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News of the Weird

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Lead Stories

According to a report in the People newspaper in London in July, clandestine British cameras set up to spy on the Irish Republican Army also recorded much kinky sex. The newspaper said the British government is planning to use some of the footage in an upcoming propaganda campaign, including episodes in which IRA leaders have sex with the wives of their jailed comrades.

Willie King, 37, was arrested moments after he had allegedly mugged a 94-year-old woman in a housecoat just outside her front door in New York's Greenwich Village in July. The victim turned out to be the mother of Vincent "Chin" Gigante, the reputed godfather of the Genovese crime family. (At press time‚ King was still alive.)

Brian Smith, 42, was charged in Cassville, Missouri, in July with locking his three kids in 55-gallon drums during the day while he was at work. Jeffrey Hoveland, 50, pleaded guilty in Saint Paul, Minnesota, in July to using an electrified dog collar to punish his two sons, ages 9 and 11. And Jan and Joyce Duplantis were arrested in New Orleans in June and charged with forcing their two female wards, ages eight and nine, to live outside in a crude playhouse so as not to mess up their apartment.

The Continuing Crisis

In June the Arkansas State Medical Board ordered family physician Jewel Byron Grimmett Jr., of Waldo, to start keeping written records. At a hearing Grimmett had told board members that in the 35 years he'd been practicing medicine he'd kept all patient histories, including prescription records, in his head. Grimmett's license wasn't revoked because he is Waldo's only doctor and because he treats about half his patients for free.

In March, after the parents of Huang Pin-jen, 27, and Chang Shu-mei, 26, of Kaohsiung, Taiwan, refused to bless their wedding, the couple drove a car off a cliff but survived, tried to hang themselves but survived, and leaped from atop a 12-story building but survived with multiple fractures after landing on an adjacent roof. In April the parents reconsidered giving their blessings.

On May 23 the bodies of two men from the Dominican Republic were discovered near airports. One was found near JFK airport in Long Beach, New York, the other about ten miles from Miami International Airport. Both bodies had grease marks, and police believe the men had fallen from the wheel wells of airplanes, where they had been stowed away during flight, hoping to gain entry to the United States.

Least Competent People

Fifteen New York City police officers were indicted in July and as many as 700 other city employees are under investigation for not paying federal taxes. The cops had bought fake documents from scam artists who had convinced them that, despite the fact that they were police officers, they could legally claim not to be subject to government jurisdiction. (According to the documents the officers were "nonimmigrant nonresidents" who are "alien to the United States.") In each case the city payroll office unquestioningly accepted the form and did not withhold federal taxes, in some cases for up to four years.

Police inspector Leif Ole Topnes in Oslo, Norway, admitted in July that "our body-search techniques aren't good enough," acknowledging that a male prisoner had been locked up for two weeks in the women's jail, despite having been "body searched" at the Sola Airport and then "strip searched" at the jail. The man was wearing female makeup and had taken hormone treatments to develop breasts. But Topnes admitted that the prisoner was obviously a man and should have been detected.

Jeffrey J. Pyrcioch, 19, and an alleged accomplice were arrested in West Lafayette, Indiana, in May on theft and fraud charges. Pyrcioch allegedly cashed checks that he had written with disappearing ink, apparently believing the checks would be blank by the time they were presented to the bank for collection. But traces of ink remained, and police said Pyrcioch would have had better luck had he not used checks with his name and account number printed on them.

In April Edward Lopez, 19, and Eric Harb, 18, were arrested in Lincolnwood, Illinois, after they approached a department-store clerk and asked politely if they could pay for clothes with a stolen credit card.

Police in Columbus, Ohio, arrested Timothy E. Lebo, 39, and Charles J. Kinser, 32, around 5 AM on June 5 and charged them with ripping an ATM out of a bank's wall and attempting to cart it away in the trunk of their car. When questioned by police, the pair tried to convince officers that the ATM was a washing machine.

In March, in Clawson, Michigan, and in January, in Federal Way, Washington, parents mistakenly packed cans of Bud Ice beer in their schoolchildren's lunch boxes. The Clawson parents said they mistook the Bud Ice for Hawaiian Punch and the Federal Way parents said they mistook the beer can for a holiday can of Pepsi.

The Weirdo-American Community

Terry Klemann, 42, received several traffic citations and was ticketed for filing a false report after her car rammed two pickup trucks in Belleville, Illinois, in July. An apparently serious Klemann steadfastly maintained that her cocker spaniel, Mutzie II, had gotten behind the wheel and maneuvered the car into the trucks. Later she told the Belleville News-Democrat that several years ago the original Mutzie had driven a friend's car into a tree in New York City.

Update

In July Rodney King was convicted in Alhambra, California, of misdemeanor hit-and-run for injuring his estranged wife by driving away while her arm was still reaching into his car. He was acquitted of more serious charges, including assault with a deadly weapon. Outside the courtroom, a triumphant King told reporters, "I'm going to Disneyland."

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 entitled "Got Lucky?", by Shawn Belschwender.

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