Staff at the Martin County (Florida) Correctional Institute spied some suspicious activity on the morning of Dec. 16. Around 1:30 a.m., a drone was spotted hovering over an inmate housing center, while at the same time, a black pickup truck rolled slowly in front of the center. The Tampa Bay Times reported officers stopped the truck and questioned Concetta Didiano, 22, and her mother, Cassanra Kerr, 40, who said they had driven the 200 miles from their home in Tampa so Didiano could learn how to drive the truck. But Kerr's husband is an inmate at the facility, and after a drone and a package of contraband -- tobacco and mobile phones -- turned up near the front gate of the prison, Kerr came clean: "I did it. The remote and iPad are in the backseat." Both Didiano and Kerr have been charged with introducing contraband into a correctional center.
-- H.W. Taylor III, 51, of Chatfield, Texas, was charged Dec. 12 with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after a parking dispute escalated outside a Domino's pizza shop in Jerrell. Determined to park his tractor-trailer in a restricted area, reported the Austin American-Statesman, Taylor removed a chain blocking the area and parked his truck there, even as store employees told him not to. Williamson County sheriff's deputies were called after Taylor pointed a gun at the chest of one the employees and then shot a 9mm round into the ground nearby, causing a small piece of the bullet to strike the employee in the ear. Having lost his appetite for pizza, Taylor returned to his truck and drove away, but officers soon caught up to him in another county. The Domino's worker had a small cut to his ear and is expected to survive.
-- In Mesa, Arizona, diverging tastes in music led to a fatality on Dec. 14, reported the Arizona Republic. Officers responded to a call of shots fired at an apartment complex, where Sheldon Sturgill, 41, told them he shot his roommate after an argument and fistfight over the type of music they were listening to. Sturgill and his roommate had been drinking shots and beer before the altercation. He was held on suspicion of second-degree murder. It is unclear what the offensive music choice was.
Havana, Cuba, resident Pepe Casanas, 78, has discovered a tried-and-true way to treat his rheumatism pain: Once a month for the last 10 years, Casanas seeks out a blue scorpion, which is endemic to Cuba, and lets it sting him. "I put the scorpion where I feel pain," Casanas told Reuters. After the sting, "It hurts for a while, but then it calms and goes and I don't have anymore pain." In fact, researchers have confirmed that the scorpion's venom has anti-inflammatory and pain relief effects. It may delay cancer growth in some. A Cuban drug company has been selling a homeopathic pain remedy called Vidatox, made from the scorpion venom, but Casanas, a former tobacco farmer, takes the simpler route. He sometimes keeps a scorpion under his straw hat for luck, where he says it likes the shade and humidity.
The Daily Mail reported on Dec. 14 that a Chinese man identified only as Peng, 37, was hospitalized in Zhangzhou, Fujian province, after he complained of a cough and chest pains. As doctors examined him, Peng admitted that he is "addicted to smelling his socks that he had been wearing." The pain in his chest, it turns out, was a fungal infection he had inhaled from his socks. While Peng is expected to make a full recovery, other people 'fessed up on Chinese social media that they have the same habit: "The reason I smell my socks is to know if I can continue wearing them the next day!" one commenter said. Another pledged to "wash my socks every day now."
Maybe it was the Triple Breakfast Stacks McGriddles that lured Anthony Andrew Gallagher, 23, to the drive-thru lane at a Port St. Lucie, Florida, McDonald's to satisfy his hungries on the morning of Dec. 16. But when it came time to pay, the Associated Press reported, Gallagher offered the dude in the window a bag of weed instead of cold, hard cash. The worker declined the payment, and Gallagher drove away, returning a while later. McDonald's staff called police after the first attempt, and Gallagher was apprehended for pot possession and DUI.
Retired hospitality executive Rick Antosh, 66, of Edgewater, New Jersey, was enjoying a plate of oysters at Grand Central's Oyster Bar in New York City when he felt something hard in his mouth. "I just all of a sudden felt something like a tooth or a filling, and it's terrifying," Antosh told PIX11 News. But when he looked at it, he realized it was a pearl. Antosh called over the floor manager to ask how often such a discovery happens and was told he'd never heard of it before. Early estimates say it could be worth $2,000 to $4,000.
Karen Kaheni, 42, of Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England, is a heavy smoker, puffing on 60 to 80 cigarettes a day. But as she watches TV in the evening, Kaheni also eats eight cigarette butts. And, as a side dish, she eats about 9 ounces of chalk every week. Her odd addictions are related to Pica, she told the Mirror, a condition that involves eating things that aren't really food. "I have no idea what triggered it," she said. "It isn't so much the taste of the cigarette butts or the chalk that I like -- it's more the texture and the crunch." When she runs out of either item, "I get quite agitated and my mouth begins to water." Kaheni hasn't consulted a doctor about her addiction, claiming she is too embarrassed, but she has discovered a Facebook page for others who suffer from Pica: "It makes me feel like less of a weirdo -- less like I'm going mad," Kaheni said. cs
Call it a dangerous case of mistaken identity: The Helena (Montana) Independent Record reported that a 27-year-old man was shot at multiple times on Dec. 16 after being mistaken for Big Foot. The unidentified man told police he was setting up targets for shooting on federal land when bullets struck the ground nearby. He ran for cover, then confronted the shooter, who said the first man "was not wearing orange and thought he was Big Foot," said Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton. The cryptid impersonator described the shooter's vehicle to police but didn't want to press charges, asking only that the shooter be lectured about safe shooting.
Jim Alexander, 41, and Betina Bradshaw, 54, of Torquay, Devon, England, are planning a Christmas feast for family and friends. On the menu: deer, pheasant, rabbits, badgers ... all roadkill. Alexander, a trained butcher, has collected nearly 50 fresh animal corpses over the past year. "I know people will think it's unusual, but really it just makes sense," Alexander told Metro News. Bradshaw says her family refers to him as a serial killer, but he has gradually won her over to the idea of eating roadkill. "The first few times he brought a deer home he told me it was for the dog. ... Obviously, you turn your nose up a bit at the start, but now it doesn't bother me at all," she said. Alexander said his odd collecting habits have drawn the attention of police, but "once they realize I'm doing nothing wrong, they are fine, and one even helped me lift an animal into the van," he said.