Houston police arrested a 46-year-old man in February and charged him with molesting his 12-year-old granddaughter. Police officers and social workers suspect that the man is not only her grandfather but her father and suspect--since the girl is five months pregnant--that he is also the father of what would be his own great-granddaughter. (The suspect denied all accusations.)
Hit man Chanh Thong Vo, 24, was killed in what was most likely a contract murder in Toronto in December. Vo was known in the community for holding his .45-caliber handgun in the front waistband of his jeans, and because of an earlier accident, he was known as No Wang Vo.
Police in Mineola, New York, filed child-endangerment charges against school bus driver Robert Horton, 22, and his friend in September. Their only offense was telling scary stories to their five- and six-year-old passengers.
Frank Edward Gould, 48, was jailed in November in Shelburne, Nova Scotia, for 45 days on a DUI charge. A police officer spotted Gould's truck weaving on the highway, and as Gould pulled into a gas station the officer drove in behind him. According to the officer, Gould got out, walked over to the patrol car, leaned in, and told the officer, "Fill 'er up."
From a Wisconsin paper, the Wauwatosa News-Times, October 26, 1995: "A man who was found in a women's restroom at Mayfair Mall was issued a citation for disorderly conduct Oct. 17. The man admitted to police that he had entered the restroom because he thought it would be a good place to meet women."
Two men and a woman were arrested in Bentonville, Arkansas, in December and charged with kidnapping Jason Stanley. They'd demanded a ransom from his stepfather of either $200,000 or 50 pounds of marijuana. During his four days of captivity, Stanley, who's 6 feet and 155 pounds, was bound in plastic tape, stored in a zippered suitcase, and toted around in the kidnappers' car. After Stanley convinced them that he'd help commit crimes if they would unpack him, he escaped and notified police.
In Peterborough, Ontario, Gerald Dixon, 26, was sentenced to six years in prison in February for robbing a bank in Montreal. He was arrested a few hours after the robbery as he attempted to deposit his loot into his account at the same bank.
According to Albuquerque police officer Gene Marquez, one of the local credit-card fraud arrestees he had just picked up in October expressed excitement when told that a unit from the TV show Cops was in town and might be along in a few minutes. According to Marquez, the man said, "My mama always told me someday I'd be on Cops."
Police in Nashville were called to a Laundromat in January after a customer reported that a man had come in from the rain, put a few coins in a dryer, and climbed in to get dry.
In October a police officer in Redondo Beach, California, arrested a driver after a short chase and charged him with drunk driving. Officer Joseph Fonteno had noticed a white Mazda rolling down Pacific Coast Highway with half of a traffic-light pole, including the lights, lying across its hood. The driver had hit the pole on a median strip and kept driving. According to Fonteno, when the driver was asked about the pole, he said, "It came with the car when I bought it."
Police in Philadelphia in October said a 14-year-old boy was stabbed in the cheek by a 15-year-old near Northeast High School. Police said the younger boy was in the process of stealing a bicycle when the older boy informed him that he wanted to steal the bicycle himself. The two then fought; the younger boy got in a strike with his bolt cutters before the older boy stabbed him.
Distracted burglars: In Canton, Massachusetts, "Soft Foot," who sometimes cooks a meal in the kitchen during a job without waking the residents, remained on the lam. And in Sacramento, in December, accused burglar Brett Woolley, 25, allegedly had the owner's stereo and other items lined up by the front door but then decided to take a bubble bath; he was sleeping in the tub when the owner returned, and police woke him up.
Louisiana resident Laurie Wilder Maschek, 32, Saint Tammany Parish teacher of the year in 1992, was arrested in October for growing marijuana.
Doughnuts in the news: The Los Angeles International Airport police department opened an investigation of a January incident in which one of its officers allegedly passed a fatal freeway accident scene at which no officer was yet present to continue on his way to the Dough Boy doughnut shop for a cup of coffee. And in December the police chief of Quebec City ordered his officers to stay away from doughnut shops during their breaks to improve the department's image. Such was the outcry that he rescinded the order the first week in January.
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.