People Different From Us
Halloween won't be quite so frightening for residents of Nottinghamshire, England, now that a "killer clown" has been apprehended and sentenced to 11 weeks behind bars, plus 18 weeks that had previously been suspended, according to the BBC. Damien Hammond, 29, is a homeless and jobless man who has taken on the persona of Heath Ledger's The Joker from "The Dark Knight Rises." He admitted to what police called a "crime wave" of offenses, including terrorizing staff in retail stores, waving a gun-shaped cigarette lighter while standing in traffic, and striking a police officer. He arrived at Nottingham Magistrates' Court on Oct. 10 with bright green hair, and as he was led to jail, he shouted: "See what you have done. I will kill today!" adding that he would stab police officers and fellow inmates. He has also been banned from central Nottingham for three years.
Government in Action
The District of Columbia's Department of General Services fell victim to a scam in July when officials there wired almost $700,000 to a hacker posing as a city vendor. The fraudsters gained information from a vendor's computer system, reported The Washington Post, then created a fake email address by changing just one letter, from which they requested electronic transfers from the D.C. government. David Umansky, a spokesman for the district's chief financial officer, told the Post that since then the city's protocols for making vendor payments have "been modified to require additional confirmation before changing bank information." None of D.C.'s money has been recovered.
News That Sounds Like a Joke
In Ouachita Parish, Louisiana, chicken owner Stephanie Morse told KNOE-TV on Oct. 18 that she is not going to be deterred from dressing up her chickens for Halloween, even in light of the warning from the Centers for Disease Control about exposure to salmonella. More than 90 people in 29 states have been infected with an antibiotic-resistant strain of the bacteria after coming into contact with raw chicken products. Dressing up live chickens might also cause people to be exposed to the germ. "Don't kiss your birds or snuggle them," the CDC warns. But Morse clucks back: "I just like to put a sweater on them to keep them warm and comfortable."
The University of Kansas Cancer Center just wants its colon back. The $4,000 giant inflatable colon, used to educate the public about colon health, was stolen from the bed of a pickup truck on Oct. 19. The Kansas City Star reported it was scheduled to appear at a run/walk event at a local park the next day. Kansas City Police are hoping the public will help find the 150-pound, 10-foot-long colon and return it to its owners.
Helen Washington, 75, of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, faces charges of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon after she ran out of patience on Oct. 12 with her grandson, who continued to put his teacup on her furniture even after she repeatedly asked him not to. After dumping his tea out, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported, Washington left the room, apparently to get a gun. Meanwhile, the grandson had made a new cup of tea and put it on the furniture. The argument resumed, and Washington pulled out the .38 Special, shooting her grandson in the leg. She told officers at the scene she didn't think she should go to jail; a judge ordered an evaluation to see if she's competent to stand trial.
Who's a Good Boy? You're a Good Boy!
Beagle Brigade K-9 officer Hardy probably thought he'd hit the jackpot when U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents discovered an unusual item in a passenger's luggage at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson airport on Oct. 11. Fox5 reported that something smelled suspicious (and delicious) to Hardy, so agents opened the bag of a traveler from Ecuador to find a cooked pig's head. "This seizure at ATL illustrates the tremendous expertise of our four-legged K-9 partners in protecting the United States," gushed Carey Davis, CBP area port director of the Port of Atlanta. No doubt to Hardy's distress, however, the pig's head was removed and destroyed.
• When Denver Broncos backup quarterback Chad Kelly wandered into a suburban house in Englewood, Colorado, early on the morning of Oct. 23, he didn't appear to pose much of a threat, according to ESPN News. He sat down on the couch next to the female resident, who was holding her young child, and began "mumbling incoherently," police records showed. But the man of the house, thinking quickly, shooed the 24-year-old Kelly out with nothing more than a vacuum hose. Kelly, who had been at a Halloween party with teammates, was later found sitting in his car about a block away. He was arrested on suspicion of criminal trespass, but the real shame is how Kelly hosed his own career: On Oct. 24, the Broncos released him.
• Atif Masood, 42, an employee at a Tesco supermarket in Thornton Heath in south London, is suing the store over the harassment and racial discrimination he says he suffered when a fellow employee broke wind in his face. The Sun reported Masood claims he was targeted because he is Muslim, saying the "unwanted conduct ... had the purpose or effect of violating his dignity." Tesco dismissed Masood's complaints in February, saying it found no evidence of racial discrimination. Masood's hearing will take place in 2019.
Above and Beyond
Judge R.W. Buzzard got a free pass on doing his cardio on Oct. 16 after two inmates appearing in his courtroom at the Lewis County Courthouse in Chehalis, Washington, made a break for it. The Daily Chronicle reported that Tanner D. Jacobson, 22, of Onalaska, and Kodey L. Howard, 28, of Winlock, were being escorted out of the courtroom by a deputy when they turned and ran out the public door of the chamber. Judge Buzzard stripped off his black robe and set off in hot pursuit, grabbing Howard as he followed Jacobson down the steps. Jacobson was caught a few blocks away. Both inmates were charged with felony second-degree escape.
Insert Stereotype Here
Police officers in Clearwater, Florida, shared their good fortune on Oct. 16 after they recovered a stolen van filled with Krispy Kreme doughnuts, reported the Tampa Bay Times. The van was stolen almost 200 miles north of Clearwater, in Lake City, where the store manager donated the sweet cargo to the officers, who shared their treats with local homeless people. Evidently the resulting sugar coma impaired the officers' ability to hunt down criminals, as the doughnut thief is still on the run.
William Friedman, 68, of Franklin Township, New Jersey, told police officers when he was apprehended that his weird practice of dumping his grandson's used diapers around town "almost became a game." Friedman had been disposing of the soiled nappies along several roadways over the past year, until an officer spotted him at 3:15 a.m. on Oct. 21 making another deposit. Not only is the littering disgusting, but officials told the Associated Press that a motorcyclist crashed in June after running over a diaper Friedman had allegedly thrown out. He was charged with interference with transportation and faces up to $1,000 in fines. cs
The Way the World Works
Krissa White of Pensacola, Florida, planted a butterfly garden in her front yard six years ago. Since then, she's nurtured monarchs through their life cycles, offering them a safe refuge from mosquito-targeting chemicals. But her yard has been the source of much discussion among neighbors, and in early October, the Crown Pointe Property Owners Association charged that White's butterflies violate the community's covenants against breeding or raising animals, such as livestock or poultry, on the property. Dogs, cats or other household pets are exempted from the rule. WEAR-TV reported on Oct. 19 that White may be charged $25 every day for harboring the butterflies.