a squirrel climbed out just after Charlene Netherton was finishing up. And in July a tourist spent eight days at a hospital in Thailand recovering from an outhouse incident in Cambodia: A pig that was rummaging around in the pit bit the man as he was seated.

In March the Tennessee Health Department recommended that physician Mary Spaniard be punished with a fine and additional sanctions for allegedly permitting her husband, who's also her office manager, to perform an unsupervised ultrasound test on a female patient in 1992. The test requires that the machine's probe be inserted into the patient's vagina.

I Don't Think So

According to the club pro at the Pyongyang golf course frequented by Kim Jong Il, North Korea's "Dear Leader" shot a 34 on a recent round of 18 holes, including five holes in one.

Send your weird news to Chuck Shepherd, Chicago Reader, 11 E. Illinois, Chicago 60611.

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

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