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The Weird Week in Review

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Puppy Survives 12-mile Trip in Car Engine

A Jack Russell terrier named Betty Boop went missing from her fenced-in garden in Manchester, England, and climbed into the engine compartment of a neighbor’s car. Gavin Juliette went to pick up his mother-in-law, a 12-mile round trip, with the puppy stuck in the engine. He only noticed her when he returned home and heard barking from under the car’s hood. Gavin and the dog’s owner Gary James had to partially dismantle the engine to get Betty Boop out, and were astonished to find her uninjured.

Dad-of-three Gary, a cleaning manager, said the pup is now as happy as ever just two days after her bizarre journey.

He said: “We just couldn’t believe what had happened and it was even harder to believe how she’d survived.

“It’s a good job Gavin wasn’t going to Blackpool or he’d have probably ended up with a hot dog."

Police Forgot Password for Eight Years

An online account by the Central Vigilance Commission passes police complaints in Delhi, India, directly to the Delhi Police. Every municipal department in Delhi has a review once a year to review complaints and how they were addressed, but the police reported no complaints or resolutions for eight years. Finally, an investigation was launched into this anomaly, and it was found that the police department had never checked the online account—because they had forgotten the password! Two officers were brought in for “training,” and the account was finally accessed. There were 667 complaints waiting, many of them for years. The police department is now sorting through the messages one by one.

Drunken Joyride in an Airplane

A company that provides aerial tours of the Grand Canyon notified police in Boulder City, Nevada, that one of their airplanes was missing from the Boulder City Airport. Officers responded to find a man was taking off and landing the plane over and over. Since they could not chase him, they had to wait for a landing. On the fifth landing, they managed to arrest 47-year-old Paul Michael Weddle.

Officers watched Weddle flying “in a reckless manner,” even coming close to another plane after an abrupt turn, the report said.

Weddle wouldn’t show his hands to the arresting officer and was eventually tackled by police, the report said.

He later told officers he wanted to complete the take-off and landing portion to obtain his pilot’s license, the report said.

Weddle’s blood-alcohol content was 0.132 percent. He was taken to the hospital before being booked on charges of DUI and vehicle theft. The question arising from the incident is, how, in this era of tight security, did Weddle get into the airport?

Flying Fish Causes Aborted Flight

NOAA pilot Lt. Cmdr. Nick Toth and crew took off in a Gulfstream GIV from MacDill Air Force Base in Florida. They were forced to abort the takeoff when they heard a “thunk” against the plane. They assumed they had hit a bird, as they had seen an osprey fly in front of the craft. No bird was found, but a fish was! There was a 9-inch sheepshead on the runway. Wildlife Management came to investigate. They took the fish, and a DNA sample from the plane where what seemed to be a bird strike was seen, and it turned out that the bird strike was indeed a “fish strike.” The flying fish is assumed to have been dropped by the fleeing osprey during the takeoff. At least that’s what they want us to believe.

No Pizza? Burn the Place Down!

A couple was denied service Monday night at Whirled Pies pizza shop in Eugene, Oregon. The staff decided they were too intoxicated. The angry couple left, but returned shortly after the pizza shop closed. They broke the glass on the locked door, and the employees inside called 911 and hid in the basement. The drunk couple took a curtain and stuffed it into a jar of moonshine, and then ignited the alcohol. They threw the Molotov cocktail into the restaurant. Police arrived and arrested Matthew Bossard and Leticia Kagele on charges of arson, burglary, and criminal mischief. There is no mention of what, if any, damage the burning moonshine did to the shop.

Thief on Motorized Scooter Makes Clean Getaway

Police are looking for a man who robbed a jewelry store in Henderson, Nevada. The incident was captured on security cameras.

The man was described as black, mustached and about 300 pounds. He was last seen wearing a black shirt, black jacket, blue jeans, dark blue baseball cap and black-framed glasses. They said the man was seen leaving the store on a motorized scooter.

For some reason, police did not respond to the jewelry heist in time to catch a 300-pound man on a mobility scooter.

Gun Giveaway Hopes to Draw Newcomers to Church

The Kentucky Baptist Convention is endorsing gun giveaways to draw more men to church. The Lone Oak Baptist Church in Paducah had a free steak dinner Thursday, with 25 guns of various kinds given away as door prizes. Over 1,000 people were expected. The Convention’s team leader for evangelism, Chuck McAlister, said he presided over 50 such events in the past year and saw 1,678 men make a profession of faith. Advocates see it as an opportunity to attract men who have no professed faith, and say the church should use whatever works. Others are opposed to the giveaways, particularly in Paducah, where a school shooting in 1997 left three students dead and five others injured.

5 Strange News Stories From This Week

Welcome to The Weird Week in Review, where we bring you odd news stories from all over.

1. MAN PAYS FINE WITH FIVE WHEELBARROWS OF PENNIES

On January 11, Nick Stafford of Cedar Bluff, Virginia, carted 1600 pounds of pennies into the Lebanon Department of Motor Vehicles to pay taxes on two of his vehicles. It was the end of a saga that began in September, when Stafford tried to find out which of his homes (which are located in two counties) he should use to register his son's new car. When he tried to call his local DMV, he was routed to a larger call center—and so, to get the local number he wanted, he submitted a successful Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Then he went one step further, filing three lawsuits to get the direct numbers for nine other local DMVs. “If they were going to inconvenience me then I was going to inconvenience them,” Stafford told The Herald Courier.

A judge ultimately dismissed the lawsuits when the state's Attorney General physically handed Stafford the phone numbers in the courtroom. But Stafford still had to pay sales tax on his vehicles, and he got in one last dig at the DMV while doing so: First, he bought five new wheelbarrows. Then, he bought a bunch of rolls of pennies. He hired 11 people to help him unroll the pennies—300,000 in total—and drove them to the DMV, where he put them in the wheelbarrows and, with the help of people he had hired, rolled them in. (“I’m not used to lifting,” Stafford said. “These are heavy.”) The lawsuits, wheelbarrow, and hired help cost Stafford more than $1000 above the amount of the vehicle tax.

2. MOTORIST JAILED OVER KITTY LITTER

When he was pulled over in early December 2016, Ross Lebeau thought it was a routine traffic stop—but Houston sheriff's deputies arrested him on drug charges. In his car, the officers had found a substance in a sock, which, when field tested, was positive for meth. A press release stated that Lebeau had been found with a half pound of meth in his vehicle; the release contained both Lebeau's mugshot and a picture of the substance seized.

Lebeau spent three days in jail, but he was released when lab tests revealed that the substance was not meth after all—it was kitty litter! As WMC Action News 5 reported on January 7:

Lebeau said the substance was cat litter inside a sock.

His father left one in his car and gave the other to his sister for her car. It's supposed to keep the windows from fogging up.

The problem was that two field tests done by deputies came back positive for meth.

The county's forensic lab tested the substance as well, and no drugs were found. The case was then dismissed, but the damage was already done to Lebeau's reputation. "People have been calling me a kingpin or drug lord," Lebeau said, adding that he's lost out on work because of the accusation. “I was wrongly accused, and I'm going to do everything in my power to clear my name."

3. SWISS TOWN DENIES PASSPORT TO "ANNOYING" DUTCH VEGAN

Nancy Holten was born in the Netherlands, but she's lived in Switzerland since she was a child. The outspoken vegan and animal rights activist has campaigned against the cowbells that local livestock wear, saying the tradition is animal abuse, and has complained about loud church bells, hunting, and pig races. Holten, who is seeking Swiss citizenship, as been denied twice. Local residents can approve or deny villagers' requests, and they have deemed Holten too annoying. As Yahoo News UK reported on January 11:

"Tanja Suter, the president of the local Swiss People’s Party, claimed Ms Holten has a 'big mouth' and that residents did not want to grant her citizenship 'if she annoys us and doesn’t respect our traditions.'"

Holten's citizenship case has been transferred to the Cantonal (regional) government body, which can overturn the local decision.

4. MAN FOUND STUCK IN KITCHEN VENT

Gjyste (Julie) Margilaj heard a crashing sound in her first-floor Manhattan apartment kitchen just after midnight on January 10. “I freaked ... out for a couple of minutes, and then I went over to the kitchen and I heard someone panting and breathing like they were in obvious pain. They were freaking out," she told the New York Daily News. “I opened the kitchen vent so he could breathe.” The man, a new resident of the seven-story building, had been on the roof hanging with some friends when, according to the FDNY, he removed the cover of an exhaust fan and slid down into the ductwork. "The shaft was so small that his body took up the entire vent," FDNY Chief Patrick Tansey told Pix 11 News. "So, using power tools was out of the question. We had to expose him by hand." The man—who was wearing just his underwear—only had minor injuries after the ordeal. "He had told the occupant who called us something about a pool in the basement," Tansey said, "but I don't know."

5. GOLFER RUN OVER BY TOILET

This week, Brian Berg filed a lawsuit over an incident that occurred last summer at Fox Run Golf Links in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. The golfer was enjoying a day on the green when he was run over by a portable toilet. An employee of the course was using a forklift to move the toilet but couldn't see where he was going because the toilet obscured his vision. According to CBS Chicago,

"After he was knocked to the ground by the porta-potty’s “initial blow,” it did not stop, hitting him in the face and knocking him unconscious, the suit says. It injured his shoulder, cut his chin, cracked a rib, bruised a bicep and caused 'a large, deep bruise to his leg.'"

Berg is asking $50,000 in damages from the Elk Grove Park District, which runs the golf course, and the forklift driver.

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5 Strange News Stories From This Week
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Welcome to The Weird Week in Review, where we bring you odd news stories from all over.

1. CALF GETS LASSOED FROM THE HOOD OF A POLICE CAR

When authorities got a call about a calf that was loose on Tennessee's Highway 79N, David Bevill of Paris, Tennessee, volunteered to help local police capture it. Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew drove down the highway with Bevill on the hood, ready to rope in the calf. According to a Facebook post,

Belew said the calf became loose when a man was driving through town and his cattle trailer door broke. “There were actually two that got loose, but Dr. Lyons at Mineral Wells Animal Clinic and his crew were able to get the other one,” Belew said.

“So everybody is happy—we roped one calf, Dr. Lyons got the other one and the guy who was hauling them through town is happy, too,” Belew said.

It's always handy to know a cowboy when you've got a job to do.

2. CAT STUCK IN SUPPORTS OF DOUBLE-DECKER HIGHWAY FOR NINE DAYS

Erin McCutcheon's cat Juno escaped a zippered cat carrier and jumped out of a moving car on the upper deck of I-93 in Boston on Christmas Day. McCutcheon couldn't find her cat, and so distributed posters and put out a call for help on Facebook. On Tuesday, a Local 103 crew of electricians doing maintenance work spotted Juno high above the lower deck, perched on the support girders under the upper deck. Juno had been stuck 80 feet above the highway for nine days! The crew couldn't catch the frightened feline, but eventually lured her out with cans of cat food. Juno, hungry and thirsty, went home with electrician Jay Frazier, and was later reunited with the McCutcheons.

3. MAN CARRIES SCISSORS IN BODY FOR 18 YEARS

Ma Van Nhat underwent surgery at Bac Kan Hospital in Vietnam in 1998 after suffering injuries in a traffic accident. Recently, he complained of pain in his abdomen, which doctors dismissed as a stomachache. But on December 27, during a routine checkup, a doctor determined there was a foreign object there. Last Saturday, surgeons removed a pair of surgical scissors, which had apparently been inside Nhat for 18 years. The scissors had broken and adhered to Nhat's abdominal organs. According to The Huffington Post,

The hospital’s director, Trinh Thi Luong, is now taking great pains to find out who may have left the scissors inside Nhat.

“Even if they are already retired, we will still inform them,” Luong said, according to Reuters. “This is a lesson to all doctors.”

4. MAN OPENS DOOR TO BRICK WALL

An unnamed man in Mainhausen, Germany, woke up Monday morning and got ready for work as usual—but when he opened his front door, he couldn't leave: Someone had built a brick wall over the door opening. The perpetrators had built the wall quickly and quietly during the night. He had to tear out the bricks to leave his house. Police don't know whether the wall was a prank or an act of revenge.

5. NEW SHERIFF GETS ARRESTED

The citizens of Roane County, West Virginia, elected a new sheriff in November. Bo Williams began his new job last Sunday, but on Tuesday, according to the New York Daily News, he was was arrested on charges of grand larceny for stealing meth from an evidence locker at his previous job with the Spencer, West Virginia, police department. Bags of meth with evidence numbers were found in his desk and in his car. Williams had resigned from that job after admitting to drug addiction in December. The Roane County commission removed Williams from office that same day, and asked a former sheriff to step in to run the department. Williams is out of jail on bond and may face up to 10 years in prison.

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