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Tom Warne via Twitter

The Weird Week in Review

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Tom Warne via Twitter

Calgary Balloon Man Charged with Mischief

A man in Calgary, Alberta, attached 110 large helium balloons to a lawn chair and took to the skies on Sunday. Daniel Boria said he planned the stunt for months, to draw attention to his cleaning products company. The plan was to parachute down to the Calgary Stampede. Instead, the wind blew him off course, and he parachuted into an industrial area of the city. Boria was then arrested on one count of “mischief causing danger to life,” and jailed overnight. Police confiscated his parachute and video, but the balloons and lawn chair are still on the loose. Who knows, they might still be airborne! 

Man Comes To Realize His Puppies Aren't Puppies After All

A banana farmer in China bought a couple of “good looking pups” from a Vietnamese man. He played with them, petted them, and groomed them every day. The puppies grew fast and they grew big, and they had voracious appetites, leading them to chase and eat his chickens. Two years later, the farmer had the opportunity to visit a wildlife protection exhibition, and when he saw the bear exhibit, he realized what kind of animals his “dogs” really were! He reported the bears to wildlife authorities, who identified his pets as Asian black bears, a protected species. The bears were taken to a wildlife rehabilitation center in Yunan. You can see a video report from Xinhua at Facebook.

Fugitive Asks Police for a Better Mugshot on Facebook

Police in Victoria, Australia, posted a mugshot of Daniel Damon on Facebook, asking the public for help in locating him. Damon is wanted for drug and traffic charges and for jumping bail. Damon couldn’t resist commenting on the post, asking for a better picture to be used, and then replying to several comments.

"Can you use a better photo tho. This is a horrible mugshot," said Damon, 25, in response to the warrant.

"Hi Daniel, please visit your nearest police station and we'll arrange for a new photo to be taken!" police replied.

The Facebook post was deleted, but BBC News has a screenshot of some of Damon’s comments. 

Horse Crashes Through Roof

A mare named Netti escaped from her corral in Lower Austria and wandered down the hill. As the hill got steeper, the 28-year-old horse lost control and fell. A mobile home was parked at the bottom, up against the hill, and the horse crashed through its metal roof. Luckily, she landed in the bedroom, right on a double bed! No one was at home at the time. Jacqueline-Isolde Bauer-Weiskirchner, Netti’s owner, found her when she heard the commotion of hooves inside the mobile home. A veterinarian gave the mare a sedative, and a brigade of firefighters used mountain rescue equipment to winch the horse back out through the roof. There’s a picture of the procedure. Netti has since been declared uninjured by the incident.

In You’re Not in the Show, Stay Off the Stage

A breach of theater etiquette on Broadway has the town talking. Last Thursday, before the beginning of the play Hand of God began at the Booth Theater, a member of the audience jumped up on stage in order to plug his phone charger into an electrical outlet. As there were no stairs, he had to jump up to the stage, then walk to the back of the set. The outlet, it turned out, was only a prop. The incident was captured on video, and a member of the stage crew announced that charging phones on stage was prohibited. The upside of the story is that the small play has received way more publicity than the producers could have afforded to buy.

Bear Breaks Zoo Window

On Monday, a bear at the Minnesota Zoo picked up a big rock and slammed it over and over against the glass that separated the bears from zoo visitors, shattering it. The five-layer safety glass did not fall apart, however, and no one was hurt. The bear exhibit has been closed since then, and the zoo will have to shell out “tens of thousands of dollars” to replace the pane.  

Robin Ficker, a visitor from Maryland, said he was watching “the bears wrestling with each other and looking at the people” shortly after the zoo opened at 9 a.m. Then one of the animals “picked up from the bottom of the pool a rock that had to weigh 50 pounds. And while many people were standing there, he slammed it against the glass several times,” Ficker said.

[Zoo animal collections manager Tony] Fisher said he’s not sure which of the three bears is responsible for breaking one of pane’s five layers, but he suspects it was Kenai, a nearly full-grown male. Grizzlies typically top out at 800 to 900 pounds.

Kenai is “usually the clown out there, fooling around in the water,” Fisher said. “He didn’t know what he was doing. He was just being a bear.”

Oh, really? Do grizzly bears in the wild ever throw rocks? This could be the beginning of a revolt, as bears learn to use tools to gain their freedom. And the last thing we need are free grizzly bears teaching each other how to use big rocks to get what they want.

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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iStock

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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