Emily Cobb Photography
Emily Cobb Photography

The Weird Week in Review

Emily Cobb Photography
Emily Cobb Photography

Coating on Willis Tower Skydeck's Ledge Cracks Under Tourists

The Ledge is a glass-floored observation area of the Skydeck on the 103rd floor of Chicago’s Willis Tower. Visitors can see the city beneath their feet as they step out on it. Thursday morning, a family stepped out and heard a crack under their feet. All four decks were closed immediately for inspection. A spokesman said that the cracks were only in the protective coating, not the glass floor itself. The protective coating on all four ledges was replaced the same day. The deck floors are composed of three layers of half-inch-thick glass, and were not compromised. Still, it was a scary experience for those who heard and saw the cracks occur.

Students Upset at Altered Yearbook Photos

Portraits of female students at Wasatch County High School in Utah were altered without their knowledge for the school yearbook, a fact that only became known when the finished yearbooks arrived. Sleeves were added to some portraits, necklines were raised, and tattoos removed. The students cried foul, not so much about the Photoshoppery, but because the alterations seemed to target individuals arbitrarily. Not all sleeveless pictures were altered.

But educators said the students know the dress code and there was a sign warning them that their pictures may be edited. However, the Wasatch County Superintendent admits the school erred in not applying the same rules to each student.

“We only apologize in the sense that we want to be more consistent with what we`re trying to do in that sense we can help kids better prepare for their future by knowing how to dress appropriately for things,” said Terry E. Shoemaker, who is the superintendent of schools for the Wasatch County School District.

This would lead a person to wonder why students were allowed to have the pictures made at all if they were violating a school dress code. There was no mention of whether any male students’ pictures were altered. Fox 13 has a news report and a photo gallery.

Man Charged for Stealing Human Skin From Hospital

Gary Dudek, of Wallingford, Pennsylvania, is accused of taking skin grafts from Mercy Philadelphia Hospital over a couple of years. Dudek is a sales representative for a company that supplies skin grafts. He has been charged for not only taking skin out of the hospital, but also for ordering skin grafts the hospital never received. Hospital officials estimate the loss at $357,000. An investigation was begun after an audit showed the loss. Officials say Dudek was observed taking the skin twice on security cameras. The skin has not been found, and no one knows why Dudek would want it.

89-year-old with Golf Club Defeats Robber with Sword

Miyo Koba of Moses Lake, Washington, has owned and operated Frank's Superette for over 60 years. She was working on Sunday when she found a stranger behind the cash register. The man demanded that Koba open the register, but she instead threatened to stab him with the scissors she was carrying. The man pulled out a three-foot-long sword, which Koba later called “his little sword.”

The suspect pushed Koba, and she fell, spotting the golf club, she said.

"I … tried to swing this club at him, and I tried to hit his head a couple of times, but I couldn't reach it," Koba told the news organization.

No matter. She went for his legs, swinging and hitting them.

The man escaped on a bicycle, cash register and sword in tow, according to KREM, but police said Koba later recovered the register nearby with the money still in it.

The feisty 89-year-old Koba apparently scared the thief too much to complete his plan. The news report includes an interview with Koba.

House Party Leads to Riot, Kidnapping Charges

Police in West Valley, Utah, went to a home about 1AM Sunday to ask partygoers to keep the noise down. But no one answered the door. Then emergency 911 began receiving calls from guests inside the house saying that they were being held against their will. Witnesses said that 20-year-old Edgar Reynoso, who lives in the house, had a gun and threatened anyone who answered the door. When police entered, a riot broke out. West Valley police called up 22 backup officers, and 25 more from other agencies. Ten people were arrested and 60 citations issued, out of an estimated 150 at the party. Reynoso, whose parents were out of town, was held on numerous charges.

Lost Man Found Carrying Stolen GPS

A 24-year-old man called 911 on Thursday morning to ask for help because he was lost and being chased by wild hogs. Police went to Deen Still Road in Chuluota, Florida, and found Andrew James Joffe walking on the side of the road. He was arrested on an outstanding warrant for driving on a suspended license. When officers searched Joffe’s backpack, they found a working GPS unit, along with other electronic equipment, cell phones, and jewelry. The GPS unit had a “home address” that was not Joffe’s. Under questioning, he admitted taking the items from a vehicle.

5 Strange News Stories From This Week

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


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.


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."


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.


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."


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.

5 Strange News Stories From This Week

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


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.


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.


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.”


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.


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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