News Quirks (12/24/14) | News Quirks | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice
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News Quirks (12/24/14) 

Compiler's note: Chronicling human folly gets harder every year because as foibles proliferate, the odd seems commonplace. These unbelievable-but-true news stories, however, stand out as the year's quirkiest.

Caught Stupid

When the police officer who stopped Douglas Glidden, 25, in Livermore Falls, Maine, found marijuana in his vehicle, Glidden insisted the pot couldn't be his because he had stolen the car. (Franklin Sun Journal)

When Guns Are Outlawed

Sheryl Claffy, 60, told police in Albuquerque, N.M., that her daughter, Cara Claffy, 35, hit her over the head with an electric vibrator during an argument (Smoking Gun)

Police arrested Christine O'Keefe, 53, after her daughter, Jessica Caldwell, 25, reported that the mother smacked her in the face with "a used diaper." (Smoking Gun)

German authorities warned that two women were robbing "mostly older women" by hypnotizing them. Police official Sandra Mohr said a 66-year-old Russian woman reported that the women "told her that they would read her fortune, but the next thing she knew she was back home sitting in an armchair, and all her jewelry and valuables had vanished." (Britain's Daily Mail)

Unclear on the Concept

Hoping to make solo diners feel less self-conscious, Tokyo's Moomin Café began seating them at tables across from giant stuffed animals representing characters from a Finnish picture book series. (Time)

Fetishes on Parade

Lonnie Hutton, 49, tried to have sex with an automatic teller machine at a bar in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Police officers who found Hutton waist-down naked said that when they took him outside and ordered him to sit at a picnic table, he "exposed himself again and engaged in sexual intercourse with the wooden picnic table." (Nashville's WKRN-TV)

Edwin Tobergta, 32, was arrested for having sex with a pink pool float in Hamilton, Ohio. Police said it was his third arrest for the same act, although with different pool floats. (Louisville, Ky.'s WLKY-TV)

What Could Go Wrong?

Intending to calm students before final exams, St. Louis's Washington University had a petting zoo bring several animals to campus for students to cuddle. One was a 2-month-old bear cub, which promptly bit and scratched at least 18 students. (Reuters)

Mensa Rejects of the Year

Rescuers needed a stretcher to carry a tourist who hurt his ankle while climbing one of Scotland's highest mountains in his flip-flops. One of the injured man's companions was barefoot; the other was wearing sneakers. The three men explained they wanted to reach the top of Aonach Mor to experience snow for the first time. (BBC News)

Success Breeds Failure

Hoping to attract riders, city buses in Saint John, New Brunswick, began offering free wireless internet service. It then announced it was discontinuing the service after it became so popular that the cost tripled. "We had a lot of people streaming and downloading very extensive files, and the usage got very high," transit commission general manager Frank McCarey said. (CBC News) 

Lesson Learned

Danielle Shea, 22, admitted phoning bomb threats to cancel Quinnipiac University's spring graduation ceremony because she didn't want her family to discover that she wasn't graduating. She had accepted money from her mother for tuition but never enrolled. (New Haven Register

Litigation Nation

Nigel Sykes, 23, sued the pizzeria he admitted robbing in Wilmington, Del., claiming that employees who tackled him and wrestled his gun away during the hold-up used "unnecessary" roughness to subdue him by "punching, kicking and pouring soup over my body." (Wilmington's News)

For the Record

When Willie Hubbard called 911 to report a carjacking after he witnessed a woman getting thrown to the ground by a man who then drove off in her car in DeKalb County, Ga., the operator informed him it wasn't a carjacking but a theft. The two then hotly debated whether the crime was a carjacking or a theft, delaying police response for more than 30 minutes. (Atlanta's WAGA-TV)

Capitalizing on the Past

AOL reported it still has 2.4 million dial-up internet subscribers, paying an average of $20.86 a month. Since its dial-up business costs little to operate, 70 percent of its revenue is profit. (Washington Post)

DIY Law and Order

Police forces in England and Wales began asking crime victims to carry out their own investigations after having their car stolen or property damaged by looking out for potential fingerprint evidence, checking for witnesses and searching second-hand websites for their stolen property. (Britain's Independent)

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About The Author

Roland Sweet

Bio:
Roland Sweet is the author of the syndicated column "News Quirks," which appears weekly in Seven Days.

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